Thursday, October 06, 2011

... into nineties

at Quietus Neil Kulkarni launches "A New Nineties", a series of essays about early UK post-rock aka the Lost Generation with an interview with the reactivated Main

interesting to (re)learn that before Robert Hampson picked up a wah-wah and started Loop he was himself a late-postpunker into stuff like On U and Skidoo... and that Main was really a sort of reversion to type after being thrown off course by the retro-shift of the late Eighties (blame Spacemen 3?)


over at Airport Through the Trees, Aaron deftly picks through conflicted feelings about Spin's "The New Rave Generation" Dance Issue, feelings close to my own although unlike Aaron I've actually picked up a copy (main feature by Philip Sherburne is great and the whole package is a good read).

Aaron wonders if Skrillex's "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" is for the next-gen-ravers what "Terminator" was for back-in-the-day hardcore ravers. i.e. not bastardised/degraded dregs of a noble tradition but the messy start of "something new" (baby)

To my ears it's a collage of cliches, but then again it could be that the super-edited,distorted, timbrally-twisting mid-freq bassline is the new axis of innovation, i.e. the locus once occupied by breakbeat science. And I've been arguing for a while now that the despised 'n' deplored wobble/brostep might well prove to be the most breaks-with-the-past direction to emerge from the zone formerly known as dubstep.

Naturally I'm struck by the 1992-echo of "oh my gosh" being the vocal sample in "Scary Monsters" when it was such a back-in-the-day MC catchphrase. But there's nothing retro or nostalgic about this New Rave Generation, it's a resurgence not a revival;the consciousness seems very "We R Who We R" in not giving a toss about history (dance music's own or otherwise) or thinking about the future. It's all about release through volume, noise, aggressive celebration. Very metal. Indeed the analogy for this unexpected resurgence of US-dance (not quite accounted for fully in Phil's piece but perhaps that would require sociology) is probably with the way that metal never goes away, it just sticks around.... every so often upsurging into the mainstream... the sound at once reiterative of the tradition yet always shifted slightly (you couldn't quite say "evolved" or "advanced", but definitely moved on). Like metal, the new rocktronica is too big to considered underground, yet it's not quite mainstream either. And like metal, its proper environment is stadiums and arenas.


Michaelangelo Matos with a meaty in depth interview with the legendary Lenny Dee, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Industrial Strength Records:

money quote: on being played "We Have Arrived" for the first time by Marc Acardipane

"I just sat there and said, "Marc, you did it. This is it. This is the future. This is where it ends and where it begins."

and on dropping the track at a rave for the first time, at Mayday II in Germany:

"I've never seen ten-and-a-half-thousand people in one room raise their hands all at once, ever. Everyone was in awe when that record came out. It changed electronic music forever. That music, especially in that period of time, was the birth of something completely different. You get a guitar and it was totally acceptable to distort it and make rock records. Why wasn't it totally acceptable to distort all the electronic instruments? People had never heard anything like that. It's like a kid hearing rock & roll for the first time, back in the '50s. It took off and I never looked back".

Lenny on then versus now:

"The early techno guys were a different breed of cats. I look at the new techno DJs now like, "Man, you've got to be kidding me. This is what's carrying the torch? Are you fucking nuts? This is the most boring-ass music." Techno music used to be the most exciting, new, upfront, underground, banging music, not clean, poncey, boop-boop-boop-beep-beep-beep-bup, one little thing—that's crap. You listen to my records from the '90s, and you listen to records now, and go, what happened to techno?"

He's talking about Berlin-style mnml deejays obviously. Wonder what Lenny would makes of Skrillex? About eighty thousand kids raising their hands all at once?