Wednesday, April 10, 2013

At the forefront of the concept-music trend, Prince Rama have announced Never Forever, a "Now Age psych-opera” movie based on songs from their Top Ten Hits of the End of World of late last year. On that "pseudo-compilation album" the Brooklyn sisters-duo "invented ten different pop bands that died during the apocalypse, channeling the ghosts of each one to perform the various songs", in order to explore "music’s relationship to memory, nostalgia, and the spirit world". A sort of future anterior / prospective hauntology, maybe: Prince Rama "filter[ing] each sound through the destroyed lens of a post-apocalyptic future looking back at the wonders of its sonic past....  a retrospective requiem of all pop albums ever made...  its residual echoes will continue to haunt this world and the next"

Conceptually, it's a gas, then, and any band that comes forth with a manifesto deserves a round of applause.

But in practice...

C.f. James Ferraro and the redundancy of his recent attempts at uncanny-fication of contemporary R&B and rap (superflous given that Rap / R&B are already the Simulacrum, abject psychological seepage from the Social Id, Baudillard's "ob-scene" etc), the thing about Prince R's articulation of the  ritualistic, pagan, psychotic, apocalyptic etc undercurrents in modern glitz-pop ("ghost-modern glam" as Prince R snappily dub it) is that these aren't actually undercurrents at all: they don't need exposing or amplifying or "bringing out" via some sort of of conceptual-parodic commentary.  This stuff is all right there on the surface, in plain view....  What could be more unsane, idolatrous, ceremonial, etc than a Beyonce spectactular *, a Britney/ or Gaga video? 

It's all a bit redolent of how the art-world typically engages with pop, as if the simple re-presenting of pop within that context somehow supplies an extra layer of value, a whole other dimension.  Which covers over over the true facts of the matter: Art (however sincere in their motives and genuine in their pop-admiration the individual specific artists are) vampirically extracting surplus value for itself through associating itself with the vital, actively-out-there-in-the-world power of pop.

The other thing is that the underground literally can't compete with the overground, on a simple budgetary level...  it's like Guatamela's military trying to take on China. Never Forever does look to be a big step up from the amateur aesthetic of the video for the album's lead single "So Destroyed" (visually redolent of Miracles Club's "Church Song", sonically reminiscent of The Raincoats circa "Animal Rhapsody"). But even so, we're talking Fischerspooner circa 2002 really...

* ha, wrote this and I didn't even realise there was a whole Illuminati symbolism conspiracy theory out there about Beyonce's Superbowl extravaganza...

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