The modernist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the final cohesive chapter in the culmination of linear history. When post-modernism was ushered in following WWII, philosophical and aesthetic movements ceased to develop according to linear trajectories, and instead diverged into a multifold network of parallel and intersecting paths. But even the end of linear time has an ending. In the beginning of the 2nd millennium A.D., it became apparent that the aesthetic impulse was one that was less and less engaged in direct dialogue with the present and more and more haunted by the icons and vernacular of the past (now doomed to reincarnation under the veils of Kitsch and Nostalgia). Surface disembodied from form, form disembodied from spirit, spirit disembodied from gesture… From this partial womb, Ghost Modernism** is born.
THE SONIC LANDSCAPE: ZOMBIE AESTHETICS, THE DEATH OF THE ORIGINAL, AND THE DECLINE OF SYMBOLIC POWER The sonic landscape of Ghost Modernism is littered with the detritus of past musical movements and guided by the phantom limbs of its revolutionary leaders. Recent technologies have made the graveyard all the more accessible to the living. The linear trajectory of time and all of its cremated entrails are sprayed across the vast fields of the World Wide Web, offering residents of this age a unique opportunity to experience multiple times simultaneously, never having to fully commit to one era or the next. The World Wide Web thus serves as a portal to commune with the spirit world, offering an opportunity to experience both past and present in real time, almost morphing into a means to remember. Music of the ghost-modern era has consequently thrived on this artificial platform of memory, becoming an extension of an ever-expanding archaeology of reference points and nostalgia. A new system of “zombie” sonic and visual aesthetics* is created based on a half-resurrection of relics of past tastes. The concept of a multi-dimensional temporal platform of sharing information is nothing new in the evolution of human consciousness. It is an ancient concept that has been embraced by many Eastern and occult philosophies for centuries. The advent of the Internet has merely granted us an externalized paradigm of being able to exist in multiple virtual dimensions simultaneously. If internalized symbolically, the possibilities can take on a wholly mystical dimension. However when the symbolic value of this paradigm is lost, its current manifestation brings with it certain dangers. When one ceases to distinguish between the original and its ghost, he becomes Possessed and is no longer able to be receptive to the ecstatic state. The Death of the Original and the Decline of Symbolic Power are irrevocably linked as each time a periodic creative gesture or musical style is imitated, its vital force is diluted and the original symbolic impact of the action dwindles. Once the historical reference points are exhausted, bands begin to imitate the imitation, and thus music history is doomed to eternal repetition in which each succeeding action becomes more and more meaningless. This is not to be confused with the archetypal impulse of Channeling, also known as the Return To The Source (a creative movement that draws inspirational strength from the past in order to better connect to the ecstasy of the present) so much as it is a nihilistic path of distraction from the source. The latter is a destructive movement that draws strength away from the past in order to dislocate further from the present, becoming increasingly unable to respond to it in an original and meaningful way (ie recapitulating it via Kitsch and Nostalgia). *Paul Laffoley, Thought Forms: Gedankenexperiemente in Zombie Aesthetics