Notes on Bad Music. Why Bad Music is Pop Music. James Whitehead who is JLIAT June 2015. 

With noise as a completeness, a wall of undifferentiated, unrecognisable sound we reach the moment in which noise becomes the same as silence. Empty or totally full, its ability to communicate, its epistemics is zero, and its being, its onticity and its ontology- what it is now and what it is absolutely, become the same and infinite. (See ‘Pop goes Reason’ paper - presented at The University of Falmouth April 2015.) 

Pop goes Reason


Any teleological progress therefore is not possible, a back-tracking into noise as music, be it Power Electronics, avant-garde, free jazz, free form improvisation is possible but will only double what has already occurred. A doubling of music. Forward ‘tracking’ would be into neo-metaphysics from the obvious Noise = Being, Silence = Nothing – the opening ‘move’ in Hegel’s dialectics in The Science of Logic, in and through a metaphysical text of Idealism towards and back from an absolute of absolute thought rather than object, matter, sounds, music. An extreme conceptualism… or ‘tuning’. “Conceptual opera: how far is too far?” 



An alternative – oblique strategy: 
Art music becomes music un-sutured from art, popular music must un-suture the popular from the music. The form – of art music – its formalism must be not deconstructed – minimalism – but destroyed – but without noise – by the popular. The popular must be destroyed or removed from its cliché by avant-garde expressionist irony- art. The naïve ‘song’ becomes the ‘theme’ – its production the other theme. The naivety of the ‘song’ displayed in its popularist terms through fine-art’s – pop-art’s ironic ‘truth to materials’ as obvious expression of the material, its electronics and its recording as a recoding, rather like the crass silk screens of Warhol, expressionist field paintings of banal pop subjects whose execution is marked by the materiality of the printing process in its failure yet still sufficient to ‘portray’ its now intellectually empty – but popular – image. (Or the rendering of ‘Can’t buy me love’ by John Tilbury…) 


This is called ‘Bad Music’ as ‘Pop Music’ but not the Pop-Art-Music, a term for what has become an image of excellence. (Rather like Deleuze’s original pejorative term ‘image of thought’ in ‘Difference and Repetition’- not as it re-appears in ‘What is Philosophy’) Pop art is the smart failure to reproduce pop (pop-music). Bad music is the ‘failure’ as demonstration of the real of popular musical production and re-asserts the pjotrative term for Pop (Merzbow calls pop-music noise!). What the popular excludes, the glitch, the error, or what it employed as avant garde- become the substrate of its production and presentation- re-presentation- re-re-presentation and broadcast. Bad Music is Neo-Pop-Art-Music is “Pop Music”. 

‘Kant is a Moron’- BETAMAX 7 


Neo-neo Marxism: 
The obsession with technology and the means of production. (Musikmesse) 
A (counter-counter) Cultural revolution. (Islamic state) 
The ‘dogmatism’ of the liberal cultural ‘finish’ of neo-modernity. (The café in the Tate Modern) 


Neo-neo Freudism: 
The fetish of the ‘gear’. (Moog, Arp, Korg, Roland, Yamaha..) 
The id over and above the ego(democracy) and super-ego. (God, culture, The Universe - ity) 
The rip, the bleed, the image of the ‘back stage’ in the staging. (Photo-booth drama) 
The ink of printing, the hand tremor of writing, the error or slip. (aspergers, alzheimer's, the anti-digital – Thalidomidization of popular music) 


Neo-neo Lacanianism (Neo Žižekianism): 
The jouissance of music for a non-musician. (as non-philosopher - Laruelle) 
The individual particular worker over and above the abstract concept. (Flesh-event - Badiou) 
The disease rather than the cure. (Guattari) 


Neo-neo McLuhanism: Object as totem. (Harman) 
Medium as ‘massage’. (Meillassoux)