Liner Notes

Crash Music [from the 1994 edition]

What is the speed of music? At what point does music red shift to ultrasonic velocity like all those spectral objects before it, break the sound barrier and then follow an immense curvature towards that point of incredible sound density, where music can finally move at such violent speeds that it can no longer be heard, even by mutant membranes. The final point, that is, where music breaks beyond the speed of light, falling onto a deep and immense silence.

In this wonderful world, as we drift aimlessly across the mediascape, floating among the debris of all the seductive objects of desire, voyeurs in the cultural boutiques of which our bodies are only random and transitory terminal points, we can finally know the terminal blast of music to be our very own lost object of desire, the field across which bodies are coded, tattooed and signified in an endless circulation of spectral emotions.

If music is so seductive today, that is because it finally delivers on the catastrophe that is our last historical illusion. Music as interesting, therefore, only in its dark and implosive side, in that impossible space where music prefigures our own dissolution into a spectral impulse in the circulatory system of the mediascape. The fascination with music today lies in its violence as a force-field that scripts bodies, codes emotions, processes terminal identities, and rehearses our own existence as crash bodies, by its violent alternation as a scene of ecstasy and inertia.

Sounds appear from nowhere and they decay rapidly. They move across the field of our bodies, and then disappear. They have no real presence, only a virtual and analogical presence. Sounds without history and without a referent.

The brilliant musical compositions of Paul Dolden are an emblematic sign of the times. Dolden is the high priest of crash music for the fin-de-siècle. A ‘DAT’ musician whose music is at the forward edge of the ’90s, Dolden hardwires us into the sounds of terminal culture. His crash music operates like a violent force-field: an oscillating field of energy where rolling walls of sound can achieve such maximal density that they suddenly fold back into perfectly eerie silences. Paul Dolden actually creates the crash sound of inertia and ecstasy.

(A fragment of this introduction is excerpted from The Possessed Individual: Technology and the French Postmodern (St Martin’s Press, New York City, 1992), a theory that parallels Paul Dolden’s crash music.)

Arthur Kroker, Montréal [ii-94]