Thursday, August 22, 2013


"Music fandom often follows a slow boomerang trajectory: listen to top-40 radio through your tween and early teen years, reject those impulses in favor of more cerebral, left-of-center music as you’re growing up, lean back toward pop as you settle into adulthood. The last couple of years have found a crop of young independent artists boldly attempting to reconcile those stages of their own listening life cycles, walking a tightrope of poptimism and experimentalism to create confectionary, homespun electronic music that’s sometimes described as future-pop. Grimes gushes about Mariah Carey and Aphex Twin in the same breath; Canadian duo Purity Ring have listed “Justin TimberlakeClams Casino, and Holy Other” as inspirational forces behind their prismatic fairy tales; Glaswegian electro trio Chvrches have spoken about loving Fugazi and the Cure in interviews before divulging plans to cover Whitney Houston’s “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay” in live shows" -Pitchfork's Carrie Battan on AlunaGeorge, who cite Timbaland and Neptunes as big influences.

Except it's not really "future-pop", is it, if the reference points are Nineties and early 2000s (Mariah, Whitney, Timbaland, Timberlake etc).  If it was to even be present-pop, let alone future-pop, it would have to be made in immediate response to, ooh, DJ Mustard and and Dr. Luke....

What it really is, is the Style Council move...  today's equivalent of making Curtis Mayfield records in 1983.

Elsewhere in the hipsterscape, the 1980s are still getting a look-in.... "boogie" (i.e. postdisco black club records) are a big influence, And then there's Ikonika's new album. .People frowned when I said that her debut Love Contact Want Whatever had the whiff of hyperstasis about it, but for the sequel Aerotropolis she's gone outright retro:

"The whole album is a fantasy of me being a lot older in the '80s, and choosing music rather than videogames at that time. It's funny to me that I didn't really grow up at the right age at the right time. And if I had produced this album back in the late '80s, would it sound the same or would it be different? I made an effort to use older equipment – like, I used a 707, I used Bok Bok's Juno-106 a lot. It's nice, as a producer who's come from a computer-based background, to work with machines and see how the early producers did it."

Q: Were you going back to the music of the 80s for inspiration?

"Yeah, a lot of freestyle house. I'm really attracted to that genre because it was very melodic with these brass sounds, and at the same time had really nice dancey, housey, disco and sometimes hip hop beats from the drum machines. I just love the patterns. I was thinking, this music must have been amazing at the time."

This review of Aerotropolis at Tiny Mix Tapes is so IDM-nerd-looks-down-on-collective-dancefloor-experience-as-brainless-and-de-individuating  it's not true, but otherwise seems on the money re. the "the shiny, retrogressive hedonism and 4/4 decadence", which aligns itself with the back-to-house vybe dominating the UK.

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