Attention economies and drone music

February 13, 2010 § 2 Comments

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Conditions to making this music matter: Do not push play before reading. Otherwise, there are several ways of going through this blog post. It matters in which order you read on (and yes, you are excused of scrolling quickly down to see how long the post is, because you already did it, and nothing will stop you from doing it, because it became one of the most heavy reflexes of your internet behavior). Here’s two options:

  • (1) Watch the visual first – then read the blog post. Recommended option, to expose yourself before reading my own reactions; the option for people that have no resistance against experimenting with music coming into matter right, ie. which means not always the matter in which you usually make it.
  • (2) Read the blog post first – then watch the video afterwards. Low attention span option, for people that need justification first; for people that have no idea why it matters to experience music in certain ways (… and probably already feel so annoyed by the lenght of this intro that you are probably not one of them if you are reading this).

You could of course just push play now, and start reading simultaneously (or maybe you already did, and you’re reading this to the sound of the video!). If you do that (or did that) you have unfortunately failed completely, and have no chance of doing it differently this time, since the experience already mattered. Sorry for you.

Okay, now on to the phenomenon all these conditions revolve around. (Did you decide?? Either (1) watch the audio-visual, or (2) read the blog post at the bottom first).

Presenting The Struggle by The Dead Texan. Quite possibly one of the most poetic visualizations of sound I have seen in a very long time. Watch this video in best quality (480p).

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

This audio-visual have now mattered to me about 20-30 times or so. Who would have thought that meditative struggles between carnivourus plants and insects could keep you occupied so intensely? We should note how extraordinary this amount of dedication actually is, seeing how we ourselves struggle just by watching a 5-minute long video. Why is this so? Attention of course. And we live in a time of the attention economy: struggling to navigate in the overabundance of the internets; struggling to pick and choose; struggling to not bother; struggling to not engage; struggling to choose efficiently which cultural information we want to be consumed by. All the time.

And just maybe, this conflict is exactly why I fell in love with this audio-visual in particular. It sounds like a paradox, since it is not exactly an attention-seeker. The music is slow, the visuals similarly presents the pictures in an observing and calm manner, with the sounds progressively building, with long drones of bass. The only sentence of the piece takes around 30 seconds to mouth:

“Everytime, we are slow, where are we, going so fast. We could bear to stay awake, because the sun cannot last” (4:15 – 4:44)

All of this indicates that your attention-economizing brain have to face an either-or (quickly switch on to the next youtube-clip, blog-post or whatever, or listen to the complete thing, and this really means the complete thing).

Maybe this is our only antidote in these days of low attention spans? Lengthy exposures. In order to resist becoming yet another quick fix, music might become the complete opposite. If this has any resonance, maybe we will see a new wave of extremely lengthy music forms, revolting and liberating itself from ADHD of the internets. One could speculate if this is already the case with the renaissance of the casette tape? (which, incidentally, previously mentioned Luke Perry records on too). In that case, we could say that The Struggle is definately not going far enough. No, definately not going to far: every time this piece stops at 5:28 I have this frustrating feeling of being heartbroken. Noooooo, don’t go away! More! Arghagrgh, not silence, agrhrghrgh!

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The Dead Texan @ myspace

Snatched the audio-visual from swedish speaking Copyriot, where a discussion on the swedish word for drone came to matter

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