30 August, 2013

Nonclassical: An Ethnography

Click here for copy of Nonclassical: An Ethnography of a London New Music Community

While studying for an MSt in Musicology at University of Oxford I carried out my dissertation research on the London record label and club night Nonclassical. Set up by composer/DJ Gabriel Prokofiev, the self-confessed aim of Nonclassical is to widen the participation and appeal of classical music. My research was based on one month participant-observation of the activities of this small company with a particular focus on the ‘remix process’ through which Nonclassical commissioned remixes of new classical works from a variety of DJs, sound and visual artists, producers and composers.

In this essay I examine the Nonclassical ethos, and the process of remixing especially, as part of a wider movement of postmodernism in music. Focusing on the processes and politics of remixing I consider how discourses of modernism and postmodernism serve to produce a particular notion of creativity within the Nonclassical community that disempowers or disadvantages certain producers. These lines of influence tend to be drawn such that modernist notions of authorship as singular, individualistic, masculine and in conflict with commerciality are reproduced.