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I'm having trouble coming up with a coherent introduction at the moment. I make this thread because my head is spinning after days of reading and scrolling through blogs and tumblrs and weird websites.

 

Is the modus operandi of 'underground' culture (outmoded term) shifting? Or is it just putting on a new outfit? My vision is very clouded by a barrage of content right now, so I can't trust my own judgement.

 

Is the increase in experimental electronic music, left-wing fashion subcultures, and 'futurism' just the next phase of the 'hipster (in late 2000's sense, not 90's)' ? Is an attitude phresher and less brain-damagingly petty than before pushing vice and pitchfork aside?

 

Is re-hashing, retrofitting, reviving...reaching the point where it happily melds with the present? Has the aversion to the present (displayed in endless ironic revival, nostalgic recreations) created a present so soaked in the past that paradoxically things are going somewhere again? Or is that feeling itself a rehash of the emotions of the early 90's!?!?

 

To me, late 2000s were full of this cynical, self-hating group of internet critics unenthusiastically trying to explain and keep tabs on art and music and pop culture, putting it in a box and removing the fun of it. Is that dying out?

 

Is it fruitless to continue to frame the present in respect to the past, or is it right to be endlessly cynical?

 

For those of you who lived through the late 80's and 90's and saw all the absurd and colorful directions things went...are the current streaks in high art and underground streetstyle retro reenactments of those times, or are we breaking free of this cultural regurgitative loop?

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Drug culture has a massive influence on electronic music in the early 90's and the technology avenues that developed from that gave a much wider access to largely mass prosumer production technology resulting in a lot of reproduction ideals rather than working intuitively to find something new using tools your only just discovering.

 

Also the internet has given anyone anything to listen to from any time so what may sound retro to the more seasoned muso will sound new and exciting to someone hearing it for the first time given its distance away from current trends. This saturation of media can make anyone a cynical know it all and its reflected in current journalism, blogs ect.

 

Maybe producer/musicians aren't doing enough mind expanding psychedelic drugs these days and doing too much plant fertilizer or horse tranquilizer for anything radical or maybe you just have to look a little harder with an open mind these days?

Edited by soundwave
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Maybe producer/musicians aren't doing enough mind expanding psychedelic drugs these days and doing too much plant fertilizer or horse tranquilizer for anything radical or maybe you just have to look a little harder with an open mind these days?

no, what I mean is that things actually seem to be getting radical, for real, again. At least from what I see, hear, and read on the internet. Okay, granted, I have been reading dummymag articles about the 'new aesthetic'. Come on gmanyo, get in here. Also all you chin stroking elders, you too.

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I keep thinking that there are a lot of cultural similarities to the 80's going on, specifically in that an increasingly experimental and garish aesthetics are becoming trendy and therefore popular and mainstream.

 

also, on 'distroid' (brought over here from the vaporwave thred):

"Its starting point is contemporary hi-tech ‘overground’ subcultural pop (i.e. underground sounds that have been reprogrammed by major labels or other businesses and have now become top-down movements), be it techno, trance, rap or R&B, but it drives them further, with an often religious or apocalyptic fervour, into the futuristic, lurid and brutal sensual territory that they were already bordering on."

-adam harper

 

yeah that's a buzzword that seems fitting for these days: overground

Edited by Salvatorin
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Imo, you're ten years early to put this period in a certain perspective and have an opinion about.

 

What I do think you could already say is that trends and periods seemed to last longer and more consistantly before the internet age. Current culture seems to be dominated by what's happening on the internet. Although it's pretty tough to defend criticism to that line of thinking (does the internet reflect on the current culture and/or create it?....some sort of chicken/egg argument). But if you'd take away the internet, what would happen culturally? I'm afraid that's an entire topic in itself. The point I'm somehow hoping to make though, is that the internet can make everything big in a shorter timespan than in any timeperiod before. So in ten years the conclusion might be that the way culture existed and developed pre internet was entirely different to internet age. And any attempt to describe it in a pre internet fashion is really founded in a misunderstanding of what is actually taking place culturally in the internet age.

To me it looks like the current culture is about anything and everything from the past. A melting pot, if you will. With the focus more on the past than on the future, or even the now. Come to think of it, if there's one thing lacking though, it's politically involved art.

 

Dunno though. Just some 2cts thoughts.

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Come to think of it, if there's one thing lacking though, it's politically involved art.

I think maybe this is starting to bubble up, in some way it's hard to as of yet understand. hell. maybe one of us will be at the forefront of something. I read a lot of stuff these days matter of factly proclaiming our quick descendance into being 'cyborgs'

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apparently 'vaporwave' is a reflection of the false realities of consumerism. :mu-ziq:

INTERNET CLUB tracks usually take stock music and music from corporate YouTube videos and degrade them somehow, with effects such as reverb, compression or glitchy looping, which achieves “the defamiliarisation of things we’ve become so use to that we don’t notice them any more”. Corporate culture, he summarises, has lead contemporary society to “deny justice in the name of appeasement and false promises”.

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Good point. In a backhanded way, current art is in a fight with the corporate culture. So in that sense, it's as politically involved as it has ever been in history. If any statement is being made, it is a huge middle finger towards corporate society. Is that anti pop-art?

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Why don't people care about what is going to be remembered in 100 years (make no mistake... man will be around hundreds more years, and there will be writing about everything that is done today)? Because most people are living in the now and want what is cool now. Vaporwave has some good features, but it's mostly a small comformist movement that doesn't know what they're talking about and probably were told to do that by old visual art teachers at New York rich kid school. To each his own. But is what will be remembered for thousands of years better than what will be forgotten tomorrow, forevermore? What is time anyway? Maybe in a shitmillion years, there will be a Salem revival and witch house will be determined as some sort of artistic breakthrough for humanity.

 

Art, what the shit is that stuff? I sometimes feel like this uptight loser when talking about music. "Why don't you listen to Frank Zappa, you frootkake?" And all the "cool" people who are "hip" to the now will tell me, "we're busy destroying music bro." Well, guess what, I don't think you cunts are musicians. I think your shit belongs in an art gallery where your parents can send you and pay for your tuition to some hipster art school where you can read your "hoity toity" magazines and smoke thin cigarettes like this Chicago Pitchfork reading hipster cunts you are. But rock is still alive, my children. Rock is still alive. You will not destroy it, you will just let its piss dribble on your dreams of "destroying all meaning" and illusion of reality. Doctors themselves are going the way of the dinosaur. What does this mean? This means hipsters will be able to diagnose themselves. We no longer have the "doctor image" to rely on. Only hipsters, pressing buttons, thousands of hipsters with their own story to tell. "My Grandma had cancer." We all have feelings. We all have our plusses and minuses. We must consider social conflict theory, because everything is a conflict. But actually, everything might not be just a conflict. But we won't be able to sort through this if we don't have some framework to reconcile our idiotic little individualities. And I am no longer convinced "destroying music" is the answer to this. We need to BUILD something that can actually stand on its own two feet. Some people will be concerned that this is going to lead to more of the same. I do not think so. Instead of teaching us that there is NO way to think (we're really, as far as I can tell, or say in a box, really far into nihilism, maybe a new level of nihilism that has not been known until now) we need to learn how to think properly, outside of the restrictive ways we usually do. We need to learn to think in a way where we can reconcile our disparate interests. But there will always be people who just can't do this. What does this mean?

 

 

well, a few things I know / agree

 

the decentralization of power and destruction of aesthetic value

 

means that anybody can be an artist / critic

 

and the end of record labels and the start of online downloading

 

means that for most of us, the illusion of promotion has ended entirely. it is not only an illusion, but still seems to be a de-lusion for most people.

 

because we still want the shiny package, the pieces of shit we are.

 

we want the record label. we want the big name font. we want the pitchfork review. we want the illusion of the "artist from afar." because when someone we know hands us music... fuck that shit. I'm not listening to that shit. it was made by a mere... person. not some shadowy myserious entity. most of us are pieces of shit. we crave the leader figure of Aphex Twin, etc. We require dissociation between artist and art.

 

but perhaps this isn't being a "piece of shit." maybe we want "Greatness." we want a cultural icon to look up to. we want someone to help guide us (weaker/stupider) folks along our paths (I'm pleased to report, after much reflection, that we are all basically retarded in our own ways, like dogs, and this is really a beautiful thing... it's a communication breakdown... we have to recognize our own retardation and complete inability to communicate meaningfully). unfortunately in this day and age, this "leader" has been stripped from us. because we are all (delusionally/illusionarily) made "Equal" by the internet. We can all have "leadership" by typing our uninformed opinions into a text box. We are all creators. People feel like they are more important than the artist actually making the material. We all think we're artists. We're all making our trivial, worthless productions and we are all egotistically invoed with criticism because we secretly think we're better than the other musicians being hyped. I'm bullshitting a fair amount here, but I do think there is a problem.

 

It seems capitalism once had it's positive qualities. But maybe what we're seeing is actually the result of the destruction of culture based on the democritization of culture. I mean, fuck. That's weird. But that's a major simplification. Personally, I think democracy is a crock of shit. I don't think people are equal. And I don't think all music is equal. I think the system before was better, where REAL musicians got a record deal. Quality control, you know? IT sometimes shocks me how conservative I sound. But sometimes I think accepting a minor amount of conservativism is the new liberalism. Chicago is the heart of the delusional "liberalism" which is in fact extremely conservative. I don't know how to explain it. Liberalism has become really conformist and it no longer has any interest in the truth. It's all Chicago Hot Dogs and American Apparel and some shit you saw on MTV about child sweaters.

 

It's always been this way to a certain extent though, with tons of clones swamping etc (look in the used records section). Other than my own personal investment in the system I personally think that this is not a healthy culture. We are not having real experiences. We're stuck in some kind of constant regurgitation and feeling of playing out some past dream. But Salv already mentioned that aspect of our current culture. Frankly, I don't understand that aspect of what we're going through. I need to read more about it. I notice OPN and all these Vaporware musicians doing things that really irritate me because I disagree, but I continue to notice that there are some interesting intellectual properties to it all... but in the end I feel like it just ain't the kind of product that's worth a damn. Because, can you put a price tag on things? Am I addicted to price tags? Things of worth? Loving what I listen to? Actually loving it? Does that make me a capitalist pig? Maybe we're becoming more familiar with our own innate mental retardation.

 

 

are there objective aesthetics? Yes. There are. We have to end the delusion of totally subjective aesthetics. We have to do this. I am now reading about speculative realism (as I have only just started to try to do). Bruno Latour is interesting. This is what is required, as far as I'm concerned. But I may be in the minority, in thinking we need to "create" instead of "destroy" and "critique." It seems like all I see are bastards who want to destroy music and turn it into some shallow Andy Warhol fashion show, all smoke and mirrors, and this is all anybody talks about (which makes sense because the only other alternative is to talk about Tame Impala who are fucking Dungen knockoffs and aren't even remotely as good as Deerhunter on Cryptograms.. and neither of those things is really saying much, honestly... sorry if that makes me sound like a dick because I do genuinely like both of those bands a lot). It's uncool to care about "art." Pretentious, cruel because you have to say, "no, I don't like that."

 

But even "art" can go too far. And you get genuinely pretentious musicians. I can't tell people studying at the Academy that their music is bad. Because in the end, they're just taking my stance further. They are smarter and more wealthy than I am, and they have more time to go even deeper. But I still think they're deluded in believing their hyper-sophisticated compositions have any relevancy to the world at large, or will be remembered in the future. Classical and "experiemntal" composition has been somewhat dead for a time now, I personally believe. I think we will definitely be listening to bands like CAN 100 years in the future. Classical music has become a field of research more than listening. But maybe I'm just saying that because I'm young and poor, and stupid. For me, "pop" (Autechre) has indispensible qualities. I'm pretty sure Captain beefheart realized this. But that is not "high art." So, classical music has its head so fucking far up its own ass, it's shocking when you really think about it. It doesn't care about music. I think "super-high art" is AESTHETICALLY POOR. It doesn't take into account all the new techniques that have been developed. There is nothing "radical" about it. Beethoven, for his time, was a radical motherfucker. But even Ligeti and those guys aren't radical. They're trying to stick to one thing way too much without recognizing what we have gained since. Music was always supposed to be fun to listen to. It wasn't supposed to be some intellectual exercise. Sure, you can integrate that into your stuff. But in the end, pleasure is our business. We are trying to bring people together. Art is important, I'm not saying to suppress people who want to do crazy Ligeti stuff. I always get a kick out of listening to high quality classical. I just don't think that "classical" is inherently superior to what rock and pop are capable of. That's just me though. I am aware that my knowledge is still low, but my gut really tells me that the best music does all things in moderation.

Edited by vamos scorcho
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you're never going to believe it, but I actually read everything that you just wrote. I am currently distracted by something or other so response later

:cisfor:

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<blockquote class='ipsBlockquote'data-author="Salvatorin" data-cid="1923740" data-time="1356669867"><p>

<blockquote class='ipsBlockquote'data-author="soundwave" data-cid="1923728" data-time="1356666186"><p>Maybe producer/musicians aren't doing enough mind expanding psychedelic drugs these days and doing too much plant fertilizer or horse tranquilizer for anything radical or maybe you just have to look a little harder with an open mind these days?</p></blockquote>

no, what I mean is that things actually seem to be getting radical, for real, again. At least from what I see, hear, and read on the internet. Okay, granted, I have been reading dummymag articles about the 'new aesthetic'. Come on gmanyo, get in here. Also all you chin stroking elders, you too.</p></blockquote>

 

examples?

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I think one of the problems of looking at current emerging styles is that we're searching for the 'big ideas' created for and by humanity. However it's deluded though to think our most talented thinkers and creatives are still driving this process like they were in the 20th Century. We're all being dragged along. We're collectively obsessed by the urge to develop technological solutions to all our problems. This evolutionary attractor is exerting more influence than any of our ideas. As pets we'll have a great opprtunities to create a lot of new kinds of art but I think we'll be left with feelings of inadequacy that it is not as important as it once was.

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I am in total support of contemporary culture & hope it becomes ever more fractured & ridiculous

basically the opposite of everything vamos wrote

Edited by Cryptowen
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We need petr in this thread, I feel like she could bring opinions I would take as authoritative into this.

 

I don't know. A lot of what I encounter as digital art for awhile now, shit like this, feels like that same fetish/longing of nostalgia, longing for authenticity, with a very easy sense of irony/absurdism that we have seen time and time again in so many facets.

 

To me it looks like the current culture is about anything and everything from the past.

 

 

I keep thinking that there are a lot of cultural similarities to the 80's going on, specifically in that an increasingly experimental and garish aesthetics are becoming trendy and therefore popular and mainstream.

 

 

Edited by taint
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In the fifties, they probably thought "this is new music, this is ridiculous, what the fuck could possibly come next?"

In the seventies, they probably thought the same thing

and in the eighties again

Maybe not the nineties, whatever

but now were down to extremely detailed and controlled sound manipulations

I couldn't possibly guess what could possibly come next

But something always will

or maybe we're approaching the top of the hill

and soon everything will just be fucking glee mashups of existing genres taken somewhat out of context

I don't know, I'm drunk

What I do know though is I don't give a shit about legacy. I can't fathom it. After I'm dead, burn everything I ever made if you want, I don't give a fuck. I make things for people, sure, but primarily its for me, the sketchings of a bored mind seeking personal amusement. To pretend my creativity serves any further purpose than that just seems like a terrible crock of shit

Edited by od++
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AHM COMIN ATCHA VAMOS

Why don't people care about what is going to be remembered in 100 years

Because art production is primarily a means of self discovery or attempting to understand the world or addressing current issues, not some sort of gift to future generations whose cultures we can't even fathom. That's what science is for, yo. Also it seems goofy to me to assume that something focused on the now (which I'm not saying today's culture is) can't still be beneficial to the YOOF of tomorrow

 

 

probably were told to do that by old visual art teachers at New York rich kid school

vapourwave strikes me as exactly the kind of music young producers of today might gravitate towards. Thousands of sample sources, easy access to effects, etc. Sure most of it's forgettable but that goes for any flavour of the month. But anyways I've spent enough time defending a genre I don't really listen to or produce in or particularly care about for the most part so moving on

 

 

we're busy destroying music bro

i've yet to meet a person who honestly thinks that. All these dudes sitting down fucking around with old music samples, they ain't thinking "haha man this is gonna offend some old people". They're experimenting, just like anybody! Trying to get new from the old.

 

 

I don't think you cunts are musicians. I think your shit belongs in an art gallery where your parents can send you and pay for your tuition to some hipster art school where you can read your "hoity toity" magazines and smoke thin cigarettes like this Chicago Pitchfork reading hipster cunts you are

this seems like a lot of aggression aimed towards people enjoying themselves & making stuff other people enjoy, but feel free to keep casually tossing the word "cunt" around.

 

 

We need to BUILD something that can actually stand on its own two feet

okay i agree with you here, but the way i see it is, everything new is built from bits of the old, be it literally in the case of sampling, kinda sorta in following previously established rules of composition, & even in totally abstract stuff if you can figure out the sources of vague inspiration. I don't know if you're suggesting compositional music is on the way out because sample-based music is currently big, but I hope you ain't because that idea is pure goofy gogg. GOOFY GOGG VAMOS

 

 

maybe we want "Greatness." we want a cultural icon to look up to. we want someone to help guide us (weaker/stupider) folks along our paths

I don't feel this way. Like, at all. Maybe you do. Maybe a lot of people do. And I'm not gonna deny I've been influenced & continue to be influenced by successful artists (though usually on a subconscious level), but at the end of the day I don't want some idol to worship. I want to fumble around in the dark & find my own way to express myself & I don't really care where I end up. Mostly I want to have fun!

 

 

We're all making our trivial, worthless productions

worthless by what metric. Cultural influence? dawg i don't give two shits about art, i just like making music. it's better than crack & cheaper too. I think that's the thought process of most amateur producers & it tickles my pickle immensely. So what if most of it sucks? I'm still finding more great stuff (by big leagues bands & total unknowns) now than at any other point in my life.

 

 

REAL musicians

oh man

we just aren't going to see eye to eye here, i think

 

 

are there objective aesthetics? Yes. There are

no there aren't we're monkeys flinging poop at things

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I wouldn't make music if I thought it was just some personal thing, or if I didn't believe in art. I mean, I would. But I wouldn't work as hard as I do now.

 

I don't think John Coltrane got where he did just be thinking art was some throwaway shit and that legacy is unimportant. The greatest musicians we look to were obsessed with their work, and were devoted to learning about it and growing, contributing to the "culture" or whatever. I'm definitely generalizing. But I think music is serious. And I think the problem today is that what we used to think of as "Great music.." Steve Wonder, Coltrane, Mozart, Schoenberg, etc... has been replaced by amateurism and half-assedness. Music was never some "personal hobby."

 

EDIT: I'm not making the claim that music is more important than "trivial" things like brushing your teeth and having a family. I noticed when I told a friend, "I'm working on music..." that he said, "Man I'll never do music in place of the 'important things.'" Maybe I'm too much of a dreamer, or justifying my own lifestyle, or something, but I don't think music is "just a hobby." It has a spiritual dimension and is important for our community. Hmm. BLAH! :)

 

Our ideal of music, as it was, is deluded. We think those musicians made those works by half assing around on their laptops. And today, this is what we have been gifted with with music. Because anyone with an original idea is pissing around on their laptop, while all the "big" productions are shitty pop music dominated by Pop Factories and their high tech equipment.

 

Creativity was funded beforehand. Money isn't some evil force. And the idea that vaporware people are "youths" is more or less totally wrong. They are clearly influenced by some degree of postmodern philosophy and art-school theory, because they are constantly talking about it in interviews, and Pitchfork is regurgitating it. I like that stuff though, but I do not think they really understand it that well. So it's just another shallow replication, similar to how music today is a "shallow replication" of what once was "art." We think we're making art, but in reality we're just flooding the web with trite bullshit.

 

I don't claim to be an expert on postmodern philosophy. But I am interested in it and willing to learn more. Here is an article that details the theory that we are growing increasingly trivial:

 

http://philosophynow.org/issues/58/The_Death_of_Postmodernism_And_Beyond

 

Postmodernism, like modernism and romanticism before it, fetishised [ie placed supreme importance on] the author, even when the author chose to indict or pretended to abolish him or herself. But the culture we have now fetishises the recipient of the text to the degree that they become a partial or whole author of it. Optimists may see this as the democratisation of culture; pessimists will point to the excruciating banality and vacuity of the cultural products thereby generated (at least so far).
Edited by vamos scorcho
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