Thursday, September 06, 2007

When Ghost Box announced a while back they were going to be doing their own periodical, Folklore and Mathematics, I imagined something scientific-looking, with that sort of heavy white semi-gloss paper and black-and-white photographic plates you associate with journals of a certain vintage, and full of long articles, with footnotes, written in that clear, layman-oriented
but slightly stiff and somber pedagogical prose you associate with prime period Pelican. Just when I'd forgotten all about it, Folkmore and Mathematics materialised in my mail box the other day and while gratifyingly the illustrations are all identified with things like Fig 1.3 Graph representing reverberation exp. and Fig : 3 Hocusing mask, Coldwell, the publication actually looks more like a community newsletter crossed with a twilight-zone version of the Radio Times. Beautiful to look at, of course, and with plenty of that trademark poker-faced humour. However when I went to check the site just now I could find no mention of it so I don't know when this is going to be generally available.

In the meanwhile, here's a nice little One Touch Football thread on Ghostbox et al. Pleased to see that Taylor Parkes is so into their music. It figures from what I know of his sensiblity.

One dissenting voice on the thread, though, complains (and it's a complaint I've seen aired elsewhere) that the Ghost Box aesthetic is too contrived, too mapped out, too neat and tidy. And the rejoinder I've always formulated in my head in the past goes something like this:

A/ What does it matter if something is "contrived" if what the artist in question is contriving is really splendid and special?

B/ Where is all this less contrived and non-contrived stuff you're in favour of lurking if you don't mind my asking? Do you really believe it is even possible for spontaneity, intuition, to exist anymore, given the nature of the business, the media, etc etc these days? Just look at people who are considered dangerously random, rogue elements, unpredictable, sowers of chaos, eg. Pete Doherty, and it's like they're operating from a script! Nothing could be more contrived than the faux-sloppy fuck-up, the out-of-control, the straight-from-the-heart, Momus's fake-primal (Grinderman for fuck's sake)... The Fall into knowingness has happened. Self-consciousness entered music's water table long ago, it's ineradicable, the tainted element we must move within, thrive within if we can.

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