Ultra-blackness in Music. A Non-Mixology

What is Rhythm?

What is Rhythm? Rhythm is a temporally extended pattern in which information-transmitting processes take place. It can be described by the following parameters: spatial (distance, movement, neighbourhood), temporal (speed, limit of human perception, infinite time scales versus finiteness), amplitude (inaudible silence, subaudiosonic warfare), frequency (ultrasonic earthquakes, infrasonic, brain processing patterns) and super-position (cognitive processing power). Frequencies have long been used for warfare by weaponizing the periphery of the acoustic spectrum as infrasound (< 20 Hz) and as ultrasound (> 20,000 Hz). (Cf. Goodman 2009) Certain techniques are required for such frequencies. These can be found today in the leisure industry as well as in civil and military research; they are scattered from techno clubs to low frequency active sonars to long range acoustic devices (LRAD). In city centres, »mosquitoes« keep consumption-resistant juveniles away from shopping malls, and systems installed at airports use special frequencies to minimize Noise by reducing or partially eliminating aircraft noise levels by means of counterwaves. (ibid.)

It is possible to study the existence of rhythms beyond human perception by means of technical instruments, mathematics and science. This refers to the observer-dependent reality (information-processing systems) of Rhythm, which is determined by the above mentioned criteria (spatial, temporal, amplitude, frequency, super-position), as well as by its relationship to the environment and to the techno-scientific expansion, whereby it ultimately does not matter whether the Rhythms are registered by humans or not. Can everything that exists independently of our knowledge be understood as Rhythm? Is the environment an infinite rhythmic vibration? No, Rhythm is defined as the unity of its compositions and effects and the degree of noise or unpredictability that determines its capacity to dissolve. Each unit of space-time, no matter how large or small the sampling rate is, is composed/arranged of a variety of identifiable Rhythms on the one hand and on the other hand of quantities of a non-periodical, non-linear, non-rhythmic Noise. The Rhythm emerges from Noise, think of the stochastic resonance (rain – Xenakis); in Noise itself there is an enormous quantity of superimposed rhythms that appear on different time scales with a relative degree of identifiability. Noise is of a higher power than Rhythm, but is not determined by the simple opposition to Rhythm, insofar as Rhythm itself exists on many levels of power and dynamics – from the microsonic or sub-granular to the suprasonic level, and is also determined by sonic variables (the choice of performance or instrument) and by non-sonic variables, such as associated images or the explosion of bombs.

Rhythm and Time

The music-event constructs Time and its parameters are constituted by Time: a quantized, intensive-variable and wavelike Time is inherent in Rhythm; a Time that can also be dragged by echoes and the cloning of echoes, which is broken by sound blocks and is finally remixed. Kodwo Eshun asks with A Guy Called Gerald: »Does Time work in Rhythm or the Rhythm in Time?« (Eshun 1999: 089) Sound and Harmony contain a qualitatively constructed Time, while Rhythm constantly phrases Time and condenses it into intensities and arcs of suspense in the network of the musical event.

The Rhythm constructs Time, it is not in Time, would be the first answer now. If, however, every movement is in Time, then Time must be understood as absolute, whereby there can be no relation between Movement and Time, but only one between different movements. Time thought as absolute is eternity and thus holds the preservation of all possible intuitions. The history of Time measurement and each of its referents would then ever be in Time, so that the measurement must seek a measure that is not in Time, and this can only be a representation of Time. (Cf. Bahr 1983: 464) And Time becomes imaginable precisely through the image of the clock, the movement-image of a uniform, homogeneous Time, which still dominates every empirical determination of Time today. But the a-temporal Dionysian music event, as conceived by Deleuze for example, no longer exists as a representation, but creates permanent transformations that do not allow any closure to closed works. In any case, following Deleuze, the play with Time begins (letting loops run forwards and backwards, stretching sounds, etc.); the Rhythm becomes three-dimensional when it integrates the most nuanced percussion, which in turn evokes posthuman reflexes.

Henri Lefebvre has dealt intensively with the concept of Rhythm in his book Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life (Lefebvre 2013). For Lefebvre there is no Rhythm without repetition in Space and Time, without reprise and without the possibility of return and of measurement. Lefebvre himself initially assumes two forms of repetition that are inseparable in reality, but at least analytically distinguishable from each other: cyclical and linear repetition. In the context of the Rhythmological, however, repetition can never be absolutely identical; rather, with Deleuze the relation between repetition and difference must always be taken into account here, insofar as something new, however rudimentary or minimal, happens through the differentiation of difference, which is always also a transgression: The repetition produces a differentiated Time or a qualified duration through the difference of different differences. Even in linear Times, strong and weak Times emerge – intervals, loops, silence, stops and breaks. Conversely, the movement of the differential internal Time cannot be separated from the external Time (the latter only existing in homogeneous quantitative parameters), so that internal and external measurements maintain a complex relationship to each other. Rhythms are thus based on repetitions, they are movements of displacement and differences in repetition.

Let us stick to the relativity of the Rhythms. They definitely cannot be measured in the same way as one measures the speed of a moving object on its path, namely from a clearly defined starting point (zero point) and with a unit of measure defined once and for all. A Rhythm is only slow or fast in relation to other Rhythms with which it is coupled in larger or smaller units: for example, a living organism or even a city (of course, without reducing the definition of it to that of a biological organism). This leads us to underline the diversity of Rhythms, their contexts and interactions or mutual effects, the relations between complex processes and trajectories, between waveforms and bodies. In this context, bodies are to be understood as bundles of Rhythms that, by opening themselves up to the outside world, not only integrate a multitude of influences, but also represent several Rhythmological systems at the same time which are controlled by local rules qua isolation, closure and just as well opening. Almost all concrete Times include Rhythms, or rather they are Rhythms – and each Rhythm includes the relation of a Time to a space, designates a localized Time or, if you like to call it that, a temporalized place. The Rhythm is always bound to this or that place, be it the heart, the flapping of the eyelids, the movement of a street or the tempo of a waltz.  This does not prevent the Rhythm from being a Time, that is, an aspect of Movement and Becoming. Thus every more or less animated object or assemblage of objects is polyrhythmic; the Polyrhythm is composed of different Rhythms, of which each part, organ or function, which has its own Rhythm in a constant interaction, forms an ensemble or a whole. «Whole« here does not mean a closed whole, but on the contrary an open whole. Such ensembles are always in a »meta-stable« equilibrium, unless a profound disturbance or catastrophe occurs.

Rhythm and Non-Frequency-Politics

If the Rhythm radically differs from metrics and the clock, then we enter the field of non-frequency-politics; apparently this is nothing more than a politics of deleuzian-productive differences, indicating that the Rhythm as a differential phenomenon differs from metrics and measuring science. The non-musicological concept of Rhythmight (Fowler 2015) opens up the possibility for experimental Rhythm productions: We can speak of Rhythmight with regard to non-periodic Pulses and »clicked music«, for example. In the Clicks & Cuts we find transversal disjunctions and heterogeneous temporalities as well as divergent spatial components that overlap and coexist in a Track; entirely in the service of the heterogeneous temporalities and spatial components, the Click shows its invincible evidence precisely when it opens up various potentials that the imperative »Always-proceed!« demands (an aspect of the ultrablackness of music), because the signal is short and without a contextual reference, so that compatibility is necessary, but the further Rhythmic course is not determined. Rather, an indetermination begins to indicate itself through the concatenation. At this point, the Error is not something that is written into the Clicks & Cuts as meaning, but it is a fact that releases potentials. By potentially turning every sound into musical matter and at the same time into an a-signifying sign, which is without a sign vehicle, which must mean something sui generis, the head runs amok. The Music now emerges precisely from a shift in what has to act as a Click, Pulse or Noise in the most minimal symbolic way. Only through the concatenation of a-signifying signs does the material become Rhythm and Music. However, the Track is not a meaning embedded in the character, but a referencing to previous and future signifying chains. Even the traditional sound is not music in itself, but only the concatenation and composition creates the music.  Nono writes: »The meaning lies in the relationships created between the tones« (Nono after Schläbitz 2003: 122).

Through the concatenation of the signs, a loose coupling to the Track is latched, precisely because a »sign« such as the Click, for example, »is not fixed in itself and only proves a postponed presence by giving reference to its subsequent relative« (ibid.). By the series of further Clicks and their postponed return the Track is changed and established at the same time. Where previously impurities or scratches on the vinyl disturbed the ponderous enjoyment of music, noises/signs are now integrated into the music. The Click is too short to associate a fantastic imagery on its own or to tell an already known story, but long enough to work in Rhythmic relation with other Clicks and to come close to the Music of the Real. There is a transversal disjunction that is articulated internally in the Track, but also exists in its relationship to other Tracks, and this implies the transition of the Clicks & Cuts. Transversality is a topological concept, an extending over, lying across and intersecting without resulting coincidence, while transversal Music condenses the Click/Cut in the play between the Actual and Virtual in the Event itself, from the mutation of an instrument, which links the past with the present, to a new futuristic kind of sound. When you hear a Track, Deleuze describes it as power, duration and sensation, which are varied by Tempos, Rhythms, Textures and Sound.

When non-frequency-politics listens to the clock, it does not hear the uniform tic tic, tic, but it hears tic – toc – fuck the clock. Non-frequency-politics works with the Click, which is now to be understood as an inherent stress that falls on certain metrics or beats, whereby each further beat is put under stress and this repetitive stress is the Click-Clock in the Sound – different possibilities of overlaying and concatenating Clicks, Pulses and Noises up to groupings of Beats, which in turn are distributed into unequal patterns. (If the non-music of non-frequency-politics is situated in the non-standardized phase space, namely between periodic pulses and sine tones and non-periodic complex modulations and transformations, then perhaps a neighborhood to Dante’s Bourdon or Messian’s compositional techniques can be found here. Messian combines the Rhythm of each individual bird song with the Rhythm as an orchestra of all birds: on the one hand there is no perfect Rhythmic disorder, but on the other hand the birds as orchestra are not synchronized by a ticking clock.)

Non-frequency-politics opposes the inscriptions of the value which, as differentiator of capital, is the condition for money in all its registers; it opposes the semiotic value or the blows and beats of the signifiers which count the tic, tic, tic of the striking difference as price. In standard music, the dotted production time of the Codes is implanted in the Body-of-the-Music, which the non-frequency-politics in turn knows and therefore allies itself with the pulsating Rhythmic force, making use of an anti-causal method of percussive concatenation that is supposed to lead out of the spell of time (and-when-you-hear-in-Rhythm-you-are-the-co(s)mic-warrior-with-the-golden-imperative-in-the-last-instance: tic-toc – fuck the clock). You now hear tic-toc instead of tic-tic. The Rhythm in this context can be described as stress that arises in the confrontation, shifting and superposition of various Clicks, Pulses and Beats, whereby each coming pattern is even more stressed than the previous one already was. But the pattern as a singular temporal event can also swim, even blur, when it  becomes this series of retreating echoes… the Rhythm becomes a tail of sound (Eshun 1999: 064): stretches of the Rhythm and rhythmic debris which themselves become rhythmic again and lead to sound textures.

For Eshun, such processes are to be understood more as textures than as Rhythms. Scratching is a texture effect per se. (In the works of Yannis Xenakis like »Pleiades« the sound texture of the music is still an accidental element. Percussion pieces, on the other hand, in which the percussion is used to mobilize sounds, are usually not written for percussion instruments.) To understand Scratching only as an operating-error, which serves the production of noisy sounds, goes wrong. But if, as part of this position, every instrument, every device and every machine is to be transformed into a noise modulator, then the thesis of musical sufficiency emerges, which implies that everything that can be heard is musical.

The power of Rhythm generates tension and solidification at the same time; the non-frequency-politics now becomes aware that this power is withdrawn from measure or simply bulldozes it: tic-toc -fuck the clock! is the principle. Non-frequency-politics is irregular »Click music«, but similar effects are also produced by the infinite loop of the breakbeat: vertical, stumbled, contra-, polar-, non-synchronous Rhythms, streams of the sonic matter, which also modulates »liquid states of piano sustain«, »a powersaw emitting treble ultra-frequencies« (Eshun 2009: 167) and »mute horn vapourdrift« (ibid.: 007). According to Eshun, percussion mutates to a »nonlinear malevolence« (ibid: 007) when it creates a creeping, twisting tactility. Basically, the drum machine is already a Rhythm synthesizer (ibid.: 224), which outputs Signals and Pulses in the sense of a blasting machine and new ballistics, which are chained to new Pulses and Signals. Non-frequency-politics generates the Super-Track, is flow in itself or quantum with which their generators flood the metric or beat of the Signifier *ding-ding-ding*. And non-frequency-politics now presents instead of the Truth, which has its telos in the White Noise of Full Speech, with which even the Background Noise, the Real itself is to become countable -, an incestuous conjunction of the principle of super-position and non-commutativity. Waves overlap, cross each other and intersect at the speed of their in-Rhythm-in-Rhythm. (Non-frequency-politics provides, so to speak, the Speed for the Sonic war-machines, while the analysis of the musicality provides the Tranquilizer.) Non-frequency-politics knows that the mathematics of capital are not gods.

Clicks are not only, as explained above, a-significant signs, they are also atoms of music, short individual vibrations that are torn out of the continuum of the vibration wave of a sound. The contours of these music atoms become visible on the computer screen with the help of wave editors. Digital audio technology allows access to the minute detail of a vibration and thus generates penetration into atomic materiality. Digital-electrical machines enable a variety of micrological constellations of humming, buzzing and swooshing noises and thus create an apparently endlessly varying Click Universe. There is the Clicking of quite different densities, the varying hardness and the modulation of percussive energy – and the sound, which is defined by the timbre, can be modulated into shrill brightness or into dark dullness. And the pitch ranges from the painful upper hearing limit to the inaudible range of the sub-bass, which is absorbed by the body as mechanical energy. (Electronic Clicks differ from the percussive sounds of acoustic instruments. Like noise, humming and swooshing they are part of the sound machines that function with electricity).

The technique of ahuman music forces a production of such nuanced patterns that only machines are able to execute them, and when the listener wants to capture the patterns, they sometimes simply run away from him or rattle down like a shower of Rhythm or pull the rug out from under his feet. It is the computerized and posthuman Hyper-Rhythm that as an effect of effects (the structure is the effect) cannot be played by humans and is even sometimes not audible at all. »Hypercussion« and »Supercussion« (Eshun) imply a new rhythmic A-logic when Beats split or shoot each other off, or when they overlap and mutate into »steam shoot needles of hissing air« (ibid.: 036) and »high-pitched hums« (ibid.: 060) and »rattlesnake breaks« (ibid.: 069); accelerating to 180 bpm, where they again blur into the inaudible grains of noise and at the same time build gigantic sound walls. And such Music, as far as its conceptualization is concerned, does not have to submit itself to technology at all, but must understand itself as a form that can be recombined with technology. This recombination of the multiplicities of Sound and Rhythm swallows up the Producer. In parallel, a theory of music-fiction has to capture the essence of musical being and the fractal being of musical objects in order to treat them as hypotheses, deduction and experimental tests.


Non-Musicology, which refers to the French philosopher François Laruelle, uses classical musicology and existing music at best as material. And even the Non-Musicians begin to reduce the discourses of Science and Music to pure material in order to create new pulsating Rhythmights in the interaction with the Hearing-In-Rhythm.

The term »Rhythmight« opens up a new experimental method of rhythmic production (cf. Fowler 2015). Perhaps we are Kleist’s demand very close now: in order to produce great Rhythmights, the Non-Musician must become an automaton like a puppeteer in order to locate himself as a machinist in the ecstasy of the puppet, whereby such an entrancement is associated with attraction that correlates with the following: Non-musicology, following Laruelle, could now be understood as the line of the Rhythmicity of Rhythm as Dance-in-Rhythm, as the event of a condensation that writes itself as the effect of the rhythmizing Rhythmight. There must be no drums at all, so the percussive strike does not mark any point within a rhythmic structure at all. The percussive element rather becomes the nucleus of a sound beyond the harmonic. Part of this new sound consists of acoustic phenomena, which from a classical point of view belong to the minoritarian sounds – clicks, tocking, rattling, rustling, droning, buzzing etc. – like a forest rain of Rhythm, in which the sounds are no longer quite localizable. These minoritarian sounds form at least a noisy envelope for the percussion. At the same time, the Futurhythmachines should complexify the percussive strike or the Beat into the nth-dimension and generate an Alienmight, they should generate the Hyper-Rhythm – unpredictable, fragmented and disturbing – by programming Pulses and Clicks from Noise and modulating frequencies, waves and sampled drum sounds so that the sound vibrates. Eshun speaks of a posthuman multiplication of the Rhythm, of Rhythmatics, which as asynchronous overlapping, repetition and sequencing of spastic Pulses, Clicks and Beats, rewires the sensorium of the recipients and guides the dancers into a kinaesthetic of stutters and false steps, into a »dance of a voluptuous epilepsy« (Eshun 2009: 079).

First objection: The Rhythmachine is digital and it calculates. It is not only electric current, synthetic percussion or even syncussion, which turns snares into clanking knitting needles (ibid.: 065) and the bass drum into a mobile, sonic weapon (ibid.: 114), but it is also »Digital Music«, calculating, computing, dividing and it is Time-Music. Therefore, it always alre5ady contains the potential for standardization. (In a digital transmission, a continuously changeable voltage is no longer transmitted as in an analog transmission, but binary numerical values – with the states 0 and 1 – which correspond to the voltage values. When we listen to music, we are talking about analog signals or continuous changes in sound waves.)

The potential virtuosity of the percussion sound apparatus has long since migrated into the interior of machines (software and hardware), where all soundcards, presets and soundfiles are stored (ibid.: 036); it is a space of potentialities through which the producer has to navigate. The copy now authenticates the original. The limitation inherent in programs such as Cubase etc., should, however, give rise to a possibility space or a virtual space. On the one hand it is a sign of technology and on the other hand it serves to simulate natural objects (shattering glass, toilet flushing noise, rustling wind etc.) – actualised as sound, the sonic excursions mutate into the game-object of the producers. The sound often no longer arises from playing with or abusing the machine, but rather from the machines themselves, which push music into a new Inhumanism: Acid hears the TB303’s frequencies just as they are (ibid.: 095), The producer only follows the trace that the machine has laid. The rigid function of the digital studio is thus accepted, while at the same time the digital studio is to be given further new possibilities through optimisation. However, this musical practice today rather leads to a rigid standardization, the naive calling up and recalling of preset sounds and metrics. The linear is defined here as the uniform sequence or the reproduction of a completely or almost identical phenomenon, and this in more or less short intervals – as in a series of hammer blows, a repetitive series in which, however, stronger and weaker blows and pauses can also occur in regular succession. The metronome gives us an example of the hard linear Rhythm. It forms the starting point of everything mechanical. The linear builds on the identity of the repetitive, on stereotypes, and its rather extensive and symmetrical Rhythms tend to obstruct the becoming of the differentiating difference.

Second objection: From the outset dangers lurked in the technophilic concept of the emphatically schizoid body that have long since become certainty today. The intensification of the body’s senses and motor functions, as driven by Breakbeat and Breakbeat Science, not only opened up new sensory fields, as Eshun believes, but also became a repertoire with which its addressees and broadcasters were transformed into parts of a new wellness- and fitness-movement – subdued and hyperactived at the same time. Kodwo Eshun suspects with Goldie that – »[when] two drumbreaks are processed until they rattle like chrome snaketails, panning around your head in the opposite direction« (Ibid.: 075) – the effect of the music is a kind of liberating body-spasm and a head-shattering twisting of the synapses – but – you have to add it – the accelerating capital has long since managed to panic body and brain much more effectively than the Breakbeat Science (to panic in a good or a bad manner as you will, analogous to Eshun distinguishing the good from the bad cyborg), in order to then expose the distributed body-brain to Over-Spasmization, which, however, should always maintain a good vibration (of the body), but through the permanent invasion, dividuation and the exposition to the supposedly good vibrations the body and brain literally go crazy and therefore have to be monitored and overmedicated again, the body implodes into its own multisensorium and simultaneously explodes as a distributed brain as soon as its central nervous system is finally released into the Techno-City – today, the dividuals increasingly become condensated to typing fingers, spastic bodies and to receipts of attention-reducing and nerve-wrecking informations at the same time when, for example, they desperately try to keep up with the information speeds and masses with their cryptic surfing in the social networks. With the term »spasm«, which Guattari uses in his last writing Chaosmose, he wants to point to the excessive and compulsive acceleration of the Rhythms of the Economic, the Technological and the Social, to a forced vibration of all Rhythms in the everyday spaces of social communication. Guattari refers here in particular to the field of cognitive work and torment associated with it, to which the dividuals in machine networks and systems are currently increasingly exposed. Consequently, spasm is to be understood as an effect of the violent penetration of capital into the field of communication and information technologies, which in turn constantly affect the spheres of cognition, sensitivity, neuronality and the unconscious.

Like the humming, whistling and squeaking, the clicking, crackling and cracking, the beating and knocking (usually referred to as the noise of equipment and machines in operation) appear to be the sonic trash of a technology based on electricity and electronics. Through its infiltration and integration into the Sound, the Sonic Trash has ceased to disturb and often enough mutates into a pleasant sound, a sound element used as a building block for composing and taking its place within a beautiful sense structure of music.

As a rhythm synthesizer, the sonic oscillation (quantum physics of noise) can also penetrate directly into the dividuated body in order to confuse its temporal resolution, which has long since lost its localization in the ear, and its orientation in time, so that it must be over-tranquilized as a distributed brain so that the music can pass through it without leaving traces. Music is never excluded in today’s Mega-Cities and is thus predestined to be hyper-present; it is secreted as panic sentiment or flows through contemporary social laboratories(capital knows only laboratories) in a kind of acoustic inversion of energy processes (contracted and held together by a nuclear force). By circulating globally, techno music (any music today is techno music) transports the postcontemporary energy level – which generates hyperactivity and burnout at the same time – through the central nervous systems (of finance, dance and the dividuals), the latter flooding the techno landscapes like gilded rattlesnake tails. Since the hyper-futurized music, as Eshun says, is the good cyborg, although, with Arthur Kroker, it can also be described as the »ghostly formation of fractal subjects, fun vibrations and panic noise« (Kroker, Kroker, Cook 1999: 187), it makes the technology of capital, indeed capital itself, much better, for example, by establishing social relationships that do not demand property. It then circulates analogously to the derivative, where also its capitalisation does not necessarily require ownership. (From now on Sound as Audio is already connected to the technological dispositives of the production and reception of sound.)

Sampling politics

The theoretical practice of music today always refers to Sampling politics, which oscillates between the knowledge of a current pool of Samples and the capacity to create new Samples. Today, Samples are parts of an ubiquitous media pool, whether they are stored by analog or digital media. Sampling includes the controlled or machinic transformation of the sonic matter by the program, using features such as transposing, time-stretching, cut-up, etc. Sampling is a technology that serves to transform a wide variety of media material. Instead of starting the process of an exact mapping from the input to the output, Sampling usually constitutes an asymmetrical production process by separating the previous signal from its old environment and inserting it into a new one. Sampling thus deconstructs the intentional transfer from the source to the target by installing Recombination as a primary function. At the same time, a memory condenses in the Sample, the universe condenses with it in a grain of sound, whereby the Sample can now again carry a certain old environment with it (Eshun 1999: 180). Samples then produce a reality effect because you recognize the Samples, but they can also continue to produce an unknown effect because you don’t recognize some of them. They then trigger waves of alienation/disassociation and their reception, but also erase thoughts. They produce also de-realizing effects that cut in-to the habit by cutting something out.

Third objection: But especially with the musical functions of Remixing and Recombination there is also a mimesis of the derivative price movements. Analogously, the music market today is always in the process of the -Re of the Re-combination. And the Origin, for which we long so much, is and remains integrated into an endless process of Recombination or Sampling in and on the music market, i. e. the market is a case of an original repetition, it possesses the character of a trace. The originality of the market implies the disappearance of the Origin à la »in the beginning was the market and then came the music-works«, so that the latter today function as nothing more than derivative simulations that are traded to process the -Re of the Re-combination.

Sampling and Hearing-in-Rhythm

Sampling-in-the-last instance functions as a condition of a Non-Musical Production. Sampling, which also picks up the pulsating Rhythmights generated by immanent and generic methods of percussive flights and differential sound structures, does not intend a Being-in-the-World, but a Being-in-the-Music which means a Music that remains radically immanent. Rhythmights are generated and sampled in the last instance by the Force of the Rhythm, and at the same time bind the methods of Rhythmization to an ecological Listening-in-Rhythm. The relationship between Rhythm and Listening remains unilateral. There is only one way, namely from Rhythm to Listening. Because Non-Musicology demands a unilateral relation between the Rhythm and Listening, the Listening-in-Rhythm cannot affect the Rhythm, so that the Rhythm remains closed to the Listening-in-Rhythm. The unilateral nature of Rhythm, however, does not mean that Music is reduced to the Rhythm, but is actually listened to from the Rhythm (plus its territorial motifs and melodic landscapes).

Non-Musicology places the experimental sonic Non-Composition into an ecological anti-ground, the Listening-in-Rhythm. If one listens from the Rhythm, then one listens to the Listening-in-Rhythm as radical ecology (Fowler 2015). The sonic need for the Rhythm or the hearing of the Rhythm, which is usually subsumed under Metrics, is negated. One hears from the Rhythm when one feels that the counting is scattered in the Listening-in-Rhythm (one also does not compose the count of the Rhythm, but constructs the counter-count). Rhythm is now also radical ecology, distinguished from Metrics and Appearance. Music-Fiction works furthermore on the privilege – even in the Hearing of the Rhythm or through the interaction with Listening-in-Rhythm – of liberating Rhythm from any Authority, even from Science, by using Science purely as Material. Freed from musical composition, Non-Musicology stratagemized the Sampling and the Rhythmights with a fractal indeterminacy, the latter counting inconsistently against counting. Rhythmight is now at the same time the non-sonic term for a Non-Musical Practice of Indifferent Listening that replaces narcissistic music and narcissistic listening. Through the parallelization of the Sampling-in-the-last-instance with the tracing of the Rhythmicity of the Rhythm in the Listening-in-Rhythm, Non-Musicology develops a new radical ecology. For this it samples from the Sciences and Philosophy, indeed from the sonic matter itself, in order to construct an immanent generic matrix that is no longer overdetermined by the capitalist relations of production and circulation, but constructed by a kind of objectivity without representation. Traditional music theory, on the other hand, which is characterized by its indifference to the Rhythm, must hallucinate music as Metrics, Order and Composition in order to be able to ignore the radical ecology that is related to Non-Musical Objectivity, which is achieved without the usual representations. At the same time, Rhythmights always have to defend themselves against a perceptive ecology that is permanently infiltrated by the convertibility of money.

The Listening-in-Rhythm can overwhelm the Hearing and its Organ, the Ear, if the Rhythm or the percussion is too mobile, motile and distributed, so that the Ear is no longer able to perceive a clearly defined sound. The sound travels to the skin instead and it is this organ now that starts to hear for you (Eshun 1999: 181). The skin becomes an antenna that simultaneously receives and transmits (ibid.: 059): it compresses, blisters or trembles and breathes these non-verbal »Nirvanas of total tactile telepathy« (ibid.: 099). Bass frequencies generate mightful tactile and tactical vibrations, since the Bass is not only audible, but can also tactually be sensed. Bass-induced music lets traditional parameters of perception of space and time crash, leads to »audio hallucinations«, a music that slips ad sneaks past the ear (Ibid.) Another decisive parameter of the »audio hallucinations« is what Goodman calls »Rhythmanalysis« (Goodman 2009) and is related to Eshun’s »Futurhythmachine« (Eshun 1999: 117).

Fourth objection: Non-musicology contradicts the inscription of the Differentiated Value, which inscribes money in all registers, and it contradicts the beat of the Signifier, who counts the Measure as price and not as the Tic-Toc of the pulsating Difference as Non-Price. The dotted production time of the codes is permanently inscribed into the sonic body. At this point, a convergence between Non-Frequency-Politics and high-frequency-trading can quickly occur.

Fifth objection: kinaesthetics is always also an area into which the military-industrial complex penetrates: »From arcadegames to the Net to simulation games, civil society is the low end research-and-development unit of the military« (ibid.: 119). The Military-Entertainment-Techno-Complex creates both dance spaces and public spaces of insecurity and catastrophes, both spitting out collective paranoia. Paranoia is the classical basis of neo-fascist movements. The cultural industry is the network and playground where inferior technologies are released to spread inferior ideologies. The continuum between fiction and fact has imploded into a catastrophic fold in time (ibid.: 124).

Art, Music and Derivatives (First Generalization of Objections)

According to McKenzie Wark, the artwork today functions as a derivative of its simulation. (Wark 2016) We would rather say it functions in its dissemination and discoursivization similar to a derivative. There are different types of simulation; it can be an MP3 sent with a text to a label. The label listens to the MP3 file and reads the text and makes a decision. The transaction depends on the MP3 file, but it is traded similar to a derivative that maintains a number of relations. Music functions here as a derivative of its simulations in that labels, clubs and concerts (similar to art fairs, galleries and events) present artificial products as simulations. According to McKenzie Wark, art fairs sell art Derivatives of its simulated images. To be more precise, works of art today are risk-saturated financial assets because the economy works with them. On the art market, the artwork potentially functions as a high-risk financial investment that must be protected or diversified for hedging purposes. When you buy an artist’s work, you buy risky positions. And when you collect artworks, you should diversify the risk. The artwork is then part of a portfolio that contains several specific types of risk products to manage the overall risk of the portfolio. The portfolio of multiple artworks is efficient when it brings in the highest profit at the lowest risk. It is a mix that corresponds to the long-term hedge against risks that always include different ways of dying of the simulated values – this can be a dropped artist, the dying of his discourse on which the artwork depends, or the overproduction by the artist himself.

The financial investment »artwork« today proves its authenticity and at the same time its simulative character precisely through circulation and exhibition. (Ibid.) This can also be achieved by a work of art that is totally related to the artist’s simulation. And the artwork can mutate into an accessory of global celebrities by being connected to the art world, fashion and pop music. Some think that the artwork is a rare and singular commodity, but this commodity has long functioned as a derivative that still maintains contact with the underlying, i. e. with its own body and that of the artist, although the underlying falls behind the simulation of a multiverse of images, including that of the artist as a pop star. Warhol discovered how simulation generates origin and how the artwork can function like a derivative integrated into a portfolio of simulated values.

McKenzie Wark asks: Was it perhaps the dematerialization of the artwork by minimalism that made the industrial model disappear in art and paved the way for the financial model in art? (Ibid.) If the work of art mutates from a product of handicraft work to a financial instrument, then in order to survive on the art market it no longer needs any special means of production to produce it; in fact, curators today compete with artists for monetary influence, as DJs do with producers in the field of audio. Curators and DJs are a kind of portfolio managers of »quality«. The next step after the dematerialization of the artwork may be that of the artist himself, whose place could be taken up by algorithmic functions. Commentators, opinion makers and the scientific community actively support the whole range of simulations that anchor the artwork as a derivative of its different kinds of symbolic values.

In this context, however, Copy and Original do not become indistinguishable. But their relationship becomes at least reversible, the Copy can even precede the Original. One sees or hears a reproduction and then wants to see the thing or hear the piece from which the Copy is derived. The Copy has now created the Origin of the Original, not the other way round. The Copy can not only precede the Original, it can also authenticate it. Here, the relationship between art as rarity and ubiquitous information must be considered. This ubiquity can be a kind of distributed Origin, from which the artwork itself is the Derivative (ibid.).

Artworks today are definitely risky investments in the monetary sense, but since Black-Scholes the risks can be represented by pricing them out. Thus, the risks of contemporary art can also be managed to a certain extent. Speculation on art and artists today refers less to individual judgements than to the benchmark set by the competition between a collector with other collectors. Art is thus mutating into a sub-area of modern portfolio theory, risk management and diversification strategies. Theory, philosophy and criticism count only marginally (Cf. Heidenreich 2016).

If the risk is associated with the economization of the future, then, in order to price out the capacity of the risk, a power technology such as that of Derivatives is needed (they are also speculative capital). On the financial markets, capitalisation – the discounting of expected future profit streams and the corresponding trading of financial assets – takes place as a process of continuously evaluating the risks qua Derivatives. Since every future yield stream from Derivatives is contingent, no capitalisation can take place without the calculation, which is aimed at evaluating the risk with regard to a future generation of yields. Capitalisation therefore requires a certain mode of identification, calculation and evaluation of economic events, which must first be classified and then objectified as risk events in order to predict their future profitability.

Whenever a professional trader starts a trade, he tries to evaluate the risks involved. In principle, one can distinguish between three strategies of derivative trading today: Arbitrage, Hedging and Speculation. Arbitrage aims to realise a profit that is as risk-free as possible by simultaneously executing financial transactions on at least two or even more markets. In Hedging, Derivatives are used to minimize the risk (of speculation) resulting from future changes in economic market variables. Speculation means that derivative contracts are bought or sold in order to generate profits from the future operationalisation of the difference between the fluctuating prices of the underlying and the fixed prices of the Derivative. In general, the speculator has various options to work with a much higher leverage than a traditional investor trading the underlying or a security for the respective market price. The speculator primarily trades with the prices of the Derivatives themselves.

Hedging a position implies hedging against future losses, think of insurance against falling prices. Today you buy and sell forward-contracts, options, swaps and futures to determine and realize a future price. Options are derivative contracts that contain the right to buy or sell underlyings at a fixed price until a certain point in time without having to execute the option to actually trade with the underlying at the agreed price and point in time. A little effort now can guarantee later profits. Another strategy is the construction of a Portfolio, i.e. diversification and bundling of multiple positions whose risks are intended to neutralise each other. The venture collectors on the art markets often work according to the portfolio theory. They buy many works from young people. This helps to diversify the risks. Neither portfolio diversification nor hedging, in which the coverage-operations are designed to compensate the purchase of risk papers with the purchase of opposing Derivatives, guarantee the paradoxical stability of the risk which is assumed in the models.

Even if Derivatives on artworks do not yet exist, their (simulated) value is measured in a similar way. Every work of art functions similarly to a Derivative as a calculated expectation of the artist’s future output and the money flows it contains; artists are priced according to their implied volatility and lose value with age. No investor looks at the intrinsic value of the artwork or art asset, whatever that value may be, but it refers to the probability that a return-saturated price will be realized by trading the artworks in the future. Financial potency means having claims on future payments. Liquidity plays a role here, which is not measured in amounts, but in flows. (ibid.) Works of art are real assets that circulate, and their price rises or falls in relation to the price of other assets such as houses or land. Exhibited, shipped here and there, consumed by people – all this is part of their risk management. The difference between the artwork that is valued as part of the asset industry and the one that represents craftsmanship in art is constantly monitored. 

There is a techno euphoria driven by a belief in the emancipatory power of technology. Media art was an attempt to create a technophilic modernism without technophobic boundaries. Media art’s unswerving belief in technology, however, was absorbed by the Art Market, which quickly managed to price out even the installations. Today, the repositories of art work according to market laws and are subject to their fluctuations. Since some artists still resist mechanical reproduction, techno-phobia makes singular works of art attractive as financial investments, and the mass media support this by attributing value to the authentic, even though the relationship between Copy and Original has long since become reversible. The relationship between modernism and the original representations of the mass market is that of reciprocal stabilization, less that of identity or antagonism. (ibid.)

Derivatives such as the ones mentioned above do not exist for artworks or music, but there are at least material-discursive constructions that aim in this direction. In techno music, these processes are driven on a mostly low monetary level by the practically lived ideology of creativity. In a time in which all aspects of life tend to be quantified, measured and traded speculatively, the nebulous term »creativity« is becoming extremely topical; it is part of a new discursive formation of financialisation. The technoid sound production seems to be entirely oriented towards innovation, with which the actors of this »creative economy« are constantly demanding creativity, which implies the will to change. The sale of music goods is to be guaranteed precisely by the creative generation of Difference in competition, but it is precisely the economic compulsion to profitable production that prevails through competition that leads through the Difference to the reproduction of certain standardization mechanisms (the standardized patterns of techno tracks; raves, clubs and galleries, which Eshun calls the nervous system of techno, must meet certain spatial, temporal and aesthetic criteria to function) that counteract the organized trend that sets the »new« as a trademark, in order to push creativity as the dominant trend. Adorno would see the identification principle at work here, which assumes that life forms, forms of production, fashions and things are converging because of the ongoing serial industrial production. (Cf. Adorno 1966) It is precisely the constant interchangeability, commensurability and quantification of goods (in relation to money), to which the parergon of creativity is ascribed, that continues the eversameness of the circulation process, which itself is a result of capital reproduction. But Adorno still pays too little attention to how convergence is produced by divergence. On the other hand, Adorno has to agree again that such a successful integration ultimately cannot eliminate antagonism.                                                                      

Financialization sets in motion a drive, indeed a speculative ethos for the »new«, an appetite for the performance of the »new«. In order to demonstrate their quality for investors, artists and companies today must not only promise future profitability, but also authenticate future innovations, i. e. the constant revolutionization of their means of production, outputs, distribution and sale; an economy emerges that is almost pathologically driven by the performance of the creative. The concept of creativity functions here like an asset that functions as an instrument of power, which through the evaluation and comparison of the outputs of the actors constantly calls on them to be a little more creative than before, with the result that none is creative enough.

Creativity operates here as a floating signifier whose significants roll on and on and reproduce themselves endlessly in order to authenticate the signifier. In the art world, the individual artwork is evaluated not only in relation to the New and Creativity, but also in relation to other works, in particular to other works from which it could derive, and thus has a derivative status itself (which, however, must be distinguished from that of the financial Derivative, since it is precisely today that this Derivative is gaining a determining power and degrading the so-called real economy to a derivative. The problem of McKenzie Wark’s analysis also seems to lie in the blurring of these two meanings). For the artists, the processing of the distinction between Creative and Derivative thus becomes precarious, insofar as other artists, consumers and commentators function permanently as productive test instances that evaluate and differentiate between the Creative and the Derivative in order to constantly fabricate new ranking lists. The value of an asset now depends on that of another asset. Warhol and later the digital industries have further blurred the distinction between creative and derivative, although it still exists today. Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst have integrated the kitsch, post-industrial techniques and leverage of finance into their work. They don’t trade Derivatives with their artworks, but at least they follow their logic. Derivatives are extremely flexible and inexact instruments for tailoring and evaluating risks, and they are themselves commodities or capital; it is about managing risk and leveraging even small investments (such as those found in techno), developing a logic of the preventive future to transform future uncertainty into today’s risk instruments and commodities that can be used profitably without eliminating uncertainty.

Sixth objection: This way of dealing with uncertainty also has another side: it is one of the basic ideas of neoliberalism that subjects are creative and that in the face of uncertainty in the here and now they find the optimal conditions to be creative. In the turbulence generated by the cult of Branding, individuals mutate into risk takers and sophisticated financial actors who make the methods and practices of risk-management their own. And thus security is regarded as part of a decadent way of life, which may even lead to the actors indulging in excessive laziness and ultimately no longer producing anything. However, according to Mark Fisher, it is precisely the elimination of social security under neoliberal conditions that is one of the most important causes of the decline of creativity (Fisher 2015). To be truly innovative, one must be able to immerse oneself in something in a Rhythmized space-time, whereas neoliberalism favors the flat space-time of a broker, in which the interface or the screen becomes its constant companion until the broker himself acts like a 24-hour monitor and absorbs information, market rumors and news in the form of pulsating data packets, or optionally spreads them, in order to remain interconnected with the hyperpulse of the market movements that remain unpredictable despite the permanent use of probability calculations, until he finally embodies in 3D what he processes and manages in accelerated clocked permanence: a »pulsating and fibrillating illuminated dot of money« (Kroker, Kroker, Cook 1999: 1905).

Seventh objection: Culture industry

With the modification of a Baudrillard quote regarding the infinitely choosing chooser one could write: The culture industry irrigates and energizes the excited and at the same time exhausted nervous system, lets people hear until they themselves want to hear more and more often, and they would actually like to hear much more. This does not mean that they have a taste or believe in the meaning of music – on the contrary, it expresses a boulimic desire for hearing: the music system is devoured and digested in a voracious and excremental way. One gets rid of it by an excess (not by rejection, but by a digestion disorder) – the whole system is transformed into a huge white music belly.

This also means that the retro mode in music has finally become ubiquitous. Although there have been retro tendencies in Pop based on fashion from the beginning, but for a time, until the 1990s according to Fisher, it was possible to distinguish »retro« from so-called contemporary music, which captures the moods of a period. Today, all retro styles are sold as contemporary precisely because there are no truly contemporary alternatives. That was truly eerie. The retro mode has thus become the standard, i. e. styles, fashions and objects that are retro are sold as contemporary products, precisely because the real innovation no longer takes place in the present. If everything is retro, on the one hand it is pointless to call certain phenomena retro, on the other hand nothing is retro anymore. Time would be white. (ibid.: 2015)

Ultimately, however, the insistence on the contemporary always takes place, whereby the present appears to be eternally extended or stretches like cheese that never melts. The contemporary coagulates into a time that occupies the present, the past and the future. Over time it becomes like all transit places – shopping centres, airports, museums and sports arenas: It has become completely replaceable in all its dimensions (past – present – future), no matter what year we are in. Because it is replaceable, the contemporary is also standardized. »Being up to date« was already an insult to Nietzsche, who proudly proclaims at the beginning of his essay Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben the untimeliness of thinking, »i.e. acting counter to our time and thereby acting on our time and, let us hope, for the benefit of a time to come« (Untimely meditations,  P. 60). This insult continues.

Mark Fisher more or less sums up what Frederic Jameson described long before him. Jameson registers in postfordist culture an equivalence between the accelerated circulation of differences at all levels of social activity, the design of use values, symbols, habitus, etc., and at the same time their unprecedented standardization and functionalization – Jameson writes: »What then dawns is the realization that no society has ever been so standardized as this one, and that the stream of human, social and historical temporality has never flowed quite so homogeneously« (Jameson 1998: 59f.). Homogeneous time crawls ahead, not by means of the crude »naked repetition«, which always repeats the same thing, but precisely by means of the »clothed repetition« of differences often mentioned by Deleuze, which in the course of the repetition of variation interiorizes the condition of its own repetition; i. e. »clothed repetition« is the interiority of value as Difference-in-itself. It is dominated by a strangely stratifying force – a Time apparently filled with colorful contents, but which remains subject to capitalization. The appearance of radical novelty constantly circulates, while in reality one preserves.

One would now have to speak of something like a versity (equalization), an inversion and mutation of diversity. It does not mean the elimination of Difference or socio-cultural differentiation; on the contrary, versity uses difference as its real substrate to generate certain standardized organizational systems. New ordering systems and power technologies are constantly being generated that absorb or modulate differences. (The activities of the mutual influences of the respective net nodes can be described with diffusion-reaction-equations and this leads to the recognizability of patterns and cluster formations, e. g. of disease foci and -courses. It is also easy to understand that graph theory can be used to map or illustrate certain parameters such as density, relation and relata of economic variables in the context of monetary transactions on the financial markets. The algorithmic infrastructures create certain conditions for the normalization and standardization of the respective communications and transactions. Biopolitical methods of control are used preventively qua »Big Data«, e. g. by evaluating the data on Twitter and Google, in order to build up epistemological networks that can serve governmental biopolitics in the global context for the early detection of riots and epidemics of all kinds.)

Of course, Adorno would immediately be on the spot when he writes about the culture industry: »Thus, the expression ‘industry’ is not to be taken too literally. It refers to the standardization of the thing itself – such as that of the Western, familiar to every movie-goer – and to the rationalization of distribution techniques, but not strictly to the production process (Adorno 2005: 100). For Adorno, the rationalization of artistic process techniques, such as the well-tempered piano, is successively accompanied by the transformation of artworks, of objects enveloped in an aura, into standardized goods. According to Adorno, a certain technical treatment of the artistic material leads to the serial production of standard goods that, depending on the medium, have shrunk to a manageable ensemble of signals. Adorno summarizes: Culture today beats everything with similarity. Film, radio, magazines make up a system. Although the statement is reminiscent of a mere economy, Adorno does not want this to be understood as a crude power of determination; rather, for him culture is a system, insofar as the economy is realized in culture as its opposite. (For Eshun, distribution techniques are the nervous systems of the 21st century and, unlike Adorno, he sees them positively – in raves, in clubs and at parties. As matrices of the futurhythmic discontinuity, however, today they are more adequate to the modes of finance.)

Such a critique of the standardized cultural industry and its goods must always deal with the accusation that it is only morally outrageous that capital has provided a product with a price and thus standardized it even before the use value qua design is standardized. The naive objection to such a reality, which is usually called a commodity society, is presented as if it were somehow precisely this standardized reality that should forbid turning use value into a commodity. Bored by such a reality, and precisely because of this totally in agreement with it, critics have forgotten that it is not at all important to accuse the contemporary of not possessing any taste, but of challenging the power of the untimely, which can only be a force of thought. Or let us take the taste. This is what the artist-subject likes to refer to; as Adorno says, in his idiosyncrasy he lets taste guide him. But taste, too, has long since been turned around by capital’s remixing and sampling machines; it is over-capitalized, over-aestheticized, over-medicated, inundated with brands and art, it becomes white (this has nothing to do with the thread of the Tao) – or, alternatively, it is reduced to a one-euro taste in the course of inhibited austerity programs. What if the capital itself takes over the remixing and treats sonic and financial objects in multiple dimensions?

The consumer, as far as he is financially able to do so, today not only wants his need satisfied, but also his desire seduced, and he wants his self-model changed by consumption in the sense of producing a sur-plus (of consumption). The modern consumer is the producer of a reflexive consumption, he not only consumes consumption, as a service provider he also consumes work, as a citizen he is an undead consumer. The desire is satisfied less than it is permanently incited to attach itself to cerebral consumption, which either consumes consumption or attaches itself to commodities charged with visiotypes and narratives in such a way that they construct a phantom image. Products (even those of music) today are less things than phantom images. And so the question for the consumer is whether he drinks the taste of freedom with Coca Cola or Pepsi Cola or how he pushes freedom with the consumption of Red Bull.

Branding involves the production of an emotional and cognitive surplus-enjoyment, which is bound to narratives such as freedom, order, adventure or lifestyle with the establishment of branded goods and is permanently stimulated. For this the commodity still needs a symbolic equivalent, that is the money, to circulate. Only when money is open to meaning it can function as an empty reference structure, as a so-called media transporter that allows the commodities and their signs and narratives to circulate incessantly. Baudrillard has tied his theory of virtuality to the circulation of signs that only refer to themselves in circulation and whose meaning or value is a pure simulation effect. However, Baudrillard’s thesis that meaning and reality implode in the sign cannot be accepted, because even the bits as signs must mean something, but what they mean is irrelevant.


The present is so saturated with retro that we no longer perceive the pure past that is always there. It is this flattening of time that leads to the fact that we no longer have any idea of a future that could be different from our present. Finally, we remain in the present, which cuts off relations to other temporal dimensions and interconnects everything in the present. The present is founded as it disappears at the same moment, and it remains the mere continuity of the present, the infinite flow of actuality and the (digital) automatic of the present. In these orders of equivalence and indifference of time, the unique or singular, i.e. the untimely, is excluded. The corresponding space resembles the one-dimensionality of a white surface. What counts now is above all the position in a network. The present thus lashed together produces exhaustion and hyper-activity at the same time and is lived in transit spaces.


Kraftwerk is perhaps still the adequate, i.e. the transparent music for the transit places. The blacks still say to this day that the technology, Kraftwerk brought to sound, has taken the color out of the music and made it transparent. It is no coincidence that Eshun speaks here of White Synthesizer Soul (as genre), Kraftwerk of the ultra whiteness of an automatic, sequenced future. (Eshun 1999: 100) And it was industrial folk music, as Kraftwerk themselves said, but the people are still missing today. One possibility of resistance would now be to further exaggerate and accelerate the automatic by allowing oneself to be synthesized by the technology itself, to expose oneself completely to alienation, for example to let the cold string sounds of Derrick May wander on one’s skin without indulging oneself in coolness. Yes, says Eshun, this futuristic music resists the ubiquity of the present, it comes entirely from the future. But in a way Eshun himself is still in the industrial age. Techno is therefore also the sound of the demise of the industrial city called Detroit.


Yes, say the theorists of the »post-contemporary« today, time today comes entirely from the future, or at least qua finance there is a kind of anticipatory deduction of the future that emanates from the present and has an effect on it. Capitalization qua Derivatives indeed discounts the future price of an asset in order to generate future returns in relation to current and future market prices. Derivatives thus permit the contraperformative time-binding design of the present and the future, whereby the specific shift of the present into the future qua derivative prevents the actuality of the present from being clearly separated from the inactivity of the future. Thus, the specific time-binding of Derivatives can be understood as a relation between a withdrawn present and a split future, both of which, however, must be actualised and at the same time remain inactualised (insofar as certain possibilities are not actualised). The derivative is anticipated as a price in the future, which of course still has to take place, by calculating the price or discounting it to current values, and it is precisely in this way that the contingent future is used to achieve returns in the Now. This type of economisation of the future has an effect on the present, which is now split itself, and no longer is the one from which one started the calculation. To calculate it down for the actors: their action now has to include the future as a condition of action, and thus the action itself is modified. Here, as Bahr rightly says, there is a virtually anticipated lack or the idea that, for example, one’s own company will simply disappear from the market in the future without innovation and its realization in production, with which one must already deal with now. (Bahr 1983: 139) Here, too, the speculative moment is already set. To put it briefly, the expected profit generates the means with which it is generated. The difference between the expected future and the future that occurs in real terms cannot be eliminated, it can only be managed. Time does not come in toto from the future, rather the real future remains closed. And for finance, it is not only a matter of forecasting the future, but also of disciplining the present.

Non-Musicology (Second Generalization of Objections)

Laruelle would probably reject Deleuze & Guattari’s way of treating music, namely as the capturing of affects and percepts, in order to demand instead an autonomous theoretical order of non-music that corresponds to a non-scientific thinking according to the radical immanence of the real. The real is neither to be understood as being nor as being, nor should it be equated with existence. Rather, the real is the result of a transcendental thesis, it is given-without-givenness and at the same time defined as a negative possibility that stands for every »graspability« of objects and for the rigorosity of thinking itself. (Laruelle 2015: 23) The real remains indifferent to any reflection in science or art, but must still be thought of, but not in the context of truth or reflection. And it follows from this that for Laruelle, non-philosophy is free precisely when it exists as a theory of itself, that is, when it is determined at the same time and is self-determining. A theory, on the other hand, is called limited if, in order to exist and operate, it is determined by another theory. Non-philosophy does not exist in relation to its position to philosophy – it is not located between the philosophical level and the chaos out there and non-philosophy does not demand a »no« to philosophy. Rather, it is determined by its own structure and uses philosophy as its material. 

Laruelles concept of superposition (superposition means that a third wave is added to two waves so that all the waves remain of the same nature).) negates two varieties of sonic thought to develop it as non-representation (more sonic than sound thinking) by considering the incommensurability of the isolation of sound (hermetic to other material, theories), as well as the incommensurability of the exchange of sound with thought – sound which is now porous enough to allow heterogeneous assemblages without introducing them. While the closedness/isolation includes representation as thinking about sound, the permanent exchange between sound and thinking tends towards confusion because it constantly converts or even fuses thinking and music/sound. This confusion reflects the belief of electronic music in its first period (Russolo to Schaeffer and musique concrète) that everything in the world is musical what Laruelle might call the principle of musical sufficiency.

Non-musicology starts on this level with the reduction of music and music science to pure material in order to radically break with the idea that everything in the world is musical. Non-musicology at this point concerns itself with both musicology and music, which in turn is related to science (Xenakis‘ use of stochastic processes). Non-musicology by no means demands a new musicology, but a generic science of music, or to put it another way, not a science, but rather a heresy or fiction in the face of music.

Music-fiction is radical objectivity without representation or intention and contains neither imitation nor search for traces. Rather, it strives for a non-world, which is, however, quite real, because music-fiction always remains related to materiality. This music-fiction does not present anti-music, but demands the mutation of traditional ideas and theories about music. It does not aim to destroy music, but rather tries to resist the principle of musical sufficiency, the belief that everything is musical. The program of non-musicology even utilises the use of musicology to construct alien theories that are not indebted to the principle of musical sufficiency. Sonic thought or non-musicology composes theory as its own object, writes an autonomous music-fiction. It takes Virilio’s statement to heart: »Science and technology develop the unknown, not knowledge. Science develops what is not rational. That means: fiction« (Virilio quoted after Eshun 1999: 004). Fiction implies performance, invention, artifact and construction, but this in a non-expressive and non-representational sense, as Immanence. Ultimately, such a Science must also refrain from the vivisection of life, but not in order to demand the connection of sound production to sensory engineering, which, as Eshun (Eshun 1999: 177) demands, leads to an intensification of sensations, but in order to find a direct path to reality as music-fiction and »music«, which continues to remain closed.

While Kodwo Eshun seeks a phenomenological approach to music with his Breakbeat-Science, Laruelle demands a radical Being-in-the-Music analogous to the photo, which is presented as a non-world of pure auto-impression and which demands a radical Being-in-the-Photo. Thus both the music-fiction and the demanded music remain radically immanent in themselves. Both should be understood as objectivity without representation or as radical objectivity (with regard to the Real). And this does not require thinking about sound as a sonic philosophy, but an abstract theory of sound, a radically abstract aesthetic theory that is non-worldly and non-perceptual and oriented towards the immanent character of music as such. According to Laruelle, radical objectivity generally does not involve alienation, but is so horizontal that it loses all intentionality; it is a thinking so blind that it can see perfectly clearly in itself. At the same time it demands music that is no longer imitation, trace, emanation or representation of what is expressed.

Theorists and musicians do not exchange ideas or reflect on each other, but lose their distance precisely when they create a direct sense of the Real. The theorist who writes music-fiction is not a translator or chronicler of music. In a sense, the theorist, if he wants to remain in immanence himself, must become the clone of a suspended or non-mimetic relationship between music and theory. There is no exchange, no reversibility and no equivalence between theory and music to be reported here, no synthesis in the Hegelian sense that leads to a mutual encounter and to their elimination (Aufhebung) and thus to a higher form. Instead, there is the irreducibility of theory and of sonic matter to be reported; both become irreversible. Exchange, correspondence, trace and supplementarity are avoided. What Kodwo Eshun so masterfully demonstrates, theory as music to which a music as theory should correspond, is exactly what is avoided. A strict relationship between theory and music exists only to the extent that both elements overlap and are irreducible at the same time. Laruelle calls this »irreducible duality«.

The theoretical phenomenon represents at once a musical phenomenon. It is a matter of creating a short circuit between the producer who creates music and the theorist/ consumer who experiences and interprets. The theorist does not signify or represent any truth that is in music, although there may be a circulation of interpretation in which theory interprets music and music interprets theory. This is part of the musical-theoretical difference that is both musical and theoretical in the tension of forces. The truth is not in the music or in the theory, rather the truth of the music is produced by the subtraction of the truth (of the theory).

The non-musical aspect of all music involves the a-synthetic relation between two things, a relation without synthesis. Laruelles aesthetic is based on a unilateral logic in which two terms are not subsumed under a third term, but under the one term. Two terms and their relation are immanent in the one term; the second term is the unilateral clone of the one, which is the Real. This figure contains a new concept of relation that is neither dialectical nor differential, a relation that is not digital.

Today, Laruelle speaks of the non-standard method or the immanent fiction that includes invention, construction and performance, as a non-representative and non-expressive method that is used by abstract thought for a non-aesthetic and which thinks absolutely nothing of a parallelization of philosophy and art. Abstract thinking generates a fractal, depthless, non-objectifying objectivity that is a concrete mode of abstraction. What Laruelle says about the fractal nature of photography can also be applied to radical computer music. Like the photo, object-oriented programming languages such as »Max/MSP« or »SuperCollider« manifest a non-reflective manifestation of identity that has nothing to do with any immersive properties of sound and that also refers to a pre-analog similarity that resembles nothing and is without reference to the world. This irreflexive and automatic process involves the fractal proliferation of models without mirrors or immanent computerization. Instead, non-musicology reduces science, philosophy and music to pure material that it uses as samples.

Today, music itself is already strongly conceptualized. (Eshun develops his own music-design by turning to conceptual alien music that comes from the future and is a synthetic recombiner that increases alienation, the rate of strangeness and weirdness in the listener (Eshun 1999: 005). Alien music brings the one a-human or inhuman music that processes with a contact high from cruelty (ibid.: 046). Eshuns Techno-Science wants to science of the myth, a multiplicity of flourishing mixological math-magick. It calls for the thought synthesizer, which functions as design, production, invention, cutting, pasting and editing of an artificial discontinuum, as a futurhythmachine (ibid.: 006) whose alien discontinuum creeps through breaks, gaps and intervals and is anti-genealogical. It is science of the catastrophe as an act that dissects the formal structures of space and time. In the mimicry of this science to electronic music, both in science and in music the formal structures of time collapse, regressing to mud, and space is pushed back and forth until it bends to be trampled by the pulsations of the Alien music, while the headspace becomes seasick. Alien theory works out the technology or the abstract apparatus to force another machine-music. The synthesizer functions as a circuit or alternating current generator between producer, listener and track. The Moog synthesizer is an amplifier that introduces and carries out currents – on the one hand on the material level, on the other hand as technoscience. Even Xenakis speaks of the synthesizer as the accelerator of sound particles, a disintegrator of sonic matter (ibid: 095) and artificial sound, which has detached itself itself from nature in order not to express any subjectivity, but rather to capture the »objective« sound world-sound and the inhuman »mass of sound«, which does not pour out of the heart, when it comes towards us from Outside, like the fall of rain or the voice of the wind.

Blackness in music

Political music is music without words (in a double sense). It is not oriented towards the world (it has no object in the world that captures it), nor is it a question of perception. Political music indicates a non-world of pure auto-impression. It is radically black.

What Laruelle has described as immanent or realistic can be related to the black as follows: The light and the alternation of dark and bright are central to the classical model of philosophy. A pure black or a pure light, on the other hand, produces a crypto or a non-standard utopia that Laruelle calls »Uchromia« or non-colored. (Cf. Galloway 2014: 145) (The Black Atlantic of Sun Ra cannot be recognized, neither as black nor as music). The aesthetic, which does without representation and is black, contains the superposition of theory and music and leads to a suspended or non-communicative relation.

»Our Uchromia: Learning to think from the perspective of the black, that is what determines color in the final instance rather than limits it« (quoted from Galloway 2014: 145). Colour always has a position, an attitude. The spectrum of colors contains a complex field of differences; the primary colors retain their determining positions, while other colors complement each other as contrasts. The position of the color governs the continuum of light and darkness, insofar as the color leads into a luminous, supersaturated visibility or disappears into the sunless darkness. Only in relation to the black as kruptos (cryptogramaton), which is closed to existence, can we understand what Laruelle understands by the Black Universe.

Only by subtracting from the system of light and colour one can see the generic reality of blackness. Galloway refers at this point to the Haitian Constitution of 1804, which states that, regardless of their skin colour, all citizens are called black. This pure blackness, such a cataclysm of human colour, overrides colour and denies the endless dynamics of black as white or white as black. Black is no longer the limit case, no longer the case of the slave, the poor, the indentured or debt-ridden worker (Galloway 2015: 145) Black is the condition for a new Uchromia, a new utopia of the colored based on the generic black universe. It is about a new form of black justice unilaterally determined by the real, but never by a worldly reality. If you just open your eyes a little, you will see white, but if you open them completely, you will see black. We are this night (ibid.: 150).

And what does this mean for the music? Radical music is like a kind of black box; it is a music box of and for blackness, and the theorist and consumer of music take a place in the black box themselves and don’t approach it from the Outside. There is a non-musical triangularity to report: The (multiple) producer who makes the transversality of the black sound; the black jukebox as an infinite sound of the ungraspable/black; the consumer who hears parts from the infinity of the black jukebox. The immensity of this triangularity is in turn part of the limitlessness of music. In this sense, the black of the music is the basis for the Ultrablack. Producer and listener share the imperfection that only Black can authenticate. Neither can the producer assume that his activity will ever end, nor can the listener assume that he will ever stop tearing fragments out of the music. Ultrablackness then points to continuing, never giving up the search beyond the black and seeking the Ultrablack of the black – while the black jukebox is hyper-playing and/or silent. (cf. Badiou 2016: 42f.)

Instead of Being-in-the-World according to the ideas of phenomenology (even Eshun remains in it, even if it is the world of Black Atlantic), it is about Being-in-the-music. By processing music radically immanent to itself, it becomes political. As such, it is only capable of meeting (not connecting) in and with the outside world.

Today, however, all possibilities of Exodus seem to be closed. The escape seems at least to be desolate. But it doesn’t have to be desolate, even if it is negative, because it is never more exciting than when it spreads out in the streets, where the trust in appearances and words, the trust in this world, disintegrates into a mobile zone of imperceptibility. (Cf. Culp 2016) In these moments of opacity, insufficiency and collapse, darkness is the greatest threat to the relationships that bind us to this world today. But what does the politics of flight involve, what are the tactics of imperceptibility and opacity that appear independent of the forces and relations of capital and are useful for the destruction of this world? The zones of imperceptibility and opacity are less features of reality that can be applied in any situation, but are instruments that are there to fight against this world. It is precisely in this situation that we find ourselves empowered to confront ourselves with the daily rhythms of capital, some of which are also those of its music, and the apparatuses of the state. To abandon the street because it is at the mercy of the military, and to want to replace it by the club or the rave, as Eshun demands, means to simulate the uprising, to only enjoy the cyberactive war-machines of Underground Resistance or Public Enemy, while the logistic cyberinfrastructure of capital and its interruption is not an issue. Although communication is interrupted or derealized when sonic forms attack power or even deprogram programmers, isn’t it the mutual feeding of sound and sonic-fiction that leads to label fictions that have either vanished in the meantime or are  today wallowing in the gambling hell of the entertainment industry?  

Andrew Culp introduces the conspiracy driven by negativity in his book Dark Deleuze. The task is to use negation to say »no« to those who tell us to accept the world as it is. The decisive step here is the construction of the exclusive opposite. Underground Resistance say somewhere that non-appearance is our future, and according to Eshun the Black Power of UR should be invisible, not identifiable, hidden, unrecognizable and not public.

But here, too, dangers lurk: While the human nervous system was extended by the electronic technologies of communication in the 20th century, in the contemporary epoch of capitalism we are dealing with a new, wired nervous system as our electronic exo-skeleton that is permanently irritated by the spirit of technological innovation. There are three tendencies of software culture to report – invisibility, miniaturization and interface. When the gifts of the spirit of the new technology are tattooed on the skin of global culture, the receiver of these gifts, the human subject, constantly rewritten through silent and largely invisible software codes, becomes an increasingly meaningless part in the networks of technoculture, an interface between the machines of production and advertising, a miniature of its political power in the face of techniques of surveillance, databases, automation and dissemination.


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taken from here

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