Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fugitive Music

Also: I've been epigraphed (I feel quite legitimized) in a long "think piece" by Joshua Harmon in the new issue of New England Review. "Fugitive Music" is a fascinating essay on the idea of aura in the "record industry":
We could read vinyl’s renaissance—since the declarations of its obsolescence when the compact disc was introduced to the marketplace—as part of a cultural nostalgia for products of perceived quality and with the status of the limited edition, or for a product that, perhaps because it has the appearance of having been redeemed from some dustbin of history, or because so many of its purveyors are do-it-yourselfers such as Thomas Bernich, has acquired the character of the handmade despite its origins as a petroleum commodity of the industrial age. Or, as Charles Bernstein puts it, in his essay “Frames of Reference”: “Oddly, in the electronic age, mechanical reproduction takes on the aura that handcraft had in the mechanical age; witness the antique shop fetish for old photographs or old labels, which when they first appeared seemed free of this type of nostalgia (much as xerox copies are free of any such aura at the present time).”
I love his syntax here:
While the tagline “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” (and Ella Fitzgerald’s glass-shattering voice) is more memorable than “Maxell: it’s worth it,” no one who came of age in the late 1970s and early 1980s can forget the image accompanying the latter advertisement: the dude getting blown, g-force style, into his Le Corbusier armchair, listening to heavy metal, we presumed, despite his martini and the tie flipped over his shoulder by the sonic gale.
Nicely done. Josh Harmon is also a poet and novelist and worth getting to know.

No comments:

Post a Comment