Higher Learning

On Music as Space


Because of its significance to social action and relations, space is theoretical tool in understanding power. Much power is spatialized, as the use and control of space are continuously negotiated.
Those in power specifically, the state attempt to maintain their position through division and control of space, what Foucault calls spatial ‘techniques’ of domination: maps, censuses, quarantines, surveillance; all facilitate control through the segmentation of space and separation of groups or individuals by those in positions to produce knowledge.

Part of the power in space lies in the possibility of creating and maintaining difference and hierarchy through it. The most practical Marxist example is the skewed distribution of resources through space and the associated uneven development, but difference is also created symbolically through the naming and ‘knowing’ of spaces: the differentiation between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ neighbourhoods, ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ nations. Factories, prisons, public housing projects, gated communities, shopping malls and coffee shops are all examples of urban spaces through which social difference is constructed and sometimes challenged. ‘Othering’, then, is also done by delineating belonging and otherness in spatial terms: place of birth, area of residence, workplace, spaces of leisure and consumption. In the process, meaning is created not just in but through space.


Music is a spatial phenomenon, as it is tied to specific places, is implicated in how sites or spaces are perceived, and is intimately connected to the travel of people, goods and ideas through space.
Music and musical cultures are integral in shaping discursive, textual spaces or spatial narratives that are not necessarily pinned to one physical location but rather can be applied to various ‘real’ material sites, giving meaning to a range of spatial experiences and practices.
Part of this discursive spacemaking involves narrating new contexts for struggle or contestation.

Gibson, for instance, discusses Aboriginal popular music in Australia and how the musicians are involved in the construction of differently scaled ‘arenas of empowerment’ that offer space for indigenous self-determination. The production and consumption of music take place in specific spaces that gain meaning through these locations, just as they imbue the music itself with meaning. Stanley Niaah shows how the dancehall in Jamaica, with its inner-city core, is a liminal space, both marginal and central, in which celebration, conflict and memory are musically inscribed.
The spatial importance of music is also evident in crossing global distances and divides, more easily even than visual or purely textual media, connecting like-minded groups across the globe by forming what Carolyn Cooper, after the poet Kamau Brathwaite, calls

‘bridges of sound’.

Found in chapter Music, space and power from:

Surinamese Maroons as reggae artistes: music, marginality and urban space
By Rivke Jaffe and Jolien Sanderse, 2009.

Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol. 33 No. 9 October 2010

Image source:
dancecourseja.com

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Higher Learning, Yogi Dread

The Women’s Meditation Tradition in Tibet

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Babylon Report, dUb, Dub Disinfo Department, Higher Learning

On sound and fear

Sound is often understood as generally having a privileged role in the production and modulation of fear, activating instinctive responses, triggering an evolutionary functional nervousness.
The power of sound to instill dread was well known to the heavily outnumbered Maroons, the tribal nation turned guerrilla fighters who claimed a number of astounding victories in their asymmetric conflict with the English colonialists in Jamaica during the
late eighteenth century.
The abeng, a fashioned cow horn, had two uses: by slave holders to call the slaves to the cane fields and a “traditional form of communication among the communities, warning them and sending messages across difficult terrain.”

The Maroons used the  abeng in tandem with their other special techniques—drum communication, the ambush, and camouflage—in order to outwit the British: “They embedded themselves in leaves and vines and melted into the surrounding bushes. The
British repeatedly walked into clearings where their surroundings would suddenly come
alive and close in on them.”

The abeng, as a system of communication, produced signals “reproducing the pitch and rhythmic patterns of a fairly small vocabulary of Twi words, from their mother language, in most cases called Kromantin (Maroon spelling) after the Ghanaian port from which many slave ancestors were shipped.”

Sentries stationed outside the villages would  use the different pitches to communicate the British approach, the extent of the weapons they carried, and their path. But the abeng also had another affective function: to scare the British with its “hideous and terrible” dislocated tones, sometimes managing to repel the invaders with sound itself. Gradually, as the British learned to assign a cause to its shrieking, high- pitched sound, their terror of Maroon ambush only intensified.

Found in 1738: Bad Vibrations, from:
SONIC WARFARE Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear, by Steve Goodman.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2010.

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Higher Learning

Thomas Roebers and Floris Leeuwenberg – FOLI

This reminds me of one time Bob Marley saying that reggae music comes from the rhythm of man chopping woods. This film is a “extraordinary blend of image and sound that feeds the senses and reminds us all how essential it is.”

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dUb, Higher Learning

DUBUMENTARIES SELECTION VOL 1.

DUB STORIES (2006)

DUB ECHOES (2009)

MUSICALLY MAD (2010)

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dUb, Higher Learning

THE BUG ON MUSIC INDUSTRY CARICATURES

The music industry in general seems obsessed with making one-dimensional
caricatures out of musicians. In any case, we were trying to decide how we’d do this live. I went back to how I used to begin with The Bug, and how I worked with Techno Animal-I’d break everything down into its component parts and then dub everything out, to the max. It wasn’t an easy thing to do. We weren’t getting much out of the first few shows.

By nature of the construction of the songs, the relatively deep, melancholy sound would be reduced to being background material to idle chatter, our input becoming an accessory to a night out, which is the opposite of what I love in music: its emotional or artistic content leaving you devastated.

By The Bug, from THE BUG by Jace Clayton.

BOMB, No. 114 (Winter 2010)

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dUb, Magu Shan Dub Tong

CELT ISLAM – GENERATION BASS

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dUb, Magu Shan Dub Tong

SCIENTIST @ ZAGREB 2010

SCIENTIST DUBS KSET SCIENTIST SENDS KSET TO OUTTA SPACE..Man was there doing soundcheck for 4 hours straight, running cables, hooking up this and that until the sound was PERFECT! Billah soundchecking and first tune played Scientist gwan “That’s nice!” Jah Billah playing opening set of 140 BPM mix in lock dub to dubstep with digital soundsystem setup running dub sirens & lasers in endless tape delays. Dub chemist dubbing was top a toppa champion dub play live experience.

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dUb, Magu Shan Dub Tong

BRUCOŠIJADA FILOZOFSKOG 2010

BRUCKA FF Big Oz & Jah Billah runing that place red playing a set of electro bashment moomba tunes. Should point we nah support male nudity art as such but college boys find it funny!

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