“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Music without Ecology

Well it's been a good month if you've been a musical note, because I've been playing you, on my nice new Mac, and recording you too, if you sounded good. It hasn't been very good if you've been an ecological idea. Sorry, ecological ideas.

In the mean time I was asked to do an essay for a Danish culture magazine and a talk in Arkansas after fire dancers—they want me to follow that?!

The UC system is losing a lot of money at present. My money saving scheme is to videoconference. I don't believe most of us profs. know how much power there is in the new computers. My friend Mark who does music recording for a living borrowed about $12 000 to start a studio in the mid-90s, on gear that took up an entire room. You can now get most of said gear in your average $1000 or so MacBook and about $500 for Logic, the state of the art Mac sequencer. Of course the gear comes with all kinds of loops, presets and other automated devices. Walter Benjamin eat your heart out.

I guess the eco link is that a lot of my songs are about lawns...I am obsessed with lawns. They are like flat Barnett Newman paintings that everyone has in front of their house. The house sticking out its tongue to show what a decent individual you are. Individual, not unique. They are so much an intrinsic part of the fantasy space that is post-war US suburbia. They perform the same function as the big empty spaces in corporate buildings: look at my private property, look at the privacy of my property, behold, in public, how private I am, I am just the same as you, but different—I am a different version of you, I am an uncanny repetition of you, my space has no decoration, I am not feminine, I am a non-feminine being, I have crew-cut grass, don't walk on it please, look but don't touch, this is private property, keep off, but admire by all means, look at this big empty space with nothing alive on it, it's a symbol of the flat green stuff in my wallet, this is totally ordinary weirdness, this is weird total ordinariness, there is queerly nothing queer about this lawn, you know, nothing to distinguish it from your one, but remember, it's mine, not yours. And so on and so on...