American Minimal Music as Cultural Practice
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, About the Series, Copyright
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By custom and precedent, the cover of this book should have been asmooth, uniform gray, white, or black broken only by contrasting letter-ing, preferably lowercase, in an unobtrusive sans serif type. If an imageon the cover were needed, it ought to have been a carefully lit art objectof reductive purity—perhaps a dark pinstripe painting by Frank Stella,...
Introduction. The Culture of Repetition
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It is late on a Friday night in the industrial consumer society at the turnof the twenty-first century. The culture of repetition is in full swing.In a converted warehouse near the urban core, hundreds of dancersare moving in rhythm to highly repetitive electronic music; many ofthem are under the influence of controlled substances, most notably 3,4-...
PART ONE: THE CULTURE OF EROS: REPETITION AS DESIRE CREATION
1 Do It (’til You’re Satisfied): Repetitive Musics and Recombinant Desires
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...“That’s exactly what we’re doing!” How could you miss it?During the spring, summer, and fall of 1976, a radically new type of musi-cal experience—strictly patterned, tonally static, beat-driven—insinuatedits way into the mainstream of Western music culture. Opportunities torespond with the whole body to extremely long, extremely loud stretches...
2 “A Colorful Installment in the Twentieth-Century Drama of Consumer Subjectivity”: Minimalism and the Phenomenology of Consumer Desire
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I have a feeling about it that is very strong and it’s probablyday repeats; when I look at television I see the same advertise-I’m being told about cat food every five minutes. That is mini-malism. I don’t want it and I don’t like it. And it’s a way ofeverything to avoid it. I turn off the television until it’s over....
3 The Media Sublime: Minimalism, Advertising, and Television
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The eighth time he says, “Here’s that confounded thing again!”The twentieth time he sees it, he buys the article, or instructs hisThe fundamental truth of advertising as a cultural form is that it has beendesigned, through most of its history, by what to its practitioners seemedstark, scientific necessity, to be highly repetitious. Conceptualized as...
PART TWO: THE CULTURE OF THANATOS: REPETITION AS MOOD REGULATION
4 “A Pox on Manfredini”: The Long-Playing Record, the Baroque Revival, and the Birth of Ambient Music
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Build up a minimalist string pulsation in C major, over which a pianistbegins playing the first bar of the first prelude from Bach’s Well-TemperedClavier—very fast and mechanical. Repeat it eight times. Repeat the nextbar eight times. The next, eight times more. Continue at glacial pacethrough the familiar chord progression, cueing in the whirring arpeggios,...
5 “I Did This Exercise 100,000 Times”: Zen, Minimalism, and the Suzuki Method
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The one thing that H. C. Robbins Landon’s “A Pox on Manfredini” didnot complain about in its savaging of the barococo revival was, surpris-ingly enough, the quality of performance enshrined on those multiple-disc sets. This may be because his attack was primarily on the consump-tion habits of musical “snobs,” and thus the collections he reviewed are...
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List of Illustrations
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Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2005