Tag Archives: Harangue

Harangue

The word of the day for Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 is:

Harangue

a loud bombastic declamation expressed with strong emotion. (vocabulary.com)

1. A long pompous speech, especially one delivered before a gathering.
2. A speech or piece of writing characterized by strong feeling or expression; a tirade.  (thefreedictionary.com)
Song: “An Harangue”
Artist: Art and Language feat. Red Krayola
Album: Corrected Slogans
Year: 1976
This first example I’ve posted brought me down a historical path in conceptual art to the guys who basically made the concept.  Again, very interesting and involved.  I’d love to do some more digging, but in lieu of that I give you Wikipedia and this guy’s blog.  Also make sure to check out Red Krayola on Wikipedia.  Hey, if Wikipedia is good enough for the fancy-dance blogger guy it’s good enough for me.
The Artist: Art and Language & Red Krayola
In a VERY brief description: Both groups came into existence in the mid-late 1960’s.  Art & Language was based in London and originally had a publication which they derived their group name from and started out being about Conceptual Art.  Of course, with any defined genre there are people/groups opposed to being put under that umbrella, much like Debussy* and Impressionism.  The goal of Art & Language was to explore other avenues of art beyond the visual and a lot of it was theoretical.  Red Krayola was from Houston, Texas headed by Mayo Thompson and has survived in one form or another to the present.  The leader, Thompson, joined up with Art & Language and they did a couple of albums together. Red Krayola (who had to change the “C” to a “K” later due to copyright/trademark infringements) was at the forefront of the experimental music scene pushing boundaries with music now classified as “noise-rock.”
The Album: Corrected Slogans
According to “this guy” (see link above) the story of the creation of this album is more fiction than fact, but essentially the Art & Language dudes said Red Krayola was still too mainstream, too pop (oh my word not that!) and a challenge was accepted to have Art & Language dudes come up with lyrics and Red Krayola’s Thompson put music to the words.
The Song: An Harangue

At first listen I felt that the words must be very important as haranguing someone usually means you’re pretty darn upset about something and want to tell them off.  I imagined the calm speaker possibly stating this through clenched teeth or, seeing as the speaker is British and our forefathers were British maybe it was a really formal declaration ala the Declaration of Independence. BUT now, knowing of the bet the birthed this album, I’m guessing that, though it does have true significance, the lyrics were written in such a way to be unmusical and the pompousness that comes across is supposed to be ironic.

An Harangue

The insecurity of crystalline political super-
structures as a consequence of economic crisis and
social conflict, is not in itself a new form of social
organisation — making deep changes in the social
project. Unless a conscious socialist transformatory
alternative develops, the result of crisis must be the
further entrenchment of reaction and the growth of
mass repression in lieu of solutions to societies’
problems. The ruling classes are universally appraised
of such prospects: in the non-industrial countries
the only growth industry is military and in the
industrial (‘advanced’) countries, there is a vogue
for discovering and ‘elimination’ ‘dangers within’
and an increase in hysterical, repressive legislation.
The ideal is now the ‘strong’ and opaque state where
repression keeps workers in line and activists
harassed .. entangled in a charade … tolerated
up-to-a-point. The point is that at which the
activists cease to resemble traditional reformist
organisations. The latter are, in any case, afforded
space in which to operate — mystify.

For the ruling classes to want such regimes is one
thing — to achieve them is quite another: the
workers can move to the centre of political events
rapidly and surprise the ruling classes with their
economic power. This — even when the working
class, as, such, is a minority.

But the prospect remains bright for the authori-
tarian right: for this, both the reformist parties and
peasant-fixated 1960′s revolutionaries are to blame.

What is needed is an integration of the ideology of
socialism … socialist … transformatory sections … with
the industrial working class.

Socialist-working class solidarity is historical
leadership identity.

What I like best about this song is the fact that the background music is really a full song.  You can practically hear the chorus in your head, imagine yourself fist pumping to the anthem, that final chorus being sung by a crowd a cappella style and then the final chord being jammed out on guitars that will most likely get smashed to pieces.  Too bad the song would have been completely ridiculous, all those syllables jammed into four bar phrases, much like Gross and Conspicuous Errors #7 .  You gotta wonder if songs like Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) are inspired by stuff like this – and further wonder, would these dudes like that?
Anyway, probably the most enjoyable harangues I’ve listened to.
And if this post weren’t long enough! . . .

Song: “Harangue”
Artist: Lesley Barber
Album: Mansfield Park (1999) Soundtrack
Year: 1999
Just for some contrast on the subject I present to you this little gem.  I am very fond of movie scores and had never actually watched this particular Jane Austen based film.  I am definitely a sucker for movies based on her stuff, especially the most recent Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightley, which also happens to have a musical score to die for: if you like this you’ll love that!
But, back to Mansfield.  This theme crops up a couple of times throughout the movie but most prominently nearer to the end when the main character is being harangued by her Uncle (I think it’s her uncle, they’re all related somehow) because she refuses to marry a certain gentleman.  Rather than trying to characterize the Uncle’s frustration with her, I feel that the music is expressing her inner sadness and longing.  The music is both ominous and serene, the repeating rhythm possibly her steady heartbeat which should be racing against this harassment but instead is waiting for the moment to pass, knowing it’s nothing more than steam he’s blowing, not fire.
That’s all folks – Don’t forget to remember the asterisk!
*This link is to Debussy’s “The Sunken Cathedral” – NOT to “Claire De Lune.”  Until America realizes that Twilight is one of the worst things to hit pop culture in awhile I will boycott the distribution of this amazing piece.  I refuse to have anyone be redirected to something from my site that will make them say “Oh, this is that song from TWILIGHT, It’s so pretty!”  I cannot put it more succinctly than this: Vampires SUCK**
**Except, of course, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel 🙂
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