Monday, August 02, 2004

" 'This deep relation which music has to the true nature of all things also explains the fact that suitable music played to any scene, action, event, or surrounding seems to dislose to us its most secret meaning, and appears as the most accurate and distinct commentary upon it.' " --Arthur Schopenhauer in: Joseph Lanza, Elevator Music (1994)

"Symons's The Symbolist Movement in Literature was translated into Japanese quite early in the 20th century. In Japan it became a sort of critical bible. The young Korean poets had some English and less French. Most of their translations seem to have been made from Japanese texts with an eye sometimes on the English." --A Handbook of Korea (1990)

Some of these song covers are glimflashes; & when i consider a band such as Big Daddy or Laibach (with its Stalinist chic--a kind of camp that is disturbing because the corpse of Stalinism hasn’t quite cooled yet) i am led to thinking of such exercises in musical heteronymy as the Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts’ Club Band”, Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust”, the soundtrack to an unmade Logan’s Run sequel, & (which i just saw in our store--in the glass case) Zappa’s “Ruben
and the Jets” album. And then, the novel Norman Spinrad did, as by the science
fiction writer Adolf Hitler, The Iron Dream. (Also, BTW, to a topic i hope to return to, the movie-within-a-movie device & its uses.)

On the one hand, in our marketized culture, every artist is to some degree playing themselves in quotes, especially with the tease of confessional pseudo-intimacy; on the other hand, the basis of our high culture is the Romantic cult of “sincerity”. I think the greater the fictional basis for the disguise of the artist, the more they approximate a deep cultural context such as all traditional art once possessed, & which in 20c. art got lost. This is why people immerse themselves in alternate-worlds, systems of counter-discourse: either as esoteric blixen, fantasy fiction, or the more kinetic surround of RPG’s. Poetry, however, has invariably refused this
option--even when the role of the avant gardiste might have permitted it. (How much more acceptable the wartime broadcasts of “Uncle Ez” would sound, if we didn’t have to think Pound meant them seriously!)

Khlebnikov, Pessoa, Borges, Spicer (especially After Lorca)--Umbrist saints; a 21c. whakapapa.

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