Sonic Cultures Research Group: 'Increase the Pressure?: Leftist Strategies in Music After Modernism'
|Starts:||16:00 8 Nov 2017|
|Ends:||18:00 8 Nov 2017|
|What is it:||Talk|
|Organiser:||School of Arts, Languages and Cultures|
|Who is it for:||University staff, Current University students|
What is to be done when it’s all been done before? From a socialist/leftist perspective, this question demands urgent attention because those of us who would press for social change need to engage the individuals and groups who make up the society. Are radical aesthetics the best route to radical politics, though? After decades of discussion about ‘post-modernism’, one might imagine this question to be exhausted. However, a return to modernist tendencies can be detected in numerous contemporary leftist theorists, perhaps the most influential of which being Alain Badiou. This presentation suggests, therefore, that we still need to consider the question of novelty with regards to music and socialism in general and politicised popular music in particular.
As a case study, the presentation examines the lyrics and musical content of Conflict’s ‘Increase the Pressure’ (1984). Here, the ‘anarcho-punk’ band argue that the ‘same old racket with the same old songs’ can still be effective given that ‘it’s the same fucking system and it still stands strong’. This sentiment is delivered over a ‘three chord trick’ harmony. ‘Pile the pressure on and government will fall’, the song insists: concerns such as musical innovation and/or experimentation are superfluous, it implies. Don’t we need music that feels fresh and new, though, if we want to engage audiences (especially young ones)? Perhaps not; this presentation takes seriously the idea that we on the left just need to keep struggling forwards but also asks what the role of aesthetic novelty might be within that struggle.
NB. This talk will be held at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Role: Senior Lecturer in Popular Music
Organisation: Manchester Metropolitan University
Biography: Pete Dale studied at Sunderland Polytechnic 1989-92. On graduating, he played in several indie/punk underground bands (Pussycat Trash, Red Monkey, Milky Wimpshake) and set up the cult DIY label/distributor Slampt which ran very successfully between 1992 and 2000. Taking up school teaching in 2001, Pete completed an MA in Music (2005) and then a PhD at Newcastle (2011) whilst simultaneously working as a teacher. He gave up his teaching job to work as an early career fellow at Oxford Brookes in 2012, subsequently becoming Senior Lecturer in Popular Music at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2013. His monographs include Anyone Can Do It: Tradition, Empowerment and the Punk Underground (Ashgate, 2012), Popular Music and the Politics of Novelty (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016) and Engaging Students with Music Education: DJ Decks, Urban Music and Child-centred Learning (Routledge, 2017).
Travel and Contact Information
Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University
The Geoffrey Manton building is located on the corner of Oxford Road and Rosamund Street West, with the main entrance on Jenkinson Street.