Difference between revisions of "Hauntology"

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Revision as of 13:12, 22 August 2008

from http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?p=63263#post63263:

Buick6 Posted 10-10-2006, 10:14 AM I just find 'hauntology' to be just a more pretentious term for good old 'ethereal' and all the offshoots of all that 4AD stuff.

Slothrop Posted 10-10-2006, 11:52 AM I think it refers specifically to stuff that works partly by triggering half-remembered memories of other music - like Boards of Canada sounding a bit 70's kids TV or Burial with the half-obscured references to rave.

John Doe Posted 10-10-2006, 12:19 PM Then I think you're misunderstanding what the term hauntology denotes. The phrase is coined by Derrida (not Delueze) in his Specters of Marx during which he reflects on the persistance of the concept of (utopian) revolution despite its apparent eradication from the scene of politics and history (the book is 'work of mourning' published in the early 90s after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the inaugeration of the 'end of history'). As such the concept of social and political revolution takes on a ghostly aspect - present and not present, eluding the catagorical definintion of western metaphysics, apparently erased yet still palpable in traces and echoes and uncanny visitations. Obviously, transplanting such a shadowy concept to the scene of (pop) music is no straightforward operation but as far as I can work out the concept is deployed towards a music that employs certain strategies of disinternment - a disinternment of styles, sounds, even techniques and modes of production now abandoned, forgotten or erased by history. The classic example, I think, is the music that is released on the Ghost Box label, which evokes a strain of electronic musical 'futurism' that was most notable in the 70s (but was also around before then) - the BBC Radiophonic Workshop sound of spooky analogue synthesizers etc. Listening to that music (and I must admit I haven't heard much) is like encountering a revenant - a return in figurative form of a glimpse of a future that never was, a visionary dream that was envisioned once but which slipped out of collective memory. The concept of hauntology however tends to be more loosely deployed, and in particular to music that employs samples and especially dub reggae techniques that reanimate styles and sounds that hover, suggestively, around the edges of the day to day. Such techniques foreground the 're' in recorded music and evoke the Janus-like status of music as recorded artifact, facing both backwards and forwards simultaneously, an inscripted trace that is neither presence nor absence but a spectral apparation that both referencesand eludes such binary oppositional catagories... Then again, there's every chance I might have got this completely wrong. K-punk continues to explore/expand the term in his latest posting on Little Axe which is well worth a read: http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/

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