Retromania: Pop culture's Addiction to its Own Past. (New Simon Reynolds book).

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This is my two pennies worth from the blurb; it's pointless comparing the nostalgia for the "past" (the last few decades) with renaissance nostalgia for Greek antiquity, as in the long-term scheme of things, culture from the past few decades could be considered the early part of "now". I doubt that yo bros in the renaissance were early dismissing quality culture that appeared from thirty years ago (and if they were, that's fair enough - did you ever listen to da Vinci's New Romantic gear?).

I've seen it in your eyes and I've read it in blogs (King Boy Pato), Sunday, 24 April 2011 14:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

simon's thing at the emp conference was concerned with this and i was totally gonna steal his etsy owl fetish line if i could somewhere.

A very well-observed moment, that. Tracer started a thread on here about that whole style/approach and how he hates it.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 24 April 2011 14:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

speaking of nostalgia, simon introduced me to the dude who wrote those awesome books on disco/arthur russell. love that dude! those are my kind of history books. that's really the time i'm most interested in. now anyway.

scott seward, Sunday, 24 April 2011 14:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

I don't think your way is "wrong," Ned (and haha very funny at your asking that, as if you even consider it a real question), but it seems like awfully quantitative way of listening. One thing that has impressed me in the last few years is that I get at least as much enjoyment out of listening to the same things many times as I do trying to keep up with (areas of) the new, or trying to semi-systematically dig through the past. But that's me. And there will be phases, so sometimes I might go through lots of material really quickly; but I have to say I've been finding that unsatisfying lately.

Khalifa Hilter (_Rudipherous_), Sunday, 24 April 2011 14:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

(But as far as the theme of the Reynolds book, I just can't get all hand-wringy about it.)

Khalifa Hilter (_Rudipherous_), Sunday, 24 April 2011 15:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

Wow that is a shit cover.

popular gay automobile (a hoy hoy), Sunday, 24 April 2011 15:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

think that's the UK cover and this is the US one:

markers, Sunday, 24 April 2011 15:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

it seems like awfully quantitative way of listening

I think I would see it that way if I actually set myself to listen to x amount of songs or albums a day -- which I don't. (Some days I might listen to a slew of albums, other days not even a song or two.) I think for me it's more of a 'well what else is out there?' impulse that kicks in as it does.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 24 April 2011 15:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

US cover is much worse than the UK one.

that's not funny. (unperson), Sunday, 24 April 2011 15:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

Maybe, but at least the US cover looks like someone spent more than 5 seconds on it (not much more than 5 seconds, mind).

grill 'em bake 'em fry 'em burn 'em (snoball), Sunday, 24 April 2011 15:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

I love Simon Reynolds but this is kind of a silly question, technology encourages people to re-connect with their past. We have a habit of thinking of pop culture as disposable or even embarrassing, but something that is "tacky" becomes an antique twenty or thirty years later!

Castle Law! (u s steel), Sunday, 24 April 2011 16:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

Going back to the '80s, the mod and garage revival happening then (and this is 25-30 years ago already) always felt very contemporary to me and I can think of a few reasons why. Naturally, there were lots of stylistic derivations where influences that were not a part of the original style were incorporated, sometimes to great effect. But then I think of a band like the Tell-Tale Hearts, who were probably one of the most stylistically strict groups, and I still see them as being an '80s group. That's because, for one thing, no one would have thought to be so strict about style in that way in the '60s, but also because being strict like they were was a bit of a punk thing, which was very of its time.

Humans evolve and generations are always very different!

timellison, Sunday, 24 April 2011 16:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

I wonder what the point is going to be, ultimately - that there will be a point where people will stop being influenced by everything that has happened before them and leave everything that we know as music behind? No more of the song structures that have been used until now, no more currently known instruments, no more predetermined key? But then the second artist who does something like that will have been influenced by the first, so er... ?

StanM, Sunday, 24 April 2011 16:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

Going back to the '80s, the mod and garage revival happening then (and this is 25-30 years ago already) always felt very contemporary to me and I can think of a few reasons why. Naturally, there were lots of stylistic derivations where influences that were not a part of the original style were incorporated, sometimes to great effect.

My favorite memories are riding in my grandpa's car listening to easy listening radio. He had the power windows and velour seats before everyone else, his stereo sounded great.

Castle Law! (u s steel), Sunday, 24 April 2011 17:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

that's not funny. (unperson), Sunday, 24 April 2011 18:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

Whoops, wrong thread.

that's not funny. (unperson), Sunday, 24 April 2011 18:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

I bet Michael Henderson *is* addicted to his own past.

bendy, Sunday, 24 April 2011 19:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

Just finished reading it. It's a fucking fine read. Probably the best book he's written in some respects. ILX gets bogged up in it.

PG Harpy (Doran), Sunday, 24 April 2011 22:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

really? does he make fun of my thud-rock thread?

scott seward, Sunday, 24 April 2011 22:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

Bigged up. Sorry. Goddamn iPhone spell check.

PG Harpy (Doran), Sunday, 24 April 2011 22:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

He complains that Deej doesn't post enough hip hop youtubes set in wheel trim shops.

PG Harpy (Doran), Sunday, 24 April 2011 22:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

whenever i go on my facebook simon is posting pub rock videos. ah youth.

scott seward, Sunday, 24 April 2011 22:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

i will read this. this is my kinda thing. i actually have opinions about this sorta thing.

scott seward, Sunday, 24 April 2011 22:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

I don't think I will read this - he's had interesting things to say in the past but I can't really connect with how he sees things. This whole idea of retromania or permanent retro I don't really get at all. I think maybe it makes sense if you have that thing of the endless turnover of subgenres which he likes, but I can't connect with that idea. Like for something to be retro requires leaving and returning, I just see things as all part of a whole. But then i have problems with the idea of 'progress' or 'future' in electronic (or any) music anyway

I think this idea of music turning back in on itself or whatever only really makes sense if you priviledge notions of progress (whatever that means) in the first place

cherry blossom, Sunday, 24 April 2011 22:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

"Evolution" would be more of a neutral term than "progress."

timellison, Sunday, 24 April 2011 23:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm interested in the book and will probably read it, but from my POV I'm confused by its premise. I'm with Eliot, who wrote "Time present and time past/are both perhaps present in time future." Lately I've been obsessed with the Association, Dwight Yoakam, and the new tune-YARDS. I don't think of Old Music vs New Music; part of being a listener is to open oneself to a continual seduction by historical forces.

My mom is all about capital gains tax butthurtedness (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 25 April 2011 00:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

Music has to be from the past, though, to be part of our cultural lore. It doesn't enter into that realm until we recognize that it's gone.

timellison, Monday, 25 April 2011 00:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

i blame sha na na. come to think of it, growing up in the 70's, i couldn't really get away from the 50's. the 50's were everywhere. and to be fair, there has been an 80's revival going on since 1990. even people in the 60's eventually got over their fetish for the 20's. but do you know what i REALLY hate? movies from the 30's and 40's set in the gay 90's.

scott seward, Monday, 25 April 2011 00:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

it would be kinda of nice though if things DID go away for awhile. nothing goes away anymore.

scott seward, Monday, 25 April 2011 00:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

TS Eliot OTM

donut pitch (m coleman), Monday, 25 April 2011 00:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

and the first thing I thought of reading this was the 50s nostalgia craze in the mid 70s - people thought that was the death knell of pop culture too

donut pitch (m coleman), Monday, 25 April 2011 00:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

who said "the past is forever present"? someone said that i think.

scott seward, Monday, 25 April 2011 00:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

things used to be more disposable. in a sense. years ago. people got rid of their kid stuff. not anymore. every lame goddamn thing you ever half remember is right there for you to look at whenever you feel like it. that has to change something in the air.

scott seward, Monday, 25 April 2011 00:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

and i just figure almost every moment of recorded history - tape, vinyl, wax cylinder, film, etc - is up for grabs now and forever. people didn't have that kind of access in the boring old days. all i had were robert klein albums where he would go on and on about playing stickball as a kid. now i can actually buy vintage stickballs and histories of stickball and it goes on and on and i can devote my life to writing songs about arcane street games of the 19th and 20th century if i wanted to. the past is alluring. especially if you look out the window. you ever see what's out there? i mean, can you blame people?

scott seward, Monday, 25 April 2011 00:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

and as far as the blurb for the book goes, no, there is no end to the past. there really isn't. you could never use it all up. ask writers. they'll tell you. writing is all about reading the past. why wouldn't music be?

scott seward, Monday, 25 April 2011 00:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

there has been an 80's revival going on since 1990

I first became aware of it with this album, which came out in '96, by which time the early '80s signifiers were distinctly retro, were distinctly of the past.

timellison, Monday, 25 April 2011 00:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

I've always thought of eighties revivalism as ramping up around 1997 - early nu-electro (e.g. IF), indie synth pop revivalism (e.g. The Pulsars), "Your Woman" at the top of the charts.

The only early 90s eighties revivalism I can think of is The Magnetic Fields. What else?

Tim F, Monday, 25 April 2011 00:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

US cover is much worse than the UK one.

I was about to disagree, but then I saw the apostrophes in the years.

jaymc, Monday, 25 April 2011 00:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

The alt-rock radio station I listened to in the early '90s had (ca. 1993-94) an '80s hour every day at noon, in which they played mostly college-rock/new-wave stuff like the Violent Femmes or the B-52s or Wall of Voodoo.

jaymc, Monday, 25 April 2011 01:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

"The only early 90s eighties revivalism I can think of is The Magnetic Fields. What else?"

well there was a carry over from the 80's to the 90's, but new people making goth and industrial and ebm and other 80's strains ran with the 80's sounds. not strictly retro but similar enough and most of their inspiration was 80's-derived.

scott seward, Monday, 25 April 2011 01:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

kinda like how younger people (or non-western people from japan or south america who came to the party late) started making '68 psych in '72.

scott seward, Monday, 25 April 2011 01:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

well there was a carry over from the 80's to the 90's, but new people making goth and industrial and ebm and other 80's strains ran with the 80's sounds. not strictly retro but similar enough and most of their inspiration was 80's-derived.

Not really revivalism though, right? Like, it's more the equivalent of post-Nickleback bands always still sounding like 1997, yeah?

Tim F, Monday, 25 April 2011 01:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

okay i'm bored and being critical but thats okay cuz critics can be critical right? but this from the blurb just keeps sticking out:

"and that although earlier eras had their own obsessions with antiquity - the Renaissance with its admiration for Roman and Greek classicism, the Gothic movement's invocations of medievalism"

soooooooooooo, correct me if i'm wrong, but both the renaisssance and old school goth were periods of, like, 300+ years? can you really even judge the modern pop era yet? there was a whole lot of friggin' derivative lute music going around for a loooooooooooong time way back when.

scott seward, Monday, 25 April 2011 01:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

Haha -- the eighties revival on my college radio station started in '93! A year after the first Living in Oblivion comp. A Flock of Seagulls, Adam Ant, Romeo Void, Spandau Ballet, etc were already taxonomized as "eighties."

My mom is all about capital gains tax butthurtedness (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 25 April 2011 01:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

"Not really revivalism though, right?"

right, but music identified with an earlier time. using the sounds and techniques of that time. like dixieland bands in the 40s and 50s. there were people who played it at the time of its origin and there were younger people in dixieland revival bands. just as there were younger industrial and goth people in the 90's and beyond who aren't strictly speaking nostalgia acts but whose music will always be identified with an earlier time.

scott seward, Monday, 25 April 2011 01:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

I mean contemporary artists signifying "eighties" in an explicitly revivalist sense.

soooooooooooo, correct me if i'm wrong, but both the renaisssance and old school goth were periods of, like, 300+ years? can you really even judge the modern pop era yet? there was a whole lot of friggin' derivative lute music going around for a loooooooooooong time way back when.

Without knowing enough about these eras to comment, I think it's probably fair to postulate that:

(a) the past becomes "the past" culturally much faster now than ever before;
(b) the cycles of revivalism have also sped up over the last 40 years or so, and now double over each other; but
(c) such revivals are still "revivals" (at least initially) and so can be distinguished from, say, periods of slow development of largely derivative music; and certainly
(d) having regard to the above, creates a dynamic rather distinct from previous historical obsessions with the past, such that the answer "but revivalism has always and will always be with us" does not dissolve the point of difference the writer is trying to capture.

Tim F, Monday, 25 April 2011 01:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

The past becomes "the past" much faster as we age, and we're all at or approaching Simon's age.

My mom is all about capital gains tax butthurtedness (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 25 April 2011 01:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah, i mean the evolution of sound and music in the 20th century was so blindingly fast, like a mad race, and its kinda crazy to think that it would keep that speed up. people's brains need time to grow more and also internalize all the stuff that happened in the last 100 years. a lot happened!

scott seward, Monday, 25 April 2011 01:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

right, but music identified with an earlier time. using the sounds and techniques of that time. like dixieland bands in the 40s and 50s. there were people who played it at the time of its origin and there were younger people in dixieland revival bands. just as there were younger industrial and goth people in the 90's and beyond who aren't strictly speaking nostalgia acts but whose music will always be identified with an earlier time.

Again, though, isn't that distinct from the notion of "retro" in terms of travelling back in time to bring something back to the present?

Like, Phil Collins doing "You Can't Hurry Love" in the 80s was "retro", Marillion crafting odes to Selling England By The Pound was not.

The key difference being an essentially unbroken line of continuity in the second case, with the implied underlying statement "this sound has not changed (substantially) and ought not to change."

Whereas retro always carries with it the implicit acknowledgment of jumping back over all sorts of contrary developments in between.

Tim F, Monday, 25 April 2011 01:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

hmmm, i'll have to think about that. phil's cover always seemed very much of its time to me!

scott seward, Monday, 25 April 2011 01:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

And don't forget that the old west and cowboys were hugely popular in the 1950s. Certainly since the advent of TV, and probably radio, the people running the stations have had their childhoods (or their parents childhoods) reflected in the mediums.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 14 April 2012 00:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'd hazard a guess that astronaut/sci-fi themed culture was equal in proportion to the westerns. Also, you could interpret the 1950s-western as merely American hegemony taking a post-war victory lap or alternatively as comfort food for a spooked American hegemony in the throes of uncertainty.

Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Saturday, 14 April 2012 00:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

all of this shit is just making me think even more that there is no such thing as retromania its all just made up and depends where you stand on the hillside as to how far away things appear to be

coal, Saturday, 14 April 2012 01:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

^ think this is p otm, though it probably comes & goes in waves, like most things

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Saturday, 14 April 2012 07:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

Agreed. In the LA Review of Books podcast interview Reynolds talks a bit about moving to Los Angeles and finding Hollywood filled with fake nostalgia and I wondered a bit about how much of his crankiness is fueled by his move.

Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Saturday, 14 April 2012 07:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

eh it's not just nostalgia and revivalism he's talking about, which yeah happens in every era, but a lack of innovation and originality compared to previous decades - which I think he has a point on (well ...actually i'm seeing some mutation in certain undergrounds but not in the mainstream, which at best is 'now' at times but not exactly new)

Chris S, Saturday, 14 April 2012 08:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm not critiquing the idea that this is particularly retro-besotted era (those come and go), just Reynolds' location of 1965 as musical pop retro's ground zero.

On that note, from the liner notes to Nashville - The Early String Bands Vol. 2 (Country Records, 1976):

Radio came to Nashville in fall of 1925. It didn't take Nashville radio stations long to find out that old-time music had considerable audience appeal. Two years before, Atlanta had begun broadcasting artists like Fiddlin' John Carson, Clayton McMichen and Riley Puckett, and 1924 saw the establishment of the National Barn Dance on Chicago radio. Recordings by fiddlers and old-time singers, which major companies had started making in 1923, were selling handsomely in the South. Henry Ford was sponsoring old-time fiddle contests at every Ford dealership in the South and Mid-West, and arguing in his magazine that America's morals could be revitalized by reviving the old tunes and the old dances to replace "jazz songs".

- Charles Wolfe, Dec. 1975

This passage suggests that "retromania" has existed approximately as long as radio and what we now think of as "country music" in America, and that it's popularity in America has not a little to do with the history of race relations in this country.

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Saturday, 14 April 2012 18:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

Matt DC are you saying nevermind had no cultural impact in the UK or the US? cuz if you mean the UK i guess i'll have to believe you if you say so

but if you're saying the US, you are straight up crazy.

― amada thuggindiss (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, July 27, 2011 4:27 PM (8 months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Weird comment either side of the Atlantic I think. Thought Nevermind pretty instantly became the lp that everybody was playing. That was right in the middle of my band following hitching era. Used to be that if somebody put you up on tour you'd often discover records that you hadn't heard before being played to you then suddenly seemingly everybody was playing that.
& from the proliferation of Nirvana tshirts that were around for the next couple of years it did seem very widespread. Seemed to be a band whose tshirt that was on a lot of 17 year olds from that point on

Stevolende, Sunday, 15 April 2012 15:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yea ok I guess that Victorian schtick was kind of a thing in haight-ashbury also?
Very true, but it seemed like a local phenomenon though... Almost as if the old SF Victorian architecture made everyone want to dress up like the gold miners and cowboys who were there a hundred years earlier.

― Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Friday, April 13, 2012 9:13 PM (2 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Possibly more directly a fashion begun by the members of the Charlatans?
The band that started the local rock scene and also had members who owned antique outlets.
From what I've seen of the styles of the time Victoriana was just one of several, Cowboys, Indians, Valentino-esque arabs and various other film stereotypes being among the more dressy-uppy. I think more prevalent was a style they referred to as 'mod' which was a warped take on Carnaby street and tends to be what you see bands like Jefferson Airplane & the Grateful Dead wearing. doesn't seem to come directly from actual mod but took its name from there.

& thinking of mod it has always struck me as deeply strange that a style (or set of them) that was constantly changing and trying to keep itself as cutting edge as possible should become something stereotypically retro

Stevolende, Sunday, 15 April 2012 19:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

strange that a style (or set of them) that was constantly changing and trying to keep itself as cutting edge as possible should become something stereotypically retro

yeah, but the most self-consciously "up to date" things always date the fastest and usually become what we remember as retro

BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Sunday, 15 April 2012 19:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

8 months pass...

this book is dumb imo

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Wednesday, 2 January 2013 21:18 (1 year ago) Permalink

"I posed the question on I Love Music, the hyper-intelligent discussion board"

vs

hey how about instead you eat my ass you clueless cum bubble

― simon trife (simon_tr), Thursday, September 26, 2002 12:31 AM (10 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

finally rich, fun-packed, fulfilling (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 2 January 2013 21:23 (1 year ago) Permalink

The library has this book, but I've never gotten around to reading it.

this will surprise many (Nicole), Wednesday, 2 January 2013 21:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

feeling nostalgic for the time when i read this book.

tylerw, Wednesday, 2 January 2013 21:31 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah, this book is really dumb. As usual he is good at writing condensed histories of bands, scenes or whatever but his theorizing wavers between being utter bullshit or else so totally OTM that it amounts to stating the bleeding obvious.

everything, Wednesday, 2 January 2013 21:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

well tbf after twenty pages i decided to sleep instead but

i. the preface's eliza-carthy-vs-joanna-newsom opposition is problematic -- claiming that carthy feels free to make the kind of record she does because she relates to folk as a living tradition whilst 'freak folk' only works on the basis of record collecting is ... problematic? i mean, yes, i like newsom and don't care for carthy but i don't think reynolds genuinely gives a shit about either, and if he did he'd have realised this makes a bad example.

'it's in her blood' is an icky argument for carthy -- like, any agency she might possess is just thrown out already. meanwhile to claim that yr average freak folk band consists of listening to records from the 70s and tries to Do That is ... silly, i know devendra banhart sings like a young marc bolan but the musical DNA of the thing as the whole is far more to do with the living tradition of jam bands obv --

but then this is also to ignore the fact that 70s folk is itself already in a deeply complicated relationship with the past, is basically forced to invent its own past as it modernises

but then you don't even need to go there, just ... does simon reynolds go to a sunburned hand of the man gig or listen to 'have one on me' and think "yes nothing original is taking place here" because at this point i just totally cease to trust his ears

ii. and then having failed to define his case he sets out to investigate it by narrating in the first person some recent experiences of his own in museums and suchlike -- i know the anecdotal recourse to stuff that's already been on the blog or in the paper is nice for composing a book but i think recalling one's own recent experiences is a bad motor for a book proposing to investigate the notion that recall of one's own &/or the culture's recent experiences has become a (cough cough) cultural dominant

iii. there's, like, two index references to jameson, try harder

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Wednesday, 2 January 2013 22:20 (1 year ago) Permalink

I thought it was entertaining.
Was like reading a 500 page-long old Momus blog post or something (if you're into that kinda thing).

mr.raffles, Thursday, 3 January 2013 03:08 (1 year ago) Permalink

I'm a hundred pages into it. The beginning is kinda rough, as most of his points are pretty obvious, especially if you've read his blogs or interviews. I'm hoping it will get better and more about specifik artists.

Frederik B, Thursday, 3 January 2013 11:33 (1 year ago) Permalink

I think general consensus is it's a good read so long as you take the initial premise with a pinch of salt. Luckily most of this is in the beginning and final chapters, so it's easy to do.

besides Sunny Real Estate (dog latin), Thursday, 3 January 2013 12:32 (1 year ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

p. 26-31: reynolds points out that the 'i love the __s' documentaries are banal, with wholly cosmetic reference to derrida

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 20 January 2013 02:08 (1 year ago) Permalink

p32-3: barry hogan cited as an authority on the economics of rock music

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 20 January 2013 02:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

p33-34: "Musician/critic Momus railed against the 'museumification' of pop, comparing it to the way that classical music has a repertory of 'venerated masterpieces' that are endlessly reinterpreted."

...

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 20 January 2013 02:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

"Mitchell and Forsyth and Pollard were forthcoming and engaged about all these 'how' aspects of their re-enactment projects. But somehow the 'why' kept eluding us in our conversations. The same thing happened when I checked out art criticism on this subject, which left me with little more than a vague impression that the work was timely and resonant."

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 20 January 2013 02:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

"But what's really significant isn't so much the 'total recall' as the instant access that the Web's cultural databases make possible. In the pre-Internet era, there was already way more information and culture than any individual could digest. But most of this culture data and culture matter was stashed out of our everyday reach, in libraries, museums and galleries. Nowadays search engines have obliterated the delays involved in searching through a library's murky, maze-like stacks."

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 20 January 2013 02:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

best way to read this is as reynolds trying to externalise his own midlife crisis + read its features on the culture at large, i think -- when you personally stop practising exegesis and just process cultural developments as a series of trends it's easy to imagine that the trends that are going on are uniquely empty of semantic content -- what's funny is how when he actually bestirs himself to *think* about the modes of past-obsessed music (like in the section on nico muhly and ohneotrix point never) it sounds like it is doing something interesting, vital, original

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 20 January 2013 13:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

suspicions:

i. the global archive existed in our heads before it was a reality, which is why none of the stuff he isolates is exactly *new*
ii. it took a decade or two longer for the situation to become as obvious in pop music (by which i mean 'everything except improv and classical') because it's impossible to make 'historical pop music' in the same way as it is possible to make a 'historical film' or write a 'historical novel' -- so pop music appeared to continue to do 'new things'
iii. addiction to the novum, as an aesthetic mode, is as much a symptom of culture under capitalism as dependence on pastiche

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 20 January 2013 13:11 (1 year ago) Permalink

Tell me that quote from Momus was laughed at by Reynolds.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 20 January 2013 13:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

no!!

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 20 January 2013 14:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

his cultural myopia is astounding : ipod, therefore i am a "pilgrim's progress for the twenty-first century music fanatic"

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 20 January 2013 14:56 (1 year ago) Permalink

this two pages after he's ragging on paul morley for sounding too much like a wired writer who refers to steve jobs 'building his brand like michelangelo painted the sistine chapel' ( = from a scaffold, presumably)

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 20 January 2013 14:57 (1 year ago) Permalink

whatever.

i'm enjoying this so far. only 'wha?' moment for me was when he lumped 'naturals' in as a retro porn fad.

sometimes tits are just tits, man.

gnarly_sceptre (+ +), Sunday, 20 January 2013 20:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

thanks for yr contribution to the thread

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 20 January 2013 21:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

feel like this belongs in here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/03/pop-culture-past-growing-faster-present
not entirely sure what his point is, though! the 12-year-olds-think-rodriguez-is-bob-dylan comment is pretty lol-some though.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 February 2013 17:49 (1 year ago) Permalink

this belongs here too, i suppose: http://www.seattleweekly.com/2013-02-06/music/why-we-can-t-leave-the-90s/
i dunno, this all ends up depressing me, like i should feel guilty for enjoying reissues of old stuff. why? should i feel guilty about reading henry james? [not to say that's the authors of these pieces' intention, but whenever i read this stuff, that's how i end up feeling. think about my feelings.]

tylerw, Thursday, 7 February 2013 17:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

Yesterday I read an interesting anecdote about Paul Weller. Apparently an early review accused him of being a "revivalist" because of the clear debt owed to Pete Townshend. He cut it out, stuck it on a piece of cardboard and below it wrote "How can I be a fucking revivalist when I'm only 18?".

This struck me in particular because he was "reviving" a style that was less than 10 years old! I was a child of the 70s and a teenager of the 80s, and in retrospect culture was certainly moving very fast but can you imagine being accused of revising something from 2004 today?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 7 February 2013 18:53 (1 year ago) Permalink

no, in part because we're pretty conscious of what every 2004 artist was reviving themselves

da croupier, Thursday, 7 February 2013 19:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

the 12-year-olds-think-rodriguez-is-bob-dylan comment is pretty lol-some though.

not really related but it made me think of when Dylan went to china a couple years back and the young folks in the audience were singing along way more to his newer stuff than the old classics. Thought that was pretty cool.

brimstead, Thursday, 7 February 2013 20:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

i'm guilty of overrating some things because they have a compelling back story or w/e, but ... who cares? back story is part of the fun. i think at this point, that rodriguez album is probably overrated. it's good but not THE MOST AMAZING RECORD YOU NEVER HEARD or anything. but that doesn't mean it's not a fun thing to listen to/think about/etc.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 February 2013 20:09 (1 year ago) Permalink


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