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DigSound and Music in Hip Culture$
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Phil Ford

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199939916

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199939916.001.0001

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“Let's say that we’re new, every minute” (John Benson Brooks)

“Let's say that we’re new, every minute” (John Benson Brooks)

(p.178) 6 “Let's say that we’re new, every minute” (John Benson Brooks)

Phil Ford

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 considers Avant Slant, the enigmatic and forgotten last album of John Benson Brooks, a jazz composer, Beat outlier, and autodidact polymath. The story behind this album gathers up several of the threads that run throughout the history of hip culture, notably the interface between its modernist and postmodernist moods. Brooks's life's work was almost entirely private: his relatively few recordings are the iceberg-like visible peaks of a vast, submerged, half-century-long project of musical and magical illumination that he recorded in a monumental notebook archive. This concluding chapter suggests that this radical privacy of artistic practice may offer something of the freedom that counterculture ideology has always promised, though at the high price of negating the pleasure that hipness has always afforded—the pleasure of transforming life and personality into a public and consumable work of art

Keywords:   John Benson Brooks, Magic, Jazz, Archive, Modernism, Postmodernism

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