Monday, October 06, 2008

Article "Socialism and the Yamaha CS 80" for Cubanology Biweekly

My friend José from asked me an article to put into the biweekly session for other writers in his site.
Here´s the article, called " Socialism and the Yamaha CS 80". That´s about a comparison between the infamous synthetizer that standard-lised rock/pop music in the late seventies, and socialism, that is the kind of standard policies ready to take place whenever some "action" from the government is required.

Here´s the link

Issue No.12 Article No.1 “Socialism and the Yamaha CS 80″ at C U B A N O L O G Y - B I W E E K L Y
C U B A N O L O G Y - B I W E E K L Y
Issue No.12 Article No.1 “Socialism and the Yamaha CS 80″

C U B A N O L O G Y - B I W E E K L Y

Issue No.12 Article No.1 “Socialism and the Yamaha CS 80″

The Yamaha CS 80

The Yamaha CS 80

Socialism and the Yamaha CS80

By Luís Afonso Assumpção

I’ve bought some re-issued CDs lately. One one of these was “Discovery” , the successful 1979 album from the Electric Light Orchestra. I used to liked a lot, specially because “Confusion”, “Last Train to London” and “Don’t Let Me Down”. But this album reminded me of all the buzz about rock groups that committed “disco albums” in those days. It was a kind of Capital Sin for all rock fans.

The music crowd was divided into two different visions: Rock and Discothèque. “Discovery” was a huge success, but despite of it - or better, because of it - it was labelled as ELO’s “surrender” to the system.

In fact, it was not a surrender to the “system” but a surrender to the synthetizers, to name one, the Yamaha CS80. In the CD booklet, JeffLynne, the heart and mind behind Electric Light Orchestra, wrote thatthe sound of this album was driven by two things: a strings session andthe sound of the Yamaha CS80 polyphonic synth. According to Lynne, heplayed around many times with the Yamaha, creating strange or etherealsounds on it. “Confusion” was made up interely by this process.

But what rock fans did think about it? They thought the album was
just cheesy. And camp. These were prove right, specially because
“Discovery” prepared terrain for the next ELO mission: “Xanadu”

In 1980 other rock group surrendered to Yamanha CS80, after yearsassuring that their albums were recorded “with no synthetizers!!!” :Queen. The album: “The Game” (self-explained title?). They even soundjust like Chic’s Bernard Edwards/Nile Rodgers in “Another One Bites The Dust”. Again, some fans estranged. And even got mad..

The music in the seventies could be described as a “cold war” between disco and rock. And you couldn’t be neutral. But it seems that this buzz is part of the past now. Nowadays rock / pop fans are not divided as disco / rock fans in the seventies, specially after years of crossovers. The music right now can be described as “convergent”: many groups / artists sound exactly the same. Can we put the blame on the Yamaha CS80?

Friedrich Engels

Socialism is a kind of Yamaha CS80 of the politics of our time. When I hear and see many “conservative” people justifying their socialistic policies with the argument that it is the only hope, I doubted it. Just like the Yamaha synth used by ELO and Queen, these people admire socialism because they like it. And they want to control the

government and using it, to control society as a whole. This is what happens when you mix capitalism with socialism: you don’t achieve a balanced government, but “middle of the road” policies that leads to the Road to Serfdom.

 Andrei Sakharov The Nobel Peace Prize 1975

Andrei Sakharov The Nobel Peace Prize 1975

The other name for serfdom is “convergence”. It was coined by Sakharov (former soviet dissident) to describe a world where socialism and capitalism were mixed together but socialism is, in fact, the portion that controls it all. That’s why new and former communistic regimes intend to form “convergent” coalitions with the west, specially in the US.That is the reason that you see many republican speaking as liberals. They believed that government intervention is not only necessary but is needed to make capitalism more fair. Socialistic policies not only make all politicians look the same, but they, in

fact, make government bigger. And they don’t recognize it as the gates of serfdom.

To avoid it we must keep the Cold War on. We need black and white world views again. Not the same gray. The bands in the seventies were free to look - aparently - the same for their fans. But it is not the case in politicians. We need more clarity and less “convergence” or crossovers. We need to return to the basic.That’s why in the late seventies the music returned to the basic. That’s what is need in politics. We need The Ramones.

Luis’ Blog: Swimming Against The Red Tide

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