Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The beginning of the end of high and low culture

In the land of La Blogotheque, a Parisian-based music weblog, long gone are the days of glittery music videos with extensive dance numbers and special effects. The videos posted on La Blogotheque's website and Youtube channel are bits of raw footage of musicians performing in makeshift locations in Paris, such as a hallway, the sidewalk along the Seine River, or on a a random bench. The quality of these videos, also known as "Take Away Shows" are not much higher then that of my own digital camera. Some of the shots are shaky and the background is filled with noise from the daily bustle of the streets of Paris. Regardless of the quality, these videos deliver exactly what we want from musicians: talent. 
La Blogothque is a perfect example of Sturken and Cartwright's notion that "high and low culture have been rendered meaningless." (p. 87) In contrast to the expensive and much more "glamorous" music videos made today, the economic and non-cutting-edge technology used in these "Take away shows" are "previously a signifier of a counter cultural status" that are now becoming much more popular. 


  1. "exactly what we want from musicians: talent"

    I think we want a lot more from musician than talent.

    First off, talent is not the soul prerequist for "good music" nor is it synonomus with taste. Rather talent describes a set of formal skills which in a specific mode of production. (i.e. John Fahey was a spectacularly talented guitarist but if you do not have a proclifity bluegrass he might not appeal to you.

    Secondly, talent is an assaignment of value which seems particularly inempt for the wide vernacular of contemporary music though these assertions may have been apt in an era of academic music (i.e. German Romantiscm.)

    Thirdly, musicians working within the sphere of media communications (i.e the internet) are not merely musicians but performers and entertainers -- especially whilst working in a visual medium (i.e YouTube) as they are here.

    Lastly, I think its telling how you received these videos. I think blogs like these (and similar publications) opperate under a sense of false transparency in which they revile the practices of "mainstream" media while actually employing a number of the same practices.

    Always Skeptical,

  2. corrections to my post (I don't know how to edit comments):

    musician = musicians
    soul = sole
    skills which in a specific = skills in a specific

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  4. Sorry I deleted my comment. I just wanted to say that this is a cool post. (:

  5. Dylan-I do agree with you that we should expect more from music other than talent, it was just a general statement. Of course, taste plays a huge role in what someone would condsider talent. And this blog may "oppperate under a sense of false transparency," but who knows? Perhaps you've heard about this blog many times before, but I have not, so I can't really consider this to be 'mainstream.' It is not a publically advertised blog, I just happened to stumble upon it while searching youtube. And not only that, their website is completely in French (I don't speak a word of French) which is conducive to the point I made in my post that these videos (well, to me, at least) are not about the quality of the video (in contrast to Lady Gaga or even other St. Vincent videos) and they are not about La Blogotheque. Instead, they are focused on the music made by these musicians/entertainers/performers/whatever you want to call them.