Now I’m cross again. Look, people, people… honestly… I know there’s traditions that go with music appreciation. We recognise these and put up with them because it’s part of the sub culture. So in dance music every artist that manages to get the slightest recognition is always a ‘genius’. Their ‘phat beats’ are ‘soulful’ and sometimes ‘wicked’ (although that one’s getting a bit long in the tooth) and their presentation is always – come on you know how this works – ‘mind blowing’. DJ Underpants’ mind blowing genius.
And in listening to classical music there’s the respectful silence with the hand on chin, bobbing the head ever so slightly, you may raise an eyebrow if you dare, but do not clap in between movements or you’ll get a dollop of scorn on your cummerbund. A recent edition of The New Yorker pointed out that at the time this music was made, people talked over it and ate their dinner just like they do at rock gigs. Artificial post dated respect for the dead mixed with attention whoring.
So what’s driving me nuts is how the New Academy – the ‘little plonking noises out of four speakers’, the ‘MAXmsp makes another bottom burp’, the Japanese ‘throw my fork at a guitar across the room’ brigade – come on, you know the sort – have taken to writing press releases (sending out spam) that attempt to own every virtue of music since Gronk banged two rocks together – it’s not merely pretentious, it’s vainglorious circle jerking fiddlefaddle of the 7th ascendant level.
I get sent these press releases all the time, and have a spam filter that watches for mentions of ‘musics’ plural, any ‘tone structures’, ‘noise’ and ‘Japanese’ in proximity, ‘merzbow’, ‘jazz’, ‘PD patches’, ‘granu*’ – you get the drift. But they still get through by sheer volume. Here’s one I got just a while ago:
From Japan – Famous Jazz Noise Hybrid Musics legend YamaWhama Obama will perform his entire 10 CD set of flinging forks across the room at a guitar while mumbling some shit about Buddhism. Completely unknown in his own land, he now lives on a couch in New York and knows somebody who knows Lou Reed’s chauffeur.
Legendary transsexual poet, film-maker, interior designer and MAXmsp flouncer Hans Knees Whoopsidasi presents her new video made up of random selections from YouTube along with the coastline of Holland translated into a granular patch.
Australian producer Ya Fuck of Fuckya Records will repeatedly bang his head against a pole until it bleeds. His Pole Dance album is due out next month on Neverheardofit Records in Berlin.”
“We also proudly present our new exhibit at Tragic Hipster Gallery – The Only Good Music From The Last Decade. Artists such as Opiate Stumblebum, Exotic But Bad DJ, Professor Phil Somebody, Shocking Rude Name!!, the French Chick I wish I was banging, Generic Japanese Noise Artist 34, West Coast Guy With Grey Beard and lots of Analogue Gear, The Wanker Improvisation Experience, Krautrock reflux etc. etc. may be heard in the proper gallery context where silence & respectful listening distance is enforced and visual arts traditions are appropriated (because we really wish we were painters).”
Look, pride goeth before the fall and all that but one thing you don’t do is send an invite to a pissed off old musician to some exhibition of ‘the only music worth a shit’ and list a very shallow sample. ‘Hi there fool, the kind of music you make is not what we consider good! Come to the show!’ Actually honey, no, the music you are touting is the abyss.
Please, do not presume that lack of audience assures quality. Please do not consider complicated to be complex. Well made popular music (singular) requires as much practice, skill and talent as unpopular Musics (plural). But more than anything, please don’t confuse your taste for the 90’s underground as being some kind of balanced appraisal of what the current decade is about.
Now you did it, I used bold italics. Damn.