Monday, November 25, 2013

IASPM: Ecology

Laura Glitsos from Curtain university gave a paper this afternoon on the ecology of sacred space in relation to indie music and web 2.0. Laura spoke of the Ayahausca Ritual which is an indigenous practice that involves the consumption of a psychotropic vine commonly referred to as the vine of death. Laura sees the adoption of indigenous spirituality by western artists such as Ben Lee, The Bees and The Claxtons as a need to embrace religious sanctity because of the profane and unnatural quality of the digital space. Noting the improper and perhaps disrespectful appropriation of traditional cultural practices she stated that the deep sense of loss of history and tradition has led in these cases to a desire to elevate non materialistic lifestyles and thus sounds beyond the cold interface of cyberspace. Laura suggests that the nostalgic return to community is further driven by a sense of exploitation by firms such as Google and Facebook. She suggests the homogenisation of space itself disrespects musicians, particularly independent artists. Discourse by these artists seeks to priviledge traditional approaches to appease the artist's loss of creative input in the digital communication modes as well as introduce spirituality to the youth. The reaction is against the cultual imperialism and profanity of neocapitalism as reflected by digital architectures.  

IASPM: Fandom, Celebrity and Industry

Victor Vicente gave a great paper this morning on viral phenomenons on youtube. He discussed the early days of youtube going back to its original instability when launched as a dating site in 2005 and how after its purchase by Google in November 2006 it became very popular as an educational tool, was used as an archive or repository, offered an ethnographic field to study and became a primary source for music. Victor noted that it is now available in 54 languages with 43 localised versions. In his recent study he concluded that music remains its predominate use with the top 5 videos being commercially produced music videos, indeed 29 of the top 30 videos featured music. Of these, 2 (6%) were user generated with the remaining 28 (94%) being commercially produced). Twenty videos in the top 30 were distributed by VEVO. 

Victor's study concerned hybrid stars - user generated songs/clips that became famous. In particular he looked at 3 case studies - Muhammed Shahid Nazir "One Pound Fish", Psy "Gangnam Style" and Rebecca Black "Friday". After playing the clips he went on to note that common elements in user generated success appear to be: the juxtapositioning of the narrative of an ordinary person with qualities such as irony, kitschiness, flawed masculinity, humour, simplicity, repretitiveness and a whimisical air. A great paper! He's a picture of Victor (and another groovy musicologist, Julie) from last nights conference dinner. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

IASPM: Popular Music and Collective Experience

The papers presented in this session were fantastic. Kath Nelligan presented on Seeker Lover Keeper and feminism in popular music. Kath noted in particular the denial of feminism as an approach by this band but nonetheless its ability to embrace solidarity and reciprocity. Kath noted post feminist tendancies of femininity as opposed to feminism. She spoke of how music has become less overt since Helen Reddy and how feminism has become a dirty word - with women these days less likely to identify themselves in that way as a move away from collective identites to individualism.

David Hesmondhaigh presented a paper on collective experience and sociability. He spoke of the ecstacy of collectives, the envy of missing out, how music and dance establish new friendships and revive old ones as well as emotional intelligence and the dynamics of self realisation. He went on to discuss pub singing, sport singing and karaoke. David noted the psychosocial need for collective identity and participation, and how this can become a site for struggle in the formation of modern personhood. 

IASPM ANZ 2013: Communities, Places, Ecologies

Just arrived at the IASPM ANZ Conference. I will be here for the next 3 days and will be blogging about the fantastic papers being presented. The conference program looks fantastic. If you are near Southbank in Brissy drop in to the Queensland Conservatorium of Music if you would like to hear more yourself!! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Conference Conference Conference

There are three oustanding conferences coming up later this year - so far I am only able to go to one of them but I would desperately love to go to all of them. Here they are:

The Conference of the International Assocation for the Study of Popular Music is being held at the Queensland Conservatorium with Griffith University being the host. This is the annual conference for the association and is being held from 24 to 26 November 2013. I have registered to attend - not as a presenter this year, just as an audience member. You can find out all about it here.

This conference looks amazing too! It is being held from 21 November to 26 November 2013, again in Brisbane. It is being held concurrently with IASPM NZ and it is possible to register for both conferences for a reduced fee. The key speakers and musicians look very informative and entertaining. Said to be the most comprehensive and unconventional music conference in the world, other activities on the program include performances and picnic under the stars, an electronic underwater music performance and the 1001 voices YouTube project for those that cant attend but are wishing to express what they see as the future for music, as well as many other events. Please head to their website to find out more information. 

This conference is dedicated to digital activism. It is being held in Melbourne on 6 November 2013. The list of speakers looks fantastic with representatives from many non profits coming together to discuss strategies and the impact of online campaigning. There is a limit to the number of people they will allow in attendance - participants need to complete an application form and have their registration approved prior to paying the conference fee. This looks fabulous - I hope I can make it. More information is available here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sydney Opera House 40 Year Celebrations

Interestingly; I was reading about the 40 year anniversary of the Sydney Opera House on the ABC News website today, only to learn that the first concert ever held there was actually by a political artist. The unofficial concert, held on 9 November 1960, saw Paul Robeson sing songs by Joe Hill for the construction workers in their lunch break. Arranged by the building union, the audience presented him with a hard hat with his name on it after his performance. Below is the YouTube footage of the concert:

Further Reading
ABC News, Timeline: 40 years of the Sydney Opera House (20 October 2013) < at 20 October 2013

Green Music Australia

I just came across an organisation called Green Music Australia. Reminding me of the Eco-Musicology paper I saw in Hobart last year, they write on their website: 

Green Music Australia is a not-for-profit campaigning organisation. Our goal is to help the Australian music scene to become a practical leader in sustainability - cutting energy use and waste streams, using renewable energy, and broadly showing our audiences how we can all go green while still having fun! Once our industry is really leading the way, we can work with our fans to build a real groundswell for action to protect this precious world of ours....

In the 'about' section, they further state that they are a campaigning organisation, and :

Most musicians really want to reduce their impact on the planet and help tackle global warming. But, like any busy people, most of us don't know where to start or what to do. So we'll help. We'll help musicians, venue operators, festival organisers and anyone else across the music scene work out what they can do most easily and affordably to reduce their environmental footprint...

They seek to connect people in need of eco services with providers and assist with funding arrangements to cover the costs of greener solutions. They intend to carry out a research project into strategies to address environmental impacts in the music industry with an additional intention of then developing green accounting software for the sector.

If you, or someone you know, needs that kind of assistance you can check out their website here. The group originated from the Australian Green Music Coalition and is the realisation of the success of that effort to 'unify the green music community.'

As Donna noted at IASPM in December (see earlier post here), there is a book by David Ingrim called 'Jukebox in the Garden' that serves as an introduction to the study of eco musicology. In the meantime I have just borrowed a book by Bob Brown, former leader of the Australian Greens, called 'memo for a saner world' which has a picture of an old growth tree on the front of it - another book worth reading if you have the time.

Further Information
Green Music Australia < > at 20 October 2013

Australian Green Music Coalition <> at 20 October 2013

Bob Brown, Memo For A Saner World (2004) < >at 20 October 2013

David Ingrim, Jukebox In the Garden: Ecocriticism and American Popular Music Since 1960 (2010) < > at 20 October 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013