Amoeblog

INTERVIEW WITH BLOCKHEAD ABOUT NEW ALBUM, THE MUSIC SCENE

Posted by Billyjam, January 25, 2010 01:26pm | Post a Comment
Blockhead The Music Scene
Back in the second half of the nineties, following a short-lived, unsuccessful turn at being a rapper, New York City native Blockhead turned his creative focus to producing hip-hop music. At first he worked for emcee Aesop Rock, and later for many other artists. He simultaneously began producing and releasing his own music as a solo artist for such labels as Mush and Ninja Tune.

Just recently the artist released his fourth album on Ninja Tune, The Music Scene, which he half jokingly describes on his MySpace as "the tears that fall from your emo face on to your laptop. or nordic flute music with a hip hop edge...either or... "but which is actually a recommended rich and engaging collage of sounds that utilizes literally hundreds of sound sources. I caught up with Blockhead to talk about his new album, what went into making it, and the meaning behind its title.

Amoeblog: The cover art of the new album The Music Scene, done by your friend & fellow producer Omega One, shows a futuristic deserted New York City overrun by wild animals. Is there a distinct correlation between that specific imagery and the album's theme?

Blockhead: Yeah, it just shows New York as this barren wasteland being overrun by animals. And that is kind of how I view the music scene at this point. It's a very simple metaphor. Like if you think about New York City and what it once was. I am a native New Yorker. I grew up downtown and to see what has happened to my neighborhood, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's just become something different. And the music scene is pretty much in the same boat. It was once this thriving place where people could be creative. But now if you are creative it is really not for you because it is not going to happen for you on a level like it used to. There was a time when ugly singers could be famous, when people would just get by on their talent but now it's like you have to have a market plan and it's depressing.
Blockhead
Amoeblog: Listening to the layers of sounds and samples and beat changes and overall intricate production that went into The Music Scene, it sounds like you put a lot of time and energy into producing this album. Did you?

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Watering (Down) the Avant-Garden: Pierre Henry and Sampling

Posted by Charles Reece, July 20, 2009 10:35am | Post a Comment
Unpredictable, Opening Concert 25.1.2008, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin.

The recent issue of The Wire caught up with one of the fathers of sampling, musique concrète maestro Pierre Henry. He's been down on the contemporary state of electronic music for awhile. The article begins with a quote from a 1997 interview:

"Today I feel less inspired[.] We're living at a time where everything is controlled, planned and codified and even popular music isn't popular any more, it's imposed upon us."

And he's not any more positive now:

"I think it's a big mistake to call today's music electronic music[.] People do things with computers and samples but it's not the same approach as the way I work, or how Karlheinz Stockhausen worked in his electronic pieces. There is not the same craft, and it's not progress."

Suggesting by implication that the sound collages of El-P, the world creation of Tod Dockstader, Matmos' technological music, or even Björk's omnivorous use of the sounds she finds do not involve a high level of craft just seems wrong-headed to me. The "problem" was better stated in the older interview: codification. When a revolution takes place, there will then follow a prolonged period in which people work under the new order. Not everyone can be Chairman Mao (nothing's more ironic and true in this regard than Maoism -- the revolutionary figure par excellence was used as the ultimate criterion by which the subsequent potential equality of all others was to be judged). Thanks to the revolution of Mssrs. Henry, Stockhausen, Varese and Schaeffer, electronic music has now become a genre, whether Henry likes it or not. Why? Consider Thomas Kuhn's distinction between normal and revolutionary science as they pertain to working within what he called a paradigm:

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Guy Talk

Posted by Mike Battaglia, June 19, 2007 07:24pm | Post a Comment



Here's something you don't see every day: Newsweek columnist Steven Levy pairs up the unlikely combination of hipster mash-up laptop god Gregg Gillis aka Girl Talk and Democrat Congressman Mike Doyle, who counts Pittsburgh, Gillis' home, among the areas he represents, to discuss the Copyfight and what sort of compromise, if any, can be made between the current generation of media-saturated sample-heavy artists and the clampdown attitude held by corporate copyright holders. Doyle seems like one of the good ones, especially when he puts his money where his mouth is - back at the House Telecom Subcommittee. Read the article right here.