Friday, May 18, 2012

My SoundCloud

Just to give you a bit of warning. I'm going to be re-organising my SoundCloud account soon. At the moment, it's full of the back-catalogue of my old 4-track tape demos and bits of random creativity from over the years. A useful archive in many ways, but I already used my 12 hour time-limit, and now I'm starting to write some new tunes.

I think I'd really like to use SoundCloud more as a music social network : a place to showcase some new ideas and to connect to other musicians I admire. So I'm going to clear a lot of the old stuff away. Partly to make room for new tracks, and partly so that it's clear what I'm doing at the moment.

I will keep cycling through some highlights from the back-catalogue. But the tunes won't be permanent, so if you like them, download them when you get the chance.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

80s Nostalgia

I've never been a musical nostalgic who thinks that things were so much better when I was young. Every now and then I manage to convince myself that "music is over". That everything that needed to be said musically already has been. That all extremes of the map : noise and quiet, speed and sensuality, romanticism and experimentalism have been explored. But I know that this ennui is likely to be quickly blown away by the discovery of an entirely new sound that shocks me into new enthusiasm.

And I've plenty of experience of hearing oldsters complaining that 80s pop was all crap compared to the wonders of the 60s or 70s. So I just find it comical to hear my own generation now making the same complaint against what's coming out today.  90% of everything is crap, so we shouldn't expect pop music to be different.

I love sounds that have surfaced in the last few years, from Caribou to Maribou State, Lucky Dragons to Hudson Mohawke, Unicorn Kid and Slugabed. I loved dubstep and bassline house. I dig acts that are fresh even though they have a high dose of retro, from Gayngs to Belbury Poly to Dam Funk.

All of which is just a caveat really, an excuse that you should bear in mind when I say I've been ... er ... making an 80s playlist on You Tube!

It's just a bunch of stuff that I like (either since I was a teenager or more recent discoveries). They range from pretty cheesy to pure synth-pop to more indie and obscure. Although most tunes will be reasonably well known, I'm not going for ultra-popular things, unless I really liked them. This is my personal take on the 80s.

But what, I'm, ahem, having to admit is how good all this stuff suddenly sounds. The melodies, song writing and arrangements, even, in several cases, the lyrics. And the exuberant imagination. OK, I know I'm obviously cherry picking stuff that I like. And that tends to be quirky. But there's a sense these people feel free to invent themselves, without trying to be too like anyone else. If they're copying role-models, it's often not obvious who those role-models are.

For a horrible moment, I caught myself thinking "they don't make them like that any more."