Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-03-13 - 12:12 a.m.

’The shift from technologies of domination to technologies of the self is abrupt and unmediated, and Foucault never adequately theorizes both sides of the structure/agency problem. He leaves behind his earlier political positions for a ‘politics as ethics’ and shifts the focus from analysis of social institutions to analysis of medical and philosophical texts of antiquity, never returning to analysis of the present era and its urgent political issues’


Imagine my surprise when reading the Reynolds and Press masterwork, The Sex Revolts – Ch4 – Flow Motion – Can Eno and Oceanic Rock – I bumped into Deleuze and Guattari. Then imagine my utter delight when they reveal that DL&G had already reached La Mone Young. Familiar object from an unfamiliar angle. In a nutshell LmY is the avant-garde music of ‘becoming’ which reaches beyond childish scribbling.

My new D Sylvian retrospective double – Everywhere and Nowhere – was on at the time. Reynolds and Press - if there were Oscars for synchronicity you both deserve one.

R&P link chromaticism , spaciality and fuzziness with pre-oedipal bliss.

DL&G are close to Foucault – possibly they got to the technologies of the self first – F confines himself to the study of these technologies in the ancient world. Could LmY’s stuff be part of a self-medication regime for modern times? A rebalancing of structure and agency - LMY believes his music connects with structural features of the brain.

I have decided that Miss M’s outfit on Refuge is camouflage – when you read her assessment of what the 80s were going to be.

R&P accuse Eno of gender tourism – another refuge of the roads? In the Miles music of the late 60s and early 70s – the part where he went furthest out – R&P discern profound ambiguity – a tension between oceanic submersion and the torment of the witches cauldron. Brilliant.

In the lastest ND-poets attempt, I am concerned about the jerkiness of some of the transitions. However with the ‘witches cauldron’ image there is an easy reach to the hostile side of Graves’ poetics in Jungian terms – which some see as a link between the fates of SP and ND.

Suppose the other pole to the cauldron – held in tension in Miles’ deepest stuff – is the oceanic LMY end of business – which might include the possibility of vibrational self medication. Then that’s a good reason (in the article) to end with DL – and a mapping of ND endpoints into DL’s grand metaphysic of intensity in becoming in time. (Shows all he knows about the way the river flows, the parataxis strategy.)

Obvious reference points would be the vibrational element of Northern Sky and the end point of From the Morning.

R&P conjoin Miles, George Clinton and an obscure late 80s UK band – A R Kane – quite a recommendation.

The next Ch – Soft Boys – picks up Sylvian Morrisey – and others. I think I may have quoted this table before:

erect/ limp
tunnel-vision/ softfocus-visionary
amphetamine/ hallucinogens
defined/ blurry
manifesto/ mumbling
openroad/ sanctuary
urban/ pastoral

It would be an exercise to work those polarities through the ND oeuvre. You might end in the middle – not least on BL – eg the amphetamine paranoia at the start oh HJ2. Or to think – on HJ1 – of the contrast between the defined solo gtr part and the blurriness of the final production. Or the amphetamine nature of the sax and piano solos on Poor Boy and City Clock.

I think theres a lot in the structure/agency dichotomy – composed pieces, free improvisation, be-bop etc

"lipstick on her reefer waiting for a match"

This is what Deleuze read at Foucault’s funeral:

‘There are times when the question of knowing whether one can think differently than one thinks and perceive differently than one perceives is absolutely necessary if one is to go on thinking at all – what is philosophy today if it is not the critical activity thought brings to bear on itself?”

Suppose that F left the structure-activity polarity unresolved?

Suppose that one were looking for clues in BL. OOTTF is a structure which restricts activity because the dynamics of choice are too intimidating – hence the parataxis. ATCCOCC is highly structured but points at a possible exit activity. HJ2 starts with activity and feeds it through a complex structure and reintegrates into existing family structures.

HJ1 is ambiguous in realization between determination and fuzziness but ends with a kiss-off. So the first tetrad of songs seems to be about the constraint that structure (family) imposes on activity which nonetheless results in separation. Had the orchestration of the final song of the tetrad been different the reason for the kiss-off would have been clearer.

What of the final triad? Fly is highly structured as between the two voices and is a search for a way forward – the possibility of activity after the revenge of structure. In that sense the triad opens in reverse of the opening of the tetrad. PB is a release of energy into activity – a kind of pomo soddit song – showing how structure can be fun after all if you don’t care – if you are prepared to go for improvisation. (This is hinted at by Cale’s contribution to Fly).

Where does NSky point? Novelty where intensity overcomes structure? Unlike HJ1 NSky is intensified by the orchestration.

So you can construct a DL account of the way BL is put together in terms of the triumph of intensity in the possibility of becoming – although the power of structure to suppress authentic activity is substantial – especially when structure concerns mutuality cf Fly – esp if you relate the 2 voices ploy to Britten, Abraham and Isaac.

So the critical impact of thinking BL is that that thought should submit to the intensity of becoming which may well up in mutuality? That may be conventional. But maybe unconventional means are best suited to conventional conclusions.

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