Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music >>
Kenneth John Taylor

Genre defining electronic music examples.

||| HIAFF 3.0 | university of colorado | department of art and art history | digital arts area | in conjunction with alt-x | atlas | blurr

Joe Farbrrok: I am approaching this guide as found art, that is, a work of art that may not have originally been intended to be such.

Ishkur: It's not art. At least, I don't think of it as art.

JF: I would like to include a link to your work, possibly a statement about what you envision, and this interview.

Ishkur: Okay, my site is going to launch in a couple days (www.ishkur.com) and I'll put all 4 updated versions of the guide on there. I don't like the "Newgrounds" version because its actually truncated and cut-up for file constraints. So then you can grab the high-quality version (with longer, better samples) then.

JF: What was your original intention when you created this guide? It looks like it took a lot of time and effort as well as knowledge.

Ishkur: I told a friend of mine that I could pigeonhole any genre of electronic music within an 8-bar radius. He told me to go for it, so I did. The thing took about two weeks to build. And 90% of that time was spent searching through my vast discography of mp3s looking for the right samples. The Flash itself was so remarkably simple that I'm surprised no one had thought of it before. I finished and uploaded it on OCtober 21, 2000. To complement it, I also wrote an essay to a local web forum I'm on. You can read it here: http://www.ishkur.com/articles/ishkur9.htm THIS is what I think about electronic music as a whole. I came across this realization as I was studying all the genres.

JF: Why did you choose to use the Internet as the medium for this guide rather than creating a more commercial product such as a sampler CD?

Ishkur: I can't make it into a product. There are way too many copyright- infringing samples on it (over a hundred), and I'm not someone to profit off the works of others. I did it because, as I said before, I said it could be done. I've also seen other "electronica primers" (and even link to one in the guide's disclaimer) on the net, but all of them either explained the music in text or had links/lists of artists that defined that music. None of them actually had the music playing RIGHT there, as you're reading, giving you a clearer understanding of it. That's why I decided to do it in Flash, because Flash is perfect (and relatively small) for those sorts of things.

JF: I feel that this guide makes a statement concerning the creation of music genres, the propensity for people to try to classify things in ever finer categories, and the way in which music gets recreated and remixed interactively by DJs and listeners. As this may not have been your original intention, what are your thoughts concerning these subjects?

Ishkur: read the article I wrote. It answers this question nicely.

JF: What are your thoughts concerning dance and rave culture?

Ishkur: http://www.loungex.com/~ishkur <--- I also wrote a dictionary.

JF: You are obviously a very skilled animator. What is your background?

Ishkur: Everything is self-taught. I was a political science, history and english student in school. I dropped out cuz I wanted to get into computers. I also like to write. That about sums it up.

JF: The exhibition site that we are creating will be seen and used by students of all major universities with an art or digital art department.

Ishkur: I feel uneasy about this. I'm not an artist, and I don't consider it a work of art. It's a joke more than anything. Very funny. Very silly. I poke fun at a lot of genres. It's meant to be entertainment. I think you're looking way too into this.

JF: I will be including this interview in our site/project. I will send you the URL in about two weeks, so that you may see how it's shaping up.

Ishkur: Since that's the case, can you use (as a link/example/display) the NEW version that will be on my site VERY soon (like, in the next couple of days) rather than the inferior, obsolete truncated version on New Grounds? And if you are really into New Media and internet art and all that jazz, here's some food for thought: My Music Guide isn't done. It will never be done. It's what you call a "work in progress". I continually update it, revise it, change it, add different samples, newer samples, new genres, new definitions and snarling little comments to it as time goes on. There is no definitive version of it at all. It is constantly being changed by me. I think that is something that the New Media world is adopting now. I first heard of it, actually, from George Lucas when he mentioned the original Star Wars Trilogy as being a "work in progress". And when you think about it, that's exactly what the internet and new media is. There is no central planner. There is no Great Design to this World Wide Web of ours. We really have no idea what we're doing now, and we have no idea what this thign is going to look liek ten years ago (when it will likely be run and controlled by technologies that don't exist yet). We are making this thing up as we go along. Every webpage is "under construction", a work in progress. There's no such thing as NOT being under construction, after all. I think that appeals to art as well. Under the traditional view, an artist will finish a piece (be it a book or a painting or whatever), and then work on the next piece. But the new model is one of continuously revising and updating existing pieces to fit new paradigms, to broaden their message, to evoke more complex reactions and responses, to keep up-to-date and make relevant commentaries about social life, or to keep improving. Art as Maintenance, and Maintenance as Art. If that doesn't crank your gears, I don't know what does. It's a fascinating concept, I think.

JF: The issues that I see raised by this piece concern the relationship between artist and public and the (re)classifications and interactive remixing of artwork (in this case, music).

Ishkur: Did you read my essay/article? You can use some of that (some good insights there) for your presentation/interview/expose/whatever it is you're doing, if you want.

JF: In some ways, the fact that it is on a game demo site is in itself a statement about what new avenues that an artist might take in order to publicize their work.

Ishkur: That's another thing, too. New Grounds has over 10,000 fan-submitted flash submissions, many of which (I feel) are far more artistic than mine is. But why mine? Picking mine over any of the others is like picking a city zone permit map over a road-travel map when you go on vacation. Not exactly the most useful thing to have. Either way, I'd appreciate it if you really don't use the version on New Grounds, and download a high-quality copy from my own site instead. (or if you want, I can just send it to you. It has all the samples in stereo quality, and is about 13 mb....if you can handle that, say yes and I can send it to you anyway you want--ftp, icq, email, etc..)

JF: Definately looking forward to your latest work.

Ishkur: Yeah, I'd have to say that it's definitely not as politically correct as the version on New Grounds. I've since re-wrote at least 80% of the definitions...to the point where they're not even definitions anymore, they're just funny little comments about that particular genre. And I cut into A LOT of styles. I really insult some of them. I swear, this thing is going to get me into a lot of trouble when I relaunch it on my site. but oh well.

JF: That's one of the main ideas behind Net.art, It's never finished and always subject to the liquidity of the net. If you are at all interested, here are links to some other works (although I warn you, like any other form of artwork, you got to wade through the crap to find the pearls of genius :)

Ishkur: I'll take a look at these sites....to kinda see what you see in them, and then to see what you (and others) see in my piece...

JF: Art is where you find it. Many times intentional art is crap and found art is accidentally brilliant. Maybe a viewer that has deemed a piece of work art becomes part of the artistic process itself. (and no, I'm not high at this moment)

Ishkur: Hmmm. As a freelance writer I can understand that. As a silly raver from Canada who made a flash guide to electronic music so he can make fun of 101 genres, I kind of don't.