Rutgers Radio is Emancipating Electronic Music

Walk a few blocks behind the Rutgers Student Center on the right nights and you’ll notice there’s something in the air. Of course, there’s the smell of a nearby pizzeria, but that’s not quite what it is. Perhaps there’s even the faint smog we’ve become accustomed to, but that’s also not what I’m talking about. Notice instead that low, muffled, repeating thud coming from … everywhere. The youth of every generation since the rise of the middle class have had their dance music: their swing, their soul, their twist and shout, their disco. From disco’s use of the synthesizer came the seed of today’s dance music, and the rise of the personal computer and digital audio workspaces provided the necessary fuel. We have electronic dance music.

Alternatively, tune-in to 90.3 The Core FM on Sundays beginning at 4:00PM and you’ll hear a much clearer and more coherent sound, beginning with SQUO, followed by DJ Soma with Straight to the Hard Drive, then with Lauren Jefferson with Eclecticism, and ending with DJ Psy with Electronic Phonix. This style of electronic music is not necessarily of the variety of the Netherland’s top 40 house hits, but a sound that’s much more home-grown and personal.

With his show, SQUO retains that hard-hitting urge to dance from the music of house parties and nightclubs while adding an underground, undiscovered, up-and-comingness into his mix; the sound is unapologetically electronic. His style is not the polite bass of electronic music has become known for, but rather the grittier, more soulful bass of artists like Branchez, Trippy Turtles, and Victor Niglio. When not DJing for The Core, SQUO is brewing his own entries to the electronic music scene. “I’d love to be able to reach out to more budding artists”, says SQUO, who like the rest of the station, is intensely committed to the community over the commercial, “I’d like to develop a mixshow of my own, bringing on unknown DJs, featuring their mixes, and having a discussion about their music.” You can learn more about SQUO on his website,

This emerging, soulful variety of electronic artists is sponsored and broadcast by The Core FM, a purely student-run organization. Coming to your radio dial at 90.3 FM and from their website, The Core FM is available to the New Brunswick area and beyond. “I am about inclusion, not exclusion”, says the General Manager Josh Kelly. With both a New Brunswick community focus and World Wide Web prescence is consistent with the The General Manager’s commitment to a broad and diverse audience and Rutgers’ slogan, “Local Roots, Global Reach.” Josh continues, “We try to keep commercialization out of the equation, we want to find and showcase music that is for kids by kids, not by a big budget producer.”

The show that immediately follows SQUO also exemplifies this attitude, with DJ Soma’s show, Straight to the Hard Drive. DJ Soma resists the commercialization of his music in both the sense that it isn’t from a massive label, but also that the music is free and legal, with links on DJ Soma’s blog, “The beauty of electronic music too is the fact that almost anybody with access to the technology can create something unique, and distribute it to a possible audience of millions.” says DJ Soma. His timbre cadences SQUO’s well, with ambient soundscapes, gritty drums, and psychedelic synths. The electronic music’s soul emerges from guitar riffs, turntablism, and occasionally samples from music, movies, and radio circa 40’s and 50’s.

“I am really into keeping my ear to the streets”, says The Core General Manager Josh Kelly, who is keeping his focus on the community aspect of The Core. Not limiting themselves to a single medium to share music, The Core FM recently worked with New Brunsiwck to organize a free and public show in Boyd Park that showcased local talent. This is The Core’s categorical attitude, as Josh says, “If it takes lots of money to get somewhere, then it isn’t part of a fair system, and people are systematically left out in the cold in terms of participating.”

Lauren Jefferson continues electronic music on Sundays with her show Eclecticism at 8:00. As the name suggests, her style is much more varied, retaining the electronic timbre and dance-inspiration while producing excitement from novelty. Lauren is deeply committed to bringing her listeners both a high-quality and novel listening experience, “It hurts when I hear people say they can never find good new music.”, says Lauren. On some occasions, Ecclectism’s timbre can be downtempo and soulful with tracks from labels like, for example, Ghostly International. Alternatively, the show can take on an entirely more catchy and upbeat vibe with offerings from French label Kitsuné. You can keep up with Lauren on her blog,

Concluding electronic music on Sundays is DJ Psy with his show, Electronic Phonix with. DJ Psy has been broadcasting since 2008, and his sound has grown with the station, with the genre, and with the technology. Very excited with the state of the genre, “The cost of production equipment is now as cheap as a laptop and some software”, notes Psy, “We’re seeing the biggest growth in a ‘genre’ since amplifiers, guitars, and 4-tracks became commodities, forever changing rock’n’roll.” Electronic Phonics is glittery, shiny, and bassy, with beats that move your feet and featuring artists like The Magician, RAC, Joe Goddard, LCD Soundsystem, Coleco, and Classixx.

The artists at the Core FM are challenging the music industry from two sides, offering their community high-quality and non-commercial radio on one front and then both sourcing and broadcasting their music using the Internet on the other. As more and more people come to have control of the means of electronic music production (computers and audio software), there will be less and less possible or needed involvement from the aptly antiquatedly named record industry. The Internet has emancipated an entire generation of people wanting to express themselves, and The Core FM is a manifestion of that. From Josh Kelly’s point of view, “We want to find and showcase music that is by kids for kids, and not by a big budget producer.

4 Ways to Answer Children That Keep Asking, "Why?"

“Why is the sky blue?” asks a curious child on the drive to school in the morning. The child’s parent, being a worldly person, happens to know the answer. “Blue is scattered more than other colors because it travels as shorter, smaller waves.” responds the parent. “Well why is blue scattered more?”

It’s a classic parenting scenario along with “Are we there yet?”, where a parent answers a question like, “Why is grass green?” and a incessantly curious child craves more with the word, “Why?” In moments of great patience, the child may get three, four, perhaps even five good answers, but when the reasons why approach facts about sub-atomic particles, it becomes increasingly difficult to even answer. The practice of asserting facts and asking for reasons to believe those facts is an affair that epistemologists are interested in. If it were possible to answer all of a child’s questions, what would the series of answers look like? What possibilities are there?

This question is known as the “regress problem” in epistemology. If this conversation needed not end and the mother was all-knowing, would the conversation go on forever? The problem that this presents, and the reason it’s so hard to answer children’s unceasing questions, is that this seems to have no end. If this is the case, how can we ever raise the credibility or warrant of a claim? If reasons never reach some end, some inherent truth, how can justification ever reach our beliefs?

What possible solutions are these to this, and by corollary, how can we satisfyingly answer curious kids? Well, the logical space seems to only have a few options: 1. The reasons end, that there is a foundational reason; 2. The reasons loop back on themselves, that reasons need only be coherent; 3. The reasons go on infinitely, that there is never a “last reason”; 4. We are just forming beliefs arbitrarily.

“If we keep going, we’re going to get something foundational.”

Perhaps we build all of our justified beliefs on a bedrock of unquestionable foundations. This is plausible because there could be a set of reasons which it just does not make sense to question.

For instance, imagine again a conversation between a parent a child, this time, say a father and his daughter. The father notices that that there is a blue smear on the living room wall, and on the basis of this forms the belief that his daughter was painting today. “You were painting today? Can I see your painting?”, he asks. The daughter, having not told her father she painted, wants to know his reason for thinking she painted. He responds, “I see the blue smear on the wall over there.” The daughter, in the mood to investigate the world, asks her father “What is the reason you believe that you see a blue smear on the wall over there?”

The intuition of foundationalism, the theory which posits the end of the regress, is that questions like this, and questions about other foundational beliefs, are not valid questions. The father may be justified in responding, “What do you mean what is my reason for believing that I see a blue smear? I have no reason, I just am be appeared to as if there is a blue smear.”

There are problems for this view, however. For instance, what foundation is there for mathematical knowledge? Is the father’s reasons for believing not that “When I am being appeared to as if something, then that something?” What are the conditions for a foundational belief?

“If we keep going, my coherent reasons may repeat themselves.”

Imagine if in the process of describing to someone why the sky is blue, you at some point gave two separate reasons that both cannot be true. It would be perfectly natural for someone to question how you could hold both of them simultaneously, and you would likely try to resolve the conflict, to make your reasons cohere.

This is the intuition behind the coherentist response to the regress problem, where the structure of justification is such that you will eventually loop back around on reasons. In the genealogy of your justification for any proposition, if the cycle is sufficient large, hold coherentists, then you have knowledge.

The problem that this view faces is that it is a longer form of circular reasoning. Where it seems to be acceptable to assert a proposition, and then when asked for a reason, supply that same proposition. Furthermore, there are plenty of coherent systems which are not true.

“This is just going to go on infinitely.”

The feeling that I get when I had a conversation with a child like this is that it just never stops. There is always another reason for believing something, it seems. For instance, if you say, “It’s twelve o’clock.”, and you’re asked “Why is it twelve o’clock?” Well, it is true that a reason that it is twelve-oclock is that it is not 11:59, it’s also not 11:58, …

There’s certainly an end to my knowledge, there’s probably an end to human capacity, but that doesn’t mean there’s an end to potential reasons for believing any given thing. This is the claim and intuition of infinitism. The problem for this view is that if there’s always another reason to believe something, how can you “hook up” a proposition to the truth? Foundationalism has a bedrock, but infinitism needs to come up with an account for raising the credibility of a proposition without foundations to be make it usable.

“Eventually, I’ll have no reason for believing what I do.”

The troubling aspect of the regress problem is that none of the answers are straightforwardly right, none of them are obvious. Yet if none of them are the right view, if the question of the structure of justification is a valid one, then we necessarily cannot be justified in any of our beliefs.

And this would be especially unsatisfying for inquisitive minds.