This is fantastic and hits the nail very much on the head. Important use of the word “neo-colonial” too. Domination and condescension extended to the digital age yo.
IM: You’ve been involved in the noise community for quite a while now and I was wondering if you saw any over-arching trends or shifts in the artistic world that you personally inhabit? It may be that the overall trend has been the growing impossibility of such things existing but I would love to know what you think.
JW: It seems like the biggest booms in the scene were in the mid-90s and mid-2000s. I think a lot of listeners are becoming more and more sophisticated and it’s being reflected. As time moves on, people stick around and inevitably check out more and more and start to develop a much more refined palette. Which isn’t a comment on what that content is, but you can clearly see that a lot of people in the scene are lifers, and so after a while the mediocre stuff starts inevitably getting deeper.
IM: That’s a pretty commonly held opinion of things. Why do you think the scene, as such, had such peaks at those times?
JW: In the 90s I feel like it was a matter of crossover, but in the 00s I think the experimental scene transcended into more of a common culture. People that grew up in that time seem to have experienced experimental music more on a level of independent music, more as if it was just the popular music of the time, and less to do with the history and overall trajectory of it.
IM: That’s interesting. Would you think that maybe the mid-00s was about the time we could first really shut out the traditional mainstream and live within those marginal scenes as if they were popular music of the day? Some might say that process of extreme filtering and immersion perhaps has now gone too far, as curation somewhat replaces criticism in many circles.
JW: Yes, that’s what I’m saying. For myself, I have deeply immersed myself in DIY culture since I was very young, so I would not be the most unbiased person to ask, but I would have to say that I’ve seen indication of this, of people that have more or less treated experimental music as the “popular music of the day” as you succinctly put it, and not necessarily for what it is—or rather, creating a new reality of what it can be considered. Which isn’t necessarily good or bad, but it’s an interesting development. Or maybe it was, as I think most of those people have already moved on to something “post”.” —Portion of my interview with John Weise that went up today. He plays here on Sunday, in the Joinery, and I have the distinct pleasure of opening for him that night. Also playing are Toymonger and Withering Zithering, so it should be a really good night.
“runner, a small stream.
strint, a thin stream, as of milk from the cow.
syre, a gutter, sewer.
keld, kell, a spring.
smother, foam on the edge of a river when it is in flood.
speat, a sudden flood in a river.
threeple, tripple, the gentle sound made by a quick-flowing stream.
Micheal Palin in The Very Best of Monty Python.
A timely reminder of what the live review form can be, in skilled hands. Absolutely brilliant, and I’ve never even really heard a Drake track.
We were playing chess and as he mused on his next Dad-destroying move, Kieran (12-and-a-half) sang a little made-up song. And then in the midst of this ditty, clear as bell, there appeared the word “dubstep”.
“Did you just say ‘dubstep’, Kieran?”
“How do you know about dubstep?”
He looked at me with that look of mild derision that is the default expression of proto-teenagers across the world.
“Everybody knows about dubstep, Dad.”” —Read the rest of Simon Reynolds’ dubstep-crossover-realization story here.
Sylvia! to a blonde Sylvia!.
I can’t remember are shit. I was truly attracted bald heads.
Maxims woman Sylvia!
Fish and chips await.
Another meaning vintage?
The Town of short men peeping at dusk. the last time Landscape.
I’m over here from poetry oversized collars.
Think only of the sweet shop.
Sometimes I feel like David Toop should never be read in anything less than book-length formats. He says so much in every sentence, yet every one leads to five more.
This is interview is interesting because it comes in the light of Simon Reynolds’ comments at Off The Page (and on the page in the new issue of The Wire). You can read all about them in the interview so I won’t go on about them here. One thing that jumped out at me from the interview, other than the amazing quote above, was the line, “I’m an analytical practitioner, or an experiential analyst; I believe that all knowledge is provisional.”
That is an important factor is all Toop has done. He doesn’t just sit back and write about things that are happening, he goes and does things and then writes about them. It makes a great mixture of traditional journalistic reportage, critical analysis and imaginative prosody in everything he writes. I hope I never run out of work of his to read.
SFW: Do you think it’s viable for a lot of other people to have the same career model as you?
DiFranco: Absolutely! Anybody else who can fucking play! And that’s the way it should be. There’s nothing wrong with smoke and mirrors and making records with machines and exploring all those possibilities, but with the whole music industry like that, it’s like a house of cards. If you can’t really sing and you can’t really put on a show, when the marketing muscle starts failing, so does your gig. I mean, I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world that the music industry has been contracting and distilling down to its most passionate and dedicated people.” —
There’s a few points in here worth looking at really. There’s some interesting things about the lack of protest songs in contemporary pop music. I don’t personally think that the reason for the scarcity is anything to do with people being worried they’ll “date badly”. Rather, it has much more to do with the ever-increasing compartmentalization and specialization of art in general combined with the modern drive towards escapism and simulacra over experience.
The way we consume culture now is very different to the way it was done in decades past; it is at once more open to possibilities but ever more shielded from them by means of curation. Your twitter feed is an open field, where you can have a million things a minute popping up in front of you or you can have a carefully selected feed relevant to your interests. I know which I have. It’s part of a more general thing where we drive ourselves further into our own specialist areas of interest and fail to pay attention to what’s going on on a wider scale. Personalised news feeds, Facebook, Google Reader, Twitter; they all feed this specialization, this focus on the first-person interest. The more hone in on your own interests and those of select groups, the less likely you are to write a song protesting the general state of things for people other than yourself. Maybe that’s more honest, I don’t know, but it is blinkered in some way and does breed a lack of empathy, the key ingredient in any protest song.
What annoys me about the answer above is the implication that music made by non-musicians is fake in some way. The “There’s nothing wrong with smoke and mirrors and making records with machines” reads like “No offence, but…”. A piano is a machine too. A guitar is a machine. Any instrument is, except the voice perhaps. But then language is a machine too right? Where do we draw the line? Either way, it is no bad thing that “the music industry has been contracting and distilling down to its most passionate and dedicated people”. No bad thing at all. It’s important to understand that people that make music and art with machines are passionate and dedicated too. And no less authentic than a singer with a piano either.
In relation to the actual question, it’s pretty much impossible for any artist now to have the same career model as someone who started in the late 80s. That’s how different things are now and it continues to surprise me when an established artist like DiFranco doesn’t recognize this.
Interesting thoughts here. I’d imagine almost anyone who spends a fair whack of their time on the internet, or at least in front of a computer or phone, can relate to much of it.
Slowing down is difficult and becoming ever more necessary for me. Rarely a day goes by where I don’t feel like I’m not doing enough and that all I really want is to escape to some imagined countryside for the rest of my days. I can’t but feel these thoughts are directly linked to my attention span which is dying a not-so-slow death at the hands of my broadband connection. Or rather, my misuse of that broadband connection.