February 1, 2009

Pop and Things Like That

After reading this post from Owen, of South East London, connecting post-punk with brutalism, and this post, by Charles, more Building-Songs are in order.

If architecture is a part of the contextual condition which leads to pop, and therefore helps to dictate the course of music written in such a context...

The broken glass, boarded up windows, and dark alleys along with authoritarian housing projects like Cabrini Green definitely portray the underpinnings (anger and poverty) of the early 90's gangsta rap movement.

Maybe a little dark, but I thought it was a pretty good Building-Place/Song. Perhaps architecture has always been ahead of its time, and therefore has failed to meet the goals of its intended users because the social conditions change so quickly. By the time conditions are right for Modernist social housing, the buildings are already outdated? This is a huge success of PostModernism. Going back to the Charles Moore/Soul Train pairing, perhaps Moore and Venturi were on to something. When architecture looked to pop, it "slowed down" and became humanist again. The incorporation of playfulness and pleasure relates well to Pop.

On a lighter note, this is the elementary school that I attended. Parkside Elementary, Columbus, IN. Look at the beautiful grass, the trees, and the curvy entrance. A suburban dream. Nintendo music, while imported from Japan, is a kind of audible PCP, made to entrance children into their dreamy suburban existence. Even the MIDI structuring of the music suggests the modernist rigidity seen in Parkside's bay system.

Or maybe that concept would be more fitting if you knew that there was a brutalist elementary school that was our rival. Southside Elementary, 1969 by Eliot Noyes.

I am not saying that Nintendo music was explicitly made in a conspiracy from the Japanese ministry of education and Nintendo, but the cultural constructs, which govern and tie together architecture, pop, music, government, etc. infuence music and architecture, and are also influenced by each.

1 comment:

GCGM said...

Very interested in this architecture/music discussion. I'm quite into the idea of UK 'new town' music - you might want to check this post on my blog:


Definitely a post-punk thing in this instance. Also, I've heard Autechre described as 'brutalist' - what other examples are there of brutalist music?....GCGM