Friday, April 16, 2010

Sonic Fiction Manifesto

Sonic Fiction Manifesto

“So no more forcefeeding
you Bronx fables and no
more orthodox HipHop liturgies.
There are more than enough
of these already.”
—Kodwo Eshun, More
Brilliant Than the Sun

1 Instead Sonic Fiction will focus on the Futurhythmachines within each field, offering a close hearing of music’s internal emigrants only.

2 The Outer Thought of Tricky, the Jungle Brothers with their remedy for HipHop gone illmatic, Aerosoul art theorist Rammellzee and his mythillogical systems of Gothic Futurism and Ikonoklast Panzerism.

3 No history of Techno, however compelling, but instead a zoom in on the Underground Resistance MusicMachine, on the Unidentifiable Audio Object of X-102 Discovers “The Rings of Saturn.”

4 No pleas for Jungle to be accorded proper respect, but rather a magnification of certain very particular aspects of hyperdimensionality, in 4Hero, A Guy Called Gerald, Rob Playford and Goldie.

5 The history book that crams in everything only succeeds in screening out the strangeness of the Sonic Fiction.
6 In its bid for universality, such a book dispels the artificiality that all humans crave.

7 By contrast, Sonic Fiction goes farther in. It lingers inside a single remix, explores the psychoacoustic fictional spaces of interludes and intros, goes to extremes to extrude the illogic other studies flee.

8 It happily deletes familiar names [so no Tupac, no NWA] and historical precedence [no lying griots, not much King Tubby, just a small side bet on the Stockhausen sweepstakes].

9 It avoids the nauseating American hunger for confessional biography, for “telling your own stories in you own words.”

10 It refuses entry to comforting origins and social context.

11 Elsewhere, the “street” is considered the ground and guarantee of all reality, a compulsory logic explaining all Black Music, conveniently mishearing antisocial surrealism as social realism.

12 Here sound is unglued from such obligations, until it eludes all social responsibility, thereby accentuating its Unreality Principle.

13 In CultStud, TechnoTheory and CyberCulture, those painfully archaic regimes, theory always comes to Music’s rescue.

14 The organization of sound is interpreted historically, politically, socially. It subdues music’s ambition, reins it in, restores it to its proper place, reconciles it to its naturally belated fate.

15 With Sonic Fiction the opposite happens, for once: music is encouraged in its despotic drive to crumple chronology like an empty bag of potato chips, to eclipse reality in its willful exorbitance, to put out the sun.

16 Here music’s mystifying illogicality is not chastised but systematized and intensified—into a Sonic Narratology that bursts the edge of improbability, incites a proliferating series of mixllogical mathemagics at once maddening and perplexing, alarming, alluring.

17 Sonic Narratology is the field of knowledge invented by Sun Ra… Science and technology develop the unknown, not knowledge. Science develops what is not rational.

18 Instead of theory saving music from itself, from its worst, which is to say its best excesses, music is heard as the pop analysis it already is.

19 Editors are already pop theorists: a) Miles editor Macero cut & paste tape-expert, b) breakbeat editor Sonz of a Loop da Loop Era’s term skratchadelia, c) instrumental HipHop editor DJ Krush’s idea of turntabilization, d) virtualizer George Clinton’s studio science of meadelics…

20 All these conceptechnics are used to excite theory to travel at the speed of thought, as sonic theorist Kool Keith suggested in 1987.

21 Far from needing theory’s help, music today is already more conceptual than at any point this century, pregnant with thoughtprobes waiting to be activated, switched on, misused.

22 So Sonic Fiction draws more of its purpose from track subtitles than from TechnoTheory, or even science fiction.

23 From Sun Ra to 4 Hero, today’s alien discontinuum therefore operates not through continuities, retentions, genealogies or inheritances but rather through intervals, gaps, breaks. It turns away from roots; it opposes common sense with the force of the fictional and the power of falsity.

24 These conceptechnics are then released from the holding pens of their brackets, to migrate and mutate across the entire communication landscape.

25 Stolen from Sleevenote Manifestos, adapted from label fictions, driven as far and as fast as possible, they misshape until they become devices to drill into the new sensory experiences, endoscopes to magnify the new mindstates Sonic Fiction is inducing.

26 Sonic Fiction’s achievement, therefore, is to design, manufacture, fabricate, synthesize, cut, paste and edit a so-called artificial discontinuum for the Sonic Fiction.

27 Sonically speaking, the posthuman era is not one of disembodiment but the exact reverse: it’s a hyperembodiment.

28 Migrating from the lab to the studio, Sonic Fiction not only talks about cultural viruses, it is itself a viral contagion. It’s a sensational infection by the spread of what Ishmael Reed terms “antiplagues.”

29 Sonic Fiction doesn’t call itself science fiction because it controls technology, but because Sonic Fiction is the Artform most thoroughly undermined and recombininated and reconfigured by itself through technics.

30 Yet in magnifying such hitherto ignored intersections of sound and science fiction—the nexus this project terms Sonic Fiction—it paradoxically ends up with a portrait of music today far more accurate than any realistic account has managed.

31 Sonic Fiction is an omnidirectional exploration into “mechano-informatics,”—the secret life of machines which opens the vast and previously unsuspected coevolution of machine and humans in late 20th Black Atlantic Futurism.

32 Sonic Fiction is all in the breaks: the distance between listening to Miles & Macero’s “He Loved Him Madly” and crossing all thresholds with and through it, leaving every old belief system: rock, jazz, soul, Electro, HipHop, House, Acid, drum’n’bass, electronics, Techno and dub—forever.

Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic (1993)
Sadie Plant, Matthew Fuller, Alien Underground Version 0.1 (Spring, 1995)
Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo (1978)

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