Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

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fange
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby fange » 06 Jul 2017, 16:10

I see what you're getting at, but i'm not sure novel is the right word. Pitbull, Ed Sheeren, Justin Bieber, the K-pop stars aren't really novel - there's not a thing they do that hasn't been done before. But the key thing is is that they are doing it right now; most of the kids who are listening to music want something which is happening in real time, right now. Most teens who listen to music (or have ever listened to music) have never really cared deeply about the thread of pop's progression, as long as it speaks to them in the NOW, somehow and some way. It's all about 'Vogue', like Madge said. Image lives forever in the eternal now.
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby Bent Fabric » 06 Jul 2017, 16:16

Bent Fabric wrote:Conversely, there are many examples of artists rather discreetly or tacitly making some actual leap forward (the "coming of age" Marvin Gaye or Stevie Wonder/electric Dylan/etc.) - people noticed, for sure, but it wasn't necessarily self heralded as "check me out NOW!".


I'm somewhat stuck on this meeting point of "considerable/measurable progress" and "quiet dignity".

For one thing, "We're/I'm gonna blow your fucking mind" (followed by damp squib/ballerina immediately slipping on banana peel on opening night) as contrasted with "people modestly doing amazing things/perhaps deliberately underplaying their impressive hand" strikes me as a real powerful contrast to work. I mean, if I mention Jobriath or Terence Trent D'arby vs. say Pepper era Beatles or Prince at any point during his, well, "purple patch" - you might get an enormously different impression. I don't fault anyone for really pushing their boat out to sea with as much fanfare and hubris as possible, but you also know the rather less unseemly look of someone truly rolling the stone up the hill (some considerable distance) without necessarily making a big thing out of it.

I can't say how or why it matters (to me) nor can I even really corroborate the (as I see it) relevance of the contrast, but...it's clearly something I've fixated on as somehow meaningful.

There's people in the performing arts who have made these very deliberate gestures of "transformation" or "re-invention" - not quietly or discreetly, but in these sort of heavily self narrated ongoing press campaigns (I feel like Bono has been doing the voiceover for his own documentary for something like 40 years now, and Damon Albarn isn't that far behind). Neither you or I will ever be as impressed with their enormous, brave, bold progress as they are - it just isn't possible. Can you even fathom what it means to go from aping the Kinks to aping Beck/Pavement? Similarly, the move from "discovering rustic, rootsy, sand worn America" to "discovering ABBA" - go ahead and try to wrap your little button down mind around that.

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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby The Modernist » 06 Jul 2017, 16:26

Teenagers may very well have their own tastes now, as that is still an important way of forming your own identity. However the difference is that in the 60s and 70s those tastes were seen to be completely against the values of earlier generations. Pop music doesn't play that role now and hasn't for a long time.

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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby fange » 06 Jul 2017, 16:32

The Modernist wrote:Teenagers may very well have their own tastes now, as that is still an important way of forming your own identity. However the difference is that in the 60s and 70s those tastes were seen to be completely against the values of earlier generations. Pop music doesn't play that role now and hasn't for a long time.

I don't know - listening to One Direction and Ed Sheeren certainly go against everything i value and stand for. :x
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby The Modernist » 06 Jul 2017, 16:44

:D

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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby sloopjohnc » 06 Jul 2017, 16:47

The Modernist wrote:It was, but it hasn't been that way for about thirty years when any kind of generation gap disappeared.


If that were true, hip-hop would be a lot more popular on here. I call BS on that.
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby sloopjohnc » 06 Jul 2017, 16:49

bobzilla77 wrote:Living in 1977, 1972 felt like a long time ago. The fashions, the music, the TV and movies were all different. And the distance from 1977 to 1982 is even more pronounced. Right now, thinking about 2012, I can't think of too many cultural signifiers that have changed that significantly.

I think that's down to a dilution of mass culture - you can't see the fashions change on magazine covers month over month any more. There are subtle changes in the landscape but not everyone is getting their information from the same source anymore. We're not as subject to manipulation because the information sources are more diverse & less susceptible to control.

So maybe, being totally now and in the moment, now means existing outside the context of ANY time and place. It's not just the end of an era, it's the end of the idea of eras.

Now THAT'S post modernism, baby!


I think this is the gist of it.
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby sloopjohnc » 06 Jul 2017, 16:49

The Modernist wrote:Teenagers may very well have their own tastes now, as that is still an important way of forming your own identity. However the difference is that in the 60s and 70s those tastes were seen to be completely against the values of earlier generations. Pop music doesn't play that role now and hasn't for a long time.


That I will buy.
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby Count Machuki » 06 Jul 2017, 16:55

sloopjohnc wrote:
bobzilla77 wrote:Living in 1977, 1972 felt like a long time ago. The fashions, the music, the TV and movies were all different. And the distance from 1977 to 1982 is even more pronounced. Right now, thinking about 2012, I can't think of too many cultural signifiers that have changed that significantly.

I think that's down to a dilution of mass culture - you can't see the fashions change on magazine covers month over month any more. There are subtle changes in the landscape but not everyone is getting their information from the same source anymore. We're not as subject to manipulation because the information sources are more diverse & less susceptible to control.

So maybe, being totally now and in the moment, now means existing outside the context of ANY time and place. It's not just the end of an era, it's the end of the idea of eras.

Now THAT'S post modernism, baby!


I think this is the gist of it.


I liked this too, but that "we're not as subject to manipulation" thing gives me pause...you think about fake news and politics and such. What's to stop The Man from doing the same aggressive campaign of bullshit on something less consequential, like music.

People could end up liking some crap they don't really like.
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby Bent Fabric » 06 Jul 2017, 16:58

The Modernist wrote:Teenagers may very well have their own tastes now, as that is still an important way of forming your own identity. However the difference is that in the 60s and 70s those tastes were seen to be completely against the values of earlier generations. Pop music doesn't play that role now and hasn't for a long time.


We have teenage nieces and nephews and, increasingly, Christmas and birthday gifts are buying them concert tickets to one thing or another. My niece is 19 now - we went through the whole gamut with her of Beiber (she told us she was over him the night before we were about to buy her tickets), One Direction, K Pop - there is a built in element where earlier generations are sort of (necessarily, I feel) "excluded" (her parents are into THEIR shit, and we're into OURS and there's no sense of ever wanting to crash a young woman's party or even kind of "get" what that party is about...it's like younger people using Snapchat because "my parents aren't on it" or communicating in all abbreviated lowercase "code"...long as they keep not coming to kill me, it's all good), but...yeah...the issue of "values" could not be less present. Whatever a person my age would have thought about the Doors, the Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, David Bowie or the Sex Pistols at THAT relevant point in history - I think we're well and truly past that point.

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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby Bride Of Sea Of Tunes » 06 Jul 2017, 17:20

sloopjohnc wrote:
bobzilla77 wrote:Living in 1977, 1972 felt like a long time ago. The fashions, the music, the TV and movies were all different. And the distance from 1977 to 1982 is even more pronounced. Right now, thinking about 2012, I can't think of too many cultural signifiers that have changed that significantly.

I think that's down to a dilution of mass culture - you can't see the fashions change on magazine covers month over month any more. There are subtle changes in the landscape but not everyone is getting their information from the same source anymore. We're not as subject to manipulation because the information sources are more diverse & less susceptible to control.

So maybe, being totally now and in the moment, now means existing outside the context of ANY time and place. It's not just the end of an era, it's the end of the idea of eras.

Now THAT'S post modernism, baby!


I think this is the gist of it.


Very well put indeed.

I think our time is clueless and disoriented. I find our youngsters nice. Accessible, open, friendly.

But they seem to lack idea(l)s about how they will going to try to mold their own futures. Is this because the social connective tissue has been seriously damaged by the economic ideologies of our time?

Say, if you're destination is that of a flexible worker, with many uncertainties, and aren't able to plan your life ahead in terms of a steady occupation that satisfies you to a considerable extent - you aren't given the chance to plan a family, to purchase a house, to look optimistically forward to your own future - what does that change in your cultural tastes?

I am convinced that the dominant idolatry that is termed neoliberalism by the most serious of critics and scholars has changed everything. It has been deleterious for people's expectations as human beings, for their hopes and dreams, for their self-esteem, for their general trust in others and in life itself, for their own bank of cheerful and loving memories, for their good spirits and their minds in general.

It's not surprising that the lack of shared values and shared hopes has led to isolation, depression, and an extreme appetite for stimuli, quick fixes, superficial contacts, representations of violence and pornography, and bad, bland, populist cultural expressions.

Turning inward, and respecting contemplative silence, these things perhaps have become very threatening and frightening to people.

But without these activities, there can't be culture, or art.

(Rant over, sorry, I did go on a bit here.)
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 06 Jul 2017, 17:42

I'm not sure that I buy the "end of eras" argument. As long as someone can package and commodify the idea of eras - the eras will keep coming. Decades will we celebrated as if they were totally distinct - regardless of whether that can truly be claimed by the art created within.

What I see happening over the last few decades is that pop music and it's culture have been boiled down to a series of tropes. Those tropes are handed down, often with the context missing. So if the lead singer of Cage the Elephant goes on tv wearing a fur coat and lipstick, its no longer seen as an allusion to Little Richard or Mick Jagger, but rather as just general rock and roll iconography.

Both in terms of music and fashion there is an element of cosplay (to use an annoying modern word) involved in the whole Pavlovian pageant that is pop music. Our children don't care what came before Ed Sheeran. It's just their generation's turn to be on stage.
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby Bent Fabric » 06 Jul 2017, 18:12

A phenomenon I look back on (as the world may or may not endeavor to become more "timeless", and creative people of all eras seem to make increasing peace with their own history - you have people far younger than me doing "ten year anniversary tours" for their big record, etc.) with some genuine "let's document these dead ends before they vanish forever!" fascination is the (perhaps diminishing) imperative to "get with the times".

One of those phenomenons is/was the "old man rocker" who goes/went for what seem(ed) to them like modernizing touches (at one point in history, this would have been things like 5 string basses or headless guitars or a sort of "streamlined", up-to-date sartorial/presentation - think of the Moody Blues in their Alberto VO5 phase) - there's no shortage of documentation of this shit. I think if you Google image searched nearly any act at some crucial point past their primacy you could find, I dunno, "guys from Yes in Members Only gear" or sort of pre/proto-Spinal Tap types using "keyboards" (think of that word in its most generic "mid 80s Ozzy/Dio/Rush" application) - one of the trappings of this sort of "I'm with it!" business is that you find a considerable disconnect between the actual era of a) the usage and b) the now already anachronistic totems. Things like MIDI/looping/excessive signal processing/sampling become real "Everyone's doing it" assertions of personal viability, intrinsic musical value be damned. It's a fish out of water type phenomenon you find less and less as time goes on and music makers perhaps develop a greater sense of their own strengths/a deeper comfort with words like "classic".

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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby Bent Fabric » 06 Jul 2017, 18:36

(Continued)

There may have been something about the 1980s (and outlying) that took THAT sort of thing to its utter nadir. Maybe enough people saw themselves trapped in unfortunate costuming (you'll hear certain people talk increasingly about how "we maybe all got a bit carried away with our technological toys", or read more of these increasingly proliferate memoirs of storied recording engineers/producers...and they all go into the 1980s and 1990s parts of their stories with a bit of mournful "We started the project by spending a month programming the Linn drum" regret). That certain people (I dunno - Heart, Alice Cooper, Springsteen, Quo?) reach a point where their most sort of 'organically developed' work becomes something of a badge of honor, you see them start to shed a lot of the shit they went through in their MTV era 30s/40s when still very much playing a certain game. Hopefully with some relief.

(As something of a fan of both Prince and Michael Jackson, I went through a period of frustration with both acts when they seemed to each hit THEIR own period of "I'm losing the people - I'd better start playing to the idiomatic totems of the present day". You don't mind seeing Vanilla Ice go down that road, but it's harder to watch people of unarguably massive talent - McCartney's duet filled 80s is obviously its own problem - chasing after the ice cream truck.)

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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby toomanyhatz » 06 Jul 2017, 18:51

Side question- has fetishizing of previous eras always gone on? I think we're seeing a lot of 80s and 90s revivalism now, even though a lot of the 90s was a repackaging of the 70s. The 80s was the last time 'modernism' was actually in any way modern, it seems to me. To Fange's point above, modern music seems to be given that label 'cause the people making it are young, not because there's anything modern about the music itself (other than the speed and ease with which it's transmitted).

I work for a record label, and we had A&R men as guest speakers. Average age: 35. Lots younger than me, but not kids. But average 'perfect' age at which to develop a new artist? Consensus seemed to be 22 was about the limit. If you haven't figured it out by then...
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby sloopjohnc » 06 Jul 2017, 19:06

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:Our children don't care what came before Ed Sheeran. It's just their generation's turn to be on stage.


I think that's one of the things I'm getting at too. My kids know what kind of music I like, they've had to listen to it in the car or wherever, but it's been on my terms. It's like going to a museum with me.

Their tastes might be unconsciously informed by mine, but they might reject them too.
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby Bent Fabric » 06 Jul 2017, 19:17

toomanyhatz wrote:Side question- has fetishizing of previous eras always gone on? I think we're seeing a lot of 80s and 90s revivalism now, even though a lot of the 90s was a repackaging of the 70s. The 80s was the last time 'modernism' was actually in any way modern, it seems to me.


I think there was a shift at some point. "Winchester Cathedral" is kind of silly and wacky and deliberately throwbacky, but I (through my own limited prism of reference) do tend to picture a thing that (possibly) began in the 1980s ("Long Ryders/Blasters kinda people?") and really built up steam in subsequent years and decades as being quite fucking sincere and real - if somewhat misguided and often unsatisfying. I dunno where Springsteen's or Roy Wood's "don't forget Spector!" stuff falls on this meter (more "Winchester Cathedral"/"Baby Face" or more "Sheryl Crow using real Hammond Organs for that organic sound"?), but by the time you have guitar groups (let's just use Soundgarden or Queens of the Stone Age as shorthand here) consciously using old amps and instruments and tape machines and microphones to go more Master of Reality than, say, Whitesnake, we're fairly well across the river into (and MANY LIGHT YEARS beyond) the age of (shorthand again) Jellyfish/Matthew Sweet.

And still, I have some image frozen in my mind of an overly technologically up to date and state of the art 1980s/90s Genesis (and all related side/solo projects) having pushed so far forward into "the vortex of the now" that the younger kids with Mellotrons are simultaneously sprouting up.
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby Bride Of Sea Of Tunes » 06 Jul 2017, 19:19

Do people aged 25 nowadays devour serious books about artists? To get to know them more intimately? To learn about their upbringing, about those who inspired them, about the whole historical and social context that their creativity could ripen in?

Like we read Greil Marcus, Peter Guralnick, Robert Christgau, and later on Barney Hoskyns, Jon Savage, and their ilk?

Intuitively I'd say: much less so.

I for one wouldn't want to know what memories and deep and dark forces drive Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, or Radiohead, for certain.

Somehow the aspects of provenance, tradition, locality, small communities, cultural influences, other, have all been transformed into a dull, grey, and uninteresting version of Mr. Slime.
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby Quaco » 06 Jul 2017, 20:16

Bent Fabric wrote:
toomanyhatz wrote:Side question- has fetishizing of previous eras always gone on? I think we're seeing a lot of 80s and 90s revivalism now, even though a lot of the 90s was a repackaging of the 70s. The 80s was the last time 'modernism' was actually in any way modern, it seems to me.


I think there was a shift at some point. "Winchester Cathedral" is kind of silly and wacky and deliberately throwbacky, but I (through my own limited prism of reference) do tend to picture a thing that (possibly) began in the 1980s ("Long Ryders/Blasters kinda people?") and really built up steam in subsequent years and decades as being quite fucking sincere and real - if somewhat misguided and often unsatisfying. I dunno where Springsteen's or Roy Wood's "don't forget Spector!" stuff falls on this meter (more "Winchester Cathedral"/"Baby Face" or more "Sheryl Crow using real Hammond Organs for that organic sound"?), but by the time you have guitar groups (let's just use Soundgarden or Queens of the Stone Age as shorthand here) consciously using old amps and instruments and tape machines and microphones to go more Master of Reality than, say, Whitesnake, we're fairly well across the river into (and MANY LIGHT YEARS beyond) the age of (shorthand again) Jellyfish/Matthew Sweet.

And still, I have some image frozen in my mind of an overly technologically up to date and state of the art 1980s/90s Genesis (and all related side/solo projects) having pushed so far forward into "the vortex of the now" that the younger kids with Mellotrons are simultaneously sprouting up.

My theory is that, either through too much technology, misunderstanding the punk revolution, or just enough temporal distance having passed, people forgot how to write songs. Thus, the equipment and totems become more important than the material. Alas, they are now graded on a curve based on contemporaneous releases, and we all pay lip service to older material -- partially in order to seem knowledgeable -- so some new Rundgren-, Sabbath-, or Byrds-influenced artist can admit to his influences and create lesser material at once.

But these are old complaints calling to mind Davey's production-as-soundtracking comments (which I totally agree with), etc. At some point, I'd rather just read Bent Fabric's comments (which I also agree with) rather than trying to work out any kind of answer or solution.
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Re: Fleeing from the past/racing towards the future

Postby bobzilla77 » 06 Jul 2017, 20:29

Count Machuki wrote:
sloopjohnc wrote:
bobzilla77 wrote:Living in 1977, 1972 felt like a long time ago. The fashions, the music, the TV and movies were all different. And the distance from 1977 to 1982 is even more pronounced. Right now, thinking about 2012, I can't think of too many cultural signifiers that have changed that significantly.

I think that's down to a dilution of mass culture - you can't see the fashions change on magazine covers month over month any more. There are subtle changes in the landscape but not everyone is getting their information from the same source anymore. We're not as subject to manipulation because the information sources are more diverse & less susceptible to control.

So maybe, being totally now and in the moment, now means existing outside the context of ANY time and place. It's not just the end of an era, it's the end of the idea of eras.

Now THAT'S post modernism, baby!


I think this is the gist of it.


I liked this too, but that "we're not as subject to manipulation" thing gives me pause...you think about fake news and politics and such. What's to stop The Man from doing the same aggressive campaign of bullshit on something less consequential, like music.

People could end up liking some crap they don't really like.


I think that can still happen but less regularly/ predictably than 30 years ago.

If you were a group with a truly new & unique thing to offer, and you got on MTV rotation, every teenager in the country found out about you at the same time, because we ALL watched that thing. If you rated a feature in Circus & Creem mags in the 70s, a big portion of the rock audience found you at the same time, because everyone read those mags.

That almost doesn't exist now. There are still a very few big-break outlets like Saturday Night Live, but they have really narrowed in the new media. Infinite choice of media entertainment means it is no longer inevitable that I will know the most popular song in the country at any moment. I have no bloody idea what's on the chart today or what the songs sound like.

The world of politics is different, because your choice is binary - does the puppet on the left represent your beliefs, or do you prefer the puppet on the right? There's still money to be made coming down on one side of that choice. By contrast your entertainment choices are unlimited, in a way they weren't 30 years ago.

And at the end of the day I'm not worried about people liking some shit that they don't really like. If they're that easily fooled and disinclined to seek out things they do like, it doesn't matter what they're listening to. Might as well be one of those fake bands on Spotify.
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