Creo que los primeros libros sobre música pop que busqué, no que leí o que comprara al encontrarlos, fueron “Ocean of Sound” de David Toop y “More Brilliant than the Sun” de Kodwo Eshun. Llevo una temporada pensando en releerlos ya que mi grado de atención no fue precisamente modélico cuando los devoré la primera vez. Del segundo releí algunas partes buscando un fragmento que citar y me quede enganchado de nuevo a la fiereza que desprende, la inventiva del vocabulario además de que ahora capto mejor algunas de las ideas teóricas que hay detrás. Esta es la intro (pags. -007 a -001), perdón por los posibles errores que han provocado mis torpes dedos:


Respect due. Good music speaks for itself. No Sleevenotes required. Just enjoy it. Cut the crap. Back to basics. What else is there to add?
All these troglodytic homilies are Great British cretinism masquerading as vector into the Trad Sublime. Since the 80s, the mainstream British music press has turned to Black Music only as a rest and a refuge from the rigorous complexities of white guitar rock. Since in this laughable reversal a lyric always means more than a sound, while only guitars can embody the zeitgeist, the Rhythmachine is locked in a retarded innocence. You can theorize words or style, but analyzing the groove is believed to kill its bodily pleasure, to drain its essence.
Allegedly at odds with the rock press, dance-press writing also turns its total inability to describe any kind of rhythm into a virtue, invoking a white Brit routine of pubs and clubs, of business as usual, the bovine sense of good blokes together. You can see that the entire British dance press –with its hagiographies and its geographies, its dj recipes, its boosterism, its personality profiles – constitutes a colossal machine for maintaining rhythm as an unwritable, ineffable mystery. And this is why Trad dance-music journalism is nothing more than lists and menus, bits and bytes: meagre, miserly, mediocre.
All today’s journalism is nothing more than a giant inertia engine to put the brakes on breaks, a moronizer placing all thought on permanent pause, a futureshock absorber, forever shielding its readers from the future’s cuts, tracks, scratches. Behind the assumed virtue of keeping rhythm mute, there is a none-too-veiled hostility towards analyzing rhythm at all. Too many ideas spoil the party. Too much speculation kills ‘dance music’, by ‘intellectualizing’ it to death.
The fuel this inertia engine runs on is fossil fuel: the live show, the proper album, the Real Song, the Real Voice, the mature, the musical, the pure, the true, the proper, the intelligent, breaking America: all notions that stink of the past, that maintain a hierarchy of the senses, that petrify music into a solid state in which everyone knows where they stand, and what real music really is.
And this is why nothing is more fun tha spoiling this terminally stupid sublime, this insistence that Great Music speaks for itself.

At the Century’s End, the Futurhythmachine has 2 opposing tendencies, 2 synthetic drives: the Soulful and the Postsoul. But then all music is made of both tendencies running simultaneously at all levels, so you can’t merely oppose a humanist r&b wit a posthuman Techno.
Disco remains the moment when Black Music falls from the grace of gospel tradition into the metronomic assembly line. Ignoring that disco is therefore audibly where the 21st C begins, 9 out of 10 cultural crits prefer their black popculture humanist, and emphatically 19th C. Like Brussels sprouts, humanism is good for you, nourishing, nurturing, soulwarming – and from Phyllis Wheatley to R. Kelly, present-day R&B is a perpetual fight for human status, a yearning for human rights, a struggle for inclusion within the human species. Allergic to cybersonic if not to sonic technology, mainstream American media – in its drive to banish alienation, and to recover a sense of the whole human being through belief systems that talk to the ‘real you’ – compulsively deletes any intimation of an AfroDiasporic futurism, of a ‘webbed network’ of computerhythms, machine mythology and conceptechnics which routes, reroutes and criss-crosses the Black Atlantic. This digital diaspora connecting the UK to the US, the Caribbean to Europe to Africa, is in Paul Gilroy’s definition a ‘rhizomorphic, fractal structure’, a ‘transcultural international formation’.
The music of Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra, of Underground Resistance and George Russell, of Tricky and Martina, comes from the Outer Side. It alienates itself from the human; it arrives from the future. Alien Music is a synthetic recombinator, an applied art technology for amplifying the rates of becoming alien. Optimize the ratios of excentricity. Synthesize yourself.
From the outset, this Postsoul Era has been characterized by an extreme indifference towards the human. The human is pointless and treacherous category.
And in synch with this posthuman perspective comes Black Atlantic Futurism. Whether it’s the AfroFuturist concrète of George Russell and Roland Kirk, the Jazz Fission of Teo Macero and Miles Davis, the World 4 Electronics of Sun Ra and Herbie Hancock, the Astro Jazz of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, the cosmophonic HipHop of Dr Octagon and Ultramagnetic MCs, the post-HipHop of The Jungle Brothers and Tricky, the Spectral Dub of Scientist and Lee Perry, the offworld Electro of Haashim and Ryuichi Sakamoto, the despotic Acid of Bam Bam and Phuture, the sinister phonoseduction of Parliament’s Star Child, the hyperrhythmic psychedelia of Rob Playford and Goldie, 4 Hero and A Guy Called Gerald, Sonic Futurism always adopts a cruel, despotic, amoral attitude towards the human species.
In fact the era when the History of HipHop could exhaust Machine Music is long over. All those petitions for HipHop to be taken seriously, for the BBC to give Techno a chance, for House to receive a fair hearing: this miserable supplication should have ended years ago. For there’s nothing to prove anymore: all thes Rhythmachines are globally popular now.
So no more forcefeeding you Bronx fables and no mere orthodox HipHop liturgies. There are more than enough of these already. Instead More Brilliant than the Sun will focus on the Futurhythmachines within each field, offering a close hearing of music’s internal emigrants only. The Outer Thought of Tricky, the Jungle Brothers with their remedy for HipHop gone illmatic, Aerosoul art theorist Rammellze and his mythillogical systems of Gothic Futurism and Ikonoklast Panzerism. No history of Techno, however compelling, but instead a zoom in on the Underground Resistance WarMachine, on the Unidentifiable Audio Object of X-102 Discovers ‘The Rings of Saturn’. No pleas for Jungle to be accorded proper respect, but rather a magnification of certain very particular aspects of its hyperdimensionality, in 4 Hero, A Guy Called Gerald, Rob Playford and Goldie.
The history book that crams in everything only succeeds in screening out the strangeness of the Rhythmachine. In its bid for universality, such a book dispels the artificiality that all humans crave.
By contrast, More Brilliant goes farther in. It lingers lovingly inside a single remix, explores the psychoacoustic fictional spaces of interludes and intros, goes to extremes to extrude the illogic others studies flee. 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). It avoids the nauseating American hunger for confessional biography, for ‘telling your own stories in your own words’. It refuses entry to comforting origins and social context.
Everywhere, 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. Here sound is unglued from such obligations, until it eludes all social responsibility, thereby accentuating its unreality principle.
In CultStud, TechnoTheory and CyberCulture, those painfully archaic regimes, theory always comes to Music’s rescue. The organizations of sound is interpreted historically, politically, socially. Like a headmaster, theory teaches today’s music a thing or 2 about life. It subdues music’s ambition, reins it in, restores it to its proper place, reconciles it to its naturally belated fate.
In More Brilliant than the Sun the opposite happens, for once: music is encouraged it its despotic drive to crumple chronology like an empty bag of crisps, to eclipse reality in its wilful exorbitance, to put out the sun. Here music’s mystifying illogicality is not chastised but systematized and intensified –into MythSciences that burst the edge of improbability, incites a proliferating series of mixillogical mathemagics at once maddening and perplexing, alarming, alluring.
MythScience is the field of knowledge invented by Sun Ra, and a term that this book uses as often as it can. A sample from Virilio defines it very simply: ‘Science and technology develop the unknown, not knowledge. Science develops what is not rational.’ 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. Producers are already pop theorists: Breakbeat producer Sonz of a Loop da Loop Era’s term skratchadelia, instrumental HipHop producer DJ Krush’s idea of turntabilization, virtualizer George Clinton’s studio science of mixadelics, all these conceptechnics are used to excite theory to travel at the speed of thought, as sonic theorist Kool Keith suggested in 1987. TechnoTheory, CultStuds, et al lose their flabby bulk, their lazy, pompous, lard-arsed, top-down dominance, becoming but a single component in a thought synthesizer which moves along several planes at once, which tracks Machine Music’s lines of force.
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.
So More Brilliant than the Sun draws more of its purpose from track subtitles than from TechnoTheory, or even science fiction. These conceptechnics are then released from the holding pens of their brackets, to migrate and mutate across the entire communication landscape. 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 Machine Music is inducing.
More Brilliant than the Sun achievement, therefore, is to design, manufacture, fabricate, synthesize, cut, paste and edit a so-called artificial discontinuum for the Futurhythmachine.
Rejecting today’s ubiquitous emphasis on black sound’s necessary ethical allegiance to the street, this project opens up the new plane of Sonic Fiction, the secret life of forms, the discontinuum of AfroDiasporic Futurism, the chain reaction of PhonoFiction. It moves through the explosive forces which technology ignites in us, the temporal architecture of inner space, audiosocial space, living space, where postwar alienation breaks down into the 21st C alien.
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 fictional and the power of falsity.
One side effect of the alien discontinuum is the rejection of any and all notions of a compulsory black condition. Where journalism still insists on a solid state known as ‘blackness’, More Brilliant dissolves this solidarity with a corpse into a fluidarity maintained and exacerbated by soundmachines.
Today’s cyborgs are too busy manufacturing themselves across time-space to disintensify themselves with all the Turing Tests for transatlantic, transeuropean and transafrican consciousness: affirmation, keeping it real, staying true to the game, respect due, staying black. Alien music today deliberately fails all these Tests, these putrid corpses of petrified moralism: it treats them with utter indifference; it replaes them with nothing whatsoever.
It deserts forever the nauseating and bizarre ethic of ‘redemption’.
Afrodiasporic Futurism has assembled itself along inhuman routes, and it takes artificial thought to reveal this. Such relief: jaws unclench, as conviction collapses.
Where crits of CyberCult still gather, 99.9% ot them will lament the disembodiment of the human by technology. But machines don’t distance you from your emotions, in fact quite the opposite. Sound machines make you feel more intensely, along a broader band of emotional spectra than ever before in the 20th Century.
Sonically speaking, the posthuman era is not one of disembodiment but the exact reverse: it’s a hyperembodiment, wia the Technics SL 1200. A non-sound scientist like Richard Dawkins ‘talks very happily about cultural viruses,’ argues Sadie Plant, ‘but doesn’t think that himself is a viral contagion.’ Migrating from the lab to the studio, Sonic Science 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.
Machine Music doesn’t call itself science because it controls technology, but because music is the artform most thoroughly undermined and reconfigured by technics. Scientists set processes in motion which swallow them up: the scientist’s brain is caught up in the net. Acid’s alien frequency modulation turns on its dj-producers Phuture and Sleezy D and begins to ‘stab your brain’ and ‘disrupt thought patterns’.
Yet in magnifying such hitherto ignored intersections of sound and science fiction – the nexus this project terms Sonic Fiction or PhonoFiction – More Brilliant than the Sun ends up with a portrait of music today far more accurate than any realistic account has managed. This is because most recent accounts of Black Music – those which form the dominant humanist strain in the commemoration of Black Music, its official histories – are more than anything wish fulfilments: scenarios in which Acid never existed, in which Electronic Jazz never arrived, in which the Era of the Rhythmachine never happened.
By contrast, More Brilliant is a mechanography, an omnidirectional exploration into mechano-informatics, the secret life of machines which opens up the vast and previously ususpected coevolution of machines and humans in late 20th C Black Atlantic Futurism.
Alien Music is all in the breaks: the distance between Tricky and what you took to be the limits of Black Music, the gap between Underground Resistance and what you took Black Music to be, 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.
The mayday signal of Black Atlantic Futurism is unrecognizability, as either Black or Music. Sonic Futurism doesn’t locate you in tradition; instead it dislocates you fro origins. It uproutes you by inducing a gulf crisis, a perceptual daze rendering today’s sonic discontinuum immediately audibly.
The Futurist producer can not be trusted with music’s heritage. Realizing this, UK and US dance media spring forward, to maintain these traditions the producer always abandons. Media’s role is to defend an essence, by warding off all possible infections: journalists become missionaries no behalf of HipHop; the battle for the soul of Techno.
Which is why at Century’s End you tune into sensory frequencies undetectable to the happy tinnitus of good solid journalism. You are willingly mutated by intimate machines, abducted by audio into the populations of your bodies. Sound machines throw you onto the shores of the skin you’re in. The hypersensual cyborg experiences herself as a galaxy of audiotactile sensations.
You are not censors but sensors, not aesthetes but kinaesthetes. You are sensationalists. You are the newest mutants incubated in womb-speakers. Your mother, your first sound. The bedroom, the party, the dancefloor, the rave: these are the labs where the 21st C nervous systems assemble themselves, the matrices of the Futurhytmachinic Discontinuum. The future is a much better guide to the present than the past. Be prepared, be ready to trade everything you know about the history of music for a single glimpse of its future.

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