The music/internet joke subculture "seapunk" started its short life in mid-2011, as a sleepy 4am overshare from the well-thumbed iPhone of a Brooklyn DJ. Julian Foxworth (AKA Lil Internet)'s tweet about a "seapunk leather jacket with barnacles where the studs used to be" sparked a wave of nautical in-jokes, as well as inspiring a collective of musicians to make loopy, bloopy tracks. … [Read more...] about Seapunk: scenester in-joke or underground art movement?
Experimental underground music
It was a “return to the womb” at a time when there was plenty for my generation to be upset about. Between 2007 and 2010, the recession would put 8.7 million out of work in America, and millions more abroad, making it impossible for many of my peers to imagine a life of gainful employment. In the summer of chillwave alone, General Motors filed for bankruptcy, Bernie Madoff went to prison for defrauding thousands of investors and, to top it all off, Michael Jackson died. Writing for Flavorwire in 2012, Tom Hawking decried chillwave as a distinctly “middle-class” music, the cultural equivalent of “placing of your hands over your eyes and ears and imagining your happy place”. Looking back I am struck by this music’s preoccupation with the trappings of suburban middle-class life, or some remembered version of it: pizza and Slurpies and microwave TV dinners; tropical beach vacations and sepia lake-house memories; moving back in with your parents, … [Read more...] about Chillwave: a momentary microgenre that ushered in the age of nostalgia
This forward-thinking spirit had already started to infect pop. David Bowie adored Kraftwerk, writing the track V-2 Schneider for his 1977 album Heroes (the band would namecheck him back on Trans-Europe Express). African American DJs also found an odd kinship with the Germans. Keen to find a new musical language, they were familiar with the urban sounds Kraftwerk were using; 1978's The Robots became particularly influential on the dancefloor, and in the burgeoning B-Boy and breakdancing scenes. Afrika Bambaataa fused the melody of Trans-Europe Express and the rhythm of 1981's Numbers to create Planet Rock, one of hip-hop's pioneering tracks. Trailblazing electro group Cybotron used a loop from 1977's Hall of Mirrors; its founder, Juan Atkins, would create techno, and from there came modern dance culture. … [Read more...] about Why Kraftwerk are still the world’s most influential band
Franz Ferdinand is a band whose sound evolved from the dancefloor at Optimo, and their drummer Paul Thomson was an enthusiastic attendee. “I’d seen the posters around Glasgow, the Robert Mapplethorpe image where he’s holding the rifle, and already I wanted to know what it was,” he says. “DMX Krew were on the first time I went, and Keith and Jonnie were playing Joy Division and Starpower by Sonic Youth with a four-to-the-floor kick drum powering through it. There was no snobbery, they genuinely wanted to share information with as many people as possible. You went down with the intention of hearing something you’d never heard before, be it Green Velvet or Nancy & Lee or ESG or Underground Resistance. It broadened my understanding of what music could do to you physically and emotionally, and we brought a lot of that to Franz Ferdinand. Even lyrically, the characters in the songs were all of that world.” … [Read more...] about Cult heroes: Optimo (Espacio) – the club night that defied expectation and defined a generation
"Yeah, we're vibrating all the time!" David Borden is chuckling. Founder of 1960s synth ensemble Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company and friend of Bob Moog, inventor of the famous Moog synthesiser, he's laughing at the suggestion that analogue synths are still so beloved because the brain is also brimming with electrical signals. Maybe there's some subconscious resonance going on? "It's life itself; everything is in motion. Weird, isn't it?" … [Read more...] about Dark side of the Moog