Monday, 17 January 2011

Fever Ray: Towards a Diagrammatic Conception of the Voice

A few notes, in relation to my writings on the course, as well as an earlier post on my personal blog. Hopefully, I will be able to organize this into more coherent pieces soon.
  • Music is a molecular deterritorialization and machining of the voice, which pushes it away from language/signifying chains, and molar segments of man/woman.
  • There is a question of a fully-real becoming other, which has nothing to do with imitation or symbolic representation.
  • Taking DeLanda's reading of D&G's concept of the body without organs as a virtual body plan, out of which fully formed species and organisms differentiate, we have the basics for a diagrammatic conception of the voice (in the form of a neo-materialist idea of the genesis of the voice, opposed to the psychoanalytic idea of the maternal voice pre-birth).
  • The problem is, then, how to differentiate the voice; to unfold its immanent virtualities, as opposed to (as Kaja Silverman does) localize points where it produces sexual difference.
  • This, in turn, means conceiving of new media technologies not as "acoustic mirrors" (Silverman), or as the "analysts room" (Penman), but rather as a "possibility-space" (DeLanda), which is diagrammatic rather than fantasmatic, and which is characterized not so much by symbolic representation as by (what I'd like to call) electronic differentiation.
  • In other words, it is all about rendering imperceptible forces perceptible (D&G).
  • Fever Ray, in her music, uses sonic media in this way, in order to differentiate her voice electronically.
  • It is no longer the voice of Karin-Dreijer Andersson, but a voice of a pure otherness, beyond the realm of fantasmatics.
  • We do not yet know what a voice can do (modification of the Spinozist-influenced premise that Steve Goodman takes as his starting point in Sonic Warfare).


  1. Love Fever Ray..have you seen this clip?

    Arrogance or genius? I'm inclined to go with the latter.

  2. What you doing up at 6.47 jon?!

  3. Lol yeah I remember that. It's from Sweden too! I think it's hilarious.

    Also I have to ask you, now that we're on the subject, since Lady Gaga wore a similar red dress at the MTV awards that year (I think?), covering her face (but of course she removed it when taking the place in the middle of the spotlights at the ceremony), do you (or anyone else) know if this is a direct comment on the Gaga-thing, or just a strange coincidence? I've been trying to find some info on the web, but without success, and this really interests me, since I'm doing a reading of both Gaga and Fever Ray in the post linked-to above


    (I think the clock on blogger is set after american(?) time zones, hence the unusual hour. Because my sleeping routines have been surprisingly good since I came back here. :p)


    Can't be a coincidence, right?

  5. Oh my ... I don’t know! I did not realize that.

    Would Fever Ray be mocking her? I’m not sure. It would be a little unnecessary to imply Gaga’s face is a melting pot of plastic. I think Gagas previous obsession with covering her face up was is V’s up at the American/British public’s obsession with looks, and their lack of interest in talent….For example Cheryl Cole’s ridiculous rise to fame. That woman is an embarrassment!

    Gaga also has a massive link to the fashion industry (which maybe Fever Ray is mocking?) A lot of Gagas tunes are played on a catwalk before they are released. Like her new one. Surely Gaga uses her body as a piece of art? What would FR’s problem be with that?

    She was a good friend with McQueen as well. They designed many of her outfits together.

    Have you seen this by the way? She is so good in this! (Never thought I would like Poker face!)

    Gaga may be a consumerist sell out, and Fever Ray may be implying that. Although, I like to think of Gaga as a piss taker. I’m not sure Fever Ray would bother with wasting her time on Gaga. They are completely different genres for starts. Fever Ray is no gay icon!

    Who else was in the nomination for the Fever Ray thing? I cant tell what they are saying! What is the actual award? If Gaga was in the nominees then maybe that would be a different story….

  6. I don't think Fever Ray (if she did this because of Gaga) indended to imply that Gaga's face is melting plastic, but rather to make fun of popular culture's obsession with the faces of celebrities. If Gaga indeed covered her face because of people's obsession with looks, that is kind of a strange way of criticising it, by showing her face at the exact moment when all the attention is on her. So Fever Ray's thing would be a more clever way of doing this... i.e., everyone expects to see her real face, but then this monstruous thing appears.

    I have seen that one, as well as several of the acoustic versions of her other tracks. She definitely knows how to play the piano, that's for sure, which you got to give her credit for. Still not much of a fan of the songs though. :p

    I'm not sure if they are completely different genres actually. I would, on the contrary, say (as I have done in the post on my own blog) that there are some interesting similarities in the sense that they are both credited for rethinking what pop music is. Also, while Fever Ray might not be a gay icon there is a similar kind of "uncertainty of gender" going on there (even though I would say Fever Ray takes this much further than Gaga). She has for example described her "machining of the voice" as deliberately playing with issues related to male/female/queer, etc (for me it's more of a non-human thing though).

    Anyway, this is really interesting, since these are issues I'm trying to work through in preparation for my longer Vocalities essay, so I really appreciate this. Thanks.

    (She won for "best dance act". No idea about the other nominees, but since it's for a Swedish radio channel I don't think there were other than Swedish artists who were nominated).