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Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris

Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
November 29, 2013, 11:35:04 AM
Metal today is in crisis. Metal’s crisis doesn’t feel like a crisis. In fact it sometimes feels like quite the reverse. This is a crisis in which most are unaware that there is a crisis – and that is the crisis. The crisis is one of abundance.

...

The fact that metal music is no longer found exclusively in physical media removes much of that precious ‘aura’1 that can accompany physical art objects. Demo tapes were exciting and mysterious objects because one had to ‘work’ to track them down. In the 1990s, I remember hearing rumours that there was a Pakistani metal band who had released a demo, something that seemed impossibly obscure and exotic at the time. I tried and failed to track down their tape, but I did track down others from faraway metal lands like the Phillipines and Peru and there was always a delightful frisson when tapes from distant lands finally arrived in the mail. Today, there isn’t much frisson to googling something and finding it. Stripped of the aura, rare and obscure metal recordings become much more mundane.

http://souciant.com/2013/11/too-much-metal/

See also:

http://www.deathmetal.org/news/does-metal-have-a-finite-lifespan/

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
November 30, 2013, 04:32:09 AM
Accessibility. There's two sides to the all important design concept. Everyone has to get the joke, so to speak, equally. Remember the no such thing as privacy anymore assertions. Nothing's supposed to be mysterious or sacred or exclusive.

Sales, profit, and therefore more tax revenue is the other side of accessibility. That's how we ended with so much product and so little of value beyond the economic. Gotta keep growing the bureaucratic-managerial infrastructure to keep everything Brave New World safe, inoffensive and of course, accessible for all.

That isn't a Hessian type of world however.

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
November 30, 2013, 05:14:19 PM
"It's not as easy to be cool any more because now EVERYONE knows my favorite bands!"

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
November 30, 2013, 06:15:31 PM
Accessibility. There's two sides to the all important design concept.

1. More people learn to like the design-object.
2. The design-object begins to resemble what more people like.

Evolution in action. Negotiation. Non-linear causality.

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
December 01, 2013, 05:41:10 PM
It is that kind of circular logic, an endless loop error, that brings things to entropy or crashes computer programs.

Enduring greatness has come from lower orders supporting higher orders like unskilled laborers helping stonemasons to build a brilliant architect's monument to a pharaoh over whom the gods then smile.

The great mass of unwashed serving the system which in return serves the equal people who then support the system is circular function. The defunct Soviets came close to perfecting this operating mode before it swiftly crashed.

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
December 01, 2013, 09:03:51 PM
In his piece about success of metal he gave it skin deep analysis.

After a post on Deathmetal.org I checked some of his writings. He tread carefully, because he walks into into wasp’s nest, but his thoughts are a standard set of fixed topics and “problems” to popularize within metal, to made it aware of them. His opinions indicates that he is first and foremost a Jew, and that goes beyond his overexposed national identity. I wouldn’t fell so low as to celebrate weak and essentially un-metal (unless metal means being rebellious to any common consensus as a rule) band only because it represents my culture. Thanks to being open with his intents and psychological attributes, he avoids potential accusations about dishonesty or promotion of irrelevant and distracting, not to mention transgressive. His primal, hostile “otherness” in dealings with chrisitianity is clear as well. He praise secondary cultural additions to otherwise universal and basic heavy music. That leaves impression, that he got a pop-listener perception. He only “thinks” that he understand, thanks to spending time on it and feeling some affinity. It seems to me, that one cannot be academic researcher first and foremost, because in fact professional distance prevents from recognition of subject in its whole magnitude. There’s always aftertaste, that while you can’t say about certain thesis, that they aren’t true, they are still somehow insignificant and shallow. Paradoxically professionalism demanded by academia is infantile.

http://www.kahn-harris.org/category/the-best-water-skier-in-luxembourg/

It’s a crawling in trivialities and trying to derive from them higher meanings, the rationalistic way. He’s right on some points. Reality can’t be denied in its entirety even by most clueless. They stumble on it, but then make wrong conclusions.What he said about strength of small communities, or regional scenes is true, but one must first realize what Keith-Harris know - that they are always unified by some big principle.
Classical<------------------Metal----------------->Ambient

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
December 01, 2013, 11:41:40 PM
His opinions indicates that he is first and foremost a Jew, and that goes beyond his overexposed national identity.

Man, I wanted to say this so bad, thanks for doing it for me. I couldnt decide whether it was a good idea or not. Yeah he is like, `metal is great and all, but what about the Jews?`.

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
December 06, 2013, 01:22:44 PM
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was struck by how underground scene members did not switch to e-mail as soon as it became widely available. Hand written letters, flyers, demo tapes and the like remained standard well into the 2000s. Even today, there is a determined effort to revive previously old formats. Limited edition vinyl and cassette releases are more and more common, thanks to labels and distros such as Nuclear War Now and Teutonic Satan. In 2012, Terrorizer magazine bundled a tape by Electric Wizard with one of their issues, and Decibel magazine has released a number of flexi-discs (and note also that the print editions of these magazines are still surviving.)

This attachment to old formats and practices is not simply due to nostalgia, or a reactionary failure to adapt to a new reality. Rather, it is an implicit recognition that if metal scenes simply transferred production and circulation to virtual spaces, something important would be lost. Without the paraphernalia of scenic infrastructure and meat-space production, the scene would abandon itself completely to abundance, losing any means of slowing down and organising the flood of metal. Much of the metal scene today is therefore reacting to the crisis of abundance with a desperate rear-guard action to preserve scarcity and structure.

http://souciant.com/2013/12/invisible-metal/

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
December 06, 2013, 07:44:46 PM
He doesn't talk about the quality of the records, just that the quantity of it make it less interesting in a way that to much gold decrease its monetary value but not caring about if the gold has intrinsic qualities.


He talk about ''politically progressive lovers of radical metal art'' (wich is a oxymoron), so I don't think he likes metal for his ideas, it is more a childish fascination or a collector mentallity, like collecting batman comics.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” -Krishnamurti

''I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.''  -Hippolyte Taine

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
December 13, 2013, 02:13:39 PM
Latest update in the series:

Quote
Contemporary society is so diverse and so liberalised, at least in the West, that the challenge that popular music represents has become routinized. That isn’t to say that a band like Anal Cunt, for example, is totally acceptable, even within the metal scene. However, that doesn’t mean that metal is the only place where one can find such transgression. Moreover, transgression itself has become more ambiguous as a practice, as standards of acceptable representation have become less clear-cut in a plural world.

Although some forms of extreme metal still retain their power to shock, whole swathes of metal that once had the same effect – think of classic bands like Iron Maiden – rarely attract comment these days. Transgression in metal does not have the power it once had to both attract and alienate listeners.

http://souciant.com/2013/12/music-at-a-standstill/

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
December 18, 2013, 05:48:04 PM
Talk about missing the point, oh well. The man is a product of his milieu as much as any other academic. Extract valuable nuggets, discard. In this case, like sifting for gold in a depleted stream.

NHA

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
December 18, 2013, 10:25:48 PM
Whatever, it all sounds like bullshit. Tapes, vinyl and underground are only decorative. Metal followed a strictly incremental path of development until it reached its logical conclusion, and that's that.  If you aren't finding good metal, its probably because it doesn't exist, since there's no blatantly obvious next step. Quantity doesn't drown out top tier material, all it does is lower the relative utility of B grade crap - big fucking deal.


Even if quantity were the real issue, data ranking and searching are purely technical problems. Just make an anus.com mechanical turk. Indoctrinate the drones with some standards and fire up the sweat shop.

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
December 20, 2013, 01:03:49 PM
If metal has become incoherent, there’s little sign that it is dying. Yet there are two dangers that are beginning to loom large over it.

[1] The first is that metal gradually dissipates. The music moves in a thousand different directions, by a thousand different artists.

...

[2] The second danger is that metal becomes a static, ossified music scene, dedicated only to the repetition of earlier sounds. Metal becomes like ‘classical’ music, with a barely changing ‘core’ canon surrounded by avant garde and neo-classical ‘fringes’ where works are still produced, but rarely enter the core. Metal never quite dies, it just repeats itself.

...

There is a real dilemma here. If metal continues to innovate, but without an overarching scenic structure, then it risks dissolution,. But if it focuses on protecting its boundaries and distinctiveness, then it risks artistic ossification.

http://souciant.com/2013/12/the-metal-future/

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
December 20, 2013, 03:44:58 PM
Most useful part of the article is in the last paragraph.

Quote
Metal criticism can help metal to confront the challenges it faces in an age of abundance by doing something that is not ordinarily done in metal scenes. That is, not just commenting on music as it is released, but imagining music that could be made; not just trying to understand the metal scene as it is and as it was, but actively imagining what it could be.

I totally agree.

Quote
When metal critics are communally engaged in the metal world – which they usually are – they are in a position to make strategic interventions in metal discourse designed to open up possibilities for new kinds of aesthetics, practices and sounds.

The only place I really see this working effectively is here in the DMU forum.

This is not to say that criticism predominantly should shape the future of any music maker's output. Certainly not. I mean that those critics, who perceive inconsistencies or redundancies in music, should correct the problems themselves, with their own music. This article does suggest that metal critics, fans, and musicians are only separated by fuzzy lines.

Re: Too much metal, by Keith Kahn-Harris
March 03, 2014, 10:29:05 PM
Quote

There is a real dilemma here. If metal continues to innovate, but without an overarching scenic structure, then it risks dissolution,. But if it focuses on protecting its boundaries and distinctiveness, then it risks artistic ossification.


As saddening as this may be to accept, it does appear inevitable. I do not envy those of you who are so well-listened over the last twenty or more years, as to be in the position of having no more precious jewels to be found among the old school rough.