Below is a rant, but a rant with a purpose… a phrase which sort of sounds like, a ‘rat with a porpoise.’
…there’s no point to that last sentence, I’m just being REAL.
First Things First… Remixes…
So, first things first… this isn’t really an article about Three’s Company… I know, I’m sorry, I know you all expected me to talk about Jack Tripper evading Mr. Furley, alongside Jack and Janet, struggling to pay the lofty $300 for rent in Santa Clara ever month… (OMFG $300 to live in Santa Clara???? I know it’s just 70s-money, but still…)
No, actually this is an article on something entirely different… I remember a buddy of mine (whom, when making music, goes by the alias, CancerofLove) making a joke about dubstep, making up the concept of Three Stooges Step. It was a joke about how there are far too many dubstep remixes out there, and not just too many, but stupid and ridiculous remixes that really don’t need to exist… Well, I went and looked it up on teh Youtube, and sure enough, there was MORE THAN ONE Three Stooges Step. Damn. (What was I thinking, experimenting with wonky bass music, when I could’ve easily gotten thousands of plays remixing the Three Stooges? Ah, I’m so stupid…)
The point is not JUST that there are a lot of dumbass dubstep remixes. The other point is that, nowadays, with so many people mixing and remixing and re-re-re-remixing (skwunc) everything under the sun, a pattern emerges…
It’s just one more piece of the puzzle, or… just one more stinky swamp hole on the flowing river voyage of the impatient, drifting raft that is modern electronic music… Let me explain…
Trap is now gaining momentum in the EDM world. So, what are you seeing now? Tons and tons of trap remixes. Is that a bad thing? No, it’s just a thing. Well, it’s not exactly a bad thing UNTIL you start seeing a poor-quality / slapped together ‘trap remix’ of the Three stooges. Instead of adding a wobble, you add an 808 snare… and, BOOM! NEW REMIX!
Same can be said about Moombah remixes… And the same will be said about acidscrew remixes, in five years (when that shit gets fucking huge?) And it’s not entirely new… I remember a time, back before torrenting, when, to find new and free music, you’d throw you fishing line into one of the great digital ponds of the early 2000s known as ‘Napster Clones,’ and, goddamn, there were a whole lot of ‘techno’ remixes of everything imaginable. (…anyone remember the ‘Aphex Twin Techno Remix’ of the Tetris theme song? It clearly wasn’t Aphex Twin, but… that’s only the tip of the iceberg of my ability to complain about old Tetris remixes, so I’ll move on) The point is, it’s happened before, it’s happening now, and it will probably keep happening.
It’s one sign that a genre is getting popular. People try to cash in on it. It doesn’t mean that a genre in and of itself is bad or stale, just because there’s a lot of bullshit out there, though. That’s an important thing to remember. A lot of people say hip hop is dead, but I think if you look around, there’s all kinds of great hip hop. Glitch hop, in my opinion, is a kind of hip hop. I thought Glitch Mob was going to carry that torch, until they douchily disavowed themselves from glitch hop and then went on to make their sorta-top-40-ish / faux-progressive / unnecessarily-epic / funk-lacking / ‘almost-rock’ sound… But it’s OK. There are others who make good glitch hop. There’s a lot of stupid glitch hop, but that’s how it is for any emerging or established genre…
Is Hollywood Pretending to Be All About it, Yet?
Another thing to look out for, when spotting a trend, is wether or not Hollywood has caught wind of it, yet. Hollywood is an industry. There are very few companies that run the studios, and they are known for their conservative ‘risk-taking’ maneuvers. About a year ago, I started seeing previews for upcoming blockbusters with dubstep playing in the background. (someone must’ve finally given them the fucking memo that it’s OK now to play abrasive electronic music?)
So, Hollywood was a little late for the party. Doesn’t matter too much, in reality, though, but I must admit, I did find it annoying that the establishment finally decided to recognize something that had been going on for years in the ‘underground.’
Well, now we have two signs that a genre is big, or was big, or is getting big; Hollywood finally embracing it, as well as an overabundance of shitty remixes of that particular genre.
Another way to tell if a genre is getting big? When everyone’s starting to get into it, a lot of the hardcore purists have traditionally distanced themselves from it, saying it’s no longer ‘pure,’ or ‘good’ anymore, or saying something similar to that.
Some folks dug it, and will always dig it – but then you have these cats who want to pretend that when THEY were into it, it was during the golden age of it… I remember people bitching in 2008 about “dubstep’s good old days,” to which I wondered exactly when these “good old days” were… a year and a half earlier, perhaps? (I don’t care if anyone disagrees with me, but I will always maintain that dubstep was really fucking boring in the beginning, and not just compared to the filthy stuff, but compared to ANYTHING… I never cared for that ambient-scifi-soundtrack vibe…)
So what’s my final assessment?
If you’re favorite genre has all of these things going for it… shitty movie previews with X genre in it… annoying remixes with X genre…. and annoying purists getting all huffy about the state of X genre… It might be a sign that a genre is dead, but not necessarily. If nothing else, it’s, at least, a sign that the genre is gaining momentum.
Like I said, it’s likely going to keep happening. If you don’t like the way a genre is going, do your best to change it. Make something truly exciting in whatever style it is you’re going for. Make something that’ll snap the neck of a giraffe! Whatever that means! Make something that’ll truly make everyone in the club stop and take notice, and bounce their asses off until they’ve bounced so damn hard they’ve got no asses left to bounce! (I’ll give you a minute to picture that…)
The truth is, it’s easy to say that things are different now – what with modern technology and the interwebz and smart phones and anal sex parties happening constantly, all over the place; but, in reality, the formation and peaking of cultural movements tend to follow similar wavelengths. The variations attributed to these wavelengths might differ, here and there, but you can look back fifty years and see similar things that have happened in culture…
In nearly every decade or era of the 20th century, Hollywood has been more than a little skeptical of cutting-edge trends in music; secondly, there was a ton of shitty rock music back then (that you don’t hear nowadays because…well… because it was so shitty) and finally, there were DEFINITELY purists from decades past who declared this or that genre to be dead. For example, how many times has rock been declared DEAD in the last 40 years? Say… perhaps, as an afterthought, a genre of music need be ‘declared dead’ before it really takes off? ;) Ha. There’s a rant for a rainy day… (Though I do live in Seattle, so perhaps that rainy day will be tomorrow?)
Look at the big picture. That’s all I’m saying. These things move in cycles. It’s fun to get caught up in the moment, but keep in mind, your mom and dad thought their style of music was just as cool as you think whatever new style of music is, too…. and, there’s really nothing wrong with that. It’s quite natural. A lot of things that are happening now have a lot more to do with natural processes then we might realize; which is not, by any means, a call to justify all of them, but it’s just something to consider. We live in a time of sped-up cultural activity. And when I say that we live in ‘a time,’ what I mean is, we live in a one or two hundred year period of time, as opposed to a period of time that might span the last decade or so…
Alright, well, rant over. if you’ve made it this far into my article, well, good for you! You now, easily, understand everything there is to know about ‘the musics.’ So, I will now gladly reward you with this pic I found online:
I loved your rant, Bassadelic…. it made me laugh more than once. You are quite the poet, albeit a post-post-POST modern one at that…. and I admit I was a teeny bit sad that you didn’t wax lyrically about Three’s company…. (another rainy Seattle day, perhaps) but you certainly nailed it about trends and the fact that once any trend goes Hollywood mainstream, it you are of the avant garde breed then it is definitely time to find something new to do…. I’d like your thoughts on some of those old pioneers of electronic music, like Brian Eno and others way back during the start of that genre.
thanks for the post, SB
Again, man, thanks for the interesting response :) I hope I didn’t come off as too bitter bout Three’s Company, I consider it the quintessential template for the American sitcom, I’ve seen every episode….(well, except for a few from Season 8… once it got to the mid-80s, the show kinda took a dive… it’s hey-day was DEF the late 70s, in my arrogant opinion….) but yea, glad you enjoyed my post-post-POST modernism. If there’s one thing I strive for, it’s posting a triple post-mod blog post! hahaha :)
With dubstep, specifically, there was more at work then JUST the avante-garde-ness, though… dubstep went through a few face changes in the last few years.. First, it went from being weed-smoking-ambient-british-music to straight-up-filthy-and-harder-than-most-heavy-metal… and that style was easy to mutate into the top40 / poppy / brosteppish / hollywoodish style it’s known for now… Not a bad thing for a genre like dubstep to blow up in popularity, it’s just that the mood of the dubstep shows went from ravers and clubbers to incorporating more of a fratboy atmosphere, which is, I think, what a lot of people got tired of pretty quickly. Anyway, that’s my thought on dubstep… But I stick behind my rant.. I mean.. theory.. ;) and I’m glad you enjoyed the post, man! Would love to rant about some of the older EDM. BTW, I need to show you a bass’d out Coltrane mix I just finished. Soon!
All the Best!
Thanks for the rant about dubstep…. now I know more than I did before about it. Keep fighting the good fight, Bassadelic, the world needs ones such as you to keep things in balance…. blessings on your weekend, wherever you are!