Jacques Lu Cont, best (if unintentional) living interpreter of Nietzsche?
“I would not know what the spirit of a philosopher might wish more than to be a good dancer. For the dance is his ideal, also his art, and finally also his only piety” (Nietzsche, The Gay Science, section 381, Kaufmann translation).
In reference to my reading of Nietzsche a few post previously, I’ve been thinking a lot again about Nietzsche and music, especially the relationship between “dance” and the eternal return.
Then I was listening to Jacques Lu Cont’s FabricLive.09 mix: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FabricLive.09
Here, he mixes Royksopp’s “Remind Me” into Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” into the Eurhythmics’ “Sweet Dreams”. There’s no YouTube or stream of the exact mix, but you can search the album and easily find many torrents of it…So, imagine the following, mixed in the order listed above:
Royksopp, “Remind Me” (Ernest Saint Laurent mix):
At about 4:37 in the Royksopp, begin fading over to Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, from 0:56-1:26 in this clip:
And then at the hit at 1:26/7 in ASZ, start right in on the downbeat of the intro of the Eurhythmic’s “Sweet Dreams”:
I’d like to offer this portion of the FabricLive.09 mix as one of the best readings of Nietzsche, well, ever. Certainly one of the best ones rendered entirely in music. First, there’s the Royksopp track, which calls on the eternal return. What many regard as the most important concept in Nietzsche’s ouevre, the eternal return is a maxim one uses to make sure that one always approaches life affirmatively and “actively” (to use Deleuze’s term), i.e., with “good conscience.” One should always live one’s life as though everything were to repeat over and over – in other words, make sure you can affirm everything (because it would suck to be compelled to repeat things we hate/can’t stand). Nietzsche formulates the eternal return as regarding the past in these terms: “Thus I willed it, thus I will it, thus I shall will it.” The Royksopp mix calls on this formulation of the eternal return insofar as it samples the line “there’s always something to remind me”: we never escape our past, we live it over and over and over again [so we’d better affirm it]. This affirmative regard for the past is implied in the use of the introduction of Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra (written explicitly about Nietzsche’s text): when the sun rises (which is what this section of the Strauss is about), i.e., when Zarathustra’s own sun rises, when he can “make for himself a sun of his own,” he has overcome the life-negating will-to-truth and lives affirmatively, according to the maxim of the eternal return. How does one do this? Dancing! And what better to dance to than some totally artificial (i.e., synthesized) music by a band called the Eurhythmics (who get their name from a term that connotes good, health-inducing rhythm, movement, etc…for the connection between “eurhythmics” and Nietzsche’s project, see Gay Science section 368). Synthpop doesn’t try to be “authentic” or find some “real”; it is delight and “good conscience” in artifice or masks (see Gay Science section 77 for more on this). And, obviously, “Sweet Dreams” is a pretty classic dance track.
So, condensed in about two and a half minutes of music we have the gist of Nietzsche’s positive project, what he offers as an alternative to the European morality and will-to-truth he critiques. The fact that the analysis is rendered in music makes it even more appropriately Nietzschean, no?