dear david goldberg

i’m in the very early stages, couple of days so far, at thinking about this. no doubt you’ll have much to contribute!

‘genre’ is such as devastating category, obviously, but has there been a term to designate the opposite? i mean, across wide spans of musics and sound traditions? that focuses specifically on the wide panoply of intersectional musics/sounds? that we are all aware of, but hasn’t been properly researched or given it’s due beyond subcategories within a broader context? it seems to me quite surprising how broad and inclusive they gave actually, historically, been. what i want to suggest goes beyond the various accepted categories of fusion or world, etc. both of those are important but subcategories of what i’m trying to articulate. i’m trying to articulate something that crosses wide swathes of what dick higgens in 1966 first articulated as ‘intermedia’. and maciunas diagrammed in his expanded arts graphic, also 1966. but both of those are only subsets of what i’m trying to get at. there are subsets as much as Woodstock was for R&R.

so, i’m roughing out the term, –hinge, to attempt to at least give a name to such. the problem, again obviously, is that SO much music actually fits that category, how does one refine it in a useful/compelling way?

to do that would obviously, once again, require several volumes, each with multiple subsections. nonetheless, i think this is a worthy endeavor, but the q is: how to pitch it polemically to a public that can only think in terms of commercial categories? is it possible to direct them to the deep roots and routes of the music they love?

but more than that, how to make an attempt to actually trace, historically, the surprising interconnectedness of ‘genres’ that at first listening, seem miles apart? but aren’t, and never were? to the extent that ‘rock&roll’ would be seen to be as something that never actually existed. nor did ‘jazz’, by the same logic. [and yeah, things get really dicey here…] so the historical moments when musics form seeming very different genres interconnected for the first time? and then, and this is important to me at least, then set off a wave of similar experiments.

so, let’s take, for one minor example, the influence of varese on cage, boulez, stockhousen, la monte young, john cale, terry riley, velvet underground, nico, zappa; and takehisa kosugi, john paul jones [of zed leppelin], sonic youth, radiohead and sigur ros…

that ‘discourse formation’ is still unacknowledged and remarkable.

there is a verifiable line of intersectional connectivity between all the above. this is just the lineage i’m focused on at the moment since i’m writing about merce cunningham. but i’ve been tracing other similar lineages between a wide number of musicians at, but without calling it –hinge. i have been referring to it in several posts as ‘musical consciousness beyond borders’.  but i think –hinge is a much more immediate and less abstruse term.

so what i’m suggesting is delineating musical discourse formations, in the foucauldina sense… but not in anyway beholdened to him. just as a lift-off concept as a point of departure for making a polemic/provocative argument against commercial genre boundaries.

so see my blog for very, very rough attempts to sort this out. i’m thinking of it as the latest version of power and poetics via sound. though in my posts, i try to cite live performances as much as recorded albums. so the AV aspect of P&P is alive and well. and damn youtube is so damn limited.

more radically, what i’m proposing with –hinge, is that there are no individual bands or even albums. just as there have never simply been ‘subjects’ of any kind. just as that no ‘director’ of any kind of production, film or otherwise, should be able to take full credit for anything; there are only collective performances that require for their production, a wide array of producers…

and there is a paradigm for this perspective that had a literally 50 year run in the 20th century: and many will think i’m absurd to claim this: but… the greatest marxist artists in the US, when viewed through their labor practices, and not only through through their inadequately understood ‘aesthetic’ practices, were john cage and merce cunningham, along with their 50 years of collaborators. what one hears, and sees, in both their performances, is ‘free labour’, in an achieved, collective, artistic utopia.

my very rough and no doubt inadequate definition of –hinge is: any music that qualifies as hinge, must in some way, ’significantly put into association’, and therefore hinge, at least two quite different musical ‘networks’.

and now that i’ve written this to you, i’d add: delineate a musical discourse formation, in the foucauldina sense, as aspires at least, to radical political labor in and as, art.



dear david goldberg

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