Head of the Department of sound engineering of the Krasnodar Institute of culture Fedor Shaq is the only Russian art historian, defended his doctoral thesis on jazz, — told “AIF-South” about how the market affects what we listen to, how to change the world of streaming services and why live performance will always be relevant.
A taste for jazz
Fedor Ponomarev, “AIF-South” Fedor, I listen to music everything but studying it units — how is it that she became the object of your research?
Fedor Shaq: Interest motivated by family tradition. My parents studied music, so I’m still at childhood games heard of Beethoven, Prokofiev, Coltrane. At that age you still do not understand the complexity of the musical concepts, but absorb them. Later began to develop a professional taste. Of course, he contrasted tastefully peers, but the school, of course, caught up in the flow of grassroots forms of mass culture, but it was temporary. Came to jazz via his father — he had a very large collection of records we listened to together. Initially rejected jazz, and in 16 years I realized: John Coltrane plays such elaborate solo — this is space meaning, semantics, content! So I got jazz.
— Even 20-25 years ago the music fan have to look for a recording on physical media — not felt in Krasnodar away from the music stream?
— Yes, adolescent sense for me was the search for rare records releases. And that was the problem — in kiosks and shops have dominated mass music, but decided streaming services: Apple music Spotify. They changed the entire autoindustry — small firms, recording avant-garde non-commercial music, used to be crushed by the big companies. And the development of streaming has allowed them to come directly to the listener.
Again the Internet allows you to listen to music anywhere, it means, the live performance is not so important?
— Live music doesn’t die, especially serious genres — classical music and jazz. The same jazz — a material that until you hear it live, not fully understand some of the nuances. When the musician during the recording records numerous takes, he gets tired, plays in full force. And alive, and even when on the rise, he reveals a hundred. This is a particular music psychology — there are artists who are Studio recordings pressed and do not show all that capable. Especially in jazz, where, as a joke, the same musical phrase twice in the same way never will play. The records only give you 70% performance, the rest get only with a real perception. Here, of course, colleagues from London and Paris have the advantage that they can listen to three or four set one artist on different days. And it gives a complete impression. After all, musicians — real people and just can be out of shape, tired after a long flight. Once I spent three straight days listening to the festival of the trumpet on the first day, he apparently didn’t sleep, but the next shocked even me, even the sophisticated listener.
The market decides?
— It is clear that jazz is your main interest, but perhaps his time has not yet gone? Still at the peak of popularity he was still in the middle of the last century?
American trumpeter Wynton Marsalis is the only jazz musicians who had in 1990-e years the Pulitzer prize in the nomination “For an outstanding piece of music”, succinctly said, “the art of Jazz has become a Museum of fashion”. Yeah that music festivals, for a Mature audience. She influenced the market, which, unfortunately, washes out creative ideas. It makes me sad.
I’m tracking everything that is happening in jazz in the United States, Europe, and of the thousands manufactured annually records a maximum of 20 interest. The most valuable things in jazz improvisation. The more whimsical the soloist thinks, the less his template in terms of harping on the topic, the more creatively attractive. Unfortunately, I show in this dissertation, many jazz musicians are moving toward commercialization. The musician knows — if I play hard, I will appreciate a small group of specialists. And if you play on stereotypes — they understand a lot, but in the end all music transformirovalsya in commercial cereal. It is sad that she is welcome.
— About the commercialization’m not just talking in regards to jazz, and whether it is possible to divide music into the right and wrong, elitist and mass?
The last six years I was engaged in the material that formed the basis of his doctoral dissertation, which examines jazz in the complex interdisciplinary aspect. There are quite complex approaches, which, because of secularists difficult to make public, but try as much as possible to tell simply and clearly. Representatives of the Frankfurt school of philosophy Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer still in 1940-e years, proposed the concept of “cultural industry”. They believed that Western capitalism, especially in its North American variant, will transform the art for themselves. Adorno gbcfk that the new styles of mass music doesn’t particularly need a simple audience — she only consumes what she provide. That is, the market produces new musical trends, determined not creative potencies, and the producers and the market. Recall, Adorno foresaw all this back in the 1940s. Then about these theories forgot to 1970-80-ies. In post-Soviet Russia Adorno’s been doing very little. In a doctoral dissertation on the basis of his theory, I offer my own, more original concept. And come to pessimistic conclusions — the dominance of the market is not going anywhere, therefore, will be to develop simplified and marginal varieties of popular music.
— And what is seen — as the music itself, the texts, the behaviour of the singers?
— Far beyond the examples do not have to go for the last 20 years we have seen an absolute legitimation of the Mat in the songs, imagine that in the middle of the last century was impossible. Why Mat has become a normative part of the text? Not because of the need to clear this layer of vocabulary, but because certain market players believe that the way the songs are better sold.
Rap with us for a long time
— Fedor, in your opinion, we can only assume what kind of music will listen to people in five to ten years?
— If to speak about the mass audience, like hip-hop with us for a long time. Last year the Pulitzer prize was awarded, for example, the rapper Kendrick Lamar. There was a time when it was handed over by sophisticated composers-minimalists, and now the rappers.
So the rap culture, I think, will function for a long time, especially in America. By the way, about how hip-hop became popular, telling an American scholar: in the late 1980s hard rock, which made the cashier of the big labels has become worse to sell. Bosses of show business got together and chose rap as a new form, giving him the preference at the level of the media have been spinning on MTV. So in the 1990s associated with the rap genre articulation entrenched overseas and started to export to Europe.
In the Old world of mass genres are very fluid and often repeat what already existed before. For example, in the 1990-ies in Britain appeared trip-hop: Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead. These musicians actively use samples from pop music of the 1950s to build a new material that differed rhythmically and structurally. Something fundamentally new in the mass music we are unlikely to see.
If to speak about more serious music, then it is important to the development of digital media. There was, for example, streaming service “Idagio”, which is profiled on the classics, with an emphasis on sound quality — stream files from flac files — no compression, artifacts. And a completely different interface — a lot of data on artist, year of recording, as for the listeners of Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert important, who conducts, performs. I am glad that the economy generates new startups who are doing this music.
— And the last question: Krasnodar, in your opinion, the city of music?
— The city has changed for the better in the last quarter of a century. But I think Russia needs to move on — open a new concert venue. And then I have hope for our patron Sergei Galitsky, who built the stadium and the Park. I would like to see in our city’s modern concert hall. Music is strongly tied to the infrastructure if not modern, creative places attract young people, then there is stagnation.
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