Sunday, September 27, 2009

Factory Redux



I've got an article on Factory records by way of a review of the box set that came out earlier this year over at PM.

Read it here

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dubstick



Reading over the Round Black Ghosts review below, a phrase that I wrote that seems to stick out is "Dubstep, a scene with an increasingly surprising shelf-life, particularly in the age of the diverted gaze". It strikes me that, though dubstep continues to pull surprises (mostly by splintering out into subgenres like ambient and wonky- which despite extensive and brilliant overviews like Rogue Foam's I still don't buy as anything but a dubstep off-shoot with a new name attached to avoid being trapped in the genre forever- its alterations seem more superficial like those between jungle and drum n' bass than pronounced the vast empirical space between UKG and grime), perhaps the most surprising thing about dubstep continues to be how long it has stuck around as the preeminent dance genre. Far from proving its superiority to scenes without its longevity (like acid or hardcore, for instance), its staying power seems to derive entirely from the enervation of dance music as a whole. Re-reading Simon Reynold's Energy Flash again recently (the 'nuum bible), it seems that much of the flux from early dance music was caused by a kind of reactionary augurism- the will to shape and predict the future before others would. A competition merging on those found among free markets, except existing wholely in a subterreanean and DIY sphere of heterotopian creative entrepenurialism- not post or avant late capitalism, but completely ignorant and indifferent to it. Things moved at such an accelerated pace because the various scenes fed off each other and gained nothing from a regressive mainstream/indie/ "alternative" scene (as an avid Spin reader at the time (early high school), the thought of Odelay being ahead of any curve now seems laughable). Now, with the implosion of the entire music industry and instant access to every new idea, what seems once seemed to be a contradiction of potentiality (an era of stagnancy in a culture of constant novelty) now seems inevitable for a music culture trying desperately to hold itself together amidst rampant and accelerated democratization. Whereas the means of production are now even more available to all and the sense of being included spread to include those who don't even go to the clubs or pay for the records, it has spawned an almost impenetrable flood of music consisting of so many imitations that the innovations get even more buried amidst the dross (I guess this is kind of always the way things are, but the volume is greater now- to recall a Gerald Fordism: "Things are more like they are today than they ever have been before".)

K-Punk once called dubstep on its propensity to "linger without any palpable intent". That was at the scene's inception. It continues to linger...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Gentle Art of Commemoration

When I post on celebrity deaths, I don't selectively pick out ones that deserve commemoration. I merely comment on the ones which have had something of any impact on my life. At the smallest level, it might just be a song I enjoyed (such as Jim Carroll's "People Who Died"- see below- never read any of his poetry or books). Still, it seems odd to eulogize Carroll, who I know frankly nothing about, and leave out, say, Patrick Swayze, whose movies I'm at least familiar with- if more for camp purposes (Roadhouse, Red Dawn, MST3K References) than anything else. Yet, I worry that this will set a precedent that may require me to comment on the passing of every B-actor and every member of a hair metal group I was fond of when I was eight...

I guess this might be the most proper way to say goodbye to Swayze then

RE: Kanye West's Dickish Move

Doesn't it seem a little too last minute-staged? It's as if MTV approached him as the show lingered on and said "Hey Kanye, go do something crazy." It serves the purpose of doing some quality advertising for Beyonce, Kanye himself, Taylor, and, of course, MTV. I stopped watching the VMAs because every year it seems like a big advertisement for itself. They constantly need something for the commemorative clip show in the following year so they can look back on all the "wild" things that can happen at an MTV awards show, making it so much different than all those "other" award shows. In truth, it's just as yawn-inducing and celebratory of mediocrity as every other establishment award ceremony. Granted, Beyonce's song was one of her less mediocre entries in recent years (which is actually saying quite a bit), but the video was no great shakes. Blue screen + dancing= best video ever?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More air than I was expecting...

What's up with that weird lisp in the new Air song? I hate to be shallow, but it's quite distracting...