IASPM'd - day.two : "I Can't Dance"

[report on day.two of IASPM Montrą©al]

Here's a little more on IASPM :

hi list,

Well, might as well keep up the tradition -- here's a few more words on this conference in the dead, 110% humidity that is 36c Montrą©al at the moment.

Unfortunately I spent most of my day charging around against traffic in order to secure sound and decks for tonight's music jam session; however, I managed to catch a quick sociological paper by U of Rome's Francesco D'Amato. The paper was surprisingly critical for a sociological text, and analysed two clubs in Rome as its material. While Francesco's use of "tribe" to describe club cultures was troubling ["tribe" overall is a word that needs to be reconsidered carefully, especially in academic discourse], he made some observations that were eye-catching to a North American. One of the clubs [Branca, I think] was actually a Leftist alternative cultural centre; its crowd was traditionally left and the atmosphere less regulated [people sat on the floor, smoked pot, etc]. The other club, Goa, was a slick dress-code affair. But what was fascinating [besides the entire idea of a Leftist club] was that clubgoers today often go to either club, changing their dress codes and attitudes, ie identities, to suit the differing atmospheres. While his paper did not broach the political implications of this chameleon-like political ambiguity, a question put to D'Amato drew out a macro-micro comparison between the club chameleonism & the increasingly centrist politics of Italy's Leftist political party. For me, at least, this is interesting as it provides a direct connection between party politics [as in political State parties] and club politics [another type of "party" politics, come to think of it]. Moreover, for me at least, it speaks to the increasing territorialization of the "club" and the need for any radical movement to abandon such controlled space(s), whether "Leftist" or not. I don't personally think that practicing a chameleon-like identity is liberatory nor transgressive in any fashion when it simply means becoming the appropriate consumer for the appropriate venue. Circle to circle, and square to square... D'Amato, I should note refrained from extrapolating his conclusions (like a good sociologist) although, again, his idea of a "tribe" predetermined the approach to the clubgoers as a cohesive mass when, in fact, the very chameleon-like processes he encountered already spoke to something else going on, something not like a "tribe" of any sort, but more akin to a consumerist pattern of molding to patterns of acceptance-- even if that means superficially adopting a particular "political air" (or lack thereof) when appropriate.

So I missed the rest due to duties with the conference .. which was too bad, there were some other excellent papers, at least by the abstracts.

One final note -- the IASPM audience reception to its own performers was .. ironic .. ? I should have taken note when the IASPMers, at the jam session / reception later on in the Thomson House Ballroom, did not even manage to clap at the end of the easy jazz solos emanating from the talented jazz group that led the night .. usually it is considered kosher to whistle or clap at the end of a nice rhythm solo in jazz .. few did .. in fact the following two acoustic singer / songwriter acts were all but ignored, and by the time I took over the decks, spinning a sonic narrative from funk to Kraftwerk, a bit of early electro, Underground Resistance, Juan Atkins, early Micheal Jackson even, hell, some Genesis P-Orridge from Psychic TV, all reblended with a bit of Akufen, Matmos, Mike Ink and T. Raumschmiere --
well, I had three people telling me to turn it down, as the music was apparently interrupting their conversation.


Welcome to the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, folks.

It reminds me of a great and favourite quote of Kodwo Eshun when he describes "CultStud" as "flabby bulk...lazy, pompous, lard-arsed, top-down dominance..." [_More Brilliant Than The Sun_ -004]. You say it ..

[Not saying that IASPM members are as such: but that indeed, for a conference on music, the IASPM members were more interested in talking and talking than listening or boogying. You make your own call.]


ps. No doubt this will fuck my publishing opportunities. Sigh.

posted. Sat - July 5, 2003 @ 01:56 AM           |