Long, Long Winds

While reading Thoreau’s comments on the lenses of specialists in the field of cultural interpretation, I thought of this essay on a very Brit hyper-hybridity popping out amongst their kingdom of sub genres. The essayist above draws together a slew of really disparate threads into a coherent – if not very convincing – narrative about (I think) what happens at the margins of genre. I’m not entirely sure, but I find it interesting writing about largely uninteresting music.

This one’s even more relevant to Thoreau’s topic, or maybe it’s simply that I can follow it more easily. That essay was written partly in response to this hilarious character assassination. If IOZ was British, straight and cared a lot about hating dubstep, he might read this essay. I can’t say I actually follow most of the personal snippiness, or even agree with him on most points, but it is a funny read. [1]

If anything, Burial is really the only worthwhile act for non-specialists, and only if they have a decent tolerance for oddities. At first glance the vocal samples thing seems like a bad joke, and definitely takes a bit of work to understand. I must confess an inability to enjoy 98% of the genre, Burial and some Shakelton/Skull Disco[2] excepted, which I checked out after reading The Wire Primer‘s chapter on dubstep. Most of the other bits lauded in that piece confused me greatly, as they tend to a sort of sound and style that five or ten years ago would have been rightfully called “a Fruity Loops demo”.

Despite its roots in grime and two step – nothing anyone would mistake for academic music – there seems to be a lot of PhDs running around – or at least near – dubstep. Kode9, for example, has a PhD in philosophy (or something like that) and released a book about (literal) sonic warfare which I’ll get from the library some day. Thirty bucks is a bit much to spend on the nexus of critical theory and electronic music; in the age of bass cars on every corner, the “politics of sound” has been democratized pretty thoroughly.

I suspect that bass cars may even be recast as a kind of “resistance to mainstream culture” type of thing, which is…vile.

But I’ll probably break down and buy it eventually.

[1] I think a lot of their insult terms are absolutely darling, and if they were some kind of minority, I’d have a serious case of Adorable Otherness going on. Thankfully, they are raced as white, and thusly unable to be insulted/dead inside, even by debased American scum. Even their Marxisms are cute.

[2] That it mostly sounds like a modern take on mid-90s IDM is a reflection of my own entrapment in the web Thoreau mentioned in his original piece; additionally, as mentioned in the 2 minute hate above, it’s a nerdy genre for nerdy people who aren’t totally into dancing in any conventional sense. I know IDM is a synonym for fuckface in current UK parlance, but you deal with the hand you’re dealt with.

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