Monday, October 29, 2007

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Dismayed to learn that Stylus is shutting up shop...

I suppose I can see the logic of quitting while you’re ahead, exiting before the inevitable dwindle of passion and drive sets in....

Still it's always disheartening (but particularly so in the current context) when a discursive energy-center, a cluster of talent and vibe, disappears....

And for purely selfish readerly reasons I’ll miss Stylus's off-kilter approach, which I’ve often fancied sorta made it vis-a-vis Pitchfork what the [late Eighties] Melody Maker was to the [late Eighties} NME. Except that’s quite unfair to Pitchfork which is way better than NME was then... but the analogy nonetheless has something to it: P-fork as the Accepted Authority, saddled with a certain responsibility, and Stylus thereby freed up to be the younger brother/maverick/underdog

Stylus also has the best name...

Catch up with five years of the magazine’s exploits

And here's a recent lovely piece that it's hard to imagine many other places running

Big up to Todd Burns and cru, and may all involved prosper in their future ventures.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

And now

at last

some

long

overdue

anti-GLOOM

* Carl Impostume, brilliant, on Withnail and I, a movie that must admit never made much impression on me but clearly I've missed A LOT

* Matt Woebot, on records worthy of Creel Pone-isation. Usual chastening experience of only having one of the dozen or so things he lists (the Richard Maxfield/Pauline Oliveros/Steve Reich thing, which I've seen floating around New York a few times since.) Still I was quite chuffed when Creel Pone recently put out a record I had found on vinyl for myself last year, this one, made by by people associated with the Catholic University of America.
In truth, not astounding, but still… musique concrete from the Catholic University of America! If I was to nominate some future Creel Pone-isation candidates, I'd suggest a repro of the original album (which i found for a dollar in the apartment block residents jumble sale over the road from us) by avant-garde choreographer/synth-dabbler Alwin Nikolais (as opposed to this CD) on account of its fantastic cover which I can't find on the web and can't be arsed to scan but if you look at this image from one of his ballets and also this one gives you some of the flavour. And perhapssomething by John Eaton like this...

* Heartened, walking back from Whole Foods on Houston Street, and having had my eye assaulted on previous excursions by the giant American Apparel billboard at 1st Avenue, to see that some plucky feminist street guerrilla team had defaced this in the grand tradition of ”if this car was a woman it would run you over”. And now it's been taken down, yay.

* not really anti-gloom but just mildly boggling to stumble on this Icelandic metal-not-metal blog and seeing the "label cloud" on the side:

• alpine folk
• alternative
• ambient
• ambient avantgarde
• apocalyptic folk
• black metal
• dark ambient
• dark folk
• dark metal
• Dark Symphonic Folk Metal
• darkwave
• death industrial
• Death Metal
• doom metal
• drone ambient
• electronica
• experimental
• folk
• folk metal
• industrial
• martial
• melodic death metal
• neoclassical
• neofolk
• noise
• nordic folk
• pagan metal
• power electronics
• ritual
• viking metal
• vikingarock


... and be freshly struck by what the likes of chuck eddy and dj martian have banged on about forever which is how metal has just swallowed whole goth (especially 4AD goth-lite), industrial, post-rock, shoegaze, techno, isolationism, folk.... to the point where what defines metal as metal these days is nothing sonic but really just the bombastic and verbose band names/song titles (and also contextual/institutional stuff like where you're likely to read about it) (and perhaps the clothes the bands wear). A lot of metal's outer fringe doesn't even seem to be band music anymore, particularly, it's not made for live performance, the perpetrators often seem to be reclusive misanthrope bedroom types.

So what gives it any coherence as a musical field might more be what it excludes than what it includes. And (echo of previous week's debates) what it excludes seems to be by and large, black music. Which is not necessarily problematic, of course.

Then again, look at Blodvarg's avatar/ident videoloop. Erm, are those jackbooted feet doing, ooer, the goosestep?

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