Wednesday, April 14, 2010

EMP Pop Conference 2010

The 9th annual EMP Pop Conference kicks off tomorrow, so I figuered I'd browse the abstracts to see if anything tickled my fancy.

The theme this year is The Pop Machine, and revolves around "stories of sounds and the machines that make them", which sounds a bit drier than the body and music-theme of last year. However, the first thing on the schedule tomorrow is a discussion between Nile Rodgers, Joe Henry, and Janelle Monáe, which should be very interesting.

Being a jazz fan and critic, Jason Toynbee's paper on "Jazz and the Politics of Recording" seems interesting: "It's been suggested that recordings of jazz are unrepresentative of the genre, even untrue to it. (...) In this paper I want to question the assumptions that lie behind the critique of jazz recording. Interestingly, that critique runs counter to the conventional wisdom in rock and pop criticism which has embraced recording not only as predominant medium, but also as a kind of muse, and sometimes even as the essence of the form (...)" (Friday, April 16)

Geeta Dayal will talk about Brian Eno and the studio as an instrument. (Friday, April 16)

As much as I'm tired of discussions on hipster culture (and the inevitable hipster bashing), Elizabeth Keenan's talk on the Dirty Projectors and cultural capital could be worth checking out. (Friday, April 16)

Douglas Wolk will do a talk on the future of listening to music (the abstract doesn't say, but I'd assume a discussion on Spotify, Rhapsody and the like may come into it at some point). (Friday, April 16)

Allen Lowe, musician, jazz historian, and compiler (and the man behind the great American Pop: An Audio History and the That Devilin' Tune-book and compilations, has a paper called "Looking at Down from Up: Blues from Blackface to Whiteface (or: All the Blues You Could Play By Now if Stanley Crouch was Your Uncle)", in which he among other things seems to take on Wynton Marsalis (who does deserve a beating every now and then). The subtitle of the paper, inspired by Charles Mingus' brilliant "All the Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud's Wife Was Your Mother", is also the title of one of Lowe's own composition, which you can hear from his website here. (Friday, April 16)

Will have a look at the schedules for Saturday and Sunday tomorrow.

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