Jump to content

Invite to Participate in Graduate Research: "IDM as Popular Music"


Recommended Posts

8 minutes ago, ignatius said:

too bad the IDM mailing list isn't around.. or is it? i wonder if the list and some messages were archived? it would certainly be a rabbit hole of exploration for better or worse.

There are accessible internet archives with some of the back-and-forth conversation on the mailing list, including the first mentions of IDM by Americans

9 minutes ago, ignatius said:

 but the idea of what is popular music is going to vary by geography.. i'm sure the UK is no different.

so, you might need to focus on a region or something and extrapolate out. it might help you focus. 

In terms of geography, COVID disrupted a lot of plans to travel for the research, plus a large portion of my writing is based on social and cultural theory. The discussion around community is why I'm focusing on internet forums that relate to this music. If anything the geographical focus is historical, so yeah it would be UK with mention of the US because that's where the mailing list started.

23 minutes ago, nikisoko said:

i would argue that if this is what you've found yourself doing for your thesis, that you should promptly head straight to the university and ask for your money back.

Yeah I get what you mean, and you guys aren't the first to point this out, but you also don't have the full context of my project. These questions and your responses are being used to represent the community. As I said above, the significant part of my thesis is a theoretical analysis, reanalyzing social theories and cultural theories that help those who write policy and history make decisions. It's a foot-in-the-door to begin a career studying music and culture. Whether it seems pointless to you or not really doesn't concern me. I appreciate the harshness and blunt honesty though, it helps remind me why I do it! I chose IDM because I enjoy talking about it, I identify with the community for the most part, and from a musical perspective it has a lot of unique factors that haven't been touched on. Other scholars have a history of focusing on medieval music and classical music. That kind of thing just didn't jive with me, but hey, plenty of thesis topics still available!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 94
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

afx fans  brotechre  boc

idm is the music of late 20th century "lads" made in the british uk. austerity economics and conservative politics had created a distinctly daft vibe across the lands. the youth were unimpressed with

for serious critical commentary about underground communities i highly suggest getting in touch with my friend who is the leader of a kind of "group" his email is: [email protected]

I don't think I've ever come across an IDM fan who is a Trump supporter, so there seems to be a strong correlation between listening to IDM and having certain political views. The music, track titles or artwork themselves don't usually contain any explicit political messages, though, so it's not obvious to me where this correlation comes from

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

@nikisoko /s

12 minutes ago, ghsotword said:

I don't think I've ever come across an IDM fan who is a Trump supporter, so there seems to be a strong correlation between listening to IDM and having certain political views. The music, track titles or artwork themselves don't usually contain any explicit political messages, though, so it's not obvious to me where this correlation comes from

Yeah a few users have touched on this. I have to do some more research to understand why this may be, because it seems like too much of a coincidence! I hate to say it, but you've inspired me with your comment, maybe there is a certain intellectual significance behind "IDM" hahah!! Something to look into at least

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

i've come across bob dylan and beatles fans who thought it'd be great to drill for oil in anwar (There's oil ther ewe should go get it) and and that GW Bush was the best. so, i wouldn't pigeon hole any fans of any music genre. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, ghsotword said:

I don't think I've ever come across an IDM fan who is a Trump supporter, so there seems to be a strong correlation between listening to IDM and having certain political views. The music, track titles or artwork themselves don't usually contain any explicit political messages, though, so it's not obvious to me where this correlation comes from

It's the Intelligence part  :trollface:

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Would you consider the IDM community a diverse social space? Is it a cohesive community or fragmented in some way?

I'd say it's pretty diverse, if your definition includes work and fans of jlin and holy hendon as well as afx and boc. Electronica is a much better word imo - its electronic, you might be able to dance to it, you dont have to.

I don't think it's a cohesive community, other than perhaps a small hardcore who strongly prefer to or exclusively listen to electronica - communities seem stretched now, when i was into techno fresh out of high school in 1998 and went to uni in Edinburgh, there was a group I knew who were into hard house, and there wouldn't be much cross over between them except when getting pills, same went for the dnb and breakbeat crowds, whereas idm could attract some people of each of those scenes. 

Now more people seem to wear more hats, its not weird to be into metal, folk and drum and bass all at once cos you can access it all without spunking every last penny on exploring one genre, I might even post on the indie shoegaze bedwetter forum with no sense of shame or feel I'm being unfaithful to electronica. Or at least like jazz memes.

 

Quote

- What constitutes "popular music" in this digital age? Is IDM popular music?

Spotify/Films/TikTok/Sea Shanties apparently. In other words, RDJ and BOC are, autchre or whatever they're called ain't

 

Quote

- Does the online underground exist? What kind of impact does it have on listeners?

Quote

 

Not since Arctic Monkeys ('theres only music so that theres new ring tones' - how early 21st century quaint!) and Lilly Allen and the "my fingertips are howdin onto duh crack in our foundations" singer broke outta myspace. Has a soundcloud rapper got famous? i genuinely don't know. Does bandcamp make and break bands? What Is Tidal?

I feel like we're in an era where cleverly constructed music is happy to be in its equivalent of museums, where electronica, jazz, metal or classical don't need to interact with the plebs anymore because they have got enough of a platform and reach for a few of them to make enough money to keep making records, and the idiot music like **** and especially fucking **** are made to be background on youtube videos where a lad from the global south is showing you how to make a windmill out of a broken hoverboard, or as sample pack commodity where all people do is sell samplr packs back and forth and no one even writes a song because why would you when for only 7.99 a month you could buy all the four bar loops you could ever eat.

Sorry, i meant "yes, to a small and nebulous extent" and "very little"

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

- Would you consider the IDM community a diverse social space? Is it a cohesive community or fragmented in some way?

I find diverse is a bit of a nebulous term since it relies on your scale of reference. To be actively engaged in and willing to seek out music that might come under the IDM label, you'd have to already have a penchant for the esoteric, the alternative, the abstract, leftfield, or just plain weird. That would put you at odds with the mainstream because the very nature of IDM shirks those repetitive and predictable strains of composition and timbre that essentially define popular music. In that sense, the "IDM community" is a "diverse social space" because it automatically encapsulates those willing to explore unusual sonic territories, which can include just about any one with a slightly-more-than-fleeting interest in music. The congregation of individuals around a specific musical interest would create a less-than-diverse crowd within that scope, but the individuals themselves may have happened upon this musical interest by pure chance and come from widely diverse backgrounds, creating a more-than-diverse collective.

Cohesion/Fragmentation is another matter entirely. On one hand, psychology would suggest we are attracted to like-minded individuals and we display preference toward in-group members, including those groups based on mutual interests. To that end, individuals will naturally congregate around matters relating to that interest, and unsurprisingly why a forum like WATMM thrives and is a prime example of cohesion. On the other hand, what do users here really share beyond their mutual interest on a particular forum thread? Additionally, who even replies to every thread and involves themselves in all discussions? Or looking at it from another angle, where are the lines drawn between IDM sub-genres and those individuals who subscribe to one, but not another? Fragmentation doesn't make sense without understanding Cohesion, and vice-versa. Cohesion-Fragmentation operate on a continuum where the line is drawn depending on the individual and how they engage with the community. If a person is actively engaged in this world, there might exist a "felt-sense" of community, and that person would be more likely to say its cohesive; if someone's just finding their feet in this world, they might say its fragmented.

 

Quote

- What constitutes "popular music" in this digital age? Is IDM popular music?

Leaping off my comment above, popular music is a distillation of those elements of originality, creativity and spontaneity, both derived from and generated by the artistic process, and which are potent enough to captivate a mass audience. The "dubstep drop" is the obvious example-- where did those heavy bass drops occur in popular music prior to dubstep, as a genre, going through the process of cultivating an audience and being marketed by independent record labels. (I would definitely like to hear counter-examples!) Certainly a large enough crowd of consumers existed at some point in time for dubstep to crossover from fringe, to niche, and finally to mainstream, fuelled by a genre-defining feature of composition and timbre. So of course popular music would adopt the genre-defining feature of dubstep and remix it with elements that have also stood the test of time as popular musical elements. What we're left with- what popular music is- is an ever-evolving melange of borrowed musical elements and concepts that, via various means, have transcended beyond the defining limits of a genre and made accessible through a largely predictable and familiar (see: safe and secure) format. This is self-sustaining as the very point of popular music is that it is popular, and so targets the widest possible consumer base and doesn't particularly have to "go deep".

 

Quote

- Does the online underground exist? What kind of impact does it have on listeners?

Let's look at a small congregation of avid listeners and/or rabid fans of an artist who does things a little differently, versus the consumptive cult of distilled human musical achievement. Totally incomparable, but only because they are extremes on a continuum. Similar to the above, where is the line drawn between underground and popular? I look toward programs like Soulseek, which still maintains a vast connective web of users with the widest range of musical interests, and where every musical flavour is catered. What can't you find on Soulseek? Difficult question to answer! You can get both the latest underground releases from your local band and the albums that have won Grammy awards. To say an online underground exists is true-- to reiterate my point above: people will always, by nature, congregate around their mutual interests and share them with each other. The degree to which that mutual interest is different or outsider is, consequently, irrelevant.

In the specific context of IDM, that shared, underground musical interest becomes popular when it gains traction and mass appeal for containing a highly desired and prized musical element. I check out of popular music because I find it personally unnecessary. The distinctive musical elements of a band/artist/genre are available directly from the source, which not coincidentally is the most likely place where new innovations within that band/artist/genre are going to occur. The benefit being that I continually get something new and refreshing. I acknowledge the opposing perspective in that, because of the hidden nature of underground music, I could potentially discover something new via popular music, and that has indeed been the case. Those events have been more incidental rather proactive-- I just happened to be within earshot of Pop FM Radio, for example, rather than actively seeking out those experiences. Other than that, all I can say is that I am willing to spend my time seeking out intriguing music, like a hobby, and I recognise that for someone who is not willing to invest time into discovering strange, newly-woven sonic tapestries, popular music is there for them.

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

@headplasticAnother interesting link to culture is through (popular) movies, I guess. Some obvious examples of electronic music ending up scoring popular movies are the Matrix movies, I guess. Interesting to draw the lines from movies with electronic scores in the early eighties (blade runner) and late seventies (clockwork orange), till now. As far as I'm concerned to sound effects of all those shitty Transformers shit movies are relevant as well. Those movies trained lots of ears to listen to weird sounds. And pretty much made it easier for these sounds to be used in popular music. The sounds become part of the zeitgeist, if you will.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

IDM will never be popular in the mainstream because there are no words to sing along to. music needs lyrics to resonate with most people. I honestly think drugs have a lot to do with why people are attracted to music without lyrics. especially if you fall more on the loner side of the spectrum. no one wants to get high and listen to someone else's voice, you're trying to escape from other people and want to listen to something that doesn't remind you of humanity.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, zero said:

IDM will never be popular in the mainstream because there are no words to sing along to.

This is the truth. I remember years ago in some coffee shop in Seoul, there was a jazz standard playing, and the girl behind the counter was saying to her co-worker something along the lines of "how weird is it to have music without words". This was like, My Funny Valentine or Take Five or something like those easily recognizable classics, not some Stockhausen or Penderecki piece lol.

Anyways - @headplastic as much as you'll want to avoid terminology, like Thanos, it is inevitable (linguistic determinism, strong or weak, will certainly impact a piece of work such as the one you're writing), so you may wish to lay out your own definitions for context throughout the paper. I'd be happy to talk with you on the phone or something, I'm also in Ottawa, and I write policy (not cultural but still) so I guess I could be considered part of your target audience. I've also been a moderator on here for wayyyy too many years.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, zero said:

IDM will never be popular in the mainstream because there are no words to sing along to. music needs lyrics to resonate with most people. I honestly think drugs have a lot to do with why people are attracted to music without lyrics. especially if you fall more on the loner side of the spectrum. no one wants to get high and listen to someone else's voice, you're trying to escape from other people and want to listen to something that doesn't remind you of humanity.

or u just like cool sounds

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

i sing along with "is it washable?" every time.

:emotawesomepm9:

 

jk but really i do find myself singing along with various bits of Aphex vocal stuff. i'm a dork and a half tho.

3 hours ago, zero said:

IDM will never be popular in the mainstream because there are no words to sing along to. music needs lyrics to resonate with most people.

yeah, 100% this

3 hours ago, zero said:

I honestly think drugs have a lot to do with why people are attracted to music without lyrics. especially if you fall more on the loner side of the spectrum. 

not always 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Non-lyrics based music can be extremely popular, but only if the "dance" factor is really obvious.  Stupid dancing as opposed to intelligent dancing.  So like... Skrillex, Tiesto, and all those kids with Hollywood mansions.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, auxien said:

jk but really i do find myself singing along with various bits of Aphex vocal stuff. i'm a dork and a half tho.

oh yeah, I kinda forget sometimes about all the lyrics in his songs. if you're not singing along when "oh get me another tie, get me another shirt..." comes on, then something is seriously wrong with you 😀

re: the drugs comment. maybe I was projecting too much of myself into that one, as that's how it all started for me at least back in the late '90s. most of the friends I had at the time that were all into electronic music were the same way. classical music I suppose would be a good example of instrumental music that doesn't attract the drug crowd.

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

@chenGOD hey this is great to know! I just meant avoiding terminology after it felt exhausted on the forum, but I totally know what you mean. Glad to have your support here. More than half of academia is defining terms and maintaining clarity, analysis is only the end result. I will reach out to you once my definitions have developed a bit more. I have a week of reading electronica articles ahead of me! Thanks for the inspiration there @picklish

Everyone here has helped so much for that process of definition, and you will all be acknowledged in the opening pages! Hahah. Without WATMM this paper would be lacking significantly, so thanks for the feedback as well as the sarcasm. It is all that I expected and more. Also, this is not a sign-off or anything, just a general thanks so far. Keep discussing if you are interested by all means, I will visit the forum twice a day

@Kid Lukie, well said. I will have to take some dedicated time to dig into your points because you offer a lot of interesting material. The psychological perspective behind community and seeking like-minded individuals, for example. Recent scholars have noted that neotribalism (see: Maffesoli's ideas) is best at explaining how people interact with one another to form communities and develop social values. The notion that we belong to tribes that are multiple and don't dominate our lives is relevant to online communities. It may even be a better descriptor than 'underground' if used correctly. Also yes, I will happily share my paper once it's published. Aiming for the summer months, originally May but not sure.

@Satans Little Helper interesting point about popular films and the zeitgeist of sound effects. I think this applies to video games too. Although like you mentioned with Transformers, there may be a standardization that has formed with sfx. Ben Burtt, Star Wars sound editor, has mentioned that a lot of sfx creativity has dissolved with budget cuts in favour of a common library of sound. Why pay sound artists when hundreds of thousands of sounds already exist to choose from? I don't agree with that, but it's real. Probably the same with video games. Good point

@zero that point definitely moves the discussion forward. Vocals are interesting in popular music, but then again, isn't techno considered popular music in some respects? That being said, there are vocal clips and samples from other popular musics from history. I'm just not sure if the sing-along aspects of those vocals is the same as, say, an Ed Sheeran song. Pop anthems have their own history of standardization, but that is becoming more difficult to argue because it risks offending people's musical taste. Just as @Zephyr_Nova said, if the dance element is obvious enough I think it makes a difference. Calvin Harris is not considered electronica, even his instrumental stuff. I think it also depends on the song structure, like how long the song is and how it keeps listeners attention, especially in the age of streaming services

36 minutes ago, auxien said:

jk but really i do find myself singing along with various bits of Aphex vocal stuff. i'm a dork and a half tho.

I admit to always, always singing the "muuuuaaaaaa eeeeuuuuuuuooooo" vocal distortion in Windowlicker. It's so much fun... my roommates think I'm doing something nasty in the shower......

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, headplastic said:

Everyone here has helped so much for that process of definition, and you will all be acknowledged in the opening pages! 

it's been a long time since I was in grad school, so I'm not sure on all the do's and don'ts in today's world... are you hoping to publish your thesis in a journal? I get an acknowledgment is different than a reference. but are you able to legitimately use an internet forum with mostly anonymous members like watmm cited as one of your references?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, zero said:

it's been a long time since I was in grad school, so I'm not sure on all the do's and don'ts in today's world... are you hoping to publish your thesis in a journal? I get an acknowledgment is different than a reference. but are you able to legitimately use an internet forum with mostly anonymous members like watmm cited as one of your references?

Bits of it at first, yes. From what I gather it's rare that anyone sits down to read the entire thesis except the grad committee I submit to. The anonymous aspect of the forum is tricky, and I am working on proper justification for it, but my supervisor and the ethics office agree that it is a valid source bc you guys are the community. Sure this might not be taken as if it were a peer-reviewed journal, but it's still a significant voice. WATMM will be both an acknowledgement and a reference

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, zero said:

re: the drugs comment. maybe I was projecting too much of myself into that one, as that's how it all started for me at least back in the late '90s. most of the friends I had at the time that were all into electronic music were the same way. classical music I suppose would be a good example of instrumental music that doesn't attract the drug crowd.

 

You're not entirely wrong, though. They belong together in some way. Both are messing with perception and in combination even more. I started liking music and making music earlier than I ever tried alcohol or other drugs, though. Some music only really works in combination with drugs. Techno and MDMA belong together. They are okay on their own, too, I guess

Edited by dingformung
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...