The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'malcolm mclaren'
Malcolm McLaren is dead. A committed Situationist and/or Frommian marketing character, McLaren (who grew up in Stoke Newington and dropped out of St. Martin's College) managed proto-punk glam rockers the New York Dolls, was instrumental in the creation of the Sex Pistols phenomenon (and the transformation of punk rock into a mass-media phenomenon), before going on to create Bow Wow Wow, toy with the idea of paedophilia as a pop-music marketing shtick, and bring electro-hip-hop out of the New York ghetto and into the mainstream in the form of Buffalo Gals, and then unsuccessfully trying to do the same for Puccini and equally unsuccessfully running for Mayor of London. I last heard of him talking about getting some chiptune artists together to work on an album organised by him, to be titled Fashionbeast. He may or may not have been a good bloke, depending on whom you ask, but one cannot say that he wasn't an interesting character.
McLaren is reported to have died in either Switzerland or New York, depending on which report you believe, this morning after a long struggle with cancer. He was 64.
Here is Alexis Petridis' eulogy for McLaren.
Malcolm McLaren (yes, that Malcolm McLaren) reckons that 8-bit chip tunes are the next big thing, and that revolutionary music will be made on Amigas and Game Boys by people in FUCK PRO TOOLS T-shirts.
The essence of chip music is in reverse engineering an electronic interface - whether it's a Game Boy or a computer's sound chip - and subverting its original design. Chip music can be made using run-of-the-mill equipment, like a Casio keyboard, but first the insides must be scrambled. The lo-fi sound of the White Stripes and their ilk has a certain aesthetic kinship with chip music, but it's less tech-centric and not nearly as subversive. Kraftwerk might be the grandfathers of chip music - like today's reversible engineers, they invented many of their instruments. As for programs like Pro Tools, chip musicians don't think they're really creative. The sound isn't generated by circuitry, and you can't alter it by twisting a knob.
This ties in with the CasioNova piece posted and with the somewhat nebulous casiopunk aesthetic. And with vinyl fetishism; chip musicians apparently scorn CDs, not to mention MP3s. Though the article raises two questions:
- is it the wave of the future, or an ephemeral fashion of crusty anachronism, sort of like electroclash for pretentious arty types?
- Is chip music the punk to Austrian laptop glitch's krautrock?
- And if it endures, how long until there are ProTools plugins to emulate all that grungy old circuit-bent hardware, so that P.Diddy or Madonna or whoever can put the fashionable chip-tune sound on their latest multi-million-dollar production?
Btw, McLaren's next album, Fashionbeast, will be all chip music; could it be the Duck Rock of the 21st century?
Remember WIRED Magazine; that MONDO 2000 for the masses? Well, they've now got an issue on the future of music, in which they got various musicians to talk about how they work with technology. Malcolm McLaren comes across as pretentious, Jean-Benoit Dunckel (of Air fame) seems obsessed with bootywhang, while Björk sounds, well, Björkish.