Cognitive dissonance

someone's brain ripped openI haven’t been dumped in quite a while. Usually my relationships just fade away until a decision is made. Besides putting Gloria Gaynor and malt liquor into higher rotation, I’ve been doing a little bit of introspection about the topic.

Getting dumped is a classic case of cognitive dissonance, a theory first proposed by Leon Festinger in the 50s. He observed that people make decisions and actions to minimize the amount of contradictory beliefs they have in their head. When a person is forced to believe two things that don’t match up, they experience extreme emotional discomfort until they can fix their belief system.

So basically I have this thought in my head that’s tied to all kinds of memories and beliefs: she is my girlfriend. Then I introduce this new idea, she is not my girlfriend and the sum of these two obviously contradictory beliefs turns me into a raving lunatic. The more embedded the first belief is, the harder it is to accept the latter, and the longer you pour Old English on your corn flakes instead of milk. F. Scott Fitzgerald put it nicely:

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.

Obviously I’m not operating at first-rate levels currently. But writing dry, bland weblog posts about something that is obviously extremely emotional certainly helps to bring it back.

Ableton Live and the death of the DJ

abletonLive electronic music used to be a rarity. Before the prevalence of laptops, USB audio devices and performance software, there were really only three choices for a live electronic musician: hardware, samplers, or some combination of the two.

The landscape today is entirely different. In fact, live performances are becoming the norm, even for dance music producers who used to DJ. Take a look at the DEMF/Fuse-in schedule for this year and compare it with the one from 2001. While a good number of people performed live in 2001, only one was billed as live, while in 2005 almost 1/5 of the acts are billed as such. Have audiences grown more receptive to live dance music? Are DJs becoming producers? Probably a little of both, but by and large the biggest change is Ableton Live.
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DEMF 2005 Schedule

The Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF), a.k.a. electronicmusicfest.org, a.k.a. The Movement Festival has once again changed its name under new ownership: with Kevin Saunderson at the helm, it’s now called Fuse-IN. They’ve just released the lineup for this year, and if you can find it amidst all of the horrible flash interface and tiny fonts, it appears pretty good. I’ve reproduced it below for those who can’t stand the website, or want to be able to link to it.

Fuse-Indetroit / DEMF 2005 Schedule

I think this might be the best lineup they’ve ever put together, with highlights for me being the Hague electro crew (Orgue Electronique, Bangkok Impact, and Legowelt), Surgeon, Fabrice Lig, Aril Brikha, Green Velvet, Slum Village, Aux88, Stacey Pullen, Juan Atkins as Model 500, Alexander Robotnik and the Shitkatapult guys (Phon.O, Apparat, and Peter Grummich). If I can afford the time, I’ll try to make it out there.