Genre Wars

OK this is my personal axe to grind at the moment - the way music is divided ever more obsessively into genres and how this leads to the death of creativity and innovation.
For example, a few years ago there was a scene called "garage" and it contained everything from swingy vocal cuts to plasticman to 138 trek etc, there were all kinds of different things going on under one umbrella, everything was thriving musically, Rephlex released a compilation called "Grime" with no proper grime on it and only a few people knew the difference!
Now it seems that dubstep and grime have solidified into genres with quite specific sounds, you can easily identify a grime tune or a breakstep tune or a dubstep tune, and it's easy to say which is which, and correspondingly less groundbreaking or original music is getting made because it's hard to think "outside the box".
The same thing was true 18 or so years ago with house and techno (what's the difference?) which then suddenly spawned breakbeat house, garage, progressive, trance etc, all of which had quite narrow limits and (I think) led to the near-death in innovation in those kinds of music.
Maybe it's just once something gets big you get lots of bandwagon jumpers making rubbish?
Any opinions?
I am ready for an earbashing to the effect that grime/dubstep is bigger than ever... but anyway for the sake of hearing your opinions....
 

big satan

HA-DO-KEN!
i agree, making a new genre every time somebody puts out a record, and then only being able to hear this newly invented genre at a club night that only plays that one genre is detrimental to music. and it's (probably) the fault of fucking music journalists who want to be resposible for coining the phrase that becomes the new buzzword, and the idiots who buy into the "thinkpieces" they read in music magazines.
no offence to various posters here!
 

dsp13

GAMEBWOY
Edward said:
Now it seems that dubstep and grime have solidified into genres with quite specific sounds, you can easily identify a grime tune or a breakstep tune or a dubstep tune, and it's easy to say which is which, and correspondingly less groundbreaking or original music is getting made because it's hard to think "outside the box".....

I've really lost touch with grime and dubstep in the last 12 months so I can't comment on whether or not originality & creativity is on the decrease but I think generally what you're saying is true and I'm sure eventually the same thing will happen with grime and then another offshoot will spring up in a slightly different direction & someone will slap a name on it the next day & the cycle continues. I'm sure though, that some grime & dubstep producers will still be making great music but the amount of crappy tunes is always going to increase proportionally in any growing genre.

I guess thats why I like producers & artists who create music in many genres simultaneously and that cross pollenisation that occurs that can create some really interesting new mutations in music... I always seem to be drawn to those styles like techno animal's industrial / hip hop / dub or those dancehall inspired tracks I mentioned in the other thread... the way hip hop and dancehall and bhangra and reggeaton have all been interweaving and you get these jamaican tracks with middle eastern vocals, indian dancehall, etc etc... admitedly there are huge amounts of horrible music like that but there are always people in there somewhere doing something new and interesting you just have to work to find them.

I hate all the sub labeling and pigeon holing but ironically, those artists who aren't easily classifiable can be really difficult to find in a record store without these sub labels. like will that kano album be in hip-hop, rnb, dance, club, drum n bass... you know what I mean? and on the one hand if everything was uncategorized I could just go to "K" but then it would be very difficult to find other similar artists' music that I wasn't already aware of.

A very clumsy analogy of some point I am incabable of making clearer at the moment .

but clubwise!!! I agree big satan. I hate that narrow genre thing at clubs. That was one of the great things about the clubs I went to in Japan... really random mixes of styles even at some of the big clubs. diversity is key... I couldn't survive with just one genre of any music!
 
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DJ PIMP

Well-known member
Some people like to follow and focus a style/sound and refine it. Others would rather pull in new influences or do something different. Good stuff comes from both approaches. People are pattern making machines - classifying and ordering stuff all the time to establish meaning and relationships/context.
 

polystyle desu

Memories of green
Hmmm , I agree with you Edward and with Bleep too ...
Some (unfocused) thot's on the subject >

I have sometimes thought that there were exciting times at the start of a new sound
before a 'box' was made for it ,
when the artists could do whatever they wanted with the sound ,
stretch what some new tech allowed them to do , etc. -
but that soon enough , forces pro and con arrive /form/congeal to give it a name and then everything just HAS to be what the name sez or implies ...
Happens a few ways , sometimes it's the artists who make the 'box' are tag a genre name ,
sometimes crits , 'outsiders' .
I know as an artist it can be great fun to coin a genre for what you do , and I think that's prolly an unspoken right of the creator to do so .
But it prolly waters down progress or stops it in certain cases if you are an artist who listens to what everybody else sez , or are just starting out and looking for parameters , signposts about what you are doing or are trying to do.
See, it's very different when you are in the 'trenches' , streets, little apt's actually doing it ,
as opposed to making up genre names because it's your j.o.b , you are judge and jury
or you are looking back and making names or defining a genre , a period with benefit of hindsight .
Someone can say something that just might steer you away from what you were doing , or if you are an interested observer , a name might just turn you off of something and you miss it
('Kraut Rock' was one of those that killed a genre for years for me , thankfully the whole thing came around again and I was able to appreciate and enjoy it )

Obviously, this happens with books , fashion and all kinds of other genre things ,
I remember it happening with 'cyber punk' per se .
And as humans love to name , sometimes the names are helpful in splitting hairs , defining yourself or 'what you like' against whatever else and so on , guess you can get some positive's anywhere ...

I've been looking for the point where Dance/Club/ minor, major , bedroom electronikeers can get themselves out the box of using the same basic drum set up ( Kick /snare/hihat + -) and patterns (4/4'd to death/ etc.) for every track created under their sun -
no one TOLD them they had to use /make the same patterns over and over did they ?

Cheers all
 

dsp13

GAMEBWOY
polystyle desu said:
I've been looking for the point where Dance/Club/ minor, major , bedroom electronikeers can get themselves out the box of using the same basic drum set up ( Kick /snare/hihat + -) and patterns (4/4'd to death/ etc.) for every track created under their sun -
no one TOLD them they had to use /make the same patterns over and over did they ?

I think you'll find this happened quite a while ago! Although I understand your point. Unfortunately the first instinct of alot of people when they hear music they like is "I wanna make music like that"... and they often do which leads to repetition & stagnation
 

dsp13

GAMEBWOY
polystyle desu said:
You know what I mean ,
it may have happened - but still not enough for my taste !
yeah, I know what you mean... I was just being a drunken prat! :cool: <note sunglasses for hangover
 

Tim F

Well-known member
Current European 4/4 dance music is actually a good example of the opposite trend - what used to be house/techno/microhouse/electrohouse is now one big smeary blur.

(pedant alert: I think <i>a lot</i> of people knew the difference when Rephlex released <i>Grime</i>)
 

juliand

Well-known member
I still think of things like this as did Debord in 1960: "each realm collapses in explicating itself, "when it has proclaimed itself a totality"... only after this illusory and extreme proclamation, the negativity long contained in this world asserts itself, disowns it, corrodes it, dismantles it, casts it down. Only a finished totality can reveal that it is not totality.

Once a genre has defined itself, defined its boundaries--as I see happening with both dubstep and grime--the contradictions and negations within it breed, and transform, find their own iteration

Maybe something like Various Production might be thought to be this sort of figuring, at least vis a vis dubstep; grime seems ripe for it, no?

I must say, I wish someone would capitalize on the radical squarebase of Wiley's early 12"s--spooky, square marches, dub throbs--a missed opportunity that
 

juliand

Well-known member
I should also add that, in terms of dancing, I crave the committed, and have begun rejecting the eclectic mode of the last 5 years--it's become pandering, less than pop, pop minus the program, just what the people supposedly "want"

I'd love a dogmatic, single minded genre set at this point. Clubs in SF try it--Broker/Dealer's Pop, Silence Fiction's Jack. It hasn't clicked yet. But it will.
 

IKoss

Wild Horses
'a few years ago there was a scene called garage'

and who says this is no longer the case, lol. j/k ;)

i totally see what you mean here bruv.
however, it seems these things are the coarse/cost of evolution and refinement tho innit?

from what ive noticed, it kinda all works itself out, yeah.
 
@TimF - yeah maybe it was just me who didn't know the difference between Grime & Dubstep, back in the olde daze I didn't know if Bomb The Bass and Marrs were hip hop or house.....
I tend to like it more when I don't know! Has the jury com back on whether plasticman in grime or dubstep? (of course it doesn't matter, he is is what he is and ignores the lines thank god, that's why i think he's head & shoulders above most of his contemporaries)

@ JulianD - I don't know about Debord and all that, but I think I know what you mean - once you say what it is it stops being good? or something?

@IKoss - yeah obviously garage music still exists but what is it? all these "genre words" seem to shift in meaning - electro used to be Planet Rock and now it's Miss Kittin (to a large number of people) - completely different sounds. There is still 2-step garage, but is dubstep or grime part of garage or is it something else? sorry to be the old fart but garage used to just be vocal house from NY and now it's been through several iterations. So who knows?

I think you're right - it'll sort itself out in that some people will continue to ignore the rules and make exciting stuff.

But I think it's stifling the way genres are so narrow, like Big Satan said "making a new genre every time someone makes a new record". Hip Hop is still a nice broad term but click house, micro house, tech-house, acid house, progressive house, etc etc I find it weird. I suppose that's humans for you, they like classifying.
 
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