Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hauntologists taking the piss, or hauntologists having the piss taken out of them?

"Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. "Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay." For more information please reread."

Jolly well done, either way:


 (via Our God Is Speed)

Ah, an interview with the creator Richard Littler indicates that in fact Scarfolk is in the sincerely-humorous spirit of imaginary towns like Ghost Box's Belbury or Moon Wiring Club's Clinksell, with  pedagogical/paternalistic imagery in the same vein as The Advisory Circle, D.D. Denham's electronic music for schools, etc

Still, as one commenter notes in the box at the bottom of that Creative Review interview, it's a wee bit disconcerting that neither Littler nor the interviewer acknowledges the precursors: "I  do very much enjoy Scarfolk, but I am surprised the questioning didn't ask how it related to earlier explorers of the same ideas (Look Around You, Ghost Box, Mordant Music's Disinformation remix of Public Information films for the BFI)...".  It is presented as if all this just occurred to Littler out of the blue.

But perhaps that's just a sign of our recursive / anterograde amnesia / Groundhog Day culture, that something that's already been around once or twice, can keep coming back again?

There is something appropriately undead about hauntology and its sister genre hypnagogic.

The dialectical march of music really ought to have superceded them by now (eight years on in the case of hauntology, even if we don't count precursors like Position Normal or Boards of Canada or Mount Vernon;  five or six years on in the case of hypnagogia). And yet they keep on coming: there's a new, excellent Focus Group album out next month;  vaporwave was hypnagogic 2.0;  Prince Rama's ghost modernism = hauntology merged with hypnagogic merged with stargaze...

The dialectic is precisely what has broken down in music, replaced by hyperstasis, or should that be hipsterstasis... 

Anyway, for now, feast your eyes....

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