[rumori] re: curve of sound innovation

From: Taylor McLaren (toastATprimus.ca)
Date: Tue Mar 13 2001 - 19:26:05 PST

MEEP! GromitFiveATaol.com wrote:
>Rap and hip-hop account for most of the real musical innovation in the last
>decade, at least in pop music. pop-friendly hip-hop didn't even exist until
>the Fugees released "The Score" in the mid90s.
Huh? Unless you're making a distinction between "rap" and "hip-hop", or
calling the warmed-over R&B made with drum machines a genre unto itself
("hip-pop"?), then Run-DMC's career in the early '80s strikes me as being a
perfectly pop-friendly version of hip-hop. Their cover of "Walk This Way"
was HUGE. It might not have been played on the stations that will currently
air the Backstreet Boys, but it certainly did okay on rock radio.

>In the last five or so years,
>top40 has grown from lists of groups like Blues Traveller, Gin Blossoms, and
>of course the aforementioned Hootie to a list strewn with hiphop and rap
While I can't speak for chart positions in any of these cases, I think it's
safe to say that hip-hop has had both a long record of public acceptance
and a major pop-cultural impact on the world for more than five years. Was
(Not Was) certainly did okay in the mid-'80s ("Walk the Dinosaur" was all
over the place for a year or so, wasn't it?), and a good chunk of their
output blended hip-hop with R&B in a way not unlike the Fugees' work and
even the smoother end of stuff by Dr. Dre.The Beastie Boys had been doing
okay for years by that point... Public Enemy was opening up for *them* when
they first started drawing the ire of the media in the late '80s.
  All told, it's pretty easy to draw a line from disco to today's hip-hop
favourites, and about all that you'd have to change musically would be the
beats that are being accented (and maybe the pants). Lyrical focus will
change with the times, addressing what is important and what will sell in
varying measures, etc., etc.

...and then "l'anger east orb" <blue_machineAThotmail.com> wrote:
>Look at groups like Atari Teenage Riot, Autechre, Le Tigre, Add n to X,
>Outkast, or Magnetic Fields. Independent of their artistic merit, 1985 bands
>did not in anyway resemble these guys.
I don't think that it would take a particularly huge amount of logical
wrangling to jump from the '80s output of Elvis Costello, Arto Lindsay, or
even Talk Talk to something like Le Tigre or the Magnetic Fields. Atari
Teenage Riot sounds an awful lot to my ears like an updated version of John
Zorn's stuff from Locus Solus through to his hardcore bands in the late
'80s (Naked City, Pain Killer), etc. (If you're going to list "alternative"
stuff that a publication like The Wire won't raise its nose to, I think
it's fair to go as far afield as Zorn or Lindsay. In one way or another, I
think most of these people are/were all playing around with one pop
convention or another.)

What I'm not sure about here is how any of this ties into Don's pho rants
about how all types of music have been done in one way or another, a
statement with which I disagree pretty strongly. Sure, different sounds
will be tried at different times, and I guess it's possible to say that,
for example, The Guitar has been done to death, but does the fact that a
couple of guys have tracks based on genome patterns up on MP3.com mean that
gene-sequence music is now officially Done? What about music built around
phenomena that nobody has been able to experience yet, like the sound of a
collapsing star, or even the different atmospheric conditions of other
planets? Location recordings of a space as it collapses into a black hole?
Acoustic guitar as it resonates and collapses into that same black hole?
The *coherent* use of whale song, now that actual rhyming patterns have
been detected in it? The manipulation and cessation of biological processes
("snuff music"?)? Hell, what exactly would you call Mr. Bungle's "Goodbye
Sober Day"?
  Despite the fact that I think it's relatively easy to tie just about any
sort of music back to a variety of influences and predecessors, making it
just as easy to say that there's no significant difference between Music X
and Music Y, I also think there's still more than enough innovation and
curiosity left in the universe to keep pleasantly surprising people for a
few years to come.


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