Scene Building Briefing 1: Objekt & Magazine Coverage

I have a new series of posts for you. This series looks into tangible methods that can be used to build scenes or that can break them apart. I will be drawing on the scholarly literature of musical subcultures and genres to analyze our local scene and other scenes around us in order to start a brainstorm about how we can continue to grow our scene and avoid pitfalls that would separate us. But first lets get to Objekt’s tracks.

I REALLY REALLY like these two tracks. They are over a year old, but I just discovered them so bare with me. Hopefully you too are just coming to Objekt yourself. I not only think his tracks are great, but I find it useful to look at descriptions of Objekt to see how hierarchies can be erected where some artists become “great” and others become “lesser”. I will analyze a tiny blurb from a magazine description of Objekt to show how stories of experience, isolation, & slow maturation are used to separate Objekt from other “lesser” artists. This is useful for understanding how hierarchies can be created in electronic music scenes.

But first, the music! There is a subtlety to Objekt’s work that I really appreciate. Everything feels so clean and polished, despite its ragged sound. I especially like the roughness of the Tinderbox track. The deepness of these tracks and their myriad of effects and sounds reminds me so much of DJ Rupture’s album Uproot. It really pushes boundaries and shows where dance music can go if we think outside the box. Check the tracks Tinderbox, The Goose That Got Away, and Unglued to see what I mean. You can listen to more of Objekt’s tracks on his Soundcloud.

Tinderbox

The Goose That Got Away

Unglued

Now to the analysis of discourse and electronic music in magazine depictions of artists. I premise this analysis to say that I love Objekt’s work. Yet, I think its important to analyze the statements used to create Objekt as “Great” in order to understand how such statements can be dangerous to the advancement of electronic music communities.

Now to the Analysis:

Objekt was just featured in a music magazine for a promotional mix he created for them. Here is what that magazine had to say about him:

“Objekt hasn’t released much in 2011, but that’s one of the reasons his emergence has been so welcome. In an age of oversaturation and overexposure, where people feel the need to upload their entire life stories to Soundcloud after two weeks of watching Logic tutorials, he’s the definition of someone who’s taken time to hone a craft (he’s actually worked as a programmer at Native Instruments for several years, which goes some way to explaining why his music is so sonically potent), and waited until they’re 100% ready before exposing their wares to the world at large.”

This magazine has created Objekt as a “great artist” by juxtoposing him with all the other lesser artists that watch “two weeks of Logic tutorials” and then “upload their entire life stories to Soundcloud.” This is interesting because in opposition to these lesser “amateurs” this magazine frames Objekt as an artist that went through a slow, steady development on the back of years of hard work honing his sound in isolation while working at Native instruments. They differentiate the “sonically potent” Objekt with other lesser artists by saying that he waited until he fully matured artistically before he started releasing his music. This creates a hierarchy based on two stereotypes of who the good and lesser electronic artists. Good artists wait to release their tracks until they are absolutely perfect, while lesser artists spew everything they can onto the internet even though they have no skill.

These stereotypes are in no way in touch with reality. They are ideal types that don’t exist. Sure there are people that come close to both of these strereotypes, but it begs the question: Is it useful to set up the dichotomy in electronic music to make sure we arbitrate “good” and “bad”? I argue it is not useful. These “Lesser artists” uploading their new tracks to soundcloud only seek connection to a community they love and want to contribute to. Why should we point them out as frivoulous and silly when we have all been that person seeking connection or expression of our feelings? Why alienate these burgeoning artists at their key moment of vulnerability when all they seek is validation and help? Thus, i think it is important to recognize that the function of statements that frame “good artists” in relation to “lesser amateurs” is to create hierarchies within our community that hinder communication, collaboration, and  creativity.

I believe the local columbus scene is a great example of how barriers have been ripped down to promote collaboration. But lets take this example as a cautionary tale lest some magazine wishes to impose a hierarchy on our scene. You can take it as a pledge from me that I will never use my words to tear someone down in our scene. As a scholar of culture, language, law & power, I know the affect of such statements. I only will use my words to build our community and our awareness of each others unique talents. Everyone has a place within our community; Dancers, Wallflowers, fans, djs, photographers, videographers, the curious, and the outcasts. Lets all come together, dance to the beat, and try to eliminate the hierarchies that threaten to separate us from one another.

Remember to Like Local Autonomy on Facebook for all the up-to-date info on show reviews, music spotlights, and scene building briefings. 

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