in this interview with New York jungle stalwart DJ Dara of Breakbeat Science shop fame, he discusses with Village Voice's Michaelangelo Matos, the problem of cultural overproduction in a digital era:
"I'm not necessarily crazy about this whole digital idea, and the fact
that anything can be released. I'm firmly of the belief that just
because you can release a tune doesn't mean you should. I do miss
[having] A&R men to weed out the mediocre music. Because there's no
overhead involved in releasing music anymore, the bar has been lowered
substantially. There's a lot of music out there that's OK, but it
wouldn't have been good enough to have been pressed on vinyl.
"When people say, "[This track sold] 200 downloads on Beatport in two
days," my question is always, "OK, you got 200 people paying $1.99 for
your tune. How many of those people do you think would've paid $12 or
$15 for it?" It's easy to get people to pay $2, but would they pay $12?
Because that's what it would have been a few years ago—they would've had
to if they wanted it. I think that the overhead barrier definitely made
sure [there was] a certain standard. There's always been bad music. But
I think there's less bad music when it costs money to put it out.
"People say, "This barrier's been broken, there's all this incredible
music that can be discovered now that wouldn't be discovered before."
But I see it the other way around. I see that the really incredible
music is being buried in an avalanche of mediocre music. [laughs] And it gets harder and harder to find it.
"Often, I'll be on Beatport and I'll just give up: "I cannot listen to
any more bad music that is right up there next to really quality
stuff." What happens is, I just end up going to the same artists that
I've known all the time, rather than trying to check out new people,
because so much of the new stuff that I check out . . . I'm not saying
it's terrible, but there's nothing that makes it stand out. It sounds
like a million other people."
Yes, indeedy -- in the transition from the Analogue System to the Digital System, the DIY principle has run rife -- it is now almost completely unchecked and undaunted by any reality
principle ie. the costs involved in the materiality of solid-form culture-objects that
must be first manufactured, then physically transported, then physically stored both by stores (shelf space being limited) and by individual collectors who are limited both in terms of cash and their living space.... all that filtering
that used to be involved, simply because releasing a record required investment either by label
or by the release-it-yourself artist... what seemed anti-aesthetic (a cold-hearted
financial calculus weighing up outlay and outcome) actually had incalculable aesthetic side-benefits at every step of the process
without these filters, checks, impediments, disincentives, discouragements, and yes, gatekeepers too... we are "free" to roam, increasingly confused and demoralised and with our appetite fading, through an impenetrably dense yet flattened cultural landscape, in which the great is buried by
the good which is smothered by the pretty good which is flooded by the
not really good which is engulfed by the really not good