Fragment of a Philosophy of Discarded Music

Contemporary artists have always used the techniques of the future to mine the past. They search the debris accumulated as modernity rushes forwards, convinced that amongst the discarded lie opportunities lost, forgotten cultural memories of other possibilities that whisper to us from the rubbish-heap. The crate-digging DJ who collects information in the form of things (for what is a 'record' but data incarnated as a thing?) and then recycles it in a new context continues the tradition of artist as 'bricoleur': the tinkerer who makes something new from the found object. The recognition that throw-away culture is bankrupting our ecological future lends the rescuing project of the bricoleur a new relevance and poignancy that the emotional character of musical memory seems well placed to express. When we hear a dormant tune released from its confinement in the tight space of the dusty and outmoded plastic grooves of a forgotten record, we hear something in our self awaken alongside it. When a sampled fragment of the tune is deployed anew for another audience, preserved even as it is reconfigured, we surely hear the amplified murmur of another possible future, a sound of renewal easily lost in the roar of linear progress unabated.


"Dr Matt" Connell

Nottingham Trent University


submitted 15 September 2006



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