The Last Flowering of the Future

Bellwoods

Active member
Have we reached the end of the line? Musically or otherwise?

Maybe I'm just old; I used to feel an energy in music, I used to feel like it was all happening so fast and I'd never be able to keep up. I remember in 2010 people were saying the nuum was done, the future was dead, retromania etc etc, but I was still excited.

Something happened around the time streaming kicked in over here and the whole landscape changed, and suddenly everyone I knew was listening to the lo-fi hip-hop youtube channel. Music for not listening to music, the musak of our time. In a way, UK Drill feels as formally indebted to that as to any "bass music." It's interesting in that way, I don't want to slag it, but even that's over by most accounts.

Where are we going? Where's the novelty? I feel this overwhelming need to put all of my old music away and embrace what's coming.
 

sadmanbarty

Well-known member
I tend to get a barrage of abuse and ill-informed retorts whenever I suggest that innovation’s still happening and new notions of the future are being discovered in music.

Whether someone finds them enjoyable or not, there are things that are objectively unprecedented just in terms of music theory that have been pioneered recently. A whole new rhythmic lexicon has developed in rap over the last few years that is just as new as jungle’s rhythms or Timbaland’s rhythms were. Likewise there are new things being done with technology and certain effects being coupled together in a way they hadn’t been before and new approaches to vocal delivery that you can’t find in recorded history before this point really. I’ve said that what we call rap today is just as different from the rap that came before it as house was to disco or funk was to soul; there’s been a huge shift that hasn’t been documented by new genre taxonomy.

To me these innovations have amazing distorting impacts on my cognition and evoke fantastical imagery of the future and so forth. Many on dissensus don’t like this music which is fine, but there is a tendency to conflate not liking something with arguing that it isn’t new or futuristic, which I don’t think holds up.

Luke’s mentioned recently that in the same way that trying to understand Benny Goodman is difficult if you were born after 1950 or whatever, there is a certain point at which you literally can’t hear the newness of the new. So I’d imagine to my mum every song after 2006 has all sounded like T-Pain. Likewise I imagine that my nan wouldn’t be able to hear a progression from Belgian techno to jungle, it’d sound the exact same to her. The time barrier works forwards as well as backwards.

Of course the 90’s was an incredibly special time. I would never deny that. Jungle is the music of the gods. It’s perfect and divinely inspired. But none of that detracts from the fact that the last few years has seen genuine innovation and new sound-worlds crystallising and a new brand of futurism emerging. To say otherwise would just be like saying jungle wasn’t exciting because Miles Davis’ ‘Dark Magus’ was a zenith of Afrofuturism.
 

Bellwoods

Active member
No abuse here. I'm willing to accept that the future is not dead. I'm just wondering where it is, and why it is, because I don't really feel it anymore.

Is rap really it? Rock has of course been dead for decades now. Electronic stuff seems preoccupied with "experimental club" and conceptronica, which feel sterile to me, and in other quarters we seem to have settled into familiar forms—house, techno, dnb, dubstep, grime...

I remember my dad, who was born in the mid-60s, telling me that in his mind the popular music tropes were to a certain extent frozen in place once MTV hit—like from then on, there were the goths, the metalheads, the punks...
 

Simon silverdollarcircle

Well-known member
what's the good in newness though anyway? for example the exciting thing about techno and house is not really how new they (once) were, but rather how *old* they are. bomp bomp bomp dance around the campfire with mind altering chemicals to the heart beat till the sun comes back. It's been there for 1000s of years. It's exciting, and it's transcendent but it doesn't have to be new. If anything it's exciting and it's transcendent because it's much deeper than novelty.

I listen to new music and yeah it's cool that people are still pushing boundaries. But, dunno, feels a bit moot when you're in the thick of things at a rave I think. as it should be.

disclaimer: I've not been raving properly in like 2 years.
 

Simon silverdollarcircle

Well-known member
but yes I do agree that things are slowing up in terms of innovations. 1979 sounded nothing like 1970, but 2020 sounds pretty similar to 2011 to me.

there's a part of me that feels that all the main points of the territory have been mapped now. There's no big things left to discover.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
I tend to get a barrage of abuse and ill-informed retorts whenever I suggest that innovation’s still happening and new notions of the future are being discovered in music.

Whether someone finds them enjoyable or not, there are things that are objectively unprecedented just in terms of music theory that have been pioneered recently. A whole new rhythmic lexicon has developed in rap over the last few years that is just as new as jungle’s rhythms or Timbaland’s rhythms were. Likewise there are new things being done with technology and certain effects being coupled together in a way they hadn’t been before and new approaches to vocal delivery that you can’t find in recorded history before this point really. I’ve said that what we call rap today is just as different from the rap that came before it as house was to disco or funk was to soul; there’s been a huge shift that hasn’t been documented by new genre taxonomy.

To me these innovations have amazing distorting impacts on my cognition and evoke fantastical imagery of the future and so forth. Many on dissensus don’t like this music which is fine, but there is a tendency to conflate not liking something with arguing that it isn’t new or futuristic, which I don’t think holds up.

Luke’s mentioned recently that in the same way that trying to understand Benny Goodman is difficult if you were born after 1950 or whatever, there is a certain point at which you literally can’t hear the newness of the new. So I’d imagine to my mum every song after 2006 has all sounded like T-Pain. Likewise I imagine that my nan wouldn’t be able to hear a progression from Belgian techno to jungle, it’d sound the exact same to her. The time barrier works forwards as well as backwards.

i can hear the newness, i just Loathe Green Day and Blink182. whereas even the cheesy gash sampled in old new york hip hop or piano ardcore had a kind of cheap ecstasy to it. black moon sampling some pretty cheesy smooth Ronnie Laws jazz on who got da props.
 

Bellwoods

Active member
All of this is a roundabout way of asking people who are younger than me to tell me what is currently interesting. But what kind of thread title would that be third?
 

thirdform

Well-known member
barty said drill died in 2017, I.E: the year he got into it lol.

im not gonna pretend to do that my knowledge if the stuff isn't as prominent mainly cos i think there's no shock of the impossible to it.

and nor do I think he's wrong necessarily (if i really got into uk drill i might even agree with him) but it goes to show that the idea of keeping your finger on the pulse itself is an outdated one.
 
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sadmanbarty

Well-known member
Don't be this guy

"Acid Trax is just the instrumental to I Feel Love with a slightly different synth sound. The fact there was 10 years between the two just goes to show how laughably little innovation there was.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm-ISatLDG0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJJ5FxpVGUY


“We’d already heard breakbeats in a dance music context by 1990, just cos you speed it up a bit and add a Jamaican on the top doesn’t make it innovative”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhVKUGuMbkA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVq7gjYaABI


“It’s just a reggae instrumental with a bit of echo and reverb on it. Its not a whole new music”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eahey6oHst0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80ODuos31RQ
 

thirdform

Well-known member
lol. just saying the internet has abolished linear time. why don't we celebrate that? i mean we aren't the Independent Arsenal supporters association in 1991 trying to make sure the ticketed bond scheme to build the new all-seater highbury doesn't take place. would be great to be part of a desiring herd but that context is no longer extant.
 
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thirdform

Well-known member
youtube has radically depersonalised that all. before you had to be in the no, listen to the right pirates, talk to the right people, etc etc. now you can just type uk drill or chicago drill into the playlist search and become a scholar in days. i don't think this is a negative development, but i never believed in the inviolable underground.

there seems to be a lamentation here still for the pre-internet era. move on or get fucked.
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
The other day on Twitter, Chal Ravens - who is an actual young person, although not as young as young Barty - said that this mix was the Future

Curious what the people here think

https://soundcloud.com/djmag/recognise-shannen-sp


It has a lot of gqom and New Sound of Lisbon and various other newer genres of African-twist-on-techno (e.g. amapiano - never heard of that one before)

Lots of jarring and jolting beats

Bits of it did give me that enjoyable sense of 'can't get my head around this' but overall i couldn't find the groove in it

Seems to be very hip, this sound, what the deejay Shannen SP calls "Afrocentric techno", but i can't imagine it really catching on

I suppose the question is, there may well be future-music being made, but is it enjoyable?

(because in the academy, all kinds of abstruse granular synthesis etc etc music that sounds like spacetime fabric being rended apart is always been made, the university electronic music studios and soundlabs are still toiling away, but no one cares but other composers)

The question of the Future is always related, in these discussions - whether that's made explicit or not - to the idea of a Future Music that has some kind of intersection with the popular

Jungle was extreme but also it had hordes of very young, not overtly arty, fairly ordinary people into it, and did crossover to some extent, ultimately.

Likewise the music that Barty celebrates from recent years, is at least potentially a form of pop music. Well with the Atlanta stuff, it is very much some of the most popular and hugely listened to music of our time... and even drill gets in the charts now doesn't it?

So the question could be rephrased, where's the future music that's actually bearable?
 

thirdform

Well-known member
Jungle got shit when it crossed over though! shy fx wolf - shy fx funkindemup, sound of the future - the lighter, all terrible, terrible tunes.
 
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