Liquid Funk: Acceleration, late capitalism and the signification of nature in jungle drum and bass music

Christodoulou, C. 2023. Liquid Funk: Acceleration, late capitalism and the signification of nature in jungle drum and bass music. (1), p. 2 2.

TitleLiquid Funk: Acceleration, late capitalism and the signification of nature in jungle drum and bass music
TypeJournal article
AuthorsChristodoulou, C.
Abstract

Since the 1980s, the growth and popularity of electronic dance music (EDM) has challenged the Western cultural binary between nature and technology. In particular, the facilitation of all-night dancing at nightclubs, festivals, and other social dance venues via music made predominantly using electronic instruments disturbs the corporeal and semiotic boundaries of the human body which is presumed to be situated in nature. Thereby, EDM is an example of what Charity Marsh and Melissa West describe as the cultural “appropriation of nature … through technology, a concept that moves beyond physical objects or machines to a system of relationships and exchanges between the machine, its designer(s), and its users” (2013: 184). If, as Andrew Goodwin has stated, “pop musicians and audiences have grown increasingly accustomed to making an association between synthetic/automated music and the communal (dance floor) connection to nature (via the body)” (1990: 263), EDM increasingly functions as an porous interface through which technology signifies ‘nature’. Using the liquid funk sub-genre of jungle drum and bass music as a main case study, this article will examine how EDM reconfigures the relationship between nature and technology in what Thomas Elmqvist, Erik Andersson, and Timon McPhearson, et al, refer to as “global urbanization’s … decoupling from ecological processes” (2021: 1). In liquid funk, this decoupling is articulated via the flowing sounds of animal life and matter in ethereal jungle landscapes, framed by the rapid breakbeats and heavy basslines with which the jungle drum and bass genre’s evocation of excessive and accelerated urbanisation is more generally associated. Thereby, the socio-economic conditions out of which jungle drum and bass emerged permeates liquid funk’s otherworldly depiction of nature as an alienated response to the failure of terrestrial futurism, deviating from other EDM styles’ representations of exotic yet earthly and familiar natural settings, such as in tropical house.

KeywordsEDM+jungle+drum and bass+nature+speed
Article number2
Journal citation(1), p. 2
Year2023
PublisherShared Campus
Web address (URL)https://www.journalofglobalpopcultures.com/issues/the-natures-of-pop/liquid-funk-acceleration-late-capitalism-and-the-signification-of-nature-in-jungle-drum-and-bass-music
Publication dates
Published21 Aug 2023

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