Many, many thoughts

This post is following the thread that started in the last post's comments. My reply got too big, so I'll take it from there.

A lot of good music is indeed published today, as it always was. I don't believe there has ever been a Golden Age of electronic music on global terms. There were creative outbreaks here and there during specific periods, but not for the whole world at the same time and they were always surpassed very soon by the next wave. So I am not gonna go crying about the end of it or something. It's just that I have an idea, a concept, something I'd like to share. I hope that through my DJ sets, my writings and my everyday attitude I have a tiny chance of influencing the world around me, even for a little while, even for a night. On a level, every creative person does that, 'artistic' or not. We all are here shaping the music scene for the next big change and everybody is pushing towards where it feels better for him. (And that's why I don't keep my mouth shut anymore, I've done it for a long time and it now feels stupid.)

It's obvious to me that a great change signifying a new era has happened about five years ago when vinyl distributors started closing down one by one (EFA was the first big one), dragging down great labels with them (Force Inc./ Mille Plateaux, for example). I don't feel it's a coincidence that at the same time specialist e-shops like Decks.de conquered the European scene, lowering the purchase cost while putting local vinyl shops out of work. People learned to buy vinyl through the net, even though they might live in a big city and had direct access to stores. Since then the constantly growing digital market became stronger and stronger, as it makes better use of (and has more direct influence on) the media. Profits for the e-shops (not the artists or the labels) are bigger than ever, with apparently very small cost (promotion, mainly). Overthrowing the previous distributors' trusts, they've grown to be cartels, whether we like it or not. That's the story, as far as I'm concerned.

Whining about 'Minimal', 'electro house' and related commercial genres has not much to do with the music itself (which I can easily ignore). But it has a lot to do with what it represents, as well as with the people who promote that music. The above mentioned businessmen, who define the future of music as it was only done before the rise of indie labels, usind the same strategies the big corporations used. Or the opportunist producers, who constantly jump on someone else's train as the old guy used to say, while forerunners and pioneers are drowned in this media directed digi-flood of releases and superficial info. They are re-designing modern culture through the distorted prism of commercial success, cashing on the DIY network and the 'underground' credentials they so easily abandoned when they finally had the chance. Good for their pocket, not for our souls, but we are letting them do it.

I'm going to disagree with the view that good stuff floats (mostly shit does). It doesn't, unless it has marketing behind it. For example, watch Get Physical. Good music (not ground-breaking at first) made by professional producers/ sound engineers (Booka Shade), spread by good DJs (M.A.N.D.Y.), backed by the maturity of DJ T, a DJ for 20 years and Groove editor for 15 years. And they have a full company, managers, publishers, accountants and all. They had the media by their side from the beginning. They have the potential to succeed, but they also have the power to do it. They're pros. Same with the BPitch Control posse, same with Cocoon, for me the ultimate example of non-commercial music having success through commercial tactics.

Now imagine a techno freak, some half-crazed trash making music in bedroom with two synths and a drum machine or a humble PC, living on dreams/ drugs/ noodles/ inspiration/ thin air. If s/he happens to write the best techno track ever, will YOU be able to listen to it? It might be out there in a net label, buried under tons of uninteresting stuff. It's the label's A&R man work to find it, but it might be lost in a small label. Big ones sign mostly famous names to keep their sales up, very few dare to try new shit. It's also the media man's job to find the next good one, but he has to listen to this year's 182nd release from the current hip Mini Label and its Beatport exclusive remix. Techno is mainstream in many places, taken over by pros to replace euro-trance and progressive house in the commercial scene.

All we need is a break.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The only way to cancel this mediocracy crap is to stop supporting it. Stop listening to stuff you find average, it's shaping your mindset. Fully support what you really like and spread the word. Most artists give up because they feel that what they do doesn't have any effect on people because some clown sells more than them. Go to gigs, communicate with the artists, buy from the labels directly if you can and say 'thank you'... Show that you care.

We shall overcome.


P.S. I should be a motivational speaker. Do this. Do that...
I am not
now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist Party.

6 comments:

Atlantis said...

not commenting directly to what you wrote. but was wondering if you like the work of terrence dixon / population one? I am just now discovering his music in the latest pop one 12" "view from above". i like it a lot. somehow i always had thought terrence dixon made house and so i never looked into it.

aneta said...

Nightlight, I agree with most of what you're saying, but to be honest I don't know much about labels and how the industry works, so...

I stick to my guns - that if something is really good it tends to get noticed, e.g. Burial is the classic example of a bedroom artist who proved to be irresistible and ended up nominated for the Mercury (but didn't get, thank fuck).

I don't think that dub techno is necessarily totally retro now. Rod Modell's stuff goes off on weird and utterly new ambient tangents; Vince Watson's Ethereal adds delicious deep house textures to the basic dub techno format; Octex mixes dub techno brilliantly with glitchy and dubstep stuff; Gerard Hanson's Convextion & ERP stuff is retro in that he has returned to the detroit electro techno vibe, but it's very progressive imo; Monolake are still bubbling away below the surface... There's hope yet!

Check out The Bug's recent stuff - that's the insane end of dubstep/breakcore:
http://aural-virus.blogspot.com/2008/07/razor-x-productions-bug-rootsman.html

http://aural-virus.blogspot.com/2008/09/bug-london-zoo.html

stephen said...

aneta should be stephen (damned google accounts!)

Nightlight said...

4 atlantis:
Terrence Dixon I got to know thru Tresor (http://www.discogs.com/release/5065), but then I lost him. If you want this one let me know.

4 stephen:
I know, I know. It's just that sometimes it gets me. I said I'm into this stuff, right?
Octex is top. And Burial is one of the few artists in this genre I try to follow. The whole Deepchord/ Echospace scene is good, I just don't like the way they're compulsively releasing everything in expensive limited editions; the whole scene is a bit overrated, there were a lot of very similar european productions during the 1998-2002 era (with occasionally an extra kick). Anyway they're very good, just not pushing things somewhere new; the way Trentemoller did a couple of years back, for example. And Echocord does the same thing with an extra edge once in a while.
The Bug has always been respectful since the Techno Animal days and one of the first to get into the ragga-core thing, before grime and dubstep.

I know I gotta stop writing crap and get on with posting...
So, who's Aneta anyway?

stephen said...

> So, who's Aneta anyway?

The love of my life (who was messing around on this comp before I got on...)

Nightlight said...

Yeah, I guessed. But I also thought it would be a good name for an alter ego, you know..