The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Tome On The Range

Powell's Books: A Baker's Dozen Special Edition
Adam Lehrer , August 22nd, 2020 08:03

Electronic music producer Powell picks favourite books by Baudrillard, Derrida, Kafka, and Susan Sontag


Susan Sontag, Aesthetics of Silence and Against Interpretation
I would play this new music for people and their instinctual response is always, “I don't understand what it means.” That was a frustration. I don’t think there is anything to understand. So Against Interpretation was a beautiful thing for me to read. I don’t know why we need meaning. I love the quote, “Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art, and to interpret is to impoverish.” A few people have written about or written off my new music and everyone is so quick to judge and impose their own readings, and the music gets lost in a blur of opinion and interpretation. 

When I read  Aesthetics of Silence, silence was something I struggled with. I was making so much music but I didn't know how to feel ready to start releasing it and communicating it. You’re always made to feel that you have to speak. One wonders whether silence is a consequence of fear or an important aspect of the creative process. Silence has been interesting to me on a formal level. I vacillate between activity and bursts of silence. Silence is a beautiful threshold. Deleuze says “what a relief to say nothing because then you work up to even the rarer thing that might be worth saying.” And now that I’ve been out there putting out music again, I feel silence beckoning again. I don’t know if that’s due to smoking too much weed or doing too many drugs but that is definitely what I feel.