Kim Cascone: The Aesthetics of Failure, 2000

The digital revolution is over.
 (Nicholas Negroponte, 1998) Over the past decade, the Internet has helped spawn a new movement in digital music. It is not academically based, and for the most part the composers involved are self-taught. Music journalists occupy themselves inventing names for it, and some have already taken root: glitch, microwave, DSP, sinecore, and microscopic music. These names evolved through a collection of deconstructive audio and visual techniques that allow artists to work beneath the previously impenetrable veil of digital media. The Negroponte epigraph above inspired me to refer to this emergent genre as “post-digital” because the revolutionary period of the digital information age has surely passed. The tendrils of digital technology have in some way touched everyone. With electronic com- merce now a natural part of the business fabric of the Western world and Hollywood cranking out digital fluff by the gigabyte, the medium of digital technology holds less fascination for composers in and of itself. In this article, I will emphasize that the medium is no longer the message; rather, specific tools themselves have become the message.

Cascone, Kim. “The Aesthetics of Failure: ‘Post-digital’ Tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music.” Computer Music Journal 24/4 (2000): 12–18.