good recent reading
amazing slab o' prose here at mnml ssgs, a critique/diagnosis of a churning sameness and stasis that's preventing the electronic-dance "soufflé" from "rising", quite a few convergences with "Excess All Areas" in The Wire and Retromania
too many quotables-
"your controller might be more controlling than you think – and who’s controlling the controller? We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us, and then, somehow, most of us become tools holding tools, tweeting each other about the latest mix tools made on our favourite tools, which we play and send to each other – on our tools. What a bunch of tools"
"no critical horizon, no contextual frame, just one big anus that a bunch of invested boosters are morris dancing around, alternating between circle jerks and high fives, waiting for the next ‘release’"
"the rate at which we churn through podcasts, and the horrible hangovers. Which is surpassed only by the thumping rate at which podcasts are released. And you’re still expected to have appetite enough to buy some music? A friend of mine confided: he can now no longer be bothered pirating. The very thought of it fills him with an unspeakable ennui. It’s so weird, isn’t it? It’s almost as if we don’t know how to operate outside an ‘economy’; without scarcity, how do you build evaluative hierarchies? And why cherish anything? This strange proliferation of simulacra, a veritable free for all... and yet, almost totally unappetizing – while it also tends to make people go on horrible binges, orgy without appetite..."
"Ennui, and anomie/goes together in perfect harmony/side by side on my midi keyboard, oh motherboard/ why can’t we?"
(when he says it's been an terrific year for electronic NON-dance music which he promises to examine in a later companion post, the PRO to this resounding and resonant CON... i guess he's probably meaning stuff on Not Not Fun/100% Silk, Spectrum Spools, possibly Laurel Halo... all enthused about elsewhere and earlier on the blog...)
Alex Niven's retroactive manifesto for late 20th Century pop music
at The Original Soundtrack, Geeta with a nice tribute to Martin Rushent
fascinating piece on lost "late postpunk/late new pop" demi-legends Sudden Sway by Phil Knight over at the Eighties blog Faces On Posters
i vaguely recall Space Mate from when I was at Melody Maker, I don't think I ever got sent a promo copy, I imagine it was such a bulky item that Blanco Y Negro publicity might have been somewhat tight with freebies, at MM someone like Jim Shelley or Andy Darling or perhaps Paul Mathur wrote a big piece on them... Sudden Sway was the kind of thing that appealed to the el records fan club... at the time I would have sniffed at it probably as "too much concept, not enough substance"... nowadays of course I'd be happy to have the concept and stuff the substance thank you very much... there's no shortage of substantial music being made in the world --plus when you factor in four decades backlog of substance sound clogging the archives... basically there's no need to ever go hungry, substance-wise... but concepts, that's another matter... we can always do with more conceptualism--context,framing, provocations--which is why the haunty and hypnagoggy crews, who together make up one of our few contenders when it comes to a contemporary "music of ideas", are so welcome (which is not to say they don't bring the substance too, often... the best of them bring both, amply).
Phil also on The Stranglers "La Folie"
(had no idea this song was about something so grim... so Odd Future-y... "La Folie" was actually the only Stranglers single I ever bought, on account of taping the first four albums off my friend Mark and taping the non-album singles off the radio... it is a great and strange piece of music, which I always think of as the 'glers's counterpart to "Atmosphere" by Joydiv)
and (this time on ... And What Will Be Left Of Them) (and getting increasingly perverse, surpassing even his celebrations of The Knack and Humble Pie) Phil again with a paean to Pete Frampton