Did Neanderthals sing? Is there a “music gene”? Two scientists debate whether our capacity to make and enjoy songs comes from biological evolution or from the advent of civilization.
Music is everywhere, but it remains an evolutionary enigma. In recent years, archaeologists have dug up prehistoric instruments, neuroscientists have uncovered brain areas that are involved in improvisation, and geneticists have identified genes that might help in the learning of music. Yet basic questions persist: Is music a deep biological adaptation in its own right, or is it a cultural invention based mostly on our other capacities for language, learning, and emotion? And if music is an adaptation, did it really evolve to promote mating success as Darwin thought, or other for benefits such as group cooperation or mother-infant bonding?
Excerpt of an article written by Gary Marcus and Geoffrey Miller, at The Atlantic. Continue HERE
Image above: A neanderthal instrument. A 40,000 year old flute at Divje Babe, Slovenia. Via Glen Morton.
They say: “The Instant Favelas Project means the constant research and dialog between disciplines and Art. We base the project in our own exploration and concerns. Those confluences create, and this provoked the first pilot project (Piloto Kamikaze) where we explored interdisciplinary/ multidisciplinary elements such as urbanity, culture, esthetic, music, environment, etc.
Instant Favelas creates a nomad city in open spaces of Zürich. These cities develop during one, two, or three weeks, and are normally built with free-hand collaborators-Favelanders. Our mobility or nomadism plays as much with external and natural factors as with the urban rules of the city where we play.
Inside of our Restless Doubts we attempt to achieve that the viewer’s role will be active, not merely looking at the process of construction, but also asking oneself, What is going on? Why here? Why this? Is it safe? What does it cost? What does it say? And of course, Is this Art? Hopefully we will arrive at the point where the viewer translates himself into a Favelander — free-hand – mind collaborator, who will perhaps create further interventions…
Instant Favelas as an open Art-Lab Experiment collaborated with interventions inside of our constructive structure. While building and networking our city-within-a-city, we try to understand cities. Our simulation becomes a laboratory where we invite other people to make an intervention—in the sense of a collaborative response to our project—so that we can reflect together about different aspects, such as space, economy, society, demography, spirituality and so on, that shape and define a city.”
Sahel Sounds: This little cassette of music collected from cellphones has been in internet circulation lately (update — and the Guardian UK). Pitchfork did a nice write-up on the phenomena of “musical scarcity”, Rupture at Mudd Up! has given it some blog/radio play, and Portland’s own Gulls put together this remix of one of the tracks:
Niger Autotune (Emsitka) — Gulls Edit
Boomarm Nation: In 2010 returning from extensive travel in Mali and Mauritania, Chris Kirkley (Sahel Sounds) presented “Music from Saharan Cellphones”. The music on the compilation was collected from cellphones in the Northern Malian town of Kidal. In much of West Africa, cellphones are are used as all-purpose multimedia devices. In lieu of personal computers and high speed internet, cellphones house portable music collections, playback songs on tiny built-in speakers, and swap files through peer-to-peer Bluetooth wireless transfer. The songs collected in Kidal range from DIY Tuareg guitar, auto-tuned Moroccan chaabi, Malian coupé décalé, and fruityloop hip hop. Originally released as a limited run cassette tape by Mississippi Records in Portland OR, the cassette was uploaded to blogs and online media hubs, and quickly became a viral source of new and inspiring sounds.
On Oct.10 2011 Boomarm Nation and Sahel Sounds present: “Music For Saharan Cellphones”. Drawing on gifted producers and musicians from a variety of stylistic backgrounds and nationalities, each artist selected and re-interpreted a musical moment from the source material. From bass laden sound/clash ventures, abstract re-creations, and even an amazing autotune cover, the end result holds a rich assortment of well informed musical statements. Reflecting the energy and fidelity of its origins, these versions take on their own rare and exciting form. Using the mp3 as the medium, the Music and the Musicians become the diplomacy.