Reposted from the WFMU blog
I've always coasted on symbolic ways of thinking, so I'll start with one such handy conceit: Mindless Corporate Technocracy vs. Punk Luddism, in which never the twain, being way past mutually-exclusive, shall meet. And yeah, while not necessarily the whole story, this cultural narrative, in which the scary technophiliac forces of the oppressor butt up against the raw spiritedness of a gnarly creative population, is, according to me, a fine one. It allows we brave folks on the side of the creators to, in short, keep going--creating, and facilitating creativity--for to falter in this battle is to let the monolithic Powers That Be take the advantage, and we surely can't let that happen.
But things change, yessir, and symbolic histories, invigorating though they may be, only get us so far. The FMA itself is, certainly, no tendril of a creeping corporate overlord, but it sure is technologically-oriented, and so fits nowhere in this one-or-the-other type of schema. Though its embrace of left-of-center human expression is quite in keeping with Ned Ludd, the largely mythical leader of the Industrial-Revolution-renouncing Luddites, smashing a bunch of stocking frames to protest society's increasing dehumanization, its technological basis flies in the face of that clan's organizing principle. So what's to be done?
Well, it just so happens a handy new narrative is cropping up, a natural outgrowth of the FMA's propensity for highlighting new sounds: we're getting a fine number of tape labels--those bastions of the underground through which small runs of cassettes by great bands are produced, sell out, and are never heard from again--to upload their wares, for technologically perpetuity, to the Free Music Archive. While analog and digital are not exactly Luddism and Technocracy, the leap being taken is still a pretty big one, and it's real exciting. Two particularly rad small-run labels from Montreal typify these new FMA additions: Campaign for Infinity, whose FMA page boasts releases by an ever-increasing host of great bands (among them Grand Trine and The Pink Noise, both subjects of past FMA blog posts), and Pasalymany Tapes, which kindly provides us with releases from such bands as the venerable AIDS Wolf. Yeah, we've a new frontier on our hands, one in which the relentlessly truth-seeking creative component of the cultural equation is finding expression through the powerful means of technology all without losing an iota of humanity, as proven by the beautiful song by The Friendly Dimension reproduced below. Indeed, mindless monoliths had better look out, for the game's dimensions have changed.