Dedicated to classics and hits.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Victorian World Picture

The Crystal Palace Exhibition in England in 1851.

The Victorian World Picture
by David Newsome
p. 1997
Rutgers University Press

  Like the difference between indie bands and major label bands there is usually some "reason" that a book on an academic subject is published by a university press OTHER then Harvard, Oxford or Cambridge.  Writing style, lack of originality, obtuse subject are all reasons why  a larger academic press might reject a manuscript and a smaller press might publish.  Not that Rutgers is a slouch university press, but it took me about 6 weeks to read this 250 page book because it was so, so boring. But: Informative.
The Chartist Demonstration of 1848: This is also generally considered to be the first news photograph.

  It's appropriate to identify with the Victorians because they faced a similar situation:  A rapidly changing world brought about scientific/technological change and the spill-over that change wrought in every aspect of human existence.

  The specific "aspect of human existence" that interests me in the context of this blog is the development of a mass audience for cultural products:  Books, Music, Paintings, Sculpture ETC. The very first secular mass audience just so happened to develop in England during the early Victorian Period.  Books were fortunate because the technology required to manufacture and sell books to a mass Audience actually existed before demographic expansion brought about an Audience large enough to buy books in the tens and hundreds of thousands.   Compare that to Music, where the phonograph was not even invented until the end of the 19th century, or Film, where the invention date is in the 20th century.  Books were there before the Audience was.

Black Friday... in 1866. Many of the events of the so-called Modern world have been happening over and over again since the mid 19th century- financial panics not the least of them.

  Although I personally only read Novels from that period, Novels were not the only popular form of literature that existed in Mass form- sermons abounded, pamphlets, newspapers and magazines- all forms of literature obtained a mass audience essentially at the exact same point and time.  The sole and primary reason for the existence of this new mass audience is the increase in population in the United Kingdom between the mid 18th century and the mid 19th century:

  "It is clear that the increase began in the middle years of the eighteenth century, accelerated from about 1770, and moved into top gear between 1801 and 1851, when the population of England and Wales rose from nearly 9 million to about 18 million.  It continues to rise thereafter, but at a slightly slower rate, reaching 23 million in 1871."

   In terms of sheer numbers, there you have it- less then 10 million people in the 1770s and more then 20 million people 100 years later.  That fact in and of itself demonstrates how novels, starting in the 1840s, could become international sensations and sell tens of thousands of copies- and even think to sell one hundred thousand copies- there were just a lot more people to buy them.  All of the other explanations for the new mass audience for culture simply fill in the shadows behind the main figure.

Girton College Fire Brigade:  When Cambridge University let women in they had to live so far away they needed to form their own Fire brigade because the main one wouldn't be able to get there in time.

  An interesting part of this mass audience was the audience that developed during the Victorian period for ideas themselves and ideas about the "state of society."  This audience was not a "Mass Audience" in the sense that the audience for Harriet Beacher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was a mass audience, but it existed and it's interesting to compare THEIR ideas about themselves to OUR ideas about ourselves.

  The Victorians hey day was roughly 1850 through the 1890s.  Queen Victoria herself didn't die until the 20th century, but all of the the ideas that made Victorians think of themselves as Victorian were in eclipse by the 1890s to be replaced with the components of Modernism- specifically fin de siecle malaise and a more robust national identity.

  During this period, Victorians agreed that "they" were Victorian and called themselves that, but endlessly argued about what it meant to be "them" and who "they" were.  Much of the importance materials that were written on this subject during this period were influenced by Darwin and the Theory of Evolution, and the impact that had on the role of religion in society.  Specifically, Darwin was the catalyst that gave secularists the upper hand in the protracted struggle between science and religion.

   The Victorians manufactured hundreds of thinkers who struggled mightily with what Darwinism meant for organized Religion.  Victorian thinkers also yearned to move backwards to a simpler time the idea of romanticizing history is something that played a huge role in the formation of Victorian thinkers but was itself out of fashion during the Victorian period itself.

   The books of Sir Walter Scott- so critical in the very creation of this hugely influential "Romantic Historical Complex" were out of fashion and unpopular during the 1850-1890s.   Similarly, the perception of an obsession with rectitude and morality that so often characterizes the Victorian period in the mind of people today needs to be understood in the context of a struggle where the moralists felt like they were on the defense and fighting a rear guard action against the swelling lower classes and their collaborators in the upper classes.   Within this struggle the role of the established Anglican clergy played a role that is hard for a modern American to understand.

    The Anglican Church was funded by the state, and lower level aristocrats and university graduates gravitated towards these paid, lifetime positions the way graduate students gravitate towards tenured professorships.  Further, these positions were spread throughout the country and not clustered in London.  Therefore, these individuals were both agents for the sides of morality and those who wanted change- often at the same time- and often they were one of handful of people in more rural areas that actually cared about these subjects.

   The biggest difference between the Victorian World Picture and our own is the role of Religion- much bigger then, not so big- but still important today.  However the similarities- a mass Audience grappling with the troubling aspects of rapid technological change and its corresponding impact on all aspects of human existence- far outweigh the differences.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Dirty Beaches Announces Full 2013 UK and EU Dates

Love this Dirty Beaches poster from a Hong Kong Show in 2013

   Dirty Beaches announced some 2013 UK Tour Dates:

18 4 St. Petersburg, Russia - Модный клуб Грибоедов(FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
19 4 Moscow, Russia - P.P.C.M. (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
21 4 Kursk, Russia - Somewhere great (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)

5 5 - Newcastle, UK- The Cluny (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
7 5 - Glasgow, UK - Nice 'n Sleazy  (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
8 5 - Dublin, IE - The Workman's Club  (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
9 5 - Liverpool, UK - The Shipping Forecast (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
10 5 - Chester,  UK - The Compass (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
11 5 - Manchester, UK - Soup Kitchen (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
12 5 - Leeds,UK - Brudnell Social Club (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
14 5 - Brussels, BE - AB Cafe (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
16 5 - Amsterdam NED  - OT 301(FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
17 5 - Groningen NED  - Vera (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
18 5 - Utrecht, NED - Le Guess Who Festival(FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
21 5 - Drifters/Love Is The Devil Album Release (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
22 5 - Winterhur, SZE - Salzhaus (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
24 5 - Limoges, FR - ccm John Lennon (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
25 5 - Paris, FR - Saint-Ouen (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
26 5 - Lyon, FR - Le Sonic (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
27 5 - Turin, IT - Hotel Astoria (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
28 5 - Ravena, IT - Hana Bi (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
29 5 - Rome, IT - Circlo degli Artisti (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
30 5 - Milan, IT - Video Sound Art Fetival (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
31 5 - Berlin, GER - Festsaal Kreuzberg (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
5 6 - Hamburg, GER - Hafenlang (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
6 6 - Koln, GER - Reineke Fuchs (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
7 6 - Munich, GER -Gallery Kullkcu (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
8 7 -  Frankfurt, GER - Zoom Club (FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)

  I don't know which date looks more interesting- Chester? or Dundee? (LINE OF BEST FIT POST)(FACT MAGAZINE)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

DVA Damas Debut Full Length For Sale At Revolver/Midheaven

DVA Damas

  Currently holding it down in the 10-20 area of the Revolver/Midheaven Weekly Top Seller list, DVA Damas debut full length is on sale over there.

  This is a good example of a band that is actually cooler then Pitchfork- just check out their absence of mention of DVA Damas.

  Instead you've got cool MP3 posts from No Conclusion, No Fear Of Pop, AND BLOGS OF THAT NATURE.


  This band is very much part of the LA No-Wave underground championed by Not Not Fun,100% Silk and San Diego's own DREAM.  In fact, this DVA Damas record is listed by Revolver as being a co-release with DREAM- THOUGH THE EXACT RELATIONSHIP IS MURKY.  I believe Mario was simply doing a favor for a friend to get Revolver/Midheaven to carry the record- which is on their Weekly Top Seller Chart, mind you.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Event Preview: Blues Control///Infinity Dots @ The Void (San Diego)

Event Preview:
Blues Control
Infinity Dots
@ The Void San Diego

Blues Control (LAST FM)
Infinity Dots (Chula Vista) (Bandcamp)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Show Review: Feed Me f/ Teeth & Mord Fustang @ The Fonda

Jon Gooch Feed Me rolls 2500 deep in LA.

Show Review:
 Feed Me f/ Teeth
& Mord Fustang
@ The Henry Fonda

    Man a couple of recent posts have me feeling like this blog is more relevant to the local music scene then it's been in five years.  First, I got the citation on San Diego City Beat about the The Void and THEN some guy got all huffy about a local show review and the musician got huffy and long story short I took the post down- FYI ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ASK-  I really don't give a s*** about this blog and if something I write actually offends someone I have zero compunction about taking the post down whether or not the criticism is justified so just ask.

  I was in LA this weekend and went to see one of two sold out nights with EDM artist Feed Me headlining the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

  I hadn't heard of Feed Me until last week but when I was told he had sold out the Fonda Theatre a week in advance I figured, "Well, 1200 people can't be that wrong."   Turns out he is well travelled English DJ/producer who put out a record in 2012 on Deadmaus' label.  Also, Deadmaus has his own record label.    Feed Me has the Christian name of Jonathan Gooch, and he goes back a way in EDM- all the way back to drum and bass.

  Prior to attending I had identified Feed Me's break out hit as his snappy "One Click Headshot" a paint-by-numbers dubstep composition enlivened by a brilliant sample of "FPS Doug" who is well known in internet Meme generating circles for being the "Boom! Headshot!" guy.  That clip has millions of you tube views so building a dub step tune around it seems obvious in hindsight.  Apparently it is enough to motivate close to 2500 people to plunk down 35 bucks a piece over two nights.

  And indeed, when Feed Me played his hit close to the end of his set the crowd went bananas.  Grade A, certified, FDA organic BANANAS.  In case you haven't seen a dubstep set, it basically involves standing around until the DJ reaches "the drop" followed by jumping around crazy mosh style.   When the crowd actually knows the song and can anticipate the drop the scene can get pretty frenetic.

  Jonathan Gooch/Feed Me performed behind a display of screens that are set up to resemble a mouth full of teeth (Feed Me f/ Teeth refers to the DJ + electronic array.)  So the various individual teeth have a synchronized visual display that accompanies the music.  It reminded me of the "x wing fighter" that serves a similar function in the arena rock set up for Skrillex.  Also, there were lasers, glorious, glorious lasers.  The sound system of the Fonda was of course, incredible, and the location was a good deal more accessible then a place like the Palladium let alone an outdoor/stadium sized EDM event.

  Unfortunately, The Fonda didn't really handle the transition between Mord Fustang and headliner Feed Me particularly well- the Audience was left standing around awkwardly for 20 minutes listening to Gorrilaz tunes.  Mord Fustangs set was characterized by the kind of interdisciplinary EDM that I associate with Wolfgang Gartner and Madeon.  Likewise, headliner Feed Me displayed  a grasp of EDM that surpassed that of a strictly "dub step" artist, even though One Click Headshot is a straight-up dub step number and not even a good one at that- a popular number for sure though.

  The crowd was all ages and looked like it.  Pretty easy to see this guy headlining a stadium or tour or the Sahara tent at Coachella- like a mixture of Daft Punk, Justice and Skrillex, he's got a formula that hits all the sweet spots and he can already pull down close to 2500 fans in a weekend.

  In case you are looking for context here are some other show reviews of EDM Artists:

Skrillex, Wolfgang Gartner & Madeon at Chula Vista Ampitheatre 2012
Justice/Ed Banger DJ's Paris France 2006
Berghain Berlin Germany 2006
Daft Punk Los Angeles 2007
Coachella 2009

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