Category Archives: Music

Mr Simon Pepper, Chigwell School: The Emergence of Electronic Dance Music and the Politics of Public Spaces.

Mr Pepper using his own equipment illustrated the growing tension between music and socially low status of various disadvantaged groups in the USA in 1980s, such as Black Americans, LGBT people, Latinos. This helped the industrial music to emerge to demonstrate strong relation between machine and a man, which expressed itself in the development of the electronic pop. The controversy of the “oppressed” groups relieving their frustration and their need for change in music led to a moral panic in the Great Britain, particularly under the rule of Margaret Thatcher. This backlash against thatcherism was also an expression against the popular drive for consumerism, capitalist success and the productivity of individuals. Fascinating, how much we can learn from the simple movements on the floor and use of discarded industrial equipment.

Mr Pepper: From Amen Breaks to 808s: sounds & machines that changed the face of electronic music

Last Thursday several students went to Mr Pepper’s talk about the history of electronic music and how it has evolved over the years. The presentation was extremely interesting and we all learnt a lot about the creation of electronic music and also the various types of equipment they used to create this type of music, for example the 808 instrument that was, and still is, used to create beats. We also got a chance to use some of that equipment which Mr Pepper had brought into school and play around with it and make some interesting beats.



Leanne Langley: the Social History of Music

Dr Leanne Langley, from King’s College London, showed us how a study of musical artefacts from the past (instruments, tickets, invoices, town plans, posters) can reveal much about the society from which they are taken: the kink in Regent Street opposite the Apple Store (see right) was because John Nash wanted to avoid demolishing a concert hall owned by the London Philharmonic Society, in which he was involved; Sir Henry Wood famously employed women in his orchestra on equal pay with the men, but the reason was less his being enlightened than his wish to intimidate the men into behaving well when performing modern music like Schoenberg’s…

Mr S. Pepper: Physiologies, Heteroglossia and Anthropophonic Collage: the Art of Eavesdropping

Sound and speech: the familiar made unfamiliar.

Chigwell’s Mr Pepper shared his fascination with sonic art with a new generation of WP members, this time leading up to a world première of his new work: Passantes on Earlham Street. Minds were expanded into new kinds of listening, and we spent some time discussing the rights and wrongs of listening in.

Nicholas Dixon (Howard Essay Winner 2010-2011): Victorian Parlour Music

Nicholas Dixon, a student in the MVI, gave a lecture on Victorian Parlour Music based on his winning entry to this year’s Howard Essay Prize. Illustrating his points with music examples, he gave us a fascinating introduction to the nature and characteristics of this hugely popular, and largely forgotten, genre, explaining how it is as important to our understanding of the Victorians, as, for example, the Beatles are to the 1960s, or jazz to the 1920s. A wide discussion ensued, focusing on areas such as the songs’ musical, as opposed to historical, importance, and the relationship of parlour music to more working-class types such as music hall.

Sonic Art

Mr Pepper reran for the iiiiv and vi (but new audiences) WPs his presentation on the electronic editing and reorking of clips of speech, from Talk Radio to speeches by Tony Blair and interviews with Princess Diana. A fascinating and exciting afternoon, with some excellent new material on e.g. Obama.

Sonic Art

Mr Pepper reran for the iiiiv WP his presentation on the electronic editing and reorking of clips of speech, from Talk Radio to speeches by Tony Blair and interviews with Princess Diana. A fascinating and exciting afternoon.

The Blues

Dan Nash (OC) gave a presentation on the Blues to the remv and vi Williams Projects. For some years Dan has been spending some of each year travelling the Mississippi delta, interviewing and playing with the old bluesmen and their descendants. From these experiences he gave us a thorough and passionate account of the origins of the Blues in the oppression of African Americans in the southern states, how the music was discovered and eventually sanitised, as well as playing his own powerful face-gritting renditions of some of the main Blues songs.

Sonic Art

Chigwell’s Mr Pepper gave an ear-opening demonstration of how to manipulate sound files, especially speech, from Obama and Blair to radio phone-ins. Strange sounds resulted, including irregular textures which could be separately pitched, and complex splicings of a Princess Diana interview.

Music and Noise

One VIth-form group (Elliot and Jan) bravely claimed that all sound (and silence) was musical, so had trouble with their second piece; they almost succeeded by distracting the audience so they weren’t expecting any sound, and then, as nonchalantly as possible, making a noise.

Mr Pepper threatens to offer a follow-up on his favoured “Sonic Art” style of music.

Enjoy the two pieces by John Cage on YouTube: “4’ 33”” and the “Water Walk”, as shown on American TV.

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