Dehumanization In Contemporary Music

minajThis clip of pioneering German electronic composer Karlheinz Stockhausen might answer some of the questions one has after watching this year’s Grammys. Does contemporary music still have the potential of touching basic human concerns such as love and hate, can it live, is it really valid art? Stockhausen’s answer: the synthesized, auto-tuned music of today reflects a form of evolution as our best and brightest transform to a post-human, or “supra-human” state, got it?

11 Comments on "Dehumanization In Contemporary Music"

  1. blah blah | Feb 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm |

    It’s really idiotic to imply that Stockhausen is talking about “the synthesized, auto-tuned music of today”. If you knew a little about him you’d guess what he would have thought about that kind of products…

    • This is a good example of fascism, where some people believe themselves to be superior to other human beings only because they believe that they can out smart the others and eliminate them. This is a very unconscious state of being, similar to a bully in the school yard that rounds up people around him and they feel superior to others because they’re able to intimidate them and submit them. But sooner or later someone will stand up to the bully and will show  that he’s nothing else but a scared little boy that has been abused himself by others. 

      A more conscious way of being is to understand that we all need each other and abusing others or disrespecting others is actually abusing and disrespecting yourself. You can’t command respect you earn it. You reap what you sow.


      • LovableLittleFascist | Feb 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

        “some people believe themselves to be superior…only because they believe that they can out smart the others and eliminate them” And yet it does appear that some people are superior in certain ways, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. Sure, everyone has the ability to better themselves to some degree, but some people simply start off with more potential to begin with… 

        This reminds me of two of my favorite quotes from the film Waking Life: “Actually, the gap between, say, Plato or Nietzsche and the average human is greater than the gap between that chimpanzee and the average human.” – and – “What are these barriers that keep people from reaching anywhere near their real potential? The answer to that can be found in another question and that’s this: Which is the most universal human characteristic…fear or laziness?” 

        Gattaca is one of my favorite movies and Brave New World is one of my favorite books but in my ideal future, everyone would be enhanced, equally…that way, we would all start off on the same playing field. That is the world I would like to live in…    

  2. fuck the music industry and their puppets 

    • Calling music an “industry” and a “business” really suits the corrupt and greedy bastards that comprise the hated Musician’s Union and all their ass-licking friends. Why are we surprised to find fascists in music? There are plenty more, and worse, than Stockhausen, and the current music “industry” deserves them.  

  3. It’s an interesting subject to discuss.  I know that when I was growing up in the 80’s all the hyper slick production of the pop music at that time felt like a betrayal of the soulful blues based rock of the 60’s and 70’s (the good stuff anyway).  I used to ask myself similar questions about the future of music and if moving towards a ‘synthetic’ sound which the 80’s pop music seemed to lean towards was a positive trend.  Then the 90’s came and dj culture and all sorts of sounds started coming out.  It completely changed the landscape and I started to get more of an ear for electronic music.  I know as a musician it’s changed the way I play.  The precision of electronic music has definitely rewired drummers especially and now drummers are playing syncopated rhythms with aggression and touch in ways no one has in the past.  In that way electronic music has actually looped back onto musicians and made them better. 

    I’ve heard some pretty fantastic electronic music that moves me in different ways…mostly amps me up or inspires me somehow.  Then I hear some soulful @#$ from James Brown and it’s got an earthy warmth to it’s electricity that I haven’t really gotten from electronic music. The argument about whether electronic music touches a deeper part of our humanity than analog produced music while we listen to it is an interesting one but I believe, like this post, that music reflects the evolution of the culture and I don’t know if judging it means that much.  Better to find the positive qualities of it and enjoy it for those reasons because there’s plenty of shiiite that passed for music before the electronic stuff came along. 

    • Well I think you’re commentating on electronic music while it was in it’s infancy for the most part…. the big rush now is definately to put the human back into it. More electronic musicians are choosing to employ devices like midi controllers and traktor hardware and turning the computers into live, playable instruments. Before, you’d have to program every tiny little change with a mouse and keyboard, but it’s a different ballgame now. I looked a little into up and coming input devices and I think the next big thing is gesture input and trodes… which is going to shift electronic music into a whole other dimension entirely.

  4. blah blah | Feb 15, 2012 at 10:57 am |

    I think I agree with most of what Stockausen said in interviews, and at the same time I can’t help thinking that most of it are ridiculous postures. Not to mention his catastrophic and megalomaniac “music” that just sounds like random… not even noise, worse than noise (as said on uncyclopedia).

    Anyway, I don’t see how esoterism is connected to sound synthesis whatsoever so he’s just completely ignoring the questions.

  5. Apathesis | Feb 18, 2012 at 10:14 am |

    Nicki Minaj is fucking garbage.  Her lyrics are not intelligent or inspired.  Hasn’t anyone noticed how mainstream rap gets more ignorant every year?  It’s like the music industry only chooses to promote the most stereotypical and negative black music out there.

  6. Allanhawleyjacobs | Feb 18, 2012 at 6:46 pm |

    Personally i just think commercial music is shite and is a product of the crass consumerism of excessive capitalism

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