Why the long face?

version

Who loves ya, baby?
What makes an artist po-faced? Why does seriousness work for some and not others? UR or Drexciya can come off as somewhat stern and humourless but it doesn't detract from the music at all whereas the same qualities in say a black metal band may just come off as laughable and make the whole affair pretty embarrassing. What's the distinction? Is it that UR are serious about something concrete and substantial whereas the black metal act are essentially adopting a pose?
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
the term "po-faced" has nothing to do with the attitude of the artist. it means that a writer feels vaguely intimidated by them and can't think of anything else to criticize about their perceived attitude. (won't say which artist I have in mind here. maybe you can guess...)
Why won't you say?

The kind of stuff I'm thinking of is the really dark dnb and techno labels like Blackest Ever Black release. I quite like some of it, but it's so relentlessly moody it becomes draining and starts to seem ridiculous. In contrast I never really feel Drexciya's silly, even though you probably could present what they were doing in those terms what with the nerdy elements of that sort of 'world-building'.

The Source Direct album's a good example of what I'm on about re: po-faced. I find that one harder to take seriously than the earlier stuff because it seems to take itself so seriously.

Exorcise_the_Demons.JPG
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
The portentous quality. It's very studenty, the furrowed brow. Loosen up a bit lads.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
What sets the moodiness of say Kode9 apart from the moodiness of UR though? Or am I misreading UR and it's two different things?
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
that's an interesting question

hard to answer

there are some types of music where the absolute fanatical deadly seriousness of the creators and their tunnel vision focus and their feeling of being an outsider and privy to some extreme minority perception of the darkness of everything, is what absolutely makes it work

like with all that 90s gloomcore and doomcore gabber

but then with other stuff (a lot of metal frankly) i'm just like "come off it!".

yes exactly, as luka says, a reflexive perhaps philistine impulse to say "lighten up lads - things ain't that bad" kicks in

i become (in my head, cos i don't go around posting on metal message boards) one of those odiously hearty extrovert people i used to LOATHE as a sombre black-wearing teenager, who'd say to me "cheer up, it'll never happen" or "try smiling"

very hard to explain why one 'soldiers of darkness' shtick works and convinces, and another just seems silly
 
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blissblogger

Well-known member
Faceplopping

apropos of almost nothing, Marc Acardipane has seriously blown his mystique - at least for those of us who subscribe to him on Facebook

for a decade he was a faceless warrior of darkness

(well he did put a small passport size photo on a 1998 compilation of his greatest brain-bashing hits, but basically you knew almost nothing about him or what he really looked like)

and that anti-image totally sustained the legend, the mind-movies that reel by as you played the music - the Mover, in lonely transit across the blasted rubble-strewn Earthscape of 2017

but on Facebook not only do you see pics or videoclips of him looking a bit middle aged and mundane as he's spinning on the decks in the Netherlands or Germany

but recently he told a story about getting a stomach bug while on tour, and spending two days moving back and forth between his hotel bed and the toilet

but then weak and wobbly-legged still heroically heading out to play the rave

idea being tru solja never ever disappoint the Fans

but it just mired the whole Gloomcore Darkvision Project in banality

i don't wanna picture Marc Acardipane hunched over the bog with his guts spasming

"the Mover" now makes me think of bowel movements
 
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pattycakes_

Well-known member
What sets the moodiness of say Kode9 apart from the moodiness of UR though? Or am I misreading UR and it's two different things?
Smoking loads of weed vs having a point to make.

Seen stingray a few times and he took off the mask a couple of them fwiw.. After his sets tho
 
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firefinga

Well-known member
Early 90s Gangsta-Hip Hop. Especially the 2nd rate outfits. The covers. Ice Cube.

Regarding Arcadipane: he actually showed his face way earlier than FB, PCP (his label) started a message board in 2004/05 where he psoted lots of pix of himself doing this and that (like attending football matches and such).
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Is there a racial element here, do you think?

The examples you cite so far seem to suggest so.

Maybe it seems like white people haven't got any cause to be humourless, after all they're top of the pile!

We know Norwegians aren't struggling economically so Black Metal comes across as a silly middle class indulgence.

Otoh I think this "portentous" quality Luka brings up is a difference between different aggressive/dark music. A heightened, theatrical sense of darkness.

But even that theatricality might be indicative of a racial projection. White boys can't sulk.
 
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Corpsey

call me big papa
I think there is something to this (from a white person's POV, obvs).

There's probably a lot of "gangsta" rappers that are taken seriously despite actually never having committed a crime more serious than shoplifting IRL. Then you get Black Metal ppl who are screeching about more patently fantastical things who actually DO murder people (which is part of the fascination that particular subgenre excercises). But even THEN, those murders seem a bit "try hard". Like they were trying to PROVE they're actually psychotic, when we all know they're really just privileged teenagers.

Drake is an interesting counter example, which makes me wonder if it's to do with class as much as/if not more than race. He's showed a sense of humour, but not really in his music, which is overwrought and gloomy.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Going back to your first post, you point out that we might laugh at a black metal band cos it's "all a pose".

But I think the black metal bands that people really gravitate to and thrill to are the ones who have been shown to be committed to more than a pose, by stabbing each other to death. Varg Vikernes has the ultimate street cred from murdering someone and being a IRL Nazi.

There's a similar frisson to gangsta rap by rappers we know or suspect are IRL murderers.
 

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
What sets the moodiness of say Kode9 apart from the moodiness of UR though? Or am I misreading UR and it's two different things?
Sorry to be boring, but I think a lot of it is just down to whether you like the music and the aesthetics or not. If you basically buy into the artist on an emotional level then you can take all the portentousness and worldbuilding as being part of the ride, if not then it seems like a load more wanking around to dress up an already crap project.
 
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Corpsey

call me big papa
Look at how po faced Mobb Deep were. Not even a hint of a smirk throughout the whole 'The Infamous'.

Actually, this reminds me that there is a convention (now dead?) whereby white people can't rap without adopting a comical/patently theatrical persona. Eminem is the obvious shining example of this. He embraced the weirdness of being a white rapper by recreating himself as a cartoon character.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Drexciya's mythology seems quite unique and eccentric (to me at least). Whereas Black Metal mythology seems hackeneyed, a hodge-podge of comic book paganism and JRR Tolkein.

Listen to either of these artists "blind", though, and you'd probably not be able to detect that mythology. Who can actually understand what Darkthrone are screeching about?
 

chava

Well-known member
What makes an artist po-faced? Why does seriousness work for some and not others? UR or Drexciya can come off as somewhat stern and humourless
I don't recognize this. Drexciya is pretty colorful, quirky, melancholic and just plain wierd. The mythos is more like a cartoon, in the best way.
 
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