The cheesecake theory of music treats music like a species of masturbation. And masturbation has no history. The good that it delivers is unchanging; it is perfect as it is. And for the simple reason that the mechanics of orgasm are fixed by our basic body plan.
To this it will be objected: the pleasures induced by fat, sugar and orgasm may be stable, but the means available to us for achieving these ends — the techniques, practices, technologies and perversions — are indeed always evolving, and with the same rapidity, and so history, as in any other area of technology (transportation, communication, etc).
Music, from this standpoint, is an evolving technology for auto-titillation and reward. Change in music is technological change. Not change in what we like. But change in how we get it.
13.7’s Alva Noë on David Bowie, cheesecake, sex and the meaning of music
This is a rather excellent little piece. A small but very important thought, very well put.
Hypothetical questions for hypothetical panels at a hypothetical music conference some time in the hypothetical future.
Drawing on a Facebook comment thread to explore more of what I was talking about yesterday in relation to HWCH, I’d like to see what kind of questions people would like to ask and who they’d like to ask them to.
So, here’s some questions/topics that I think about. I think they are all linked in some ways and, importantly, they are informed by technology and communication. Because music and art is all about communication. Conversation is king.
Please reply or reblog with your own.
1. To what extent does the amount of new musical information generated today obscure the past? Do people no longer have/take the time to explore the roots and branches of the music they listen to/make? Are we making the same mistakes over and over again?
2. To what extent does the phenomenon of the bedroom producer reflect the increasing isolation of musicians/people in general? Why do we have more solo artists than ever before and what does it mean for the types of music we make/hear?
3. Why is one of the the most well-respected and successful record labels in the country closing its doors at the end of the year? What does that mean for Irish bands/labels/creative groups? Is there a viable way for the record label to survive (and flourish) in Ireland, without compromising its ideals?
4. Is Irish music overly hedonistic? Is there a trend in Irish music that suggests a disconnect from politics, social or otherwise? Do we over-value (intentionally) throwaway music? Do we have a tendency here to value art on its ability to imitate international trends? To what extent is this influenced by the internet?
5. What impact do streaming platforms have on the listening experience? How much do the ads in Spotify/Youtube bother you? Is it ok that listening to music is often much the same as watching television? What impact does streaming have on a) long-form work? and b) the price of music?