N O Moore guitar, synthesiser, drum machines, voice
Steve Beresford piano [tracks 5 and 16]
“Platforms exploit the affordances of digital information and communications networks and supply infrastructures that facilitate particular types of interactions, but they also represent strategies for bounding networks and privatizing and disciplining infrastructures.” Julie E Cohen "Between Truth and Power: The Legal Constructions of Informational Capitalism" [Oxford University Press 2019; p.41]
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Warren E Buffett [NY Times 2006]
Is music now only content for platforms?
If so, any musical basis for the assessment and evaluation of music is increasingly hard to identify or defend - after all, anything has the potential to be content. The obvious point is that the means of delivery can affect what is being delivered. But, given that, content is then to be assessed not by aesthetic criteria (a notion that now seems out of date and paternalistic) but by the requirements of platforms. What counts is the possibility of content bringing new consumer-participants to the platform, and the creation of ‘synergies’ across platforms. A matter for recombination and re-communicating.
At the same time, platforms are the new way of the world and, as Julie E Cohen points out, they don’t just trap content but also afford the possibility for new types of content. Yet, a certain mundanity seems implicit – the platform as (temporary) walled garden to perpetuate partnerships and stakeholder exchange. An art of (and for) logistics; or the curation of curation.
host – hostage – hospitality – hostile
The creation of the music on this release (and its very availability) would be impossible without the technology which has enabled our new platform economies. Therefore, it is not a matter of being a technophobe, or of decrying new developments – after all, since there has been fire, weapons, writing, etc. there has been technology. Instead, it is a question of power but, too, of imagination – of what we are empowered to imagine.
This music is quite personal.
These days, I am drawn to collage as a way to present music and, indeed, to create it – at least in my own, private practice. Collage and cut-up – not just a method for creating a space for something unintended or unexpected, but a reminder that what has meaning and value is dependent upon leaps, exceptions, and discontinuities – or more to the point, that meaning comes from the artful concealment that what is fundamental is an impossible breach or gap in reality.
On this recording, there are several overdubbed pieces, all involving improvisation at each level (or, more accurately, at the time of each recording). Synthesiser and drum machine make appearances – the latter because I am interested in repetition and the extent to which this can be utilised in non-idiomatic improvisation. Although the drum machines do not always repeat in a direct way, they are used here with repeated beats even though the drum sounds are shifting in relation to that beat, and the timbre modulated. In this sense, I am locating myself (when overdubbing) in relation to a rhythmic platform. Part of the inspiration for this approach are the ‘Band of Gypsys’ (sic) recordings of Jimi Hendrix. This group had a much more funk/rock rhythmic basis than the more jazz inspired drumming approach of the Experience. Yet, within this more repetitive framework, Hendrix was able to deploy some of his most imaginative and sonically startling playing. Indeed, the New Year Fillmore concerts are text-books for how to treat the electric guitar as a sound source (see, for example, the four versions of ‘Machine Gun’ from these gigs). This recording is dedicated to all of the soldiers fighting in …
Then, of course, there is also ‘Guitar, Drums 'n' Bass’ by Derek Bailey, and ‘New Jazz Jungle: Remembering’ by Pat Thomas. Steve Beresford turned me onto the latter.
Steve makes an appearance on two tracks here, recorded during lockdown. On one, I overdub him; on the other, he overdubs me. Steve is, for me, a player who presents constant imagination through breaks and leaps: that is, by surprise. My aim, in all musicking, is to encourage a public.
Retake music. Retake imagination. Retake platforms.
N O Moore [October 2021]
released November 4, 2021
recorded during 2020-2021 in Cambridge, London, and Barrowdale by N O Moore