Monday, August 13, 2012

interview with NYC jungle stalwart and old skool obsessive DJ Dara at Village Voice, done by Michaelangelo Matos

fascinating history on Breakbeat Science, the legendary drum 'n 'bass shop that he started with DB

and an interesting perspective on the gains and losses of the shift from the Analogue System to the Digital System, which had me nodding in agreement:

"I'm not necessarily crazy about this whole digital idea, and the fact that anything can be released. I'm firmly of the belief that just because you can release a tune doesn't mean you should. I do miss [having] A&R men to weed out the mediocre music. Because there's no overhead involved in releasing music anymore, the bar has been lowered substantially. There's a lot of music out there that's OK, but it wouldn't have been good enough to have been pressed on vinyl. 

"When people say, "[This track sold] 200 downloads on Beatport in two days," my question is always, "OK, you got 200 people paying $1.99 for your tune. How many of those people do you think would've paid $12 or $15 for it?" It's easy to get people to pay $2, but would they pay $12? Because that's what it would have been a few years ago—they would've had to if they wanted it. I think that the overhead barrier definitely made sure [there was] a certain standard. There's always been bad music. But I think there's less bad music when it costs money to put it out.

"People say, "This barrier's been broken, there's all this incredible music that can be discovered now that wouldn't be discovered before." But I see it the other way around. I see that the really incredible music is being buried in an avalanche of mediocre music. [laughs] And it gets harder and harder to find it.

"Often, I'll be on Beatport and I'll just give up: "I cannot listen to any more bad music that is right up there next to really quality stuff." What happens is, I just end up going to the same artists that I've known all the time, rather than trying to check out new people, because so much of the new stuff that I check out . . . I'm not saying it's terrible, but there's nothing that makes it stand out. It sounds like a million other people."

Yes, the DIY principle run rife, unchecked by any reality principle (costs, overheads, the materiality of culture-objects that must be physically transported, physically stored), the filtering involved because releasing a record required investment either by label or by the release-it-yourself artist... all that seemingly purely financial calculus actually had incalculable aesthetic side-benefits

now we have a flattened cultural landscape, in which the great is buried by the good which is smothered by the pretty good which is flooded by the not really good which is engulfed by the really not good

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