Wednesday, July 11, 2012

oi! mate! give us back me binary opposition when yer done wiv it, will yer?

"Fifteen years ago that kind of dubstep would have been called IDM (intelligent dance music), a label with a dismissal built into it: Music made for physical release, for dancing rather than chin-stroking, is assumed to be stupid. And EDM is nothing if not physical. Skrillex shows are sensorily assaultive, the bass so loud it rattles not just the stomach but the ribcage. The structural feature around which much modern EDM is built—the "drop", a series of fritzing, tempo-shifted noises that seem to stretch the surrounding music like warm molasses, often characterized in Internet slang as WUB WUB WUB —can, at sufficient decibel levels, scramble the synapses of even the most sober audience member.

"The "drop" has become an indicator of crass vulgarity, both in the sense of being commercially popular and in the sense of being something for the unwashed masses. The class connotations of this criticism are both inescapable and depressingly familiar: The early criticisms of jazz, rock, and hip-hop were couched in precisely the same terms—crass, vulgar, commercial, populist—by self-appointed arbiters of taste. Today, the drifting or blissful or spiky pleasures of don't-call-it-IDM are designed to appeal to the same graduate students, media industry professionals, and cultivated music junkies who champion indie rock or modern classical. Meanwhile, EDM's forcefulness and emphasis on movement is pitched at a broader audience more interested in using music as an aid to dancing (or, when rhythm is taken away, to losing their shit) than in analyzing it."
this here Bogart dude's talking about yobstep versus nu-IDM, right... doing the classic siding-with-the-lumpen maneuvre...

hmmm, early for-those-who-know dubstep wasn't really IDM-y though, was it?  -- that's been a relatively recent development, the post-dubstep zone....   the original FWD and DMZ dubstep, that was heavy, bass-intensive, meditative-yet-physical music... skeletal and emaciated and hard...  quite a lot of it featured a drop, or equivalent Pavovlian trigger-for-the-massive

the real shift to the nu-style, the brostep sound, was when the bass-riffs shifted upwards from sub-dub to mid-frequency shred-zone, and that particular editing and programming software (Massive, right?) came in leading to all those mechanistic-yet-abject, baroquely-contorted and twisted, hard-angled basslines

"Stupidity can be a virtue, especially in pop. Think of the brazen, visceral dumbness in a garage-rock classic like "Louie Louie," or in the entire catalog of the Ramones. The critic and musician Norman Brannon recently noted that the new EDM populists play short sets of two hours or less, as opposed to traditional electronic DJs, whose sets could stretch to 26 hours or longer in extended cycles of build, peak, release, ebb, and build again. "Could anyone listen to 26 hours of Skrillex? Would that even be mentally possible?" he wondered, which is a bit like a critic in the '50s grumbling that Little Richard's go-for-the-jugular performances had less stamina than the extended explorations of John Coltrane. And again the specter of class is raised: Working people don't have 26 hours to spend at a rave."

hmmm, not sure about this m8. Raves are at the weekend, usually, which is when your typical working person makes up for the week of drudgery, and in some cases they maximise their free time by taking sleep-defying drugs. And raves are nothing but the same sound over and over and over again, up to and beyond the point of satiety.  True, the DJs get shorter sets than in your club residency, which encourages them to be even more wham-bam, anthem / drop / high-impact tune than they would be otherwise, to avoid being blown off stage by the next DJ. But the reason they have short sets in the first place is that promoters are trying to cram as many big-name pull-the-crowd DJs onto their bills as they possibly.  But all those deejays (certainly in your classic 90s hardcore raves) would be playing much the same kind of music, indeed many of the exact same anthems. And i suspect it's much the same with today's, cough, EDM -- so that effectively people are willingly experiencing 26 hours of Skrillexy type music, a continuous blast of sensation. And i also suspect -- as it was in the 90s -- that the drugs are helping them to withstand that onslaught and enjoy the battery of homogeneity, the changeless same. 

1 comment:

Jean Bieder said...

he is analyzing music along the parameters loudness and intelligence/stupidity. i kinda miss notions of FUNK or EMOTION in his discussion.