Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Is it over?

Over the last day or two I've been thinking about the process of making music, especially dance music, genres, and what it all means now.

When I first heard dance music in the early 90's (or was it the late 80's?) it did feel like "the future", and later on I bought into the idea that it was future music.  It kept evolving too, it didn't stay still, and I got into the mutations that came through, like jungle, garage, and then dubstep.  But I'm trying and I really can't think of a new genre or mutation that really got anyone's attention after dubstep?  I know there are always new micro-genres and distinctions, and there's EDM, which is basically an idiotic label for nothing, it's not new.  But there's nothing I hear now that seems really new or ground-breaking, and definitely nothing is having a massive impact like the genres mentioned above.

So is dance-music actually like rock music now?  Where people are just making their own take on what's gone before?  I feel like that's what's happening and that electronic dance music isn't really the music of the future anymore, and I don't think anything's replaced it.  That makes me a bit sad, especially as I've taken up producing my own dance music as a hobby.  Via that I realised that there haven't really been that many innovations in the sound or the equipment since the 90's, other than most of the process going "in the box" (ie being done solely on computers).  The people I come across online seem to mostly festishize old sounds and equipment too, new takes on old drum machines.

All this doesn't mean that good music won't be made, and isn't being made.  But I just think that thrilling edge has been lost, where I felt like what was being made and heard had never been done before.  I mean, imagine the feeling of hearing the first house record, or the first jungle record?  That's not happening any more; hopefully it will happen again, but there are no guarantees.

For me this means I need to get back to viewing my own producing as a hobby to be enjoyed -- no need to overthink it, just have fun.

Switching it up, after a long time, here's a commute tune from this morning's BBC 6 music with Tom Ravenscroft.  Bloody good it is too.  I think at this time anything I blog will be slightly biased by the fact that I'm looking forward to putting together a massive tAO playlist soon!