Quietus's Ryan Alexander Diduck on "GIFwave" and Groundhog Day
Line of Best Fit's Josh Hall on the living death of indie
(dude doesn't seem to realise that what he calls New Retro is the same as what I call
"atemporality" / hyperstasis / "diversely derivative")
Pitchfork's Andrew Gareig on Narcissist II by Dean Blunt from Hype(rstasis) Williams , a release described as:
"A droopy-eyed, unromantic collage of synthesizers, movie dialogue, and baked vocals, The Narcissist II comments on the ephemerality of modern media consumption by being ephemeral itself.
In particular, The Narcissist II replicates a very specific type of listening: hunching over a laptop, dozens of Chrome tabs open, crawling down a Youtube rabbit hole. You know the drill: locate an obscure track, listen to half of it, click on something "related" in the right sidebar, pause it, tab over to a Soundcloud page... tab back. It is consumption via distraction: do this often enough and you'll encounter no end of noisy vinyl rips and shitty covers. This is the best metaphor for The Narcissist II: distant, half-heard clips; novel, obscure, and impossible. The samples blur into the original until The Narcissist II is the noisy rip, the shitty homage. This is why, during the course of The Narcissist II, at some point nearly everything will seem like a sample."
This review (graded a dismal 5.4) prompts Tower of Sleep to mount a defence:
"The thing that constitutes Hype Williams’ “artiness”, though, is that their whole schtick is about destabilizing the normal criteria for judging quality. You have to look at them awry, anamorphically, since they only present themselves through a cracked monitor, a glass darkly: the difference between intent and accident, stoned noodling and inspired sample disappears in the disorienting haze. Gaerig notes that “Blunt’s delivery is flat, ugly, and devoid of braggadocio,” and decides that it sucks even if it’s deliberate, but I think his flattened affect has its own particular appeal. Gaerig compares Blunt (unfavorably) to Excepter and Ariel Pink, but I think Lil B would be equally apt: he’s performing a very contemporary form of subjectivity in a way that reframes the context of production. It’s not just another piece of music offered to the stream, it’s a portrait of the stream itself."
Yeah but if it's as boring, fragmentary, unsatisfying, shiftless, numbing etc as the experience, the digital phenomenology, that it allegedly critically reframing/commenting on ... without even faintly gesturing towards a way out, or an alternative.... then all it is doing, really is detaining the listener a little longer in a "very far from grace" place that is already grimly familiar