Thursday, 25 June 2009

Loops: Writing Music

1. When did the vogue for people writing essays in numbered strophes die off? Or when did it start?
2. I think of it mainly as a 1980s fashion in style-magazine journalism, the more distinguished influence emanating from the works of Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag, Penguin Classic editions of Nietzsche, Futurist manifestos, and the whole oeuvre of Jean-Luc Godard.
3. The purpose of it seemed to be to add a sense of coherence and sequence to an otherwise rag-bag, promiscuous collection of musings. ‘Notes on X’ was the standard title. It's a form well suited to such ephemerals as the record sleeve and the contemporary art gallery catalogue.
4. Susan Sontag's 'Notes on 'Camp'' (1964) is clearly a key text in this lineage, and the whole of it can be found online here.
5. It so happens, and not surprisingly, that I was thinking about Sontag's essay the other day while writing about a new film by Pedro Almodovar.
6. Somebody else who's been thinking about Sontag and Camp, in relation to hip-hop (of all things), is one of the contributors to the excellent new music journal Loops from Faber and Faber and Domino Records, which clearly endeavours to offer a sumptuous home for long-form writing about good music of all colours and genres. In Issue 01 you will find some fine contributions from luminaries such as Nick Cave, Simon Armitage, Jon Savage, Richard Milward, Nick Kent, Hari Kunzru and Simon Reynolds. My personal favourites are Amanda Petrusich writing on collectors of old blues 78s, Matthew Ingram addressing the technology of electronic music-making (and making an important case for the importance of music writing that is informed about the actual creation/production of the music itself), Anwyn Crawford on the teenage female consumer of pop music, and Maggoty Lamb offering extracts from his pseudonymous journal about the decline of the British music press.
7. Loops the Website is getting off the ground here.
8. That is all.

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