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The Dancing Plague Of 1518 Vs. The Free Music Plague Of 2015

The Dancing Plague by Hendrik Hondius

In 1518, in the city of Strasbourg. a woman by the name of Frau Troffea started dancing in the street and could not stop. Soon after, around 100 more people followed her lead, also incapable of stopping themselves from dancing. This epidemic, known as the "Dancing Plague Of 1518" (there are around ten other incidences of dancing mania documented before 1518), inflicted hundreds of people and lasted for several months.  Professional musicians and dancers were called in to assist in directing the victims, and in some cases, it became known that music would in fact help calm the viral dancers down. 

Noise: Love it or leave it

On a plane to Munich I had to sit with a man who talked my ear off about how computer based music was not "organic" or "natural" music, and that it had no "soul". I think he was really just nervous about crashing head on into the sea, which I was praying to happen just so I didn't have to listen to his ramblings for the next four hours. 

Later when I got off the plane I thought about how, despite my own opinions as an electronic musician, this belief that computer based music is vacant of the "soul" raised a lot of questions. 

The soul, like music, is intangible, but can also be developed and improved upon. 
The soul can also be recorded and played back through art, writing, film, rebellion, nature and all that good stuff. 
The only thing is that we know a lot more about music than we do about the soul. Music is no secret to the ones who make it, or at least the process of making it isn't a secret. 
Music obviously started with an instrument, maybe the voice or maybe 2 stones hitting together in some sort of rhythm, then it probably moved on to a goatskin stretched across a wooden membrane and some horse hairs on a bow etc. From what we can tell by looking back in history and seeing where we are today, music was used as a way to communicate as well as a way to tell myths (that's all I strive to do, tell a ghost story while beating the drum, whether it be a real one or a laptop). 

Taking a step back in time, it reminded me of my own issues with computer based music software versus analogue hardware. Despite my prejudices I'm almost entirely digital for the portability and the wide spectrum of possibilities that comes with it but one thing that keeps me yearning for analogue is the noise of it. My main problem with digital music applications is the silence that is there to start with. If you record nothing at all onto analogue tape and play it back there's still something there, noise, which will become louder when you raise the volume. I always needed some noise to begin with, whether a tone or some hiss seeping through the faders of a beat up old mixing board and then take it from there. 

However now digital music applications are becoming more of a tool for creating noise, sometimes at the most micro of levels. What we're hearing now in music is that the sounds have become more and more complex. You can tell by listening to underground electronic music these days which is incorporating a higher bandwidth of frequencies and as well as contemporary notated music which had been leaning further to incorporating prepared instruments, electronic sounds and extended techniques. Both genres overall just incorporating a wider spectrum of noise, harmonics, overtones, beating tones etc. 

What is happening is people are yearning for more noise and it's becoming more and more acceptable to hear it, so we are actually improving our ears by being able to hear sound in a different way. Who knows, maybe the more these sounds become filled with other noises and are incorporated into contemporary pop music, than within a hundred years our ears will be so open that we'll be able to hear a bird singing from a mile away, or a fox in the woods in the catskills while we're sitting in a coffee shop in Brooklyn. 

So all this talk about noise just makes me wonder - Could this be the "soul" this person is talking about? Noise? Probably the best description of the intangible soul I can think of is that. The soul in music is noise, and the soul in us is also noise, the essence of us hidden because of the fear of the unknown. 

 
 

C3 @ the Loove

We recently had the pleasure of hosting a meeting of the New York chapter of the Content Creator’s Coalition (C3), a dynamic non-profit advocacy group representing creators in the digital landscape whose values are very much aligned with ours here at the Loove.

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Info Revolution

karma arksAfter the revolution
Information has been liberated, it's possible to navigate the surface of the moon from your smartphone. Cecil Taylor, Yasiin Bey and Flying Lotus- their work fueling a shadow economy in clickthroughs and data trade. 
 The race to build the future isn't about information, or about media. 
We submit it's about conviction, investment and care. Music is too vital to be limited- as a commodity, clickbait, a fleeting impression of binaries- this infrastructure in sound makes culture tick, allows us to reason on a deeper level. to uphold the art is, finally, empowering for audiences.

We're not sure we want to exist in the world where capital one and geico are the ultimate arbiters of our expression- risk management isn't punk rock, and the music lives elsewhere.

Our task, humbly, is to create a real space for the work. not necessarily a safe space, not a free space. but one where the transactions generate growth, where a body of work can be developed and where art can unfold on its own terms.


Loove 2015

Pipeside conversation with Chucky

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