Thursday, December 23, 2004

sherburne returns, with some good ripostes and queries viz an argument by jane dark about IDM-as-racist (link courtesy somedisco)

if Felizitas/Dark had based the argument in terms of IDM-circa-drill'n'bass-viz-jungle then the critique would make perfect sense--while at the same time being old news and hardly a shattering insight

but the IDM-viz-hip hop really is way off base for all the reasons philip (and comments-box folk) points out. Also (in re. being old, old news), IDM is now, what, four or five years into a self-critique of itself for a lack of "street", meaning "urban", meaning "black" energy. I.e. Kid606, the NWA and Missy Elliott tributes, Gold Chains, Violent Turd,etc etc. In the last year especially there's been the emergence/consolidation of a whole "street-beats/pan-Black Atlantic" fueled omni-genre that takes on elements of ragga, crunk, Amen-era junglizm, bass'n'booty, soon Desi and favela and grime and grimm and kwaito.... and... Mashing together bits and bobs from all the "stupid" dance musics and borrowing/parodying/exaggerating their traits. "Drill'n'bashment," perhaps--that Shockout comp (really rather entertaining, if utterly redundant in an absolute sense), operators like Shitmat, DJ Rupture, Soundmurderer. Or think the whole Planet Mu approach really (plus they throws in another lumpen street music, this time white-Euro, into the mix: gabba), which goes into a whole new phase with the Mark One album.

drill'n'bash is not without its own problematics in terms of colononialism/expropriation, but it's definitely an advance in that instead of feeling superior to "urban" musics there's a real sense of trying to catch up with them... there's a certain pathos to it, in fact... if only we could be as radical-yet-popular as Neptunes/Lil Jon/Timba/etc

the other thing is that IDM is so washed up and beyond-marginal at this point it hardly seems worth giving a kicking!

personally i'm actually kind of longing for a revival of first-wave IDM-izm before it was even called "IDM", ie the early Aphex and Global Communication etc stuff. When in fact it was at its most bleached, in terms of sonic negritude. The big shift there, back in 92/93, was away from rhythm/texture/noise to melody/texture/harmony.... which could certainly be seen as racially coded (especially the aversion to breakbeats*) but is as much to do with class and with mood (from rave to reverie, physical brocking out to aural contemplation)

IDM doesn't describe a genre, it describes a type of person, partially determined by class, really.... someone who prizes individuality rather than the crowd (hence squarepusher's risible comments about the jungle scene being all about followers, whereas he was a lone individualist)... what's funny about drill'n'bashment is that it posits a kind of pseudo-massive, the hallucination of the mother-of-all-massives. When of course the room's just full of nerds**.


* Geeta mentioned a while back that when she interviewed Michael Mayer she played something with a breakbeat in and he was, like, "aarrgh, i hate breakbeats, I loathe them". it was an almost physical aversion. Hearing that gave me a little flashback to "no breakbeats, no Lycra" in '93, and also helped me understand a bit why i don't dig Kompakt all that much. Seeing Mayer DJ a month or so ago, I was enjoying it sufficiently and then suddenly it struck me: erm, this music is pretty much "Age of Love"/93-R&S after they lost their hardcore/Germanism of early-mid Nineties. A little bit trancey, a little bit progressive-housey, very faintly gabba-y at its absolute darkest.

**
had a very odd and revelatory experience in a NY club recently that i'll discuss here at some point, basically it involved the very architecture of the building dramatizing and spatializing the state of dance music and the interrelationships therein of class/race/history. It was really quite eerie!

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