The Belgian essayist Paul DeMan wrote in 1973 that “Modernity exists in the form of a desire to wipe out whatever came earlier, in the hope of reaching at least a point that could be called a true present, a point of origin that marks a new departure.”
While self-appointed rebellious music conforms to rhythms and patterns that become as predictable as the fabricated temporal cycles that dictate our modern condition: the time clock, the “work week,” and so on, the lyrics and technology that promise liberation only become an invisible cage. What is a person looking to challenge this modernity, only to have it constantly reinforced, to do?
Break it all down. Unlearn it and then begin again. This is The KBD Sonic Cooperative’s approach to music. Much like life is more liberating without a clock, KBD abandons the expectations of rhythm and structure to pursue the big sound, the intergalactic hum that our modern circumstance prevents us from hearing: the natural successive rhythm of seasons, ocean currents, aviary migration patterns, and galactic cycle.
“The One” that so much of modern music insists upon occurring every four beats might not come on that day. “The One” might not come in our lifetime, or in this geological epoch for that matter. Abandoning “The One” and seeking “The Sound” is recognizing that we are part of something larger, and playing along with it. As Toru Takemitsu suggested “Rules for music proliferate, but the question of sound remains obscure.”
Modernity isn’t going anywhere. Technology will make old habits seem new and new music will make old ideals seem attainable. In the meantime, KBD will be tracking the big sound wherever it manifests: in theory and in practice, in acoustics, in electronics, and in the spaces they inhabit.