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"Sandborne," Arabs, and the Status Quo
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Cyxeris



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 4:50 pm    Post subject: "Sandborne," Arabs, and the Status Quo Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

On the way to work today, I pondered my piece "Sandborne," and whether or not I should expect some degree of hostility from its clearly Arabian foundations. In the current climate in which we exist, there are certain segments who may read too much into such a thing, or perhaps misconstrue it's intent altogether. (And just to dispel any such mental meanderings, "Sandborne" was composed in 1996, and was inspired by an engaging documentary concerning to true age of the Sphinx in Egypt that I saw on The Learning Channel.)

This conversation with myself led me to an interesting question: why does there seem to be a relative absence of Arabic and Middle Eastern electronic music, or even electronic Islamic music? And by this, I do not mean influenced music, but, rather, the artists themselves. There is such a wonderful musical and artistic tradition in that region, easily predating any of mine, for instance. Is it a cultural thing? Is it an economic thing? A religious thing?

Many people here know that I am a strong proponent for diversification and inclusionism. Perhaps the answers to these questions may help in hashing out the reasons for a relative lack of female participants in the field as well. I am a believer in identifying common denominators, and this isn’t just an issue with females and Arabs and so forth, and, really, I don’t see it as an exclusively musical thing, either. I like to think of our field of work as a sort of microcosm for the global community in general, in an abstract sense at the very least. Both as things are, AND how they ought to be. And, therefore, I am compelled to work to correct those things, firstly, within the scope of my world, the musical world. Hopefully, in time, these will influence other areas as well.

What do others of you think about this, especially in relation to past discussions regarding the status quo in our field? Perhaps I am reaching, or off base, but I think it would be an interesting dialog.

Cyx

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Last edited by Cyxeris on Sun Dec 21, 2003 5:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Good points made. Hmm.. there are some arabs roaming the net packing monster synths. They should get this way.. and fast..

Anyway, some years back.. 96? .. I was in Tunisia.. and decided to check out the local music. Amazingly there were a lot of interesting releases.. a lot inspired and based on the traditional music.. but these guys were using all sorts of synths and stuff. Great fun. I bought one CD .. hmm.. where is that one?? I have it somewhere?? Don´t I??

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Cyxeris



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have a fairly good CD by an artist who goes by Hisham, on the "Real Music" label (home of Mars Lasar). Fairly westernized, but there is still the flavor of that region inherent (I believe he was native to Iraq, but I do not recall exactly.) Good CD. I wish he were more active.

Cyx

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think I once put up a link here to the music of greek composer Michael Travlos. Extremely gifted guy and the music is awesome. -But clearly not electronic sounding.. too bad his mp3.com page is down.. sad..
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

One of my absolute favorite finds on the late MP3.COM was a composer originally from Syria named Sami Takieddin. Wonderful music. I attempted to contact him many months back to no avail (no reply.) Unfortunate. Excellent work.

http://sami-music.tripod.com/

Cyx

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Aha... surfing.. and Adam Khedheri is also sending me some stuff that he and Sudden just did. Multitasking is my middle name.
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Cyxeris



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm in the Windows world, where multitasking is our middle finger.

Cyx

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
I think I once put up a link here to the music of greek composer Michael Travlos. Extremely gifted guy and the music is awesome. -But clearly not electronic sounding.. too bad his mp3.com page is down.. sad..

I listened to his music thanks to your introduction (but maybe the link wasn't here, if you know what I mean Question Exclamation Twisted Evil).
Anyway you are off topic because he's not very Arab Idea

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well.. yeah... me OT? Never!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Random thoughs...

I lived in Israel for a year in the mid 1960s. I loved listening to the Arabic music on the radio. These days, I often go to the local Arabic restaurant where there is live music and Belly Dancing. The musicians often play synths, usually Casio or Yamaha, which are preprogramed for Arabic instruments. I assume these are special models that are made for various cultural markets. They have great sounds, but not electronic sounding.

Some cultures value innovation. I'm not sure is one would put Arabic culture in that category. Maybe the American and European cultures are overboard on this.

Arabic music involves a great deal of improvisation. I'd think that this tradition would create some fabulous electronic music, if the musicians were interested in this.

Israel is surrounded by Arabic culture and the Israelis hear a great deal of that music. Also, there are many Israelis who are immigrants from Arab countries, and they brought that musical heritage with them. There is a great deal of electronic music from Israel.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
I assume these are special models that are made for various cultural markets. They have great sounds, but not electronic sounding.

I can verify that gipsies are always on search of Korg keyboards because they (the keyboards) have alternate tuning that simulate their (gipsy) tuning system Idea

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Cyxeris



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Some cultures value innovation. I'm not sure is one would put Arabic culture in that category. Maybe the American and European cultures are overboard on this.

Arabic music involves a great deal of improvisation. I'd think that this tradition would create some fabulous electronic music, if the musicians were interested in this.


I would love to visit Israel sometime.

There is a threshold with electronic music that requires an adoption of innovative ideas and methods to cross. Would it be naive or stereotypical to assert that innovation is not a valued quality in those cultures? Perhaps this is somewhat true, but couldn't improvisation be construed as a form of innovation?

My instinct is that the relative lack of Arabic electronica (and by this I don't just mean using synthesizers, Bon Jovi use synthesizers) is the result of many factors, but do you think any of them are insurmountable, such as would be the case with Amish Electronica?

Cyx

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Remembering Ofra Haza

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I wonder how much of a role rebellion and the rejection of the status quo play in the proliferation of our movement. Would it be safe to say that our movement is, at least in part, the rejection of pop music and rock and roll, the dominating genres of the latter 20th century? After all, the sensibilities are very different between the two, but I would not say that the general sensibilities of electronic music harken back to earlier times. I see a unique consciousness amongst people working in our field, at most levels. Sure, rock is still big, but I would venture to say that its age is over, or has, at least, run its course.

However, this is only a footnote to the point I'm making, which is that our movement is the immediate manifestation of a cyclical trend in western music, which can be likened to a phoenix, each manifestation of which eventually falls and gives way to a reformation and a (hopefully) more developed movement in music, different at the very least.

Perhaps therein lies part of the answer. Perhaps in these other cultures there is simply not as much of an imperative towards artistic reformation and counterculturalism, so to say. Perhaps they don't feel such a need to eventually reject their status quo and redefine the "state or their art" as frequently and dramatically as we do. I think that would be more telling of us than of them. And perhaps this would suggest that they don't need an "electronic music" movement the way we do. I think this brings up some very interesting questions about our mutual cultures, and maybe, just maybe, this may yield some insight into the greater social differents, and thus conflicts, between us.

Thoughts, anyone?

Cyx

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I will have to digest this one first. Very Happy You raise a lot of interesting questions.
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Cyxeris



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
I will have to digest this one first. Very Happy You raise a lot of interesting questions.


Are you refering to this thread, or to "The Elektro80 Story?"

Cyx

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This thread... and your latest post. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cyxeris wrote:
Perhaps therein lies part of the answer. Perhaps in these other cultures there is simply not as much of an imperative towards artistic reformation and counterculturalism, so to say. Perhaps they don't feel such a need to eventually reject their status quo and redefine the "state or their art" as frequently and dramatically as we do. I think that would be more telling of us than of them. And perhaps this would suggest that they don't need an "electronic music" movement the way we do. I think this brings up some very interesting questions about our mutual cultures, and maybe, just maybe, this may yield some insight into the greater social differents, and thus conflicts, between us.

Thoughts, anyone?

Cyx


I have no idea. I imagine we should ask someone who might know more.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cyxeris wrote:
I wonder how much of a role rebellion and the rejection of the status quo play in the proliferation of our movement. Would it be safe to say that our movement is, at least in part, the rejection of pop music and rock and roll, the dominating genres of the latter 20th century? After all, the sensibilities are very different between the two, but I would not say that the general sensibilities of electronic music harken back to earlier times. I see a unique consciousness amongst people working in our field, at most levels. Sure, rock is still big, but I would venture to say that its age is over, or has, at least, run its course.


There are several issues. We now have the recording/publishing/label industry.. this industry is new.. at the time of the birth of the early 20th century avantgarde.. they had other dark forces to struggle with.

Rock, whatever that is.. is probably dead.. but this is a creature that gets redfined and reawakens in another form every 15 minutes. I read an article last week which discussed if ... well.. we.. us.. the stuff we are doing.. is rock reinventing avantgardism...

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It is interesting how we can twist some of these arguments and metastructures. Like, one can argue that the music biz and the related industries removed craftmanship and musicianship from popular music. And that the same trend has had a governing control of modern avantgarde until now. Perhaps the time is over for composers to set something off in the lab and returning after lunch to see if art is happening.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Perhaps, but the specifics aside, the cyclic nature of the western world with regards to music is certainly worth taking note of when comparing what we are doing with what is, or is not, happening in other cultures.

Cyx

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Perhaps something has changed? The white western world is no longer neither western nor white. One might argue that we are moving into a global awareness, and one thing a lot of very different cultures share these days is pop and youth culture.. from a consumer viewpoint at least.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If the western world is no longer the western world.. then would it follow the same cycles?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well. ok.

First of all, going back to your original post in this thread regarding Arabic electronic music, are you thinking of traditional Arabic music or any Arabic music? If it's the former, the question could also be asked regarding other cultures, like that of Native American music. And if that is the case, my guess is that the traditional acoustic instruments are a very important part of how the music is made. Partly because they are the traditional instruments used in traditional music. Beyond that, I think acoustic instruments inherently carry a 'soul' to their sound (whereas I think that in electronic music it is the compositional qualities that bring 'soul' to a piece). They vibrate right there in your hands because you are impacting them directly with your hands or your breath. I'm very aware of that difference when I play. That relationship and the 'organic' sound produced can be very important from a cultural perspective.

Not to mention the probable lack of electricity and money. You can make most musical instruments from scratch with natural materials and then just sit right down and play them.

On the other hand, if you are including Arabic electrobeat or techno, my understanding is you can type those terms in Kaza and hit a small motherlode.

It seems pretty scarce on the web otherwise however. Although I did find these guys who look like they might have an interesting sound;
http://www.differentlands.com/artists/amal/eng/default.html. No music available yet.

I've never thought of electronic music as a rebellion against anything. I listen to pop, and I still rock (and I really don't think rock is going to go away anytime soon Twisted Evil ). Actually I found it interesting in Joseph's thread on musical influences, how many of us in electronic music have a background in appreciating jazz. And is that an appreciation of the rebelliousness of jazz or it's innovation? I'm not even sure I see what you mean about the sensibilities being necessarily different. I've always seen it as simply a different way to make music; one where technology offers all sorts of opportunities to the composer that are otherwise acoustically available only to god.

Hmmmm. Ok, I'll think about this. And I would like to hear where others are coming from on their music.

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Cyxeris



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I would define the "western world" as any who adhere to the traditional characteristics thereof. It is so pervasive that it has "contaminated" other areas a great deal. Japan comes to mind. Russia comes to mind-ish. Saudi Arabia does not.

Cyx

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