Tuesday, December 18, 2018

things to read

I've often wondered about the half-swallowed askew-vowel / eroded-consonants thing in pop today - most exemplified by Billie Eilish, whose surname almost spells/sounds like one of her own delicious, absurdly self-delectating, smudge-mouth choruses, but there's loads of other exponents, from Selena Gomez on "Good For You" to Let's Eat Grandma.  Where did it start, why did it start, what does it signify... Well, here's a really detailed genealogy and analysis of vowel-breaking (as some call it) by an academic whose blog Ace Linguist is dedicated to the technical and physical intricacies of voice-production. There are, like, diagrams of the vocal tract and shit!

I've noted before that the concept of "world-building" has become a bit of a cliche in musical and music-critical discourse. And elsewhere I've suggested that conceptronica might have reached a point of exhaustion (it's certainly exhausting).  Here's an interesting polemic by Nick James Scavo in the Tiny Mix Tapes end-year round-up: an essay that declares itself to be "Against Worldbuilding."  At the risk of simplifying an involved and world-size argument, Scavo targets the totalizing hubris and over-coding that goes into these grand projects: "the verbosity of sound as it exists in sonic world-building".