Wednesday, January 13, 2016

retro-quotes #2288821

retro-quotes: a series of germane remarks, by others, plucked from all over the place, and from all over the time 

RW: A lot of people might say that you and Roxy Music were responsible 
for inventing that sort of self-referential rock, what one might call 

BE: "I think so, too. I suppose my disenchantment with that, and with some of 
what I did, was from the same feeling. In fact I suppose that's a good way 
of making the division between the work I'm doing. There are two separate 
strands going on: sometimes I describe them as 'the slow stuff' and 'the 
stuff with a beat', but actually a more accurate division would be 'the ironic 
stuff' and 'the sincere stuff'. The 'ironic' mode would be about distorting the 
currency of rock music in some way so that it's a very conscious working 
within a tradition, and it relies on people having a good knowledge of that 
tradition to understand it."

RW: Most records that go out these days from new bands don't work at all 
unless you know a great deal about the tradition of rock music.

BE: "Yes, it really is culturally inbred music now. One of the great things about 
rock music has been that what comes out actually is an overall sound for 
the times. I heard 'Da Doo Ron Ron' on the radio today, and I thought, 
'God, that's so identifiably of its period, everything about it has the feeling 
of that time... and if I'd never heard it before, I'd be able to place it in time 
very accurately.' With that placement, you can place a whole lot of... well, 
lifestyle attitudes that go with it. 

But of course we didn't have people saying that the Crystals were the saviours of Western culture at that time. Two aspects of this go hand in 
hand: just as Roxy and Bowie and others produced the metarock thing, so 
the critics were equally responsible... because they all wanted to say, 
'Look, this is more than just a game... there's some Big Deal going on 

RW: It would be interesting to know what would've happened to music if a 
lot of people hadn't felt that way in the early Seventies. But it isn't just 
critics who think like that. A lot or musicians seem to operate as 
critics in a sense. In fact that's virtually what metamusicians are.

BE: "That's right. They're already playing the part of the critic as well when they 
make the work."

RW: And implicit in what they do is a critique of other people's music.

BE: "Yes... each piece of music stands as a re-evaluation of rock music to 
date. It says 'This it is okay, this isn't.' Re-evaluation is an idea that 
interests me a lot. It's normally assumed that the artist is the one who 
innovates... but actually, if you look at what artists do, maybe four per cent 
of their work is innovation, then there are a whole lot of other things.

For instance, they ignore a whole lot of available options. They re-
evaluate a whole lot of other things that already existed from the whole 
history of their medium, and they choose to repeat these ones. They 
definitely condemn other aspects. So 'ignoring', 're-evaluating' and 
'condemning'... three different ways of dealing with your history to date and 
re-using that history. 

And I think what's problematic about criticism is that it 
always wants to concentrate on that little four per cent (of innovation) 
without seeing the whole of the rest of the work.

-  Brian Eno  in dialogue with Richard Williams, Melody Maker January 12 1980 

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I read RIP IT UP and START AGAIN last october and loved it. I'm from Brazil and I have written a book on postpunk in my hometown in the 80s. Now I'm finishing college and I have to present a final paper. I'm going to make a documentary about the postpunk scene here. The same I wrote in my book, but now it's film. I'd like to send you a copy of mine, although I assume you don't read in Portuguese. I'll use your book in my paper because there's so little material on postpunk, and I found your excellent book. Congratulations and if you fancy I'd like to send you my book as a gift. I'm thinking about writting it in English as an ebook too.