Sunday, April 25, 2010

Aquarium Drunkard

Lev Manovich analyzes "the language of new media by placing it within the history of modern visual and media cultures," which is applicable to my discussion of blogs as a new form of music journalism and commentary. (pg 8) He asks
"What are the ways in which new media relies on older cultural forms and languages, and what are the ways in which it breaks with them? What is unique about how new media objects create the illusion of reality, address the view, and represent space and time? How do conventions and techniques of old media - such as the rectangular frame, mobile viewpoint, and montage - operate in new media? If we construct an archeology connecting new computer-based technologies of media creation with previous techniques of representation and simulation, where should we locate the essential historical breaks?" (pg 8)

I hope to place Aquarium Drunkard within the discussion of history and the development of media. Aquarium Drunkard is self described as "an eclectic audio blog featuring daily music news, interviews, features, reviews, mp3 samples and sessions. Originating in 2005, the Drunkard bridges the gap between contemporary indie with vintage garage, psych, folk, country, New Orleans funk, r&b, soul and everything that falls in between."

Just as Manovich argues the signifance of historical context, we see that Aquarium Drunkard also developed out of something that was not originally web based, but " since spun off Autumn Tone Records, the Aquarium Drunkard Presents series, Aquarium Drunkard Sessions and the weekly, two hour, Aquarium Drunkard Show Fridays on SIRIUS/XM satellite radio’s XMU." In this case, Aquarium Drunkard is a direct product of a record label, which is not directly related to the literary milieu. In this case, I will focus on the question of how Aquarium Drunkard "relies on older cultural forms and languages, and what are the ways in which it breaks with them" (Manovich pg 8).

Autumn Tone Records, similarly to Aquarium Drunkard is dedicated to the "indie" genre, working to promote small, independent artists. The interesting thing about Aquarium Drunkard is that it does not limit itself to the artists which are signed to Autumn Tone, and dives into reviews of various artists, and tries to separate itself from promotional blogs that are often associated with labels or other capitalist infrastructures.

Unlike many of the other blogs that we've seen, Aquarium Drunkard (AD) has kept to a standard blog format, of rolling posts, and does not feature the various tabs and features that other popular bogs have adopted. In this sense, AD falls into the traditional category of a "blog," in the sense that there has been limited adaptation of the original format. However, I wonder, can a company really have a blog? If blogs are meant to be platforms for individuals to have publishing accessible, what does it mean when corporations commodity this resource. While Autumn Tone is an independent record label, they still represent institutions of capitalism, rather than the individualism and discourse that blogs are meant to provide. So where do we draw the line? On one hand, AD fits the framework of the music blog, but if we observe the strictly on an ideological base, one could argue that they may not be a blog at all. Or is this itself a contradiction, as blogs are meant to provide a platform for anyone, but does that include anything.

No comments:

Post a Comment