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This article gives a detailed description of Deleuze and Guattari's theory of


the refrain and argues its usefulness for an understanding of popular music.
This is followed by an application of Deleuze and Guattari's theory of the
refrain to a specific, and problematic, attempt at territorial formation and de-
formation - the appearance of Australian expatriate independent music em-
blem, Nick Cave, in the German auteur Wim Wenders' 1987 film Wings of
Desire.)

TERRITORY, MUSIC, REFRAIN


Popular music is certainly a temporal phenomenon but how is it possible to
think about its relation to space? Many analyses of popular music, even those
that consider it in its territorial co-ordinates, consider it primarily from the
point of view of pre-existing human subjects or social groups who are, before
everything, consistent through time and space (what greater despotic subject is
there than the rock star, who seems to transcend both time and space, precisely
by aligning him or herself with the eternity of the 'star'). Being so, they seem
to move through space with the ease of a solid knife through flimsy butter. Yet
what if the knife were also made of butter? What if the whole buttery mess was
constantly melting and solidifying, even occasionally turning to gas, according
to how much things were cooking? Put literally, what if human beings werejust
one component in a more general scenario ofproduction in which humans. their
society, the environment (which only begins with trees, animals and rocks) and
technologies; all produced each other in what Felix Guattari (1993) has called
a constant process of "machinic heterogenesis"4? Further, what if the crucial
component of all this was the relation between the repetition of a refrain and
territory?
1 am suggesting firstly that the areations and dissolutions of territory are
primary in relation to the (latter) creations and dissolutions of the human
subject. Secondly, 1 am suggesting that music's role in this creation and
dissolution of space is of particular importance. Here it is necessary perhaps to
invert the normal equation of fixed human subjects producing and receiving
music. What if music organises and disorganises spaces in which not only
humans, but animals and machines co-exist, change, and develop interactively?
What if music is one of the main things that stitches together this forming and
unforming of space over time with other spaces and with human subjects,
animals and machines?
The French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (1987: 300)
have theorised that what they term territorializing and deterritorializing are the
very functions of what they have called 'the refrain' and of music. 'Territory'
here should, of course, be given as wide a definition as possible. At the same
time, as with all Deleuze-Guattarian concepts, even when abstract, it should be
taken as literal. It is also extremely important to realise that when speaking
about territory in Deleuze-Guattarian terms one is not speaking about pre-
existent and pennanent arrangements but about territory as a constant process

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offormation and dissolution. This is one of the distinguishing marks ofDeleuze


and Guattari's philosophy in that the dissolution of territories becomes just as
important as the production of them'. For example, the political question for
them is not just one of fixed states and territories. It is above all a question of
what processes (which they call "lines of flight" [Deleuze and Guattari, 1987:
88-89]) are available for the formations of desired territories and their main-
tenance (territories which they at different times call 'nomadic' or 'rhizomatic'
- the latter from the idea of grass root structure as opposed to a trees). Coupled
with this is the necessity for the unmaking of despotic or undesirable territories
(these latter territories are formed by "apparatus of capture" libido 424] which
capture 'lines of flight' or "lines of escape" [Deleuze and Guattari, 1983: 382]).
For Deleuze and Guattari, territorializing and deterritorializing are, of course,
processes which signal the complicity of space and time with each other, and
also with a politics of process. For Deleuze and Guattari, then, music is not
attached to permanent Or semi-permanent beings or cultures which survive
more or less intact through time and space. Rather, music is a constant form of
becoming of time, space and everything that inhabits them. The human subject
may be one agent within the formation and dissolution of territories but this
agent is also formed and constantly changed within these territorializing
processes. Thus the definition of territory here should begin with all the
connotations one can derive from the standard dictionary definiiions - from
the basic notion of a "tract of land; region or district" to an inclusion of ideas
of state or sovereign jurisdiction, a "field of action, thought" or even "the area
which an animal, or pair of animals claim as their own and defend against
intruders"'. All of these definitions imply process. Yet one can go further than
this towards a Guattarian definition of an ecology in which firstly, humans are
just one part in a huge series of processes which include the individual (animal,
vegetable, or even a process or event itself), social and machinic (technological
as part only of a broader machinic process); and, secondly, no one aspect can
be considered without the others.
I would like to suggest the usefulness of approaching popular music events
from the point of view of their interactive ecology. That is, from an understand-
ing of how they participate in what Guattari has called at times an ecology of
the individual, socius and environment (1989) and at others a "machinic
heterogenesis" (1993) between the three. Simply put, popular music events
form crucial components in the contemporary making and unmaking of terri-
tories, be these territories considered as environmental, political, or even
existential. An ethics and philosophy of popular music will only be possible
once there are the beginnings of an understanding of popular music's relation
to territory. Following Deleuze and Guattari, this will not be a philosophy based
on a humanity transcending space.through the positing of a permanent human
subject, but a geophilosophy (Deleuze and Guattari,1991: 82) based upon a
grappling with such problems as feeling like a 'socio-genetic experiment'.

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11 TRAVEL
Nick Cave has said that one of the primary things that drew him to music,
"rather than...any burning desire to be a musician, or take a message to the
world, or whatever", was that it gave him a "vehicle through which to travel"
(Walker: 65). For Deleuze and Guattari music enables travel. The refrains
which are music's content are portable. Yet these refrains also territorialize-
they create territory as they move. Every repetition of a refrain marks out a
distance which also becomes a plan(e) for a territory. Travel and territory,
music and refrain, possess an intricate series of connections. For Deleuze and
Guattari (1987) the creation of territory is the very function of the refrain. The
deterritorialization of refrains - their disconnection from their territory - is
what they call music. In terms of territory, refrains are primary. For what
Deleuze and Guattari call deterritorialization, music is primary. Seen from this
point of view, popular music events, therefore, do not only derive from certain
abstract social formations (such as national states with their attendant State
philosophies and State art). Such events also, in a very specific way, mark out
and/or erase certain territoriesjor social formation in the first place. An ecology
of popular music, which would also be an ethics, would determine the actual
connections made by popular music events to territorial processes as revealed
by the use of the refrain.
For example, dance music's speeding up of the appropriation of the world's
refrains - in at least two recent accelerations through house and techno - is
itself something that marks out new territories in the increasingly frenzied
interaction between new computer-driven territories and bodies and their
territories. The most extreme example of this is the creation of techno within
worldwide computer networks. It is possible for such music to exist solely in
this new territory of digital communicational space. Yet, of course, it can also
be danced to. It is music which both simulates space and creates it -literally,
on the dance floor, in headphones, on the Internet. More generally, all dance
music now provides a zone between bodies and what Wark (1994) has called
"Third Nature'" . It gives the ecstatic refrains by which this new space can be
both created and negotiated.
For Deleuze and Guattari, the ethical question would become: what social
machines are enveloping all such processes as dance or 'world' musics? Are
they productive? Do they, in Deleuze and Guattari's terms set free productive
lines of flight? Or are they anti-productive? Are refrains set free by such
processes as dance music only to burn out as they enter capital's stratosphere?
Are refrains preserving ecologies of movement and connection between differ-
ent communities, different territories, environments, individuals? Are refrains
erasing these differences? Are they doing both? What are the relations between
State, Capital and nomadic machines within popular music in, for example, the
academy? I shall turn to a more detailed analysis of the refrain io give the
outline of an answer.

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III THE REFRAIN


A refrain, for Deleuze and Guattari, is like a song that creates the beginnings
of order in chaos - as in a child singing in the dark. In this sense, the beginning
of a refrain is fragile. Next a refrain creates a territory, an organization of "a
limited space" with a "circle" drawn around it (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987:
311). For example, radios and televisions in houses 'mark territories'. The
refrain is still fragile at this point because "a mistake in speed, rhythm, or
harmony would be catastrophic because it would bring back the forces of
chaos" (311). Don't turn the radio up too loud, for'example, but don't have it
down too low either! The third aspect of the refrain is that the home or defined
space defines a territory beyond it, in the world or the future. "One ventures
from home on the thread of a tune" (311). These three aspects are not stages,
however. For Deleuze and Guattari they are three aspects of the same thing;
"forces of chaos, terrestrial forces, cosmic forces". They are differently mixed
in different circumstances (312).
For Deleuze and Guattari the refrain combines these forces and therefore
has "an essential relation to a Natal, a Native" because it "always carries earth
with it" (312). Birds, for example, mark out their territory with song. Whales
navigate halfway around the world to arrive at the same patch of sea and it might
be suspected that their refrains have much to do with it. Deleuze and Guattari
are obviously extending such notions to the human and to the human interaction
with the non-human. As with the territory of birds or the migrations of whales,
the refrain as an ethical practice must therefore always be considered with
reference to the ground on which it grounds one and the territory which it
enables one to negotiate. Essential to the ability to do both is the refrain's
repetition, and therefore rhythm. The function of this rhythm is not, however,
to be temporally exact. On the contrary, it may be very inexact - consider The
Birthday Party or any other punk or post-punk band's constant attack on
temporal exactitude. The function of this rhythm is to be territorially exact even
if temporally inexact - it is a repetition so as to keep producing the territory.
That is why the songs must be performed and performed again, reproducing
with bands, for example, the territory of the fan. The whole process is dynamic.
The most important point here is that a refrain, although it creates a territory,
is not the same as what Deleuze and Guattari see as the .static and anti-
productive nature of hierarchical State stratification. Deleuze and Guattari are
on the one hand opposed to the State and its stratifications but on the other see
the formation of territories as absolutely necessary. They are not the same
processes at all. It is because of this that rhythm enables one to set oneself free
from State stratification and produce new territory, it is critical - Public
Enemy comes to mind, or Hendrix releasing The Star Spangled Banner from its
stratification within the US State.
Such uses of rhythm then, rather than repeating a stratified State form, or
even just existing within anyone milieu dominated by a form of sovereignty,
are always connective. They are always located in between at least two milieus

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- at one level the bass and the drums, at another, the US flag, a particular skin
colour and the burning of a guitar, just to name three elements of a complex
interaction. In a sense then, real rhythm is about becoming. It is "never on the
same plane as that which has rhythm" (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987: 313). Toput
this simply it is the difference which is the rhythm - not the repetition. If
rhythm was not becoming, connection or interaction, if it could not deal with
difference but only the dogmatic repetition of meter, nothing new would ever
happen. No milieus would ever interact. There would not be music.
On the other hand, the benefit of a specifically musical terrain is a portability
that enables the holding together of many heterogeneous elements. What is at
first fuzzy is held together by the refrain (323). At the same time, the refrain is
the most unstable segment of the territory, because, like Nick Cave, an
expatriate Australian working in the international music scene, the refrain
comes from somewhere else. The centre of the territory is always, as a band,
coming from outside, from somewhere else. It must to be able to form the in-
between which is crucial to the formation of territory. The same could also be
said, of course, of radio, of musical samples or of bursts of sound on the
Internet. Deleuze and Guattari point out then that what they call the 'Natal'
always lies outside. The very thing that holds a territory together, from which
it is born, has a dynamism guaranteed by somewhere else: the upstream to
which salmon swim; the migration of birds (and more and more humans);
lobsters on long marches (326). Pop singers tour, or make it somewhere else,
following the constant logic of the refrain.
To sum up then, a refrain is something which is repeatable, portable and
marks both a distance and a rhythm. For Deleuze and Guattari it is the
structuring and destructuring ofthe action of the refrain which lies behind many
experiences and makes them both musical and territorial. A child sings in the
dark to ward off fear. Birdsong or whalesong define territories and movements
over kilometres. Wolves howl as an inter-territorial act. The refrain enables
different territories to be formed; the territories of the dance floor, the transfor-
mation of the pub. by live music, the work of the radio, which is both
deterritorialized power and territorializer par excellence - defining the house,
the street, the movements of armies.
And beyond these strictly musical examples there are other refrains that
connect with them and make them possible, that form a kind of generalised
musical machine with them. There are general repetitions in life as a whole
which feed into and are fed by the refrains of popular music. At the most general
level, pleasure, pain, recognition and misrecognition occur as cycles in the
nervous system and the psyche, cycles which must form and dissolve territories
in response to other territorial actions - cycles which are also turned into the
rhythms of drug use or gang activity, or even just 'going out'. That such
repetitive action is territorial begins to explain the intensity associated with
popular music as a dynamic process. This intensity is matched only in other
repetitive processes which are to do with territorial anxiety or activity, as in

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recurring dreams as refrains of the unconscious. Or the desperate repetition of


that which Freud called "the compulsion to repeat'" as a response to the horror
of deterritorialization in war.
It is this ability of the refrain to ground difference as territory that permits
us to use the refrain as a basic structural device for experience. Film, for
example, repeats and differs its images at twenty four frames/second and the
viewer sees movement. 9 In a similar way to film, human beings measure the
movements of their lived existence with the refrains that mark the rhythm of the
different moments they live. And one of the. more obvious sets of refrains
humans use for this process is that drawn from popular music. An understand-
ing of this process will allow us to glimpse both the intensity and the ethical
significance of musical events.
For example, the uses of technology in popular music are all to do with
furthering the territorial extension or changing the territorial nature of the
refrain. What is an amplifier or microphone if not first of all a territorial
machine? Technologies can be used to deterritorialize sounds in order to
reterritorialize them elsewhere - such as in the case of Elvis and the black
music that he heard on the radio in his youth (Wark, 1989).
More simply, technologies can be used to increase the power of the refrain,
sometimes just by extending its range. In contemporary music, the sampler and
digital synthesiser are the instruments of both de territorialization and power
without -equal. This is because the information transparency of their digital
systems allows them to move so easily between so many milieus. Yet even
before the digital, the synthesiser was developed along exactly this kind of
impulse to move between milieus, to create new territories, to attach oneself to
previously inimitable refrains. Consider one of the first public uses of an
analogue synthesiser. This was in Olivier Messiaen 's Turangalila symphony in
1948, in which the Ondes Martenot, a simple frequency oscillator, was used to
deterritorialize the sound of birds. To go even further, behind the synthesiser
there stands a more general machinic impulse - a general will to become-
other. Technologies such as the synthesiser, or the guitar pedal, microphone, or
sampler, all enable such becoming-others of music with subsequent territorial
implications. The technology itself is incidental. What matters are the territo-
rial relations with the birds, or with other musics and their territories, for
example in the sampling of world musics. Technology only extends two of the
prime functions of the refrain so that it will keep being produced. These are
repeatability and extension through space. Central to the process is the marking
out of various journeys through space in the repetition of the refrain. This leads
us to...

IV ETHICS AND POPULAR MUSIC


For the philosopher Spinoza, who is probably the most influential of philoso-
phers on Deleuze and Guattari, the problem of ethics as discussed in his Ethics

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(1952), was contained in the immanent and specific ability to affect and be
affected, to expand one's degree of connectiveness without succumbing to
inadequate ideas about one's place in the world, or knowledge ofit. For Spinoza
it was connection which determined both one's own degree of power and the
degree of power of those people or things in connection. Pain, in this ethical
schema, was a kind of sorrow derived from a loss of affect. Pleasure was the joy
of connection, of a constant music of connection in expansion, an ability to
create new territories with multiple centres - territories that Deleuze and
Guattari would call rhizomes, territories of becoming. Refrains and music have
a great and literal power in determining such states of pain and pleasure because
they enable us to move and to connect. It may be that the refrain is neither an
accompaniment to life, nor even its crowning achievement, but an expression
of life's basic force of production. I say this not to romanticise music, but to
analyse what it does. Consider 'Uber Alles', for example, as a refrain - for
Germany in 1940, in 1990, or as sung by Nico or The Disposable Heroes of
Hiphoprisy as different moments of territorial production.
Refrains connect territories and bodies. They may be, as Miller puts it, a way
of "verifying" for oneself one's movement through the world as a body and
connections with the outside to the body. Through a productive refrain "the
habitual disposition of the body seems to break down" (273). Miller is here, of
course, writing about S & M, but this also sounds like a gig, or dancing, to me,
its instincts and drives turning into a teeming mass of 'formless
pseudopods' - as if every zone of the body, like an amoeba
through its pseudopodia. was able to change constantly its shape
(273).
The refrain has the power to make and break territories or change the very
nature of the body and its connections. The refrain is riOt in itself an ethics yet
an analysis of the refrain must be incorporated into any ethical analysis of
popular music. One of my major concerns here in discussing the refrain is to
show how it extends through from birdsong to sampling, from the 'natural' to
the 'technological', and how both presuppose it. The refrain is a kind of
machined production of space. Music may dis-organise 'space and bodies, but
the refrain allows them to be re-arranged, even if in portable form. As John
Cage delicately puts it -
a utility aMong
swAllows
is theiR
musiC
thEy produce it mid-air
to avoid coLliding
(Cage, 1973: 26)

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Ethically, a differentiation is needed between such useful formations of terri-


tories which enable what Deleuze and Guattari would call the swallows'
various 'lines of flight' on the one hand and, on the other, the use of the refrain
to return us to sovereignty - the sovereignty, for example, of the record
company or simply that of the State. Yet once raised, the problem of sover-
eignty is not as simple as it might seem.

V THE STATE VERSUS THE STATE OF THINGS


Before the work of Michel Foucault in the 1970s, the problem of sovereignty
was largely seen as one of subjection and the deprivation of liberty - power
as negation. Foucault added the positive dimension of power as a formative
operation which actively constituted subjective possibilities. The implication
of this for popular music is that a new problem arises with regard to sovereignty,
particularly in the light of popular music's ability to move at such high speeds
between States. This is the problem, not incompatible with Foucault' s analyses,
ofthe exhaustion ofthe whole notion of sovereignty. It is the problem of the end
of the idea of one figure controlling a whole group or State or of there even
being one (or two) State(s) in any sense. Of course this leads to the anxiety
about what might replace the security given by sovereignty, even if it was a
security with the high price of being controlled through notions of sovereignty.
The problem is therefore not only one of power and subjection in the realm of
micropolitics. Jean-Luc Nancy (1993) has pointed out that State and other
sovereignties themselves are, in fact, presently exhausted and provide little
ground, however reactionary, for the formation of new territories. Radio
stations in Australia, for example, still cling desperately to the old sovereign-
ties of star groups and stars in general, but the biggest stars these days (such as
Bono and Madonna) seem to be precisely those who mock sovereignty - a last
gesture perhaps. At the same time, increasingly in dance music and forms such
as techno, sovereignty is being accepted as being dismantled, and popular
music is again providing one ofthe first grounds for the dismantling process.
Many no longer believe in sovereign power yet have no real idea as to what
comes next (Nancy, 1993). For Nancy, this leads to a world with a proliferation
of territories and many collisions of refrains. Nancy discusses contemporary
notions and practices of war, but his work can equally give insight into the way
in which popular music refrains, in such forms as dance music, are determined
by questions of ecology!. These forms signify a return to the world at large as
a problematic which far exceeds sovereignty. This is a consideration of the
world at large which should push us into analyses which also exceed or surpass
being trapped in notions of sovereignty. Nancy writes that
The Powers had the world as the space given for the play oftheir
sovereignties. But once this space is saturated, and the game
closed off, the world as such becomes the theme of a problem. It
is no longer certain that the finishing of this world can be
envisaged as was that of the world of the Sovereigns. The world
_ that is, man, or again world humanity - is neither the sum of

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humanity nor the installation of a new sovereignty (contrary to


what humanism sought and desired to the point of exhaustion).
The police war of world humanity puts in question the ends of
"man ", whereas sovereign waras such exposed the end... Worldly
man - man according to humanism - is man exposed to a limit
or an abyss ofgrounding, end and exemplarity. (48-50)
Nancy proposes an 'ecotechnics' which replaces political economy".
Ecotechnics involves a consideration of the entire world 'ecology' in the
marriage of technology and capital beyond the'notions of sovereignty that
necessarily inform political economy. A consideration of ecotechnics is pre-
cisely the new type of grounding that is provided for cultural activity in the new
type of world, and thus must also ground any political consideration of ethics
in popular music. In section VI, I will discuss an ambiguous example of an
ethical consideration of the refrain - Australian travelling bad boys' band
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and their appearance in Wenders' Wings of
Desire. It is precisely the ambiguity about many sovereignties in this film, and
the way that a popular music which comes from somewhere else is used to
bridge those sovereign abysses; of nation, of sovereign sexuality, of the clear
sovereign division between heaven and earth, that interests me.
The fact is that popular music has always served this role in some form or
another, precisely because of its use of the refrain. Popular music, as a product
of modernity, should make us think more about the specificity of impermanent
territories and less about the meaning of sovereign States. It is a question of
denatalisation as much as the natal. Deleuze and Guallari in fact see an open
accceptance of speed and impermanency as part of the modern assemblage,
which "no longer confronts the forces of chaos, (as with classicism)" and "no
longer uses the force of the earth or the people to deepen itself (romanticism)
but instead opens onto the forces of the Cosmos" (1987: 342). In other words,
the organising force of modern refrains is one which opens onto a cosmos.
World music sums it up perfectly, once one understands world music as
something which moves away from a collection of sovereignties. Sonic Youth
or Cave also play this assemblage's music, in which there is a territory where
all territories collide, all milieus seem within reach - and always firstly those
milieus and territories which seem primarily musical. Vet this process of
collisions speeds up to the point where any permanence of territory is ques-
tioned. For Deleuze and Guallari the late 20th Century leaves behind the
assemblages "to enter the age of the Machine, the immense mechanosphere, the
plane ofcosmicization offorces to be harnessed" (1987: 343). This is to say that
the connections between milieus are expanding so rapidly as to wipe out many
distinctions between territories. If "this machine must have an assemblage, it
is the synthesiser" which "makes audible the sound process itself' (343). In his
later writings Guattari specifically points to rock music as a precarious form
of negotiation of existential territory in this increasingly displaced economic
and political environment-

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Youth, even though crushed in dominant economic relations that


confer upon it a place more and more precarious and mentally
manipulated by the production of collective subjectivity of the
mass media, has still managed to develop its own singularity at a
proper distance from normalised subjectivity. In this regard, the
transnational character ofrock culture is completely significant,
playing the role ofa sort of initiation cult, conferring a cultural
pseudo-identity on considerable masses of young and allowing
them to constitute a minimum of existential Territory. (Guallari,
1989:20, my translation) .
It makes sense here to regard contemporary popular music not necessarily
as art but as interactive artisanship, the working of the available cosmos.
Popular music can make possible both perception of the processes of the
machines that now operate at such high speed, and a means of temporary
territorializations to ground action in. refrains to move one through. As Deleuze
and Guallari write,
it may be that the sound molecules of pop music are at this very
moment implanting here and there a people of a new type,
singularly indifferent to the orders of the radio (techno, raves?),
to computer safeguards, to the threat ofthe atomic bomb. (Deleuze
and Guallari, 1987: 346)
In short, popular music forms such as techno, by virtue of being part of the
whole process, allow a loose grounding in machinic processes away from a
fixing of ourselves in outdated notions of sovereignty. This is not to say that this
is necessarily a good thing - or necessarily bad. I am not, (and neither are
Deleuze or Guallari, as often as they are accused of it), advocating some utopian
anarchy. Rather, what is needed is a grounding and a form of movement which,
far from providing general solutions, produces specific analyses and specific
strategies for operations in specific circumstances.
Without sovereignty, without obedience to transcendent principle, ethics
becomes a complex affair. For Deleuze and Guallari ethics involves the
question of what interconnections are possible, what degree of power a body
can have in a given dynamic - given machinic circumstances. Thus if they
favour sound over other forms of art it is not because of any intrinsic ethical or
aesthetic value. Rather, sound needs to be discussed because it is sound which
is the most effective deterritorializer. "Color clings, not necessarily to the
object, but to territoriality"12 (1987: 347). Sound is thus at the "cutting edge of
deterritorialization"(348) and therefore the most effective at CUlling territory,
forming it, or both. For Deleuze and Guallari, sound -
invades us, impels us, drags us, transpierces us. It takes leave of
the earth, as much in order to drop us into a black hole as to open
us to a cosmos. It makes us want to die. (348)

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Murphia

This latter only, of course, makes the use of sound potentially more
damaging as well as potentially more useful. Cave's singing, techno, or rap can
easily provide just as thorough a ground for fascism as for a more useful
molecularisation of State politics. The only way in which this will guarantee
some kind of ethics is in that form of refrain which continually allows both
connection and escape from sovereignty - all the permutations of a pirate
radio. This is far more important to Deleuze and Guattari than "building a new
system" (350). For them, the truth is today that there is no system, "only lines
and movements",

The refrain, then is one of Deleuze and Guattari' s most basic concepts
(Deleuze, 1990: 188). As a concept,
it has a relation with territory. There are refrains in the territory,
and those which mark it; but also when one looks for a way home
and one is scared a/the night; and again when one leaves ... This
is already three differential positions. But then, the refrain
explains the relation of territory with something more profound,
which is the earth. So be it, but the earth, it is the Deterritorialized,
it is inseparable from a process ofdeterritorialization which is its
own aberrant movement. (Deleuze, 1990: 200-201)
The refrain's portability enables it to hold together many heterogeneous
elements. It is in music's heterogeneity that one can, finally, consider the
refrain's relationship with the earth, 13 for the earth is the ultimate deterritorialized.
lt may be that one needs a popular music, in the broadest sense, to have any
sense of place at all.
lt seems to me that popular music, for better or for worse, and certainly for
richer or for poorer, is tied to the thoroughness of its understanding of territory
and refrain more than any other musical form. The refrain is what popular music
is about - its specific connections of bodies, technologies, of different territo-
ries. Popular music does, in an immanent way, use the refrain to make these
connections, every time a song is repeated, on the dance floor, on the television,
in the pub, in cyberspace. Yet popular music is also profoundly musical in the
power of its deterritorialization of refrains. Maybe one can even begin to
understand what certain more indigenous groups all over the world ('minor'
groups) have been trying to tell us for so long. The refrain is not something to
be captured, but is something that links us, a form of interaction more
interesting than interactive television - to the birds, to other beings, to
television for that matter. And to think of these things without thinking
territorially is to make a mistake about thought itself. One is used to thinking
about popular music in terms of subject and object - who is playing what -
yet for Deleuze and Guattari -
Subject and object give a bad approximation ofthought. Thought
is neither a thread stretched between a subject and an object, nor
a revolution of one around the other. Thought rather lies in the

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connection to territory and to the earth. (Deleuze and Guattari,


1991: 82)
An ethics of popular music consists of knowing when to make a territory
disappear and when to create one - when to dance, and when to broadcast (or
when not to), and what territories the territories of the dance and the broadcast
are specifically connecting with. Similarly, it involves knowing which commu-
nities are tied into which record companies, which musics connect with which
drugs which connect with which series of relations with capital and State, and,
in turn, with which distant communities. The question is never, even in world
broadcasts, one of abstract forms or truths about music, culture and sub-culture,
and so on, but one that must always be a question of specific connection.
To sum up, popular music needs to be considered in terms of specific
territories and refrains. Only then can one begin to approach the ethical
problems of living in the world and amongst peoples instead of in sovereign
States or in states of mind reduced to thoughts of sovereignty. Refrains are
never really those of States, only of specific communities. Or, as Guatlari puts
it, one needs to be able to reinvent relations between three interdependent
ecologies with different refrains; ecologies of subjectivity, socius and environ-
ment. He writes that "less than ever can nature be separated from culture and
we must learn to think 'transversally' the interactions between ecosystems,
mecanosphere and the Universe of social and individual reference" (1989: 34).
In musical terms we need to re-perceive the relations between birdsong,
community territories and individual psyches, both on the earth and in
cyberspaces, on the airwaves, and through technologies such as samplers. Once
the perception is made we will be able to allow for a heterogenesis between the
three.

VI WINGED
In 1987 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Crime and the City Solution
appeared, somewhat emblematically, in Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire. This
seemed in some ways an unsurprising event as Wenders' films have always
deterritorializedtowards popular music; and Cave's songs are often unimagi-
nable without considering Cave's energetic performance style. In addition,
Cave and Wenders are both wanderers, with little apparent regard for the State.
Both have been lauded and condemned at various times for their very different
(if honest) approaches to masculinity, which in both cases combine with a fairly
abject view of the feminine. Both face the ceaseless problem of a high degree
of deterritorialization and a need for specific territory. Both turn to popular
music both to territorialize and to enable movement whenever they seem stuck.
Wenders' films are nearly all road movies. Not only is their subject matter
travel but making them seems always to involve an inordinate amount of
travelling. PopUlar music often seems to be the only thing holding his films
together. Whole films seem based upon the territories carved out by refrains, for
example, in Ry Cooder's score for Paris,Texas (1984), or Wenders' early

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short, Alabama: 2000 Light Years (1969), which consists of a comparison


between Hendrix and Dylan versions of AI/Along the Watchtower. Through the
use of popular music, and the role ascribed to it in culture as a primary force that
produces space and relations, the boundaries between high art and popular
culture in Wenders' films become very blurred.
Cave also blurs these boundaries. Born just outside of Wangaratta in
Victoria, he has since used music to base himself in Melbourne, London, Berlin
and now Sao Paulo, Brazil. His music and other writings have drawn from a
wide range of eclectic musical styles from Weimar- cabaret to grunge, from
Louis Armstrong to post-punk, from Southern American writer Flannery
O'Connor to the bible. For both Wenders and Cave, the refrains of popular
music are the basis of any territories they might form. For both, refrains can be
lifted from other territories and made to travel, guaranteeing a kind of passage
through a highly deterritorialized world. It is only through the refrain that
various territories can be negotiated and connections made, rhythms
reestablished. In this respect, Cave's live appearance towards the end of Wings
of Desire is exemplary.
To sum up what is a complex mix of stories and filmic styles, the narrative
of Wings ofDesire concerns a male angel who becomes a mortal being. He has
tired of his eteinal wanderings around Berlin ", and like Berlin as it appears in
this film, feels ungrounded and displaced. The angel, Damiel, has his desire to
become human catalysed by two meetings. One is with Peter Falk, who turns
out to be an ex-angel himself and has his own refrain with which he attempts
to ground other angels - "I can't see you but I know you're there". Falk
recommends to Damiel the mortal indulgences of cigarettes, coffee, and
rubbing one's hands together when it's cold - simple performative refrains
that mark out the territory of the everyday. Damiel' s second meeting takes the
form of an infatuation with a trapeze artist, Marion. Marion is also ungrounded
-literally, as she flies with feathered wings on the trapeze, but in other senses
as well. Her circus is broke and packing up for the season. She has nowhere to
go and is attached to no one. Damiel and Marion's first full meeting, which
occurs only near the very end of the film, is, then, a meeting of nomads - of
heaven and earth, spirit and flesh deterritorializing each other in a displaced,
nomadic world. This displaced but highly charged world is ably represented by
a displaced Australian, Nick Cave.
The music of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is heard twice. The first time is
during a voyeuristic episode in which Damiel spies on Marion undressing in
her caravan. She has just learnt of the premature end of the circus season.
Depressed, - Nick Cave's music is always good for the down at heart - she
reaches for a Cave record, playing The Carny from the Bad Seeds 1986 album
My Trial, Your Funeral on her cheap, little, portable record player. The whole
scene, in which an angel confronts the sight of a trapeze artist in a circus
caravan, is depicted as a plan(e) of portability. The refrains in the scene,
combined with the sight of Marion's bare back, seem to deterritorialize Damiel

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even further from his angelic choruses. Cave's music is important as part of this
process because it replaces, somewhat demonically," the angelic choruses
normally heard by Damiel in times of stress - choruses which draw the angels
back towards their own deterritorialized existence. Marioo is, in turn.
deterritorialized by angelic refrains later in the film.
The second time Cave et al' s music is heard is during Marion's two visits
to a club in Berlin. During her first visit the viewer sees a band which shares
several members with Cave's own, Crime and the City Solution, playing Six
Bells Chime live. During the second visit NickCave and company are playing
The Carny live. !lis followed, appropriately enough, by FromHerto Eternity."
This is just before the meeting of the two main characters near the end of the
film. Marion is dancing (rather badly). Damiel, having become human, drunk
coffee, smoked cigarettes and, guided by Peter Falk, rubbed his hands together
in the cold, is looking for Marion. Only human for a day or so, it seems he
already has a romantic destiny. He fails to find her at the now deserted circus
site, but seeing the enormous, somewhat despotic face of Cave on a club poster
he realises that Marion will be there. !l is the logic of the refrain.
The live appearance of Cave at the club both precedes and grounds Damiel
and Marion's coming together. Damiel is, in fact, going from eternity to her
rather than in the direction alluded to in the song, but nevertheless the refrain
of this song provides a territory, or what Deleuze and Guattari would call a
plan(e) of consistency, 17 in which the meeting can occur. Cave's face, gestures
and refrains layout a temporary, immanent, intense territory. In the caravan the
Cave record deterritorialized both Damiel from his angelic territory and Marion
from her circus. Cave's live performance in the club provides a field of
intensities where anything could happen. Unfortunately what does happen is
that the music is cut, they go to an adjoining bar, and Marion makes a long,
ponderous speech about love, very badly written by Peter Handke. 18 It seems
that when Cave's refrains are left behind the intensity of territory is lost and no
words can make up for it. Yet this is not a return of realpolitik - it is part of
a more complex political process which has many other possibilities.
It is not odd, however, that before this failed attempt at a return to
sovereignty, Wenders should choose to territorialize what is, for him, an
intense and dangerous moment in Wings of Desire with Cave's screaming and
posturing formation of territories (that are as ephemeral as they are brutal).
Since a child, Wenders has turned to popular music whenever challenged by a
lack of territorial definition. Born in 1945, he has repeatedly said that American
popular music saved his life as a teenager in post World War Two Germany
(Wenders, 1989: 125-126,1991: 17 & 89); faced as he was by an impossible past
and an incomprehensible future. German music (he mentions Beethoven) only
represented these twin State territorial blocks. Wenders thus grew up in a
Germany that had effectively been culturally bleached and was in the process
of being heavily territorialized by American culture, notably by American
films and popular music, both of which Wenders adored. I' For his early films

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Murphie

the songs literally came first. His first film with longtime collaborator Peter
Handke, 3 American LPs (1969) was a discussion between the two about
American popular songs. His film criticism is full of long quotes from various
songs and includes a comparison of them to the American landscape, particu-
larly in the Westerns of John Ford. Eventually this identification with America
was to lead to a long stint of living and making films in America which
culminated in the making of Paris. Texas. This film had a Ry Cooder sound-
track which is the only complete combination of popular songs and more
conventional film sound tracks employed in Wenders' work. Wenders saw Ry
Cooder's music as efficiently creating a specific American territory. He has
said that
Ry did what I was dreaming he could do: combine. In all my other
films there was both rock and roll and the score. In Paris. Texas
there is one ... It's almost as if the music is coming out of these
landscapes. (cited in Dieckmann: 5)
By this time, however, Wenders was disillusioned with America, and with
American styles of filmmaking, which he questions in The State of Things
(1982). This means that at the time of making Wings of Desire Wenders was
facing a territorial dilemma. He saw Berlin as the most German city (the
German title of the film literally translates as "The Sky over Berlin") but in the
film finds it hard to territorialize it as such, literally running up against a wall
_ the wall, which of course was still in place, and also forms the no man's land
into which Damiel falls from the sky. In short, Wings of Desire was, in part,
Wenders' attempt to place himself, perhaps for the first time consciously, as a
German in Germany. This perhaps also accounts for what Deleuze and Guattari
(1987:272) would call the "becoming-child" of the film, sandwiched as the
whole film is at beginning and end by a refrain which literally sets up a
becoming-child - "when the child was a child" is the translation ofthe opening
and closing lines of the film.
The peculiar thing is that it is an excessive nomadic Australian who provides
Wenders with what seem like excessively German refrains at the climax of the
film. These refrains give the possibility of a Germany which is not so much a
sovereign State or an intrinsic nati.onality but a Germany tied much more
specifically to Berlin. Wenders forms Berlin for most of the film as a specific
multiplicity - a territory formed by refrains drawn from outside, such as
Cave's. Berlin here seems almost anti-sovereign (and certainly in the films
which followed, the notion of sovereignty collapses completely') . In the
moment of multiplicity in the nightclub the refrains manage to preserve the
creative territorial possibilities of all its participants. Yet it is somewhat erased
by the scene which follows it. Marion announces she is giving up chance for
Romantic love, and this would seem very much an affirmation of the attempted
rebirth of a certain kind of sovereignty.
It is worth mentioning also that there is another strand of the film whi,h
plays with notions of the sovereign and the local which resists it. This is about

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the making of a war film replete with standard sovereign Nazis and minorities
with interesting faces. It is these specific faces which Peter Falk contemplates
and draws as a form of relaxation. Wings of Desire as a whole hovers around
more walls than just the Berlin wall - walls between the construction of
sovereignty (the sovereignty of mythic heterosexual relations as an end point
and a starting point, the various sovereign Germanies) and the parody of fallen
sovereignties; in favour of multiplicities of specific refrains and persons drawn
from outside this sovereignty. It could be argued that popular music also hovers
over the border of these two very different formations of territory.
That Cave appears at the specific moment in the film he does is also due to
the very difficulty of a territorial negotiation Wenders faces in relation to the
German question - that between the sexes. What seems like the trivial climax
of an awkward, or even offensive, romance is anything but trivial in the context
of Wenders' work up to this point, which had always been highly equivocal
about the feminine. Until Wings of Desire his films never really dealt with
active relations between the sexes (although Paris, Texas deals with the
aftermath). Like the girl and her mother in Wenders' early Alice in the Cities
(1974) women represent a territorialization process by which men can be
fascinated but never really approach, except temporarily. In some ways the end
of Wings of Desire only repeats this more intensely. Yet in Wings of Desire
Damiel is not only deterritorialized from the sky over Berlin to the ground but
also taken out of a typical Wenders wandering male duo (with another male
angel). It is the first time his films really attempt to affirm sexuality - in the
midst of a nostalgic attempt to revive a Berlin that perhaps never was. This
process will require intense and ambiguous refrains of both the feminine and
masculine to make it flow. Cave provides exactly this (until he is shut up by an
abrupt edit). In Wenders' films this is what popular music always does. It
constantly creates territory and the possibility of territory at the same time as
it deterritorializes both characters' and viewers' sense of place. His films are
full of juke boxes in unplaceable cafes in unplaceable towns - but which play
placeable (and placing) songs. Indeed in AUce in the Cities, Wenders himself
appears as the person working the jukebox.
So Wenders begins life deterritorialized, and though his films hanker after
a territory, they always seem more comfortable on the road, with records, (the
deterritorialized refrain as music) than with the kind of moments of strong
territorialization he finds in the instance in Wings of Desire where Cave takes
over the scene. It seems almost as though Wenders does not know what to do
with this immanent territory that he gives himself, and immediately launches
transcendent sovereignties, sexual and possibly even national, in the next
scene.
Perhaps this all only reflects the fact that the late 20th Century has both an
increasingly free (for those in possession of the means to capitalise upon such
freedom) and increasingly abject (for the less fortunate) sense of place. These
are, of course, intricately involved, and perhaps bound to rebound upon the

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whole set of relations between the free and the abject. The abject is, after all,
the sense of horror at the dissolution of boundaries of place, be those the
boundaries of bodies or of sexual or national identities (Kristeva, 1982). Of
course, all Wenders' films and many of Cave's songs can be read as a response
to exactly these problems. There is sometimes, as in Wenders' return to
Germany and romance at the very end of Wings of Desire, a recoil from the
abject. This recoil has the possibility of attempting a return towards Statehood
or sovereignty as in the sexual sovereignty at the end of Wings of Desire. At
other times there is the perhaps preferable creation of a nomadic sense of ethics
that opposes interaction and wandering to sovereign' States. This latter propels
many of Wenders' characters onto the road.

VII STANDING ON SHAKY GROUND


Under which sovereign conditions are musics performed, accepted or rejected?
What social machines are not arranged around sovereignty? Only those of
capital? How are these fields interconnected? Through all these questions there
is a tremendous sense of constant interconnection. This is not just between
different musical milieus across different territories (as they permeate all
Wenders' films for example). This interconnection between completely differ-
ent milieus - this relation between nonrelations occurs as "a color will 'answer
to' a sound" (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987: 330) and so on until there is a
"veritable machinic opera" - a "synthesis of heterogeneities" (ibid.). For
Deleuze and Guattari -
The varying relations into which a color, sound, gesture, move-
ment, or position enters in the same species. and in different
species, form so many machinic enunciations. (331).
One must consider this total machine in some ways in order to understand
what is going on. For example, in regard to sampling and territory, it "is less a
question of imitating a song than of occupying corresponding frequencies"
(331). In other words, the whole question of originality, or liveness, or lack
thereof, only occludes the more necessary question of territory. And territory
is something that is formed, machined.
It could, for example, be suggested that a particular attitude to Australia is
exemplified, andlor prefigured, in Cave's acceptance in Europe. Here there
may be an intense struggle around refrains, territories and various forms of
exhausted sovereignty trying to replenish themselves to machine something
new. Cave's music can be accepted as savage, uncompromising but also
strangely unplaced, in a way which prefigures the exoticism of Australian
exports in general (and is, of course, also entirely prefigured by attitudes
towards Aboriginal culture, even within Australia). Of course, Cave's refrains
fight back, hold their own ground, themselves incorporate refrains from
territories such as Blixa Bargeld's. The extremities of Cave's refrains, their
screaming or basso profundo dislocations, his musical travelling over mixed

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and, at times, amorphous musical territories, reflect this condition of struggle


and territorial abjection.
Cave began with The Boys Next Door as a "clean-cut combo" (Gambotto:
64) at school but when punk began in Melbourne, Cave made the transition from
tight jeans and Hawaiian shirts to "thin suits, with a thin tie and thin trousers,
singing These Boots Were Made For Walking" (ibid.). The Birthday Party
formed themselves out of the wreck of the earlier band, moved to England at the
beginning of the 1980s and eventua]\y in Germany was billed as "the most
violent band in the world" (Gambotto: 65). Cave was we]\ known for his "Iupine
howl" (Fricke: 48) and "bruta]\y compelling music" (ibid). When interviewed
by Gambotto in 1985 _ a now legendary event, as Cave was less than lucid,
obnoxious even, and Gambotto seems to have been expecting Barry Manilow
_ Cave said "Half the world wants to be kicked in the head" (Gambotto: 71).
The early Birthday Party performances seemed to resemble the creation of a
very open musical field (what Deleuze and Guattari would ca]\ a 'plane of
consistency' _ a plane of intensities with little definition beyond that but from
which definition can be derived") rather than a series of melodies. In some
ways, this aspect of Cave and those with whom he has worked consistently,
such as Mick Harvey and Blixa Bargeld, has remained strong. Their music has
always remained, from The Bad Seeds to Einsturzende Neubauten - a concern
with defining and redefining musical territories. using music to define a
territory, be that an independent music scene in Melbourne, or a club in Berlin -
rather than delivering repeatable melodies. Cave is exemplarily Australian in his
concern with an intense cycle of refrain-music, or territory-deterritorialization.
Cave not only galvanises musical scenes but quickly shifts them and mixes
them. The music is a heady mix of refrains in music, lyrics, gesture and
costume. Through his shifting of different refrains, as opposed to the
anti-productive repetition of the same, Cave has also managed to become we]\
known throughout the world. Barber has claimed that although Cave did not
"fo]\ow the sanitised route Australia's rock stars are supposed to fo]\ow, there
are people in Iceland and Russia who are familiar with Cave's music", whilst
the likes of Jimmy Barnes only get blank looks (Barber, 1988a: 16). Charlton
describes Cave simply as the "boy next door who lives everywhere" (2s). With
a sometimes intense parody, matching Wenders' attempt to create a Germany
through a parody of aspects of its sovereignty, Cave seems happy to collide
refrains with abandon: the abject in his lyrics; the gestures of punks and
crooners; through to variations on surprising material (the It's a Wonderful
World [1994] single with Shane MacGowan, touring Australia with Screamin'
Jay Hawkins in 1985); and his use of the Gothic, the American South or punk
_ a]\ themselves worlds of intense deterritorializations. It is this ability to
create a portable territory that perhaps is his territory itself. At the same time
Cave and company can build an intense specificity of event out of a multiplicity
of refrains.
One of the consequences of this is that the intensity of such music events
will always be tied to a kind of parody. Cave acknowledges that his "material

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Murphie

and performance explores the area between drama and parody" (Casimir,
1990a: 12). Any intensive use of refrains drawn from such a wide area must. As
Casimir (1990a: 12) writes, this leads to an element of "uncertainty" in Cave's
work that "forces you to examine and react to what he is doing". There is an
uncertainty about authenticity in Cave's use of a multiplicity of refrains. It
gives his performance intensity because it enables the crossing of the bounda-
ries of the abject. It is irrelevant whether, as a reviewer wrote in 1985, "pasty
men from Caulfield can sing the blues" (Guilliatt: 14). In fact Cave constantly
plays on this. He has said that "there's a certain way I perform on stage which
I consider to be very honest, but at the same time I think it's treading the middle
ground between some kind of complete truth and parody" (Casimir 1990b: 16s).
Generally speaking, parody is in some ways the life blood of popular music
performance. Parody is the deterritorialization of refrains from other areas
which makes possible the creation of new territories. It is, in the process, a way
of dismantling older territories. It is this which can make popular music, in
Deleuze and Guattari's terms, a war machine. It is also this which accounts for
the apparently disruptive nature of Cave's music in England in the early
1980s," or even in Wings of Desire. For example, Cave says that,
Within the context ofa certain set of lyrics to say '[ love you' or
another classic cliched tearjerker ofa line which no longer jerks
tears - and hasn't done so for 20 years - can come across very
powerfully. (Robinson, 1984:16)

VIII THE BAD COPY; REPETITION AS PRODUCTION


Pierre Klossowski has given a description of masochism that almost perfectly
describes Cave's early performances, and explains why Cave gives life to a
filmic Berlin populated by angels and ghosts of the past. Klossowski describes
masochism as "life reiterating itself in order to recover itself in its fall" (cited
in Deleuze, 1989: 119). For Klossowski, experiences such as sadism and
masochism (which are particularly prevalent in punk and post-punk perform-
ance) take repetition into unexpected directions and into unmade territories.
Repetition, pushed by desire out of standard territories, unleashes its full force
of production. Of course, here I am differentiating between repetition as
comforting reassurance and repetition as production, and one needs to differ-
entiate the two in considering popular music refrains. For example, consider the
effect of the repeated loud playings of songs that are used in such siege or war
situations as those recently in Waco, Texas or the US invasion of Panama.
Repetition as production can have "a terrible force". Deleuze writes that
instead of repetition being experienced as a form of behaviour
related to a pleasure obtained or anticipated, instead of repeti-
tion being governed by the idea ofexperiencing or re-experiencing
pleasure, repetition runs wild and becomes independent of all
previous pleasure. (120)

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In Deleuze and Guattari's terms this 'running wild' gives intensity to a


popular music performance. Cave's account of The Birthday Party is instruc-
tive:
We had no interest in shocking people with The Birthday Party.
We wanted to go out and really abuse people and assault them and
hurt them. And I think our integrity shines through in that as soon
as we got to a point where everyone was coming along to have all
this happen to 'em, we folded up the group and went on to other
things. (Fricke: 49)
Cave is also recorded as saying during. this period to the audience as they threw
skulls and flowers at him "Is this the best you can do? Is this really the best you
can do?" (cited in Jamrozik: 40). The intensity of the repetition of the produc-
tive refrain also accounts for the intensity of the way in which music can use the
refrain to create new and constantly changing territories. Repetition, under-
stood as the marking out of difference in time and space, has a dynamism that
moves things. Deleuze and Guattari write "music takes up the refrain...it forms
a block with it in order to take it somewhere else" (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987:
300). This taking somewhere else is a constant in the touring of popular music,
distribution of records and cds, or in radio or cyberspace, as fluid forms of
territorialization and deterritorialization. The taking somewhere else in popu-
lar music accounts both for the social potency of popular music and its
commercial force. Without it this force is lost. Brian Eno has given a detailed
description of the hierarchical nature of the classical orchestra and its lack of
variety (Eno, 1976). He describes how a stagnant repetition produces a species
which cannot evolve, which kills all possibilities of the movement of the
refrain. Regarding popular music there has been a similar hierachisation of the
'classics' on Australian radio with popular music in recent years. No new
territory is produced, and like the emperor in Hans Christian Andersen's story
'The Nightingale', who has a mechanical nightingale built so as to control the
beautiful sound of the bird; the introduction of a purely technological repetition
can sometimes render the refrain of the bird (its machinic production) totally
unproductive. Although the first obvious condition of the refrain is that it
repeats, the second condition is that it produces territory - that is it must
produce territory in order to exist. Constraining a bird will only produce a
lament.
Both the playing of the record and the live performances used in Wings of
Desire occur at moments of extreme deterritorialization, yet moments which
also threaten to turn into black holes - depression, the loss of the loved one.
These moments enable both the film and the characters to go somewhere else,
the story to continue. Where such instants do go, however, is a problem of
ethics. In Wings of Desire things fall back into a fairly standard masculine
problematic. Kolker and Beicken (1993) have noted how the temporary prom-
ise of a "subversive moment of female intervention is subverted" by the images
of a "postmodern dawn of the gods" (156-7). In Deleuze-Guattarian terms this
is an example of a 'line of flight' which has been rendered unproductive by an

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Murphie

'apparatus of capture' in the form of State philosophy. It would be a misinter-


pretation to consider only the latter, State politics and philosophy, as 'realpolitik',
as both 'flight' and 'capture' are as literal and as real producers of territory as
each other. One term does not dominate the other." The Berlin Wall here can
be seen as exactly the kind of problematic relic of an increasingly outmoded
thinking in terms of sovereignty that Iean-Luc Nancy argues against. Wenders'
film seems caught up in this whole dilemma of the State and the local almost
unconsciously, with difficulties that are repeated in his most recent film, the
sequel to Wings ofDesire - Far Away, So Close (1993). Of course in this latter
film the wall has fallen but there are many echoes in other ways, particularly in
the use ofLou Reed visiting Berlin as an echo of Nick Cave's role. The ending
of this film is significantly less bound up with a nostalgic return to sovereignty,
perhaps because the film as a whole is less concerned with sexual questions.
Such rhythmic productions through the refrain will always, in whatever
way, constantly create various musical territories, accounting for such territo-
ries as diverse as the strictly geographical and the film, as independent music
scenes (which far from their authenticity should rather be defined by their
inauthentic multiplicity, specificity and intensity) or dance scenes. What
matters is that the production of rhythm - it's variation - is extended into new
connections - that, as they say, the beat goes on. And any repetition will do,
whether of violin notes or sampled parcels of noise. In any situation it is always
a question of the intensity of the territorial process.
Whistle while you work.

END NOTES

1 The title of Mahavishnu Orchestra's 1975 album.


2 Of course, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy are here referring to specific and
personal cultural and genetic mixes.
3 Harvey (1989) has also analysed Wings o/Desire in terms of its relation to time and
space, specifically to "time-space compression" (308). Though it contains many
useful points. the problem with Harvey'sanalysis is that, followingBnmo' 5 application
of Jameson to Blade Runner, he wishes to prove, as he concludes, that "Postmodem
artfonns and cultural artefacts by their very nature must self-consciously embrace the
problem of image creation, and necessarily turn inwards upon themselves as a result"
(323). This becomes, for Harvey, a kind of denial of the political. This is exactly the
kind of generalisation about postrnodem artefacts and politics that it would be wise
to avoid - and a generalisation that the notion of the refrain can help us escape from
towards a more interesting ethical analysis.
4 For Guattari (1989, 1992, 1993) the machinic is a much broader term than the
technological. referring to the productive interaction of many different elements.
which can include the environment, the social and the individual. This takes place in
a process he named "chaosmose" (1992). This machinic action of production is what

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underlies Deleuze and Guattaris more famous notions of desire being based upon
production. not upon some kind of lack.
5 See Massumi (1985) or Patton (1986) for a much more detailed account of Deleuze
and Guattari' s politics and ethics.
6 As defined in the Macquarie Dictionary (\981): 1786.
7 That simulated mapping of the natural (in this case bodies) which itself interacts with
other versions of the natural, becoming itself natural in the process. That is, there is
nature as it has traditionally been thought of, there is our messing with nature (second
nature) directly and now there is our simulation of natural events (third), all of which
are interacting and therefore 'natural'.
8 Freud, S (1984) : 290.
9 For Deleuze (1979: 115) the cinema could be viewed as 'constituting' a form ofvisual
music. It is "as if the eyes first took hold of the sound" (my translation). This can be
seen as a transposition of the notion of the repetition ofthe refrain to the visual realm.
la It should be clear. Ihope. that by ecology Imean precisely that problem that the world
as a complex that exceeds humanity presents to us as ecologists. This is to say that
environment, socius and individuals are mutually independent, as Guattari would
point out (1989). Nancy writes of an "ecotechnics" (48).
II Ecotechnics is therefore quite different to. though not incompatible with, Guattari's
notions ofecology. Both include the social, though the latter's is perhaps amore open
concept.
12 The example Deleuze and Guattari give here is synaesthesia in which. they suggest,
sound can induce colours which are "superposed upon the colors we see, lending them
a properly sonorous rhythm and movement" (Deleuze and Guattati, 1987:348). The
idea is that this does not happen in reversebecause the sound can detenitorialize while
the colour, by itself, tends to cling to a territory.
13 For Deleuze and Guattari the 'earth' covers an interaction between geological,
geographical, philosophical and sociological factors, but it is no less anotion ofmaterial
relations, importantly extended here beyond the human. whilst still including them.
14 This is filmed as abeautiful montage with acomplex series ofrelations set up between
refrains and territories. Many of these refrains are musical. There is not space here for
what would be a useful analysis.
15 I am grateful to Peter Doyle for pointing out these cosmic dimensions to me.
16 These songs can all be heard on the soundtrack album for Wings ofDesire (1987).
17 The plane of consistency is given detailed description by Deleuze and Guattari.
including the idea that it "constructs continuums of intensity" (1987:70). It includes
the idea ofaplan. diagram or map ofthe possibilities ofnew tenitories and ofan active
plane of intensity which forms the grounds for the production of more specific
material occurrences.
18 Handke was asked to write the entire film but was exhausted at the time and could only
provide some fragments - others of which are very beautiful.
19 See Geist (1988), especially the first chapter, for a more complete summary of
Wenders' early involvement with the popular music and films of the US. She points
out that American films were deliberately used as a form of pacification by the
military in the 1950s. Thus it can be seen that Wenders' film making itself is aproduct
of the territorialization of Germany using the refrains of US popular culture. Geist
(1998:61) quotes the line from Wenders' 1975-1976 film Kings ofthe Road where
Rohert says "The Yanks have colonized oursubconscious". Refrains and, in particular,
popular music, have often been used as colonizing forces. In territorial terms popular
music can be used as acolonial weapon. For example, Taussig (1993) points to its use
amongst the Cuna Indians in Panama. One example is when the Panamanian

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Murphie

government used dance halls in order to 'corrupt' Cuna women and destroy internal
Cuna relations. Pietz has made similar points about the phonograph in Africa (1987).
It is hoped that the relations between an 'ecology of popular music'. ethics and
ecologies of the subject, socius and environment are not hard to define here.
20 I am thinking here ofboth Until the Endofthe World (1991) and of FarAway, So Close
(1993). The fonner is literally a chase across many national boundaries. The latter
takes place after the fall of the Berlin wall and will be discussed briefly at the end of
the article.
21 See endnote 14.
22 See Fricke and Jamrozik.
23 Guattari specifically points out that rock culture always has an ambiguous political
relation to struggle in the urban environment (Guattari, 1992:182).

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DISCOGRAPHY

Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury. Island


Records, 1992
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds From Her to Eternity, Mute Records, 1984
Let Love In, Liberation Records, 1994
My Trial, Your Funeral, Mute Records, 1986
Ry CooderNarious Paris. Texas (soundtrack), Warner Bros.
1985
Various Wings ofDesire (soundtrack). Mute
Records, 1987

Periect Beat ID v2 n4 Jan 1996