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Postmodern music

Research based task:

The focus of your task will be postmodernism in relation to music. Please read
through this sheet carefully before asking me any questions as most of the
answers can be found in this document.

Theories and questions to help

Homage does your chosen artist use other peoples music in a respectful way?
Are they bringing a potentially overlooked or forgotten style to a new audience?

Parody does your chosen artist use other peoples music in order to mock it
and its fans? Are they attempting to damage the authority of a style of music?

Bricolage does your chosen artist use music from different time periods or
genres? Does this change the meaning of the original song?

Intertextual References does your artist reference other songs (lyrically,

melodically, stylistically, visually) in their work?

Simulacrum Is your artist real or merely playing a character? For many

mainstream artists, their image is just as important as their sound (if not more
so), postmodern artists play with ideas of image in the way they re represent

Consumption how does your chosen artist wish their music to be consumed?
Is there an artefact (object) that accompanies their music?

Creation how does your artist create their music, are they a musician, a
songwriter, a composer,

Performance does your artist play live? Is there a show to accompany? Is

there a style to their videos? What if any interaction is there with their
audience? [No strong sense of history or the future. Alienation is
abolished by saying, 'Utopia is now' as in raves or music festivals. Even
a critic of postmodernism like Hans Magnus Enzensburger has observed,
'consumption as spectacle is in parody form the anticipation of a utopian
situation' (1974).]

Influence Has your artist influenced the wider world of music (are other artists
keen to collaborate, have mainstream artists appropriated their sound)?

For the higher grades you will need to have an understanding of music that
relates to the following areas:

the postmodern sensibility that anything can be considered cool in an

ironic I know its bad, but its so bad its good way

Work that is created based (entirely or in part) on older material.

This incorporates sampling and will take you from the realms of hip hop
culture transporting you finally in todays modern fragmented musical
landscape. You will have to listen to some of the artists to fully appreciate
them and their work.

Audiences that are both niche and mainstream. E.g.: Radio 1, 1xtra, BBC6,

All of the above need to have example attached to help them make sense. The
examples need to have explanations that place them within a postmodern

The following essay extract may prove helpful.


Postmodernism celebrates the end of what the French philosopher Jean Franois
Lyotard calls the 'grand narratives' of history - reason, progress and socialism
and the dissolving of semiotics into a merely libidinal 'energetics'. Nothing is
fixed any more, and ideology is in a war of position, a struggle for space
Postmodernist philosophers like Jean Baudrillard emphasise how the barriers
between art, literature and a wider political and social life are now non-existent.
Bono and Chris Martin (both, ageing male rock stars) become authorities on the
environment and development economics). School students know more of the
cultural life of their country (TV, films, and above all the internet and its
applications) than teachers.
Possible artists to include in your research:
Kanye West Madlib

Aphex Twin Grimes

MF Doom Animal Collective

Oneohtrix Point Never Vampire Weekend

Blood Orange Radiohead

Young Fathers Lana Del Rey

Ariel Pink Neon Neon

The Avalanches Danger Mouse

Damon Albarn Daft Punk

Brian Eno Beck