the journal of popular noise

June 28, 2010

I went to Origami today and bought the S/S ’09 issue of The Journal of Popular Noise, which is basically what I would come up with if I had studied more art theory in college and had any confidence in all the thoughts I can’t explain in writing. With a sleek Helvetica Nueue layout (already reminiscent of L.A. Record) and three 45 records sewn in between the cardstock pages of mini-interviews/deep thoughts on a theme, the JPN manifests its uniquely-modern-yet-still-totally-throwback concept with enough academic popular music crit talk to give my library card a permanent boner. Twice a year, the Brooklyn-based audio magazine releases three “issues,” each of which consists of a vinyl recording by an artist that adheres to the magazine’s open-to-interpretation-but-still-formulaic song structure. I bought the “spoken word” issue, where Andrew W.K., comedy duo Walker & Cantrell and Nation of Ulysses’ Ian Svenonius provide coherent and not-so-coherent examples of conversation and narrative’s indelible presence within traditional pop music. At least someone around here (namely New York-via-Seattle, musician-turned-graphic-designer Byron Kalet) is thinking too hard about the loss of tactile culture in our post-post-modern lives. Except instead of notebook scrawl, he took it one step further by becoming so obsessed with Musak that the featured artists in his award-winning publication-to-prove are constrained by the company’s charted sonic algorithms.

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