Hey, everyone. It's been a year now since writing! To be honest, I've grew tired of deconstructing tracks and albums to the point where the enjoyment had been sucked out of it. Let me tell you, it is more rewarding to experience things without written internet bias. There have been some great releases in the last 12 months, though... I'll let you know about them soon. But right now, I'm here to resurrect this dusty space with a response to an essay written by Portia Seddon - MP3 Blogging and the Urban Soundscape.

Her essay touches on a lot issues regarding the pitfalls, cultural relevance and responsibility of writing a music blog that focuses on rare music from other countries - all contextualized by ongoing ethnographic research about the topic.

What I found most interesting was the outright reflection and primer regarding the modern realities of media and power. In the past, media carried the implication that its consumer was powerless... any form of propaganda is a good example. The proliferation of the internet has acted as a great equalizer, allowing consumers and audiences to be critical and vocal. The measure of power is now reliant on reach and clout. Lil Bub the cat (below, now "the toast of the internet" and showing at the TriBeCa film festival) had the same chance as any other photo or video posted online. With great power comes great responsibility.

However, Seddon's essay isn't about how anyone has the chance to gain statue in our new worldwide community, but more about how 'world' music blogs have taken full hold of this idea, which is where her aforementioned research comes in. This group of people crate dig and search exhaustively for rare (mostly African) recordings to share online for free, and then present them as mostly disconnected from their origins. But is it responsible to do so? It may seem as though the internet has made everything better: books are widely available, anything can be exchanged instantly, new opportunities and connections are inevitable. However, there are some things that just can't be replaced by the internet. For one, ethnographic research. In our increasingly interconnected world, how much can we rely on the internet to gain an true understanding of another place? Seddon presupposes not very much. The essay suggests that these music blogs and digital ethnography dilute and may even disrespect the origins of people and things. Many people believe that it is the responsibility of the blogger to contextualize (to some, synonymous with said respect) its history. And some just want to hear it without knowing any of it. The question is whether or not this behavior has the opposite effect of the intention to expose: by separating it from its source, bloggers may be contributing to its obscurity in world musical history.

Analog Africa.

One of the critics Seddon inserts into her essay is Boima Tucker, who likens this trend of finding African vinyl to the "mad-dash for rare African minerals" in the 19th century. This unsettling proposed metaphor is followed up by his thought, "My biggest criticism is not that they are going to Africa to shed light on these ‘lost’ recordings and forgotten about artists. I’m instead worried that they concentrate too much on those forms of music that fit nicely into the story that they, the DJs, want to tell about the music." This irks and conflicts me more than I care to articulate. In the midst of a cut-and-paste culture made possible by the internet (best example: blogs), it is interesting that Tucker fixates on telling people how they should listen and experience things. It was one of the reasons I stopped writing on this page and have become turned off to music criticism in general. The truth is that music blogs do dilute the potential to have an individualized experience. But there is no problem with being able to listen to and share found music in order to tell one's story. At the end of the day, music blogging is a hobby. Let the people dig! They may find themselves in that crate.

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