Friday, May 27, 2022

Down with the Drain

In a new piece for No Bells, Kieran Press-Reynolds take a deep dive into the meme-mythos of Drain Gang and the collective's most prominent member Bladee.  Readers of this blog may well be unfamiliar with either but Kieran makes an intricately supported and vivid case for DG + B as the most influential and pervasive entity in the last decade's ever-more-chaotic genrescape of online sounds - a common denominator through-line cutting across an entropic field of endlessly splintering, recombining, and border-blurring micro-genres and nano-scenes. And it's more than just warped weirdo sounds, emo lyrics, and ultra-processed vocals - as K writes, "Drain culture" = "an abyss of in-jokes, slang, visuals, and fashion". The piece is a kind of archaeology of knowledge connecting the evanescent drifts of online fan energy and excitement. As K, writes "the way chatter is scattered across myriad forums, platforms, and private chats, and the inescapable fact that so many pivotal videos and memes and myth-building conversations get deleted or lost in the digital void—makes it almost impossible to fully delineate how a cultish fanbase forms online....  Underground internet musicians accrue fame and myth through the steady buildup of Instagram stories and lives, loosies, TikTok edits, micro-viral fan tweets that gain 1,000 or so likes and become an inside joke.. This kind of mercurial legend-construction can result in knowledge gaps when an artist rises up....  it has also bred more ghosts—artists who grow successful but whose musical past is dotted with elisions, breaks, erasures, mysteries. Luckily, by traveling back in time through ancient Reddit posts and panoramically viewing today’s music landscape, it’s possible to glimpse how this unit has grown."