Owls and Rave Music


Sorry to make it two in two on Simon Reynolds but something else struck me when writing my previous post. A recent grenade in certain parts of the blogosphere has been his concept of a “hardcore continuum”, the theory of a strand of music stretching from breakbeat hardcore in the early nineties, through jungle and garage to dubstep and grime in the noughties. Reynolds writes in his introduction to his seminal series of articles in The Wire that “it was only in 1999…that I really became conscious that for several years I’d been documenting a continuum of musical culture that emerged out of the British rave scene”. In doing so he makes explicit something that lately seems to have slipped his mind: that it is only after something has happened that we can begin to understand it. This is what Hegel meant when he said that “the owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of dusk” – we can only understand a particular historical (or social or cultural) moment once it has passed.

Recently Reynolds has responded to nascent genres such as “wonky” and “funky” by denying that they may form part of the hardcore continuum. But these socio-cultural moments are still happening now, and Reynolds would do well to remember Hegel’s advice. By attempting to understand a socio-cultural moment he risks prescribing rather than describing.

All seven of Reynolds’ seminal articles on the hardcore continuum are archived at The Wire, the first of which is here

This post on his blog illustrates what a hot topic this has been in the last year or so

Reynolds’ defence of his theory at Liverpool’s FACT is archived in video form here

Related articles:

The Rise of the Non-Metaphysical Hegel
By Simon Lumsden , University of New South Wales
(Vol. 2, November 2007)
Philosophy Compass

Hegel’s Metaphysics: Changing the Debate
By James Kreines, Yale University
(Vol. 1, September 2006)
Philosophy Compass

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