James Brown and the 'illogic' of innovation: a Deleuzian perspective

New Formations - ISSN 0950-2378
Volume 2008 Number 66

James Brown and the 'illogic' of innovation: a Deleuzian perspective
John Scannell pages -


In this discussion of James Brown, Scannell brings Deleuze’s concept of the ‘Idiot’ to bear on the relationship between compositional expertise and innovation in contemporary popular music. Brown’s public acclaim as a musical ‘visionary’ was often counterpointed by the private disdain of many of the ‘trained’ musicians in his bands, who scorned his ‘musical illiteracy’. An unorthodox valorisation of Brown’s approach to composition is offered via Deleuze’s account, in Difference and Repetition, of the Idiot as the pedant’s polar opposite, whose naive immunity to conceptual rules or institutionally dominant forms of thinking - whose capacity, in other words, for ‘thought without presupposition’ - enables modes of conceptual originality that evade the more musically-trained.

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To cite this article
John Scannell (2008) James Brown and the 'illogic' of innovation: a Deleuzian perspective, New Formations, 2008(66), -

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