Lost In Music#3: ‘The First, Third’


The First, Third

Just a comma separating this month’s title from that of the autobiographical work by livewire beat superman and Merry Prankster Neal Cassady, a comma because this third installment of Lost In Music contains what was originally the first, penned at the beginning of 2010. Hence the intro and the looking ahead to a decade which we’ve now rushed almost two years into. But without further ado, here it is – the first LIM:

Anticipating what would seem a logical initial enquiry, why, or in what sense, lost? The condition in mind isn’t that of the confused, disorientated or bereft; rather, the term is meant to denote being filled with wonder, perhaps approaching ecstatic – a positive position from which to dispatch a series of thoughts and musings, hopefully occasionally blessed with shafts of insight or at least containing views primed to engender blogospherical comment and debate, on various aspects of the world of music.

So, it is with the enthusiasm of an adolescent dipping his ears in the sonic sweet jar that I embark, and what better mode of departure than in contemplating possible developments in this decade just entered. Before looking forward, a gaze back at the decade we’ve just slipped from, one whose Zeitgeist wasn’t afraid to dip heavily into the past while stepping on.

Possibly the most prominent development was the emergence of dubstep and grime from their jungle and garage London roots and their subsequent explosion via club dance-floors towards the mainstream.

Some dubstep, in particular Burial‘s lonely rave-comedown atmospherics, contain elements present in another thriving, if currently less visible, strain. Hauntology encompasses sounds ranging from the Ghost Box label’s delving into the spooky synth future imaginings of the late 60’s and 70’s BBC Radiophonic Workshop to James Kirby’s The Caretaker project, inspired initially by the haunted ballroom scene in Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ as well as Dennis Potter’s use of music by ’30’s crooners such as Al Bowlly in ‘Pennies From Heaven’.

In the last five years, Kirby has turned his attention to the brain’s ability to recall memories. On his monumental 6-Cd ‘Theoretically pure anterograde amnesia’ undertaking, he deals with the loss of memory, those sufferers left with only their immediate present and their pre-amnesic past.

Across the Atlantic, artists such as James Ferraro and Emeralds are creating “hypnagogic pop” from their own hazy childhood memories of 80’s popular culture. While many alternative rock/pop bands in the last decade took the post-punk blueprint of the late 70’s and early 80’s and, while creating many an infectious number, failed to build on the originals, artists such as Ferraro and Emeralds, like their hauntological relatives in the UK, are looking to the past not as something to plunder, but as something to mould into their own unique vision.

Perhaps this decade will see such music emerging from the underground into the mainstream. Or will the original occupants of the haunted ballroom be re-embodied, possibly crooning to some fucked-up dubstep-sired beat?

We await with ears wide open.

The Shiny Beast

This article was published in Czech in FULL MOON#20, December 2011

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~ by theshinybeast on January 22, 2012.

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