Deliquescence: Drum & Bass March 2016

My new mix of current and recent drum & bass tracks is streamable on Mixcloud. Recently, Mixcloud’s Terms of Service changed so a full track list isn’t shown before playback. (I’m assuming this change was made under pressure from the RIAA.) Which is why I’m providing the track list here.

Track List [artist, “title” (label)]

00:00 Keeno, “Land, Sea and Sky” (Medschool)
05:22 Lenzman & Forren, “Never Enough” (Metalheadz)
09:35 G.H.O.S.T., “Blood Brother” (Goldman)
14:58 Insomniax, “Lunar Dub” (Viper)
19:34 Document One, “Run the Block” (Technique)
23:01 Response & S.T. Files, “Wanna B 3” (Computer Integrated Audio)
28:23 Pola & Bryson, “Music” GLXY remix (Soulvent)
32:36 Semi Sense, “From Stars” (Liquid Tones)
36:49 Urban Dawn feat. Elsa Esmeralda, “Cloudless” (Hospital)
41:25 Keeno, “Bleary-Eyed” (Medschool)
45:15 Anile, “Stay With Me” (Medschool)
48:17 Subwave, “Tell Me” (Hospital)
52:55 Hugh Hardie & Pola & Bryson, “Lifted” (Hospital)
56:22 LSB, “If You’re Here” Luke’s Tangerine Dreaming remix (Hospital)

New Fronts in the Copyfight, Part 2

Now published, just in time for Fair Dealing Week 2016: Part 2 of New Fronts in the Copyfight, my guest-edited series in Digital Studies/Le champ numérique (DSCN). DSCN is an open access journal in the Digital Humanities. New Fronts in the Copyfight is a series featuring innovative, multidisciplinary directions in critical copyright studies. The new installment includes research articles by Dr Carolyn Guertin (author of Digital Prohibition) on digitally remixed creativity, and by Dr Daniel Downes (author of Interactive Realism and co-editor of Post-Colonial Distances) on a theory of “transproperty.” The installment also includes my review of Rosemary Coombe et al’s Dynamic Fair Dealing (2014), an excellent book, and a timely one, given the fast-approaching review of Canada’s amended copyright act and the copyright implications of the signed but not yet ratified Trans-Pacific Partnership.

New book chapter: “Institutions and Interpellations of the Dubject, the Doubled and Spaced Self”

I’ve got a chapter in Raphael Foshay’s just-published edited collection on Internet culture and politics, The Digital Nexus: Identity, Agency, and Political Engagement.

“Institutions and interpellations of the dubject, the doubled and spaced self.” The Digital Nexus: Identity, Agency, and Political Engagement. Ed. Raphael Foshay. Edmonton: Athabasca UP, 2016.

At the links you’ll find free, full-text PDF versions of the book and its individual chapters, including mine. (Athabasca University Press is an Open Access scholarly publisher that sells print copies and offers free PDF copies simultaneously.)
Here’s a quick intro to what my article’s about (and what a “dubject” is):

This essay develops the idea of the dubject as a model of remediated subjectivity. It will discuss some theoretical and institutional contexts of the dubject, and then will consider digital manifestations of the dubject with reference to how popular digital applications interpellate the user (see Althusser 1971)—that is, how they impose specific ideological and institutional conditions and limitations on applications and on users’ possibilities for self-representation. This work is an attempt to think digital identity and agency in the context of postcoloniality, as a complement to the more prevalent approach to mediated identity in terms of postmodernity. This work thus builds my larger research project of applying postcolonialist critique to popular culture, particularly that of Canada’s majority white settler society. (128)

#NaHaiWriMo Day One

February is “National Haiku Writing Month,” or #NaHaiWriMo on social media. The project, like haiku itself, seems straightforward but is deeply subtle: write a haiku each day this month. The event is based at this Facebook page.

My first foray, below, tries to meet all the criteria of organizer M.D. Welch’s checklist, which, like his other articles on haiku, is helpful and illuminating. (Personally I like the challenge of strict syllabic form, but will experiment with loosening up.)

in the bare-branched bush

sparrows hush as you pass: chilled

kids near a cop car

New DJ mix: Drum & Bowie – a tribute mix

This mix is a tribute to David Bowie, selecting some of his fast music from the 1980s and after, especially his forays into drum & bass, which debuted dramatically on Earthling (1997) but didn’t end there. Despite their common tempo in this mix (about 169 bpm), the musical diversity of these tracks demonstrates the extraordinary breadth and depth of Bowie’s creativity.

The resulting mix is an eclectic, uptempo trip through a vastly eclectic oeuvre.

And it’s a modest way to say: thank you for the changes, and safe travels among the stars.
As a friend remarked, Bowie “taught a few generations how to break norms, dream, just dance, sing out one’s fantasies and imagine a better world. … I think our world will not be the same without him but it is different because of him and maybe this is all one can ask for.”

Track list
1) 00:00 DJ Skratch Bastid, “Let’s Dance” turntablism routine
2) 01:24 Davy Jones, “A Better Future” (Heathen, 2002)
3) 05:11 David Robert Jones, “I’m Deranged” jungle mix (Outside, 2007)
4) 11:27 David Bowie, “The Last Thing You Should Do” (Earthling, 1997)
5) 15:39 Major Tom, “I Took a Trip On A Gemini Spacecraft” (Heathen, 2002)
6) 18:36 Ziggy Stardust, “Dead Man Walking” (Earthling, 1997)
7) 21:48 Aladdin Sane, “I Would Be Your Slave” (Heathen, 2002)
8) 26:14 The Man Who Fell To Earth, “Real Cool World” (Songs From The Cool World, 1992)
9) 30:14 The Thin White Duke, “We Prick You” (Outside, 1995)
10) 34:14 Halloween Jack, “Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)” (★, 2015)
11) 38:35 Jareth The Goblin King, “Little Wonder” (Earthling, 1997)
12) 43:42 Major Tom, “Dancing Out In Space” (The Next Day, 2013)
13) 46:48 The Man Who Sold The World, “Telling Lies” (Earthling, 1997)
14) 49:06 David Bowie, “Modern Love” (Let’s Dance, 1983)

Fun fact: Mixcloud’s Terms of Service both a) prevent a full tracklist from being displayed before playback, and b) regionally restrict playback of mixes featuring more than 4 songs by any one artist. Conveniently, Bowie was many artists.

Open letter to PM Trudeau about the #TPP and the need for public input on it

What follows is a letter I’ve just sent to Prime Minister Trudeau, International Trade Minister Freeland, and several MPs, about my concerns with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the need for meaningful public consultation on it. (This letter is adapted from a template provided by the Council of Canadians for mobilizing public action on this Charter-trumping, corporate-rights deal.)

TO: Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister; Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade

CC: Rona Ambrose, Leader of the Conservative Party; Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the NDP; Rhéal Fortin, Leader of the Bloc Québécois; Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party

Subject: Please hold meaningful public consultations on the TPP

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Freeland,

Concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), you have promised to consult meaningfully with Canadians and act on what you hear. I commend you for this promise, and take you up on it now that the agreement is public.

I have serious concerns about the TPP. Your previously stated support for it contradicts your stated commitments to strengthening the middle class, the arts, and Canadian democracy. The TPP’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms would privilege and entrench corporate rights over citizens’ Charter rights (see Dr Ariel Katz’s recent column in the Toronto Star); it would exacerbate the middle class’ destruction; and it would, in effect, impose US laws to trump Canada’s own. 

As a professor who researches copyright, I have particular concerns with not only the TPP’s ISDS provisions, but more specifically with its Intellectual Property (IP) chapter. That chapter will needlessly cost Canada billions in pharmacare by toughening patent protections for vital medicines. That chapter will also seriously damage Canadian arts and culture by extending the term of copyright protection from 50 years after the creator’s death to 70 years. 50 years is already far longer than what economists argue is necessary to incentivize new creation, which is more like 12-14 years at most (see the UK government’s 2011 Hargreaves report, p. 19). There’s no economic justification (beyond sheer corporate greed) to lock down culture and impoverish the public domain for generations to come. Furthermore, that chapter will reintroduce Internet-censoring and access-denying provisions much like those of the USA’s 2011 SOPA bill that was roundly defeated after global public outcry.

Therefore, the TPP requires rigorous, independent review to assess whether it is in Canadians’ best interests.

Specifically, I request that you:

    1. Ask the Parliamentary Budget Officer to conduct a comprehensive, independent analysis of the TPP text. The analysis must assess the deal’s impact on human rights, health, employment, environment and democracy.

    2. Hold public hearings in each province and territory across Canada as well as separate and meaningful consultation with Indigenous communities and First Nations. No agreement can be ratified without full consent.

    3. Protect any progress made in Paris at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) from the investor-state dispute settlement provisions (ISDS) in the TPP. Furthermore, ISDS must be excised from the TPP.

Thank you for considering these comments and exhortations.

Sincerely,

Mark A. McCutcheon, PhD

New DJ set: Strong Women That Roll (drum & bass pop remixes)

A set of drum&bass remixes of pop songs by some of today’s smartest artists, like Taylor Swift, Lorde, Charli XCX, Lady Gaga, and more. This set is designed to introduce children, especially “mighty girls” and future strong women, to drum & bass, in a safe, supervised setting. To seal the deal, I’ve even included a remix of “Let it go” from Frozen. Drum&basshead parents: you’re welcome.