Transcribing Dubstep – Rap meets Russian Futurism

Ben and Mindsparks shows us what a transcription of Dubstep might look like: Click here.

Can this be compared to the Russian Futurist concept of “Zaum” – in the 1920s, after the Russian Revolution, various poets, notably Velimir Khlebnikov and Aleksei Kruchenykh, began exploring concepts in sound symbolism. The ideas were collected under the title: заум or zaum.

As you can see, the word “Zaum” is built phonetically from the Russian prefix “за” – which translates basically to “trans” or to go “beyond”. The second part of the word is “ум” – a noun, meaning “reason” or “sense”. So, “заум” means beyond reason or trans-reason. Can we not say заум is the practice of using language to go beyond reason…?

Most importantly, we must remember that movements like this one were in many ways prompted by the same questions we raised in class last night. To speak plainly, just how language might actually convey meaning or sense may be much more complex than we first realise. In Zaum, we see the more typical, conventional relationship between language and ideas being fitfully overturned. Rather than words, phrases or terms being employed in a standard way as modes of reference, Zaum imagines the communication of ideas to occur much more like a kind of ongoing downloading process – like imagine if a particular sound could instantly trigger or construct a concept in the brain. I say “BAQESwwwsssht” and suddenly the person who hears it understands the theory of relativity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *