Simon Reynolds writes the best history/summation of the rockism debate you will ever read. If that doesn't mean anything to you: a lot of critics (who we can call "popists", or "anti-rockists", but "popists" is nicely redolent of other, older cultural wars) have been championing pop music previously considered disposable and unworthy of ink. It's a two-pronged argument: first, pop is better than you think. Second, what's wrong with disposable? I may not agree with Reynolds's take on anti-rockism, but he gives context and reveals structure, and writes fearlessly.
My summary of the popists above ignores an underlying ideological orientation many of them share. As Reynolds points out, it's populism with roots in the whole cultural and critical studies program with strong ties to Marxism. As such, it considers value and quality in music as social constructions (although not to the entire exclusion of talent etc.)
Now that's an important point. But carried too far (again paraphrasing Reynolds) it leads to an endless self-interrogation about why you like or dislike a particular piece of music that is fatal to the love of music. So we're reduced to banalities: it's an important impulse, but it shouldn't be your whole world-view. Balance is all.
Reynolds does this all better than I do. We've made the same points, but this kind of writing is performance more than anything else, a series of gestures that evokes a certain emotional response, and he's more graceful.
My advisor at work, a dedicated fan of the Rolling Stones and a bunch of other stuff I rarely listen to, requested "five albums so good it doesn't matter what genre they're in." Here's where I brainstorm possibilities. (hint hint, help me out)
I still haven't decided how much I should try to cater to his tastes / ease him in gently. He's pretty clearly looking to have his horizons expanded a bit.
Spiritualized, "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space"
It's gonna happen. We're gonna have access to every song ever, and we're going to want smart software that helps us figure out what to listen to. Different people will want different personalities for their robot djs - didactic, mischievious, dependable. It'll be interesting to see if the maps of recorded music all the different robots build converge anywhere.
So on this page I read about how 50 Cent is apparently a big Talib Kweli fan, interviewed him for XXL and everything, and I'm like WTF? so I Google 50 cent talib kweli and end up at Jason's paper which is pretty fucked up. O, and somebody on the ilm thread mentioned Hua, too. Weeeird.
friday oct 18 02, record recommendations from roy
roy: ok here's mine: J5-power in numbers; jack johnson-self titled; michael jackson-off the wall; soul coughing-el osso; the x-press2 thinger
roy: they are all not new
roy: except the j5
roy: also dj patife
roy: he is from brazil
roy: and does bossanova over dnb
(for the record, my recommendations were the streets - original pirate material, david bowie - low, and new order - power, corruption and lies)
we are the music makers
Remember when there were only like three artists you cared about, and they were all on Warp? So: fanboy-obbsessive coverage of Aphex, Autechre, Squarepusher, and, uh, Boards of Canada. (Since when are they in the canon?)
"The Pistols might have been swearing on T.V. inciting a generation of kids to "Get pissed! Destroy!" but if "God Save The Queen" had not stuck rigidly to The Golden Rules* (*THESE WILL BE EXPLAINED LATER), The Pistols would never have seen the inside of the Top Ten."
Janet Cardiff's 'forty part motet'
Ironically, and no offense to Mutek, this was the most powerful musical experience I had last weekend. The music. But also the ability to move between concentrating on individual singers and the choir as a whole.
Whisper the Songs of Silence
"It is so esoteric, it would be very difficult for any city to get a critical mass of people interested in it," Russell said. "But out on the Web, it's easy to. I was going towards this aesthetic for years but I thought I was going crazy. None of my friends enjoyed it. But then I turned to the Web and I found a lot more people turned on by this. I think that's been the case for a lot of people."
What is he talking about: a new, obscure genre of electronic music, or a new, obscure sexual fetish?
I've long had this juvenile fantasy that the sullen clerks where I buy my records would recognize my taste in music and welcome me as one of their own. Last night it actually happened. They were playing Pepe Braddock's mix of Iz and Diz's 'Mouth'; I asked what it was, and he handed me the sleeve: "House record of the year." We started talking, and before long he was handing me records to listen to, saying "where is it, it couldn't have been sold, nobody ever buys good music in this store" and gratifying stuff like that.
Who is inevitable backlash? 'inevitable backlash' were a Belgian art-rock outfit that released a couple of demos in the mid-70s, then imploded. Heavily influenced by Can, Iggy Pop and Astor Piazzola, their music was described by one critic as "a monolith of terrible perfection, placed among uncomprehending savages". I hope to get some audio samples up soon.
What I love about this site is how it legitimizes my every insane impulse. The fact that someone might see it someday somehow makes it ok for me to obsessively collect music links and check out weird web cul-de-sacs. And I could, for example, put together an alphabet of electronic music, and not be considered crazy. It could start this way:
In the same way that compiled code can't really be edited or modified, it is difficult to work with mixed down finished music. It is difficult/impossible to isolate the individual tracks and do anything useful with them (not really an issue, since most music is copyrighted anyway).
Our idea is to have willing musicians and engineers producing music that is open and available for others to use, modify, and redistribute. The music would available in its raw individual tracks, so any or all of it could be used by other.
Sounds like an updated version of the mod community. I want other people to get this going so I can play with their tracks.
Maybe Buzz? (Ok, apparently one of the artists on Force Inc uses Buzz, I'm sold)
Crazy drum 'n' bass bulletin board, people talking shit about artists, djs, tracks, sharing gear tips etc. About the level of discourse you'd expect from a bunch of jungle thugs, but, the dubplate section looks killer...