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New Music Review Lounge is an initiative of Miso Music Portugal and the Portuguese Music Research & Information Centre. It constitutes a forum for open and free critique, where uncompromising opinions, tastes and new tendencies in music can be discussed in both breadth and depth. It is a place dedicated to contemporary music phenomena and their relation to other areas such as visual arts, dance, architecture, literature, new technologies, psychology or sociology. Our aim is to open a vivid discussion and rejoin contemporary music with other art forms and disciplines of human activity.

In our opinion music constitutes a potent social force. A critic, although frequently expressing his / her own subjective opinions, is a mediator between the composer, performer and the audience. Therefore our reviews intend to analyze and mention the technical elements and expressive aspects of composition and performance as well as their possible impact on the public. We will publish regularly creative descriptions and analysis of 20th century and contemporary musical works, performances and events, with special focus on Portuguese creation.

Nowadays music has no boundaries and there are dozens of interesting music phenomena waiting to be described and discussed.

A reflection following Paula Azguime’s idea to recreate a space dedicated to critique within the framework of music and culture


“Communication”, since it has been applied in the cultural sector, began an enormous change in terms of perception of contemporary cultural production. This change, by all means, is connected with the massive data flux of new information technologies.

Communication “entered” into the world of culture by means of omnipotent “market” rules, legitimizing itself through democratizing discourses of “facilitating access”, “enlarging publics” and other statements of this kind. However it is also through the market – and thanks to the general consensus created around the “foundation” of this phenomenon – that communication passed from being a diffusion tool to playing the role of an active agent and since then, lamentably and widely, a cultural goal in itself.

To begin with, if “cultural communication” changed the perception systems of cultural facts, including the proper works, it also provoked profound modifications in everything concerning cultural production.

Through communication, and from the communication fact, it is nowadays difficult to “read” the function assumed by those, who due to their roles are, a priori, the most evident advocates of cultural facts and creation – intellectuals and artists, for whom the principles and basis of work lie in the production of ideas and objects registered in time. They are caught in the wheelwork of a sophisticated promotional machinery, which is permanently in the origin of peculiar and complex diversions of its primordial objectives.

Effectively, in major part of activities related to cultural communication, “the object to communicate” is not “the product”, but yes, the personality of those who are implied in the fact’s origin. “The communication game” demands that we abandon the content side, since it appears as too awkward, and does not take interest in the cultural event for its own sake – the work etc. – since this implies a critique exercise.

Moreover, critique, which assumes an architecture of opinions and discourses on objects or ideas, and therefore, tends to come closer to the domain of legitimization – even if one is in total disagreement with the principles transmitted by the work or idea – constitutes a greater obstacle to the “flux” of communication; thus the flux, which according to its function uses means similar to advertising tools, should encounter a permanent consensus. In this sense, the communication spot targets at “pleasing the public” – just as publicity does, by the way – and achieves it in an aseptic way, allowing that the “object to communicate” is read (or understood) from as many points of view as possible, without shocking the sensibility of others.

The image is transferred to the creator’s or artist’s personality as a substitute of production (of the work or event, in other words) due to the simplicity of a linear logic aiming at a massive effect: the author is intelligent, brilliant, or even genial, therefore his “product” (a novel, a theatre, art, musical work, film, or something else) is the same.

Consequently, in the communication process, the work – always open to a multiplicity of interpretations, giving place to a diversity of points of view and opinions (sometimes even contradictory) – disturbs, unsettles the mechanism and diverts it from the “central aspect” of the communicational fact, which is its media coverage.

The work contains in itself interpretations and can always assume meanings different from the discourses, which can be made around it. Every interpretation is in this sense a discourse of intentions, which keeps it alive, yet without putting away the possibilities of other infinite interpretations, discourses and intentions. This phenomenon is the proper effect of a function assumed by critique.

We live in a time, in which promotion changed into a major matter, inevitable and necessary in all chain links of cultural production to the point that, relegating critique to second plan, communication reduces culture to its less interesting aspect, drawing the recipient away from all active participation.

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