<<bernhard loibner>> on Sat, 11 Mar 2000 09:57:08 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] THEORY MUSIC


"Theory Music" is a collection of sound works by Bernhard Loibner. These
works were created originally for Kunstradio, a weekly radio art program
on the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, and for other related network
projects. "Theory Music" was released on CD as part of Edition
Kunstradio in February 2000. The on-line version is available at:
http://www.allquiet.org/theorymusic/ .

"Theory Music" is comprised of sonic treatments of texts spoken by their
authors, and of found voice material from radio and other sources. The
voices were chosen first, the musical compositions were built around
this material. I used various strategies to make the speech musical.

The title describes what this project is about--that is the fusion of
'theory' and 'music'. In the tracks of this CD, these normally discrete
entities work with, within and against each other. After more than 4
years of work with these voices and sounds it has become impossible for
me to distinguish between the 'theory' and the 'music' within these
tracks. This blurring of normally separate domains was one of the goals
of the project.

The placement of the word 'theory' in front of 'music' should be read as
a sign that music, despite its abstract nature, can and does reflect
certain political, social or economic issues. This is certainly the case
for electronic or digital music, which deals necessarily and elastically
with the frenzy of constantly evolving hardware and software.

During the course of this project's development, it has become
increasingly obvious that the emerging, maturing techno-culture has
defined itself as an ideology-free zone. "Theory Music" exists in the
divide between a fun-loving culture (as understood by those who live it)
and the reflections of a somewhat distant intellectual community that
writes volumes of essays attempting to interpret this cultural
phenomenon. My own work oscillates between these poles. I am fascinated
by the beats of the techno-culture but feel the need for observation and
analysis of this culture's substance. There is no better demonstration
of the rapid, massive change caused by new technologies in our
increasingly disintegrated societies. This music, my choice of sonic
modifications--the techniques I use to manipulate the source
material--delivers thoughts about this culture.

Consumption seems to be the common denominator in this disjointed world.
This is certainly true for a techno-culture being commercialized at
breath-taking speed.  What began as just an expression of a 'moderately'
different way of life has quickly ended up being the marching orders for
various techno 'parades'. The ideology-free zone gets stuffed with
products which ideally exist within a certain "semantic fuzziness
between its slogan and the projected image" (1), amplified by a
marketing cult which leads to a "quasi religious devotion to certain
products or product groups" (2).

Jaques Attali shows (3) that tracing the social and economic status of
music through history enables us to observe general changes that develop
in other parts of society later on. Mass production; the decreasing
significance of a product itself in favor of distribution and marketing;
the transformation of counter- and protest culture into mass culture;
the metamorphosis of cultural diversity into easy-to-consume uniformity:
the music and entertainment industry has shown us the way...

In the emerging digital economy, music is again the avant garde. Since
the introduction of the Compact Disk in the early 1980's, music has been
more purely digital than any other commodity. It is no surprise that
music is the test pilot for the new forms of on-line distribution and

"Theory Music" is not designed to render a consistent, analytical
picture of these complex socio-economic changes. It is a stack of
descriptions from different worlds, writing and speaking, and sound and
music. It is a dialogue between modes of perception and nodes of
communication. In this era of mediated culture the contemporary artist
has an essential role to play, as an observer, commentator and
transformer. It is always important to pay attention to how artists
respond to new technologies, to listen to what they say when they deal
with change, to watch how they sometimes retreat into traditional
territory, and how they claim new media as their field of operation.
This is what "Theory Music" is about.


(1) Robert Adrian, The Real Thing, in "Medienkultur", Memesis - Die
Zukunft der Evolution, Ars Electronica 1996
(2) Norbert Bolz, Die Sinngesellschaft, Econ Verlag
(3) Jacques Attali, Noise - The Political Economy of Music, University
of Minnesota Pres

 Bernhard Loibner

 "Komponieren ist ein Synonym für komputieren."
 Villem Flusser

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