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Babbling Corpse: Vaporwave And The Commodification Of Ghosts Kindle Edition
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Vaporwave music can be created by anyone, alone, with a computer. No musical talent, training or inspiration is necessary, and rarely is any evident. Ironically, the best vaporwave takes a community, a very real group of people to make it work. Unlike the world of social media, these artists actually had to get together. It was a revelation, they say. Beyond this small exception, we find ourselves more and more alone, perhaps followed by a troll online, posting here and there, continually proving there is nothing social about social media.
It all boils down to rampant, uncontrolled capitalism. Capitalism has not delivered us from oppression, Tanner says. We mock it, we vilify it, but it owns us, bores us, and drains us. It is depressingly smothering. Tanner rightly points out that while Americans live in fear of attack, of drugs, of crime. of economic turmoil, of government intrusion – “the culture industry still peddles ludicrous, infantile fantasies”. The standard cinematic diet is of comic superheroes meant for teenage boys in the 1950s. There is so much bad, retrospective music everywhere it is invisible, and some of us have given up on it entirely.
In this brief but densely packed book, Tanner expresses his frustration with a series of pop culture examples and insights on American Kultur. His writing is straightforward, simple, economical and powerful. He acknowledges and appreciates pop culture critics from the Left. His own observations are far clearer and deeper than the usual pabulum of the blogosphere and forum comments. He is perceptive, challenging, and authoritative. His positions are well founded. Thinking is required if you venture here. It was a distinct pleasure to read this little book.
Grafton Tanner is a new voice very much worth listening to.
A feature of the book I enjoyed was the the history of Muzak and it's relationship to today's Vaporwave. The writer clearly enjoys Vaporwave sonically and is able to understand its meanings and why it sounds like it does. I thank him for making this book accessible and informative.
Only minor point is the last chapter on contemporary criticism where the author's personal tastes seem to shine through in his reviews of certain albums and acts, but it stays theoretically sound.
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