Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I posted my last little Pitchfork-inspired rant on a local techno message board. It got some very thoughtful replies and caused a bit of fuss - which I had kinda hoped for. I essentially want people to think more about music and think about art, think about why they do what they do and what its impact is going to be on history. The original piece was not so much about trend-watching and scenes as much as it was about my beliefs on what makes good art in any medium, and a challenge to deliver "the whole package." Below is my latest reply (to one of our most beloved Burnlab editors actually) for those who care:

Maybe yes. I don't think of it that way. I like work that is both catchy and arty. If someone can say something new and interesting, and craft it into a form that is appealing, there's not only a great skill to that in itself, but a level of subversion I really like. "Here's this poppy song, but if you listen carefully, there's a lot going on that has depth and might actually be something you're not comfortable with." I think Neubauten, 25 years on, gets better with every release. Their early work had a lot of concept, but was almost totally unlistenable. They're as conceptual as ever, but have also learned how to write great songs. I have great respect for Merzbow, but really how often can you listen to it? Who listens to John Cage every day for that matter? I use Vitalic as one example of a contemporary techno artist who is delivering a whole package: something with depth and wit, but also so immediately catchy that your grandmother might bob her head (or pump her fist) to it.

Like I said in the closing, "Art fails if it does not communicate on its own. If music becomes boring the minute the drugs wear off, it doesn't necessarily mean it is bad, but it is half-baked." I don't think people should have to work so hard to appreciate art or music, but I do think the work itself should deliver something special for those who do take the time to dig deeper. The problem I have with music or art which is boring on the surface, is that 1) the artist is not doing their job very well, and 2) people who are into it are either getting some sense of superiority or sick masochistic satisfaction by subjecting themselves to something they know damn well is boring.

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