Saturday, January 28, 2017

Review of NSK by Volk

I listened to the track "NSK", by Volk.  The song starts out with horns heralding "good news."  The the melody settles into a predictable melody with a strong 4/4 beat, reminding me of John Phillips Sousa which is perfect for marching.

Because the melody is predictable it is a kind of pop anthem.  According to Adorno this kind of music would serve the status quo or existing order and because it serves an underdeveloped musical taste the song would not have a subversive effect.  Of course no one would want a subversive national anthem.  The whole point is to emotionally focus the listener on his/her proper place as a constitute member of the state. This song has a place in a video game.

I think that the marching cadence is important.  Whether one is actually marching, you can participate imaginatively with the image that you are marching along side the other citizens of NSK and are part of a group.  This is an example of music operating at the precognitive or corporeal level.  Or as Steve Goodman says, "....elementary pulses or throbs of experience constitutive of an aesthetic ontology."

Overlaying the simple marching beat is an "affective tonality" which is understood as representing the hope of belonging to a collective.  Similarly, Jaques Attai describes the orderly and pleasing music to be the "ministering angel" transforming anxiety into joy and dissonance into harmony.

The subversion, if any, here is that by offering a collection of National Anthems the listener can experience the music's call to collectivism in many different songs.  This undercuts the special appeal of your own national anthem.

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