December 12, 2011
Dance to the Beat of a Computer Generated Drum
“The Internet transformed the music industry just as genres began to get increasingly specialized. Techno is a soundtrack for the wired world. Some of its original creators are approaching their forties, but many of its current listeners are in their twenties and early thirties—people who grew up with computers. Techno reminds us that humans control the machines, and electronics can be used to express funk and soul.” (Farley, Christopher John).
Globalization is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations. It is a process driven by international trade and investment which is aided by information technology. This process has effects on the environment, culture, political systems, economic development and prosperity, and on human physical well-being in societies around the world.
For thousands of years, people have been buying from and selling to each other in lands at great distances. But policy and technological developments of the past few decades have spurred increases in cross-border trade, investment, and migration. This current wave of globalization has been driven by policies that have opened economies domestically and internationally. In the years since the Second World War, and especially during the past two decades, many governments have adopted free-market economic systems, vastly increasing their own productive potential and creating new opportunities for international trade and investment.
Technology has been the principal driver of globalization. Advances in information technology, in particular, have dramatically transformed economic life. Information technologies have given us valuable new tools for identifying and pursuing economic opportunities around the world. Music is no exception to this.
Immigrants always bring part of their culture and homeland to the place they immigrate to, and therefore enrich the other culture they find. Music is a main part of culture and the more immigrants bring the sound of their mother country to another place, the more music can mix and create new sounds that haven’t existed before. Cities like Barcelona, New York, London or Berlin are made by their multicultural environment and constant influx of people from all over the world, which also defines the cultural outcome of those cities. Band members are no longer only from one city or one country. They are a group of people from all over the world, who create a sound mixture from all over the world, which works in concert halls and on dance floors all over the world.
World music, which is a very broad description for a lot of different traditional styles, is not the same static thing anymore. Traditional styles from Eastern Europe, Latin America or India are mixed with club sounds such as House or Techno. An example would be traditional Balkan weddings songs are now produced in stomping Remix versions for the dance floor. It doesn’t matter anymore if someone belongs to a certain scene, or country, since it’s all in the mix – the new “global” scene is simply connected all over the world by several local scenes that maintain a free exchange.
The relation between globalization and local music is an interesting question in today’s popular music studies, as well as in wider contemporary cultural theory. Arjun Appadurai, for example, discussing the “modernity at large”, brings to light the example of the ability of Filipinos to reproduce American melodic songs in a better way than Americans do (Appadurai,1996, p. 48). From a more musical point of view, the ethnomusicologist Steven Feld pointed out how the effects of globalization on world music have been viewed by scholars with a contradictory opposition between anxiety about the commodification of original cultures and celebration of the positive hybridization of the same cultures (Feld, 2000). If we...