a song of resistance

i’m reading about some interesting aspects of music and politics lately – namely music and torture.

thanks to a link from the urban adverturer in rotterdam , i found out about about a great project investigating enforced listening – specifically the music of torture and resistance in auschwitz, i’ve also been checking out songs from sesame street used at guantanamo bay and abu graib, trying to find out if headphones are permissable in prisons and thinking about the music of resistance.

defiance through song is not new – the whole of modern pop music is basically a descendant from songs sung by slave chain gangs in america. and i suspect that it’s true power comes through its collective and unifying effects, as much as the musicality and aesthetics.

but can music defy torture, or give a resounding sense of freedom, on ones own? if i was forced to sit in solitary confinement, or was being arrested, or tortured for my political beliefs, what song would i sing to raise my spirits and/or to show that i could not be beaten? would that even work?

can sound-based resistance be such a lonely, singular experience?

and what would your song of resistance be?

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

Beats X Mog X HTC

This was an interesting link I came across on Monday night, thanks to digital twink Elliot Bledsoe.


Yes. Beats (by Dre) is now moving and shaking. OK, so really it’s HTC purchasing music infrastructure, but still, the power is coming from a headphones company.

Headphones have previously been subordinate to the tech and the music, especially if they’re part of a company that has investments/arms in all three, like Sony. Headphones have always been ‘peripheral’, or ‘accessory’, not market-leading, or game-changing.

Say what you will about the actual quality of the cans, what Beats by Dre have done for the image of headphones (not to mention their 25% market share, sheesh!), fashion and the flip between music and listening – I’m a massive fan.

Mog’s service will continue under the same name and operate as a separate company, according to Monday’s announcement. “Both Mog and Beats share a common goal of creating a more premium sound experience and emotional connection with music in the digital era,” David Hyman, Mog’s founder and chief executive, wrote in a note to subscribers.”

Looking forward to seeing how this pans out.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

dear music media #2

dear music media (and marketing types),

do not bullshit me about your investment in music.




for years i’ve read fistfulayen and followed ian rogers’ twitter account. mostly because marcus brown told me i should. marcus has good taste in these kinds of things.

this week in music
i recently had time to discover ian’s newish thang – this week in music. and i watched a few excellent clips.
the one with erin potts from air traffic control, i really liked. it fed into my whole relationship between music and politics, sound and action in a way i hadn’t thought about. an important service.

it also made me realise that, if this whole art thing fails, that i could definitely do what erin does. it’s a fantastic role and something i would love to do for more underground bands – not the big names with the ‘what’s $50K to a motherfucker like me‘ kind of swag, but for bands with a little cash, a chunk of sway and you know, hearts.

appropriating musical culture for ethical political means.

but that’s not really what this post is about.

actually, maybe it is. but about the complete opposite to that.

coke music

this is the footage of a discussion between ian, mark ronson and wendy clark from coke marketing at the midem conference.

i understand marketing a bit. i know the lingo and the drill. and i’m highly critical. my friends in that biz hate it when i get like that.

and i can tell you (and them) that this woman and her ‘coke music is all about the music’ bullshit is everything i hate about marketing, about multinational brands, about The Industry (FMCG, music and marketing industries included) and the bullshit of those worlds.

it is the arrogance about the façade of care and understanding that makes me see red. and it’s not even a very good façade. puh-lease, my grandmother could convince me that she loved the process of making music better than this woman. and i might even believe her that coke are interested in the true and emotional reaction that music has on people.

bullshit. coke are interested in coralling consumers and leveraging emotional attachment for the purpose of selling drinks.  as they always have. **

i just had to check to make sure the midem wasn’t actually a marketing conference. nope, it’s apparently about ‘connection to music’. yuh. sure.

so, for those who don’t want to watch the vid, coke “commissioned mark ronson on an ‘project’ to investigate the sounds of the olympics for the london campaign.
they basically bought mark ronson’s services to make a slightly-more-interesting coke jingle for advertising during the olympics. and they made a movie about it so that they could do a “transmedia schtick” and seem like it’s part of a much wider process of culture and interest and art.


mark ronson

and, whilst mark ronson is complicit in this, i love what he does. i mean, i’m glad that it’s him who got to record the sound of arrows flying through the air. he’s smart and open and skilled music/artist. 
i’m really interested in the technical aspects to this project too. really, i am. and i’m kind of jealous of his chance to record the grunts of darius knight and i think they way he composed them into beats was interesting. up until the point at which it is restricted by having to squish into a coke-identifying thang.
i know that musicians and artists don’t always just do things for the betterment of society, on an altruistic basis. we’re part of the commerce. i get that. but i’m always sad when amazing people limit their skills and squish them into a financial transaction for the sake of that financial transaction. especially when it’s a naff transaction like a coke endorsement. uh.

the olympics

and, well, this is just a small thing, but the other thing that annoys me about this appropriation of musical amazingness for naff commercial naffery, is that the olympics are such an opportunity to really impregnate something interesting into the world for a couple of weeks. really use cultural difference and variety to its absolute maximum.

it’s a real pity that this kind of sound project has to be supported by a fizzy drink company. that this isn’t the kind of thing that is just obviously part of the olympics – a big festival/competition about the human body and its elite levels of amazingness.

**and for those who might think that i’m living in a quaint utopian ideal where we only trade on authenticity, i see your perception of naivete, and ask why the fuck coke bother with trying with the ‘authentic’ spin and using an artist as a vehicle for sales if it we’re all such mature consumers that can trade in commerce evenly. pssht.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

dear music media #1

this is just the beginning.

dear music media,

if a girl raps, she still a rapper.
not a rapstress.
not only is it a dumb word, but it’s insulting.
go learn something.



thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

my listening consolation collection

i have work to do, sure. but the last week has been a bit crummy, so i’ve dived back into listening to a lot of music and riding around on my bike. i feel like i’m the 13-year old girl i never actually was.

i while back someone wrote an article about not asking artists about art, ask them about music, given the amount they listen to whilst making work. considering how much of it i’ve been listening to lately, i’d say he was right. plus i’ve been getting into music blogs, reading music mag subscriptions on the ipad, tracking back hip hop crew connections from the late 90s on wikipedia, using last.fm again?!

it’s like i’m having a shit-hot threesome with nostalgia and half-arsed heartbreak.

and i miss seeing art that consoles me that much.

the tate had a thing a while back, rethinking its collections and inspiring audiences to make their own themed version of the collection. i remember The Heartbreak Tate Collection – a few images that would simultaneously stir and console a broken heart.  I’m pretty sure a Rothko was there.

if i was going choose a collection of works based on my recent listening collection, here’s what’d be:

an infinite livez performance

rothko’s black paintings

lerato shadie‘s video mmitlw

tracey emin’s whole venice biennale installation from 2007

tracey moffatt’s other

yoko ono’s the cut

marina abramovic – art must be beautiful, artist must be beautiful

rubens – st george and the dragon

the original performance of hennessey youngman’s performance art lecture

soda_jerk’s astro black

bruce nauman’s art make up 1 – 4 (white, pink, green, black)

any of these louise bourgoise works

tim noble and sue webster’s black narcissus

almost anything by alice neel

tiepolo – allegory of planets and continents

bellini’s st therese sculpture

francis alÿs’  – the green line

francis bacon – seated figure

fischli and weiss – der lauf der dinge

see? all maudlin and pain and fuckery. but sometimes you gotta go there.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx