Thursday, April 26, 2012

the same old anti-scene

"What all three tracks share in common is a profound, almost militant, resistance to the immediate, booming gratification that the vast majority of contemporary club music promises. Turning bass-music formulae inside out, they represent the anti-drop. But here's the other thing: these tunes are so extreme, in their own ways, that they don't exactly invite imitation. They're difficult and hermetic; they don't play well with others"--Philip Sherburne.

 what Phil's describing in this post The Genre That Shall Not Be Named (Dubstep) -- which itself Spins off the blog Postwutchyalike: we can name it later --is basically what i described (less favorably) a while ago as nu-IDM... and what others have been calling, more as a placeholder than a useful descriptive, post-dubstep

what's interesting is that the very aspects that to me seem frustrating (as a listener) and sterile (as an observer with an ear to the long view) are things that Phil seems to be valorising, or trying to

 i mean, man this sounds enticing, don't it?

"Objekt's "Cactus," released in February on Hessle Audio, was the first to catch my ear with a weird inversion of dance-music energies: its bass wobbles with the ferocity of the down-and-dirtiest dubstep, but the rest of the tune feels gutted and hollowed-out.The drum track seems to be missing information, as though a mute button had been pressed or a patch cable had come unplugged; for all its heaviness, it's a weirdly enervated tune, gliding listlessly like a sailboat stuck in the doldrums. I've never heard it in a club, and I can only imagine that it would be tough to play effectively"

 the return of "art-techno" (as in the "Fuck Dance, Let's Art" chapter of Energy Flash), that same-old renunciation of what works in the name of "freedom"

what Phil also describes--a lateralism of connections transecting genres--is also the hallmark of hyper-stasis which is criss-crossing journeys back and forth between and across the known, the extant forms rather than forward movement into the unknown

phil pinpoints what may be the most interesting and revealing characteristic of these hybrids, which is that they are one-offs...

 "Jabbed like iron rods into the clockwork of the night, they feel less like seeds for potential subgenres and more like weed killer, burning off the overgrowth."

hybridisation, in the analogue era, seemed to take the form of, well, new forms... there was a centripetal logic that created a collective surge, a swarming/flocking to a new sound... the scenius logic of one strong new template that then "seeded" (to use Phil's organicist metaphor) myriad minor variations, and this then created a monolithic vibe that was both absorbingly total (at any given rave or club night) and also had staying power (breakbeat hardcore/jungle/drum&bass lasted six years before starting to calcify)

hybridisation, in the digital era, seems to not lead to anything.... something about it's very fundamental constitutive processes (editing, morphing, etc) is inorganic, hence the non-generative nature of the one-off hybrids, the fact that they don't become genres....  there is a momentary agglomeration of all these networked influences...  but it doesn't become a sound that is adopted/mutated/evolved...

there is something inherent in digiculture logic that encourages differentiation, divergence... anti-scenius

at the extreme, even the artist doesn't develop an individual style... doesn't repeat themselves... each new track is another genre-of-one

style after all is related to a measure of inflexibility and a measure of predictability...  that's how we recognise artistic signature.... but in the ultra-flexibilized conditions of digi-flux, the artist is encouraged to endlessly differ from himself, is pulled every-which-way

genre is the collectivisation of style, and depends similarly on an element of inflexibilty and predictability... 

PS surprised to see Phil, who i'd thought a brother in neologism and nominalism, taking the names=restriction stance this time around!

PPS further thoughts on this zone and "the anti-drop" from Rory Gibb at Quietus : "These very UK-sounding hybrid forms don't exist in a vacuum. They're all held suspended by a tangled web of reference points, connections and affiliations. More so than, say, many early dubstep and grime producers, many of these producers have a deep knowledge of music stretching far beyond their immediate surrounds."

1 comment:

cut3000 said...


loosely based on the principles of concrete music,
using tape manipulation techniques on software + found noises and field recs... allowing the sounds to shape the piece, dictating tone and form...