Curating The Week: Musical Plagiarism, Sound Design, Ambient Music, Heresies

An article about plagiarism in popular music.

“There are only so many notes and very few chords used in pop music and coincidences are bound to happen if 60,000 songs are being released a day on Spotify, that is 22m songs a year, and there are only 12 notes that are available.” – Ed Sheeran 

A video about sound design in film music (quote at 23:00).

“We can be more successful in our sound design when we start it with acoustic recordings. The reason for that, I think…is that subconsciously there are embedded elements of acoustic recordings that tell the brain this is real. And it’s all about the time arrival to the ear and the acoustic environment that a sound lives within that synthesizers or electronic sounds don’t inherently have. You can add them is post-production by adding reverbs and delays and things like that, but they’re never as complex or as rich as the acoustics that you get in real life.”
– Mark Mangini 

An article about ambient music.

“In a multibillion-dollar wellness industry, streaming platforms and meditation apps frame ambient as background music — something for detached listening and consumption. It is spa and yoga music, or field recordings for undisturbed, restful sleep. Instead of embracing ambient’s potential — its capacity to soften barriers and loosen ideas of sound, politics, temporality and space — the music has become instrumentalized, diminished into sound-as-backdrop. […]

Experiencing ambient music — to allow its political, philosophical and oppositional knowledge to become visible — requires a full use of the senses. It means tapping into the sensorial vitality of living: the tactile, spatial, vibrational and auditory experiences that being human affords us. […]

I do wonder how, on an infinitesimal scale, listening closely might free us from the logic of hasty, individualistic action. When I force myself to listen closely, I hear a refusal to analyze, judge and act with immediacy. In its call to suspend time, the music carries the potential to press pause on the punishing velocity that attends disaster, that robs our attention and predetermines a fixed future. I hear the promise to act deliberately, collectively and with care, to embrace intentional observation and action — the durational practice of a lifetime.” – Isabelia Herrera

An essay about heresies

“A heresy is an opinion whose expression is treated like a crime — one that makes some people feel not merely that you’re mistaken, but that you should be punished. […]

In the late 1980s a new ideology of this type appeared in US universities. It had a very strong component of moral purity, and the aggressively conventional-minded seized upon it with their usual eagerness — all the more because the relaxation of social norms in the preceding decades meant there had been less and less to forbid. The resulting wave of intolerance has been eerily similar in form to the Cultural Revolution, though fortunately much smaller in magnitude. […]

I’ve deliberately avoided mentioning any specific heresies here. Partly because one of the universal tactics of heretic hunters, now as in the past, is to accuse those who disapprove of the way in which they suppress ideas of being heretics themselves. Indeed, this tactic is so consistent that you could use it as a way of detecting witch hunts in any era.”

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