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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

by Julia Webster


The term ‘hauntology’ was first used to identify a certain genre by an author from the K-Punk blog named Mark Fisher in 2006. He used it to identify this eerie, dark genre that was being signed by the label Ghost Box. This label was founded by Jim Jupp and Julian House. Their music fused a few interesting themes. This one I read up on was called musique concrete, which is french for concrete music and is an electroacoustic genre that is pretty much composed of ambient sounds combined with voices as instruments instead of for lyrics. It’s not restricted by melody or rhythm or any musical rules, really. That’s a super old genre from the 1940’s, and judging by it’s lack of structure, totally inspired what we know as noise music today. Hauntology also incorporates soundtracks, hip hop beats, and interestingly, esoteric pop-culture references. It’s supposed to create this “parallel” reality inspired by a British past, which is where it came from.

                              You can click the image below to check out the Ghost Box website

The term “hauntology” was not originally used to describe this genre of music. It was originally a term discussed by philosopher Jacque Derrida, as a play on Karl Marx’s introduction to the Communist Manifesto when it said, “a spectra is haunting Europe - the spectra of communism.” You’re supposed to say hauntology with a french accent apparently. Derrida introduced ‘hauntology’ within the philosophy of history in 1993 in his work Spectres of Marx where he discusses with “the paradoxical state of the spectre, which is neither being of non-being”. The idea suggests that the present only exists with respect to the past, and that society after the end of history will orient itself towards ideas and aesthetics that will be thought of as “old-timey” or buzzer– in other words, the ghost of the past. Therefor the end of history will be unsatisfactory.


 Jupp & House of Ghost Box

With this in mind, hauntological music has taken a playful approach to the past. We can all see that pop culture and fashion is a rip off of past fashion statements and trends and hauntology attempts to play with the darker side of it, playing off the ‘ghostly’ aspect of resurrecting old themes.


Playlist for April 1, 2013

The Advisory Circle // Civil Defense Is Common Sense

Belbury Poly // The Willows (for The Willows)

Roj // Inhale Exhale Love

The Advisory Circle // Everyday Electronics

Pye Corner Audio // Sleep Games

Mount Vernon Arts Lab // Hobgoblin

The Focus Group // Activity and Scales

Broadcast and The Focus Group // Witch Cults

Coil // Going Up

Burial // Homeless

Cyberwave // Under The Willow Trees

Hong Kong In The 60s // Exploring The Landscape

The Caretaker // Of Grace and Providence

Oneohtrix Point Never // Returnal

Mary Shelley & The Implicit Order // Another Chore

i! // Quantum Entanglement


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