Wednesday, January 10, 2024

blogging, continued

Xenogothic with some thoughts on blogging.  

Among many other things, Matt talks about blogs operated by musicians, by the likes of Deerhunter and Phil Elverum, as a whole other field of bloggy action. I suppose Momus's Click Opera,  mentioned in the previous Blissblog post about blogs then and now, counts in this category. In an earlier longer version of the Guardian column, I did link to a currently active music-maker blog that I enjoy: Wreckless Eric's Ericland

I have been going back and adding more blogs and bloggers that I remembered from the olden days to that post. But there are still swathes of blogging that I didn't cover - even within the music blogging arena.

For instance, I don't talk about MP3 blogs. But then they were never something I got into. The free MP3s seemed as unenticing as the flexi singles attached to fanzines back in the day. And the textual element rarely seemed as interesting as the output of the blogs I considered my true neighbours.

There was a whole other phase of hyperactive blogging I clean forgot about - all the blogs associated with hypnagogic pop and that late 2000s / early 2010s emergence of largely-online DIY micro-genres like witch house and vaporwave.  Blogs such as 20 Jazz Funk Greats and Visitation Rites and Gorilla vs. Bear and Rose Quartz that would be shepherded for a while under the Pitchfork-hosted mantle of Altered Zones.  I tried to evoke its neophiliac fever in this piece:

On Altered Zones and its constellation of blogs, the flow is relentless: What matters is always the next new name, the latest micro-genre, another MP3 or MediaFire. Artist careers likewise are a continuous drip-drip-drip of releases, a dozen or more per year—there’s no reason to edit or hold back, every reason to keep one’s name out there. Stimuli streams in, largely via the Web; creativity streams out, largely via the Web. Today’s musician is a pure screen, a switching center for all the networks of influence.... This scene is about being engulfed and enthused, carried along by the currents of the new. Drifting not sifting. 

Another huge wave of blog energy - and one that had a huge effect on me, albeit not necessarily for the good - was the whole-album sharing blogs. Some of these didn't just offer an album cover image and a link to Rapidshare / Megaupload  / Mediafire, but had proper textual content: well-written and informative, if rarely polemical or argument-starting. Serious curatorial activity, as undertaken by the likes of Mutant Sounds, Continuo's, Twice Zonked!, A Closet of Curiosities... I wrote about that scene in this piece for The Wire on "sharity" blogs. Even interviewed a couple of figures behind blogs.  That scene is much declined from its height but there's sharity soljas out there still, digging strange shit up... 

Yet another still active sub-subculture of music blogging: the "imaginary albums" blogs. This overlaps with the sharity in so far as they sometimes - not always - share their recreation of the rumored but never released album. Some of these blogs generate an enormous amount of counterfactual text, as discussed in this essay of mine on alternative history and music: 

Fans for years have been creating unfinished or unreleased albums like Beach Boys's  Smile, Hendrix’s First Rays of the New Rising Sun, The Beatles's  Get Back, the Who’s Lifehouse – using bootlegs, demos, out-takes... Today there is a whole realm of blogs dedicated to this practice – Albums That Never Were, A Crazy Gift of Time, Albums That Should Exist, Albums I Wish Existed… Usually they create fake artwork for the counterfactual albums. 

Some of these blogs, such as Strawberry Peppers, don’t stop at creating imaginary albums and record covers – they write incredibly detailed and extensive alternative histories of worlds where the Beatles didn’t split up, or where David Bowie joined the Rolling Stones, or where the Soft Machine’s Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt and Daevid Allen don’t leave the band, or alternate timelines where Syd Barrett stayed in Pink Floyd.  A kind of counter-discographical mania erupts.  


In addition to Xenogothic, there's been some other post-Guardian-piece posts -  a few from blogs I know well (like Feuilleton), most from blogs I'd never come across before:  Torpedo The ArkBhagpussThe Sphinx. Somewhere amidst all that chatter I gleaned that there's been  unconnected blog talk going on too, at The Lazarus Corporation, at Velcro City Tourist Board, and in a piece about the internet getting weird again by Anil Dash for Rolling Stone.

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