Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Music blogging

For a couple of years I Love Music was my definitive online community for talking and arguing about (mainly pop) music. I don't go there so much now. And I've realized I'll never have anything very interesting to say about music.

The ILM community was originally hosted courtesy of Phil Greenspun's ACS server and had several great music writers. And, of course, Momus writing about urbanism and being petulant about bad reviews.

Now, a lot of ILMers have blogs, and when I occasionally tune in, there's a scarily erudite debate ranging across every pop sub-genre you can think of, cultural identities, ruralism, politics and more.

My touch-points on this world :

  • Robin Carmody who makes surprising connections between music, politics, ruralist politics and classic children's television from the BBC.

  • Simon Reynolds who's a professional music journalist for The Wire etc. I confess his intuitive taste is very close to my own. If he likes something, I'm pretty sure I like it. And when he hates something, he's generally spot on about that too.

  • K-Punk is one I've just started noticing.

  • drip*drop*drap seems to be a newbie they're all getting into.

Anyway, all good stuff. On my recent trip to England I failed to discover much about what was going on. (Big up Daniel though for lending a bunch of CDs which I didn't get enough time to listen to or copy ...)

I bought only two CDs. The Rephlex "Grime" compilation, which Reynolds mentioned a couple of months ago. My first impression was "what a rip off" ... just more braindance latching onto the UKG bandwagon. But after a bit I started to appreciate that it is definitely different. Something has advanced. Lot's of tricky syncapations. But a sad lack of MCing.

The other thing was a £1.99 sampler from True Thoughts / Zebra Traffic which was playing in record shops around Brighton. Phi-Life Cypher's "Over" stands out. The rest ranges from forgettable to pleasant downtempo rap / soulful vocals. It gets filed next to Aim and similar in my shelf. OK for the money.

Back in Brazil I'm finally back on DSL and downloading. I wanted to check out this "crunk" thing that Reynolds seemed so approving of a few months ago. After downloading a couple of Lil Jon tracks, my verdict is pretty much "so what?"

Maybe I haven't heard the right stuff. It's a development, but it's not surprising or exciting me the way people like Three-6 Mafia and OutKast did a few years ago. Musically it reminds me of Dungeon Family. Which is I guess damning with faint praise.

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