"(Post-)Hardcore Continuum & UK Music Writing"

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Who loves ya, baby?
The 555-5555 lot have been ragging on Reynolds, maybe we can lure them in? - https://forum.555-5555.org/t/post-hardcore-continuum-uk-music-writing/1108
Howdy y’all, mad props to Patten for putting this together. Been digging deep into the Dissensus archives lately as part of some research I’m doing and was feeling bummed out over the lack of such a space today as Twitter is no place for earnest discussion. Currently writing a long-form piece on the misleading and constructive myths of the hardcore continuum (HCC), non-mimetic functional dance music (genre science), and the non-scene that has emerged around labels like Timedance, Mistry, Wisdom Teeth, Cold Recordings, and of course Livity/Ytivil (a label who I believe provided a path out of the post-dubstep free-for-all).

Here’s the intro that lays out the whole project. 69

Have been going back through all of Simon Reynolds Wire pieces that formed the backbone of the hardcore continuum (and all his writing on the topic for that matter) and was really taken aback by how prescriptive the pieces are in the sense that they often read like attempted interventions into certain trends and directions he didn’t particularly like. To do the topic justice, I’ve been trying to better understand the greater critical context in which he was writing about his country’s own dance music tradition; namely, is there a distinctly British approach to music criticism? Older writer and DJ friends of mine have pointed to the quasi-intellectual nature of Melody Maker alongside opinions that Brits have a certain savior faire when it comes to hype. Any one care to comment on how the British musical critical practice has changed in the past two decades? Realize that’s not a small question, but having grown up only reading Spin and Rolling Stone before moving onto the early music internet in 2002, I know I’m missing certain cultural realities that are hard to know if one didn’t live them.

What has spurred much of my own behavior in the past two years has been the apparent 180 from the mp3 and music blog oversaturation of the late web 1.0/early web 2.0 period (2005-2011) when listening to dubstep meant that you understood what the HCC was to a period where no one has really attempted to give articulation to what the aforementioned labels and artists associated with them are trying to accomplish. Namely, as Facta noted in a chat, no one has really bothered to try and give definition to this dubstep-informed milieu in the way that, say, “lo-fi” has been given credence as a scene, noting that the music he and his peers make almost always gets classed as “techno” and “bass” (the latter is particularly laughable when you think about how insufficient it was becoming as a music descriptor as early as 92). I also personally think that one of the greatest overarching projects for dance music critics today is to interrogate and overturn Reynolds’ conceptual hegemony in the study of dance music as it’s really the only way we’re able to talk about an insanely complex ecosystem of flows and intensities (sorry not sorry).

So yeah, as an American for whom dubstep in 2006 was a gateway into UK dance music and a theorist who cringes at the HCC’s post-Marxist sensibility, I’m curious what y’all think about this axis of artists and why no one has really bothered to give a name to what’s come after post-dubstep (which ran from 2009-2012 in my estimation). Personally, I think the concepts of scenes and genres are woefully outmoded ways of conceptualizing the development of new mutations within the UK genus and what’s so remarkable about this present moment is that we have producers making music for the club who aren’t seeking to make “a Jersey Club” or genre-specific track, something that’s been a defining symptom of everything from jungle through dubstep. Rather, they are engaging with genre structures while seemingly operating at a molecular level to synthesize genres and style and create a space “on the fringes of different styles” (as Batu put it in this interview 7).

Apologies for the lack of brevity, it’s not a strong suit…but curious what others make of this underdefined zone of innovation.
 
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other_life

bioconfused
fuck this is depressing to read

"I think all this becomes very exacerbated when you get to the web 2.0 blogosphere-era. Where you lived didn’t matter so much, and there became an invisible decay of national borders and cultural opinions (you don’t see many of those british vs american arguments on Youtube any more, do you?). Before it became music for 15 year olds to study and relax to, wasn’t early Post-Dilla/Beats music linked to ‘beat-science’ and ‘shock-of-the-new’ of HCC, more specifically the stuff coming from Glasgow (Heralds of Change, Rustie, et al). It eventually fused with Post-dubstep in my view, but the cultural perspectives never quite made it.
This transmutation of cultural perspective (while remaining generally unaware of its own historicity) has really muted the possibility of progression. The US was never interested in collective expression, of popular modernism in quite the same way. It’s about individuals empowering the masses, rather than the masses empowering themselves. Wasn’t it a UK label (Planet Mu) who shed light on the Chicago Footwork / Juke scenes?
One of the most defining differences in UK and American thought in my view is cultural appropriation. American thought today maintains black music is for the blacks and white music is for the whites and everything should stay that way. The UK was always more class conscious and so it hasn’t been so much an issue for white and black people to trade ideas and build new vocabularies, as long as they were from the same class. It’s from this point Reynolds, rightly or wrongly, takes issue with the middle-classness of “prog” I would suspect. Its also part of the horror of Brostep, when Dubstep hit the states, it went from being something potentially inclusive and rejuvenating, to a white male genre for a white male audience.
These differences in perspective on a transatlantic basis I would guess is what @str_apx is alluding to, that a post-Marxist reading is necessary in understanding European strands of culture, as class is a an inherent aspect of its interpretation, segregation and motivation."

frustrated w making music, famly
 

other_life

bioconfused
"Auteur-based scenes or micro genres seem somehow to contribute to the atomisation of society rather than encouraging community? Even if they’re trying their best and the music is good."
im so god damn guilty of this ive made it all worse luka shoot me now
 

other_life

bioconfused
really liking simons responses: "don't take my word for it!"

"You can use the term or not, I don’t care really – but yes you should accept the historical reality of hardcore rave, jungle, UK garage, grime, dubstep as a connected sequence of genres. It’s inarguable. Based not on my experiences or account, but on the thousands of people involved who will give very similar accounts of how it all went down – including most of the producers and deejays. They may not use the term but you can find dozens of quotes out there that lay out a sense of the history of pirate radio culture in these terms."
 

firefinga

Well-known member
"Auteur-based scenes or micro genres seem somehow to contribute to the atomisation of society rather than encouraging community? Even if they’re trying their best and the music is good."
im so god damn guilty of this ive made it all worse luka shoot me now
Yes, but that's inevitable. There is no going back. People have voted by using social media on their smart phones instead of "good old" forums or let's say print mags and record shops.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
So tedious and earnest and at the same time totally clueless, objectively wrong. Just leave it alone lads. It's not a theory it's an empirical description of a linear series of events. They should ban this internet site, it's disgusting.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
you guys should have killed hardcore continuum in 07 and we wouldn't have this vomit word salad on 555-5555. Americans don't even like Remarc or Kemet Crew. only the detroit techno/deep house purist pipecock ironically. oh and of course Ripley.

crowl doesn't count because he's really british anyway.
 
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luka

Well-known member
Staff member
He didn't invent anything and his dominance of the field is, sadly, just a sign of the blinkered, snobbish, and shameful state of music journalism in this country during that time period. Everyone knew what was up except the critics. I was a little kid and I knew what was going on. I love and revere Ayatollah Reynolds but these people are so confused.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Someone go back in time and prevent this mans parents from ever meeting.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
He didn't invent anything and his dominance of the field is, sadly, just a sign of the blinkered, snobbish, and shameful state of music journalism in this country during that time period. Everyone knew what was up except the critics. I was a little kid and I knew what was going on. I love and revere Ayatollah Reynolds but these people are so confused.

one lad who is big in dnb tried to tell me that making their dnb a bit techno-y took it out of the orbit of dnb. naturally they weren't based in UK. but lol try and tell that to basement records or dillinja in 93.
 

Bellwoods

Active member
It's not quite as badly written as has been implied in this thread—I would dock grades for hand-waving, weasel words, a lack of clear thesis, etc.

The bigger issue is ideological; namely, we're two or three generations into an intellectual world in which being "smart" or "thoughtful" is essentially equated with "challenging" or "troubling" some addictive, constructive framework. By Simon's own admission, the 'nuum is hardly the last word on anything—but in my experience it's more difficult to put an idea like that together than it is to take it down because it's "colonial" or what-have-you.

Anyways, Muggs did a better job of critiquing Simon's ideas, if anyone. And that was, what, half a decade ago? More than that now.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Mugs was part of the post-dub step insurgency. They were all in it together, the journalists and critics were just engaged in boosterism. They wanted the kudos of the continuum label even though it clearly wasn't even tangentially related at any level but that of influence. They chucked their toys out the pram when they didn't get it. A lot of this was fought out on this forum. Ridiculous. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
 

droid

Beast of Burden
I like the idea of these people breaking into this dilapidated office late at night, cracking open dusty old filing cabinets and combing through the Dissensus archives looking for juicy thought crimes to expose.

Some of you lot better watch out!
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I like the idea of these people breaking into this dilapidated office late at night, cracking open dusty old filing cabinets and combing through the Dissensus archives looking for juicy thought crimes to expose.

Some of you lot better watch out!
Im addicted to the who's online page so I know this has been going on in earnest for some time now. It's a cultural archive. Luckily I'm not a public figure or I'd be in all types of shit. Double cancelled.
 

Bellwoods

Active member
They wanted the kudos of the continuum label even though it clearly wasn't even tangentially related at any level but that of influence.
Trying to parse this; you're saying post-dubstep had no relation to the continuum except through influence? In contrast to what? Lots of the dubstep guys started making post-dubstep (then later turned into boring techno). Dubstep labels started putting out post-dubstep records. I wasn't frequenting record stores back then, but I'm assuming post-dubstep records were stocked in places that sold dubstep records. Clubs that hosted dubstep DJs also hosted post-dubstep DJs.

Or maybe we're not talking about the same thing when we talk about "post-dubstep?"
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
In contrast to continuum.... In terms of personnel, infrastructure, audience
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
There is a dubstep lineage. It goes, boring, terrible 'dark' garage records-dubstep-post dubstep.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
It's a discrete entity and the worst thing to ever happen to popular culture in this country.
 
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