from (NSFW) SuicideGirls
The Sunday Hangover with Warren Ellis
One of the few people in music who seem to me to be really leaning into the future right now is Burial, the reclusive lofi dubstep wizard whose work conjures fantastic images of a drowned London and haunted electronics. He’s doing his bit to save 2007 from being a complete fucking disaster by releasing a new album, UNTRUE, next month. In a new interview with Kode9 (who is also pretty interesting), he says this:
"I don't want the music I love to be a global samplepack music... I like Underground tunes that are true and mongrel and you see people trying to break that down, alter its nature. Underground music should have its back turned, it needs to be gone, untrackable, unreadable, just a distant light."
Why doesn’t alt culture exist? Perhaps because it’s been devoured by the mainstream monoculture. It’s a hungry bastard, after all, and it’ll choke down anything that’ll fill its stomach. That we see things in Hollywood movies and tv now that were limited to experimental film twenty years ago is only the nature of the beast. It’s not an evolution of Hollywood culture — it’s simply the beast widening its diet because it’s eaten everything else in reach. You might not like the look of that weird foreign food, but if there’s fuck all else on the table and you’re still hungry, you’ll gnaw on Korean film, Dutch film, Thai film and any other goddamn thing. And you can yank “Hollywood” out of that equation and replace it with fashion, music and half a dozen other things. The DIY-ambience in portrait photography that this very site pioneered is now meaningless because it’s everywhere.
Partly that, maybe? Partly because we’re in Reynolds’ “anachronesis” — living in a time of constant, delusional recursion, in a limbo of a dozen different pasts. Re-enactment, like living as a medieval soldier for a never-ending Renaissance Faire. Being Lenny Kravitz. Being the White Stripes. Record collection bands. People who like Amy Winehouse. Reynolds again: “Things under the sway of anachronesis are just nothing. You might as well be dead.” Half the excitement about the online steampunk revival seems to source from the fact that it’s only been done once before. That’s what it comes to, in the anachronesis condition: it’s exciting because it’s only a bit old.
And partly, I think, because people just don’t make it anymore. Every corner of the web is blitzed with the light shone by thousands of curational blogs whose job is to parse the internet for their readers. I mean, I hunt for research material all the time and store it on my website, I’m as guilty as anyone. But at some point producing actual content on the web went out of fashion — almost all of the top one thousand blogs are reportage and linkblogging sites. At some point people have to stop checking to see what happened yesterday and start thinking about tomorrow. And it’s that that “alternative culture” comes from — the drive to do what’s next and the impulse to make the sound no-one’s heard yet. That’s just not where we are right now. We’re still suffering exhaustion from the most utterly mad and brain-burning experience in human history — the Twentieth Century.
Maybe Burial has a point. Maybe you just don’t grow alt culture in the light. The alt print culture is largely gone, migrated to the web but often missing the crucial element of networking. (Back then, of course, we called that “letters pages,” and “classified ads.”) But with the rise of private social networks — Ning, and Facebook groups and gated message boards — maybe some dark rooms can be generated. The global comeback of the PDF magazine shows some promise, too. Another dozen great netlabels like Miasmah would be nice.
Start making things. Tilt into the future. Or get the eternal past you deserve.
— (Yes, I read it for the articles!)