Voorvelt, Martijn


New Sound, Old Technology

Organised Sound: Vol. 5, no. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 67-73.

URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_OSO

Language(s): English


Creative Abuse Electronica


Contrary to the hi-tech reputation of pop, the most innovative pop musicians often use traditional, old-fashioned equipment, ignoring the latest technological developments. Musical innovation tends to precede technological innovation rather than the other way round. This article presents a birds eye view of pop experimentalism, grouping a number of influential or otherwise interesting examples into four main categories based on the type of equipment that is subject to experimentation: (i) abusing musical instruments, (ii) abusing amplification, (iii) abusing effects and mixing equipment, and (iv) ‘pop concrète’, or experiments involving tape montage techniques. The examples suggest that technological innovation may be relatively unimportant to the most innovative and musically adventurous pop musicians. Rather, they appear to need to have established some kind of relationship with their equipment before they find radically new ways of using it. Pop experiments involve the critical use of well-established typical pop machinery. This places them in an old tradition of artistic innovation.

All references of the same author:


Voorvelt, Martijn (1997). The Environmental Element in Barry Truax's Composition
Voorvelt, Martijn (1998). British Post-punk Experimental Music (1977-1983)