Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Sonic Fatigue and the Craving for Clarity

As many commentators have cautioned, (myself included), contemporary digital listening practices can be hazardous to your musical health. Recent voracious downloading of much intriguing youthful new music has resulted in intense aural fatigue, and an inability to process complete recordings - even single tracks. I'd say that it's the process that's chiefly responsible, overenthusiastic press hype and promo is partly to blame, but the music itself is responsible for its own effects.

Consequently I'm suffering an exhaustion with all things fresh, young and hip - synths, arpeggios, delay, haze, pastiche, irony, the know-it-all jaded world-weariness pervading Altered Zones; all the clued-up wide-arc influence and diverse underground sampladelica with the ceaseless winking chummy irony, and the get-out-of-jail-free card of crackle, surface noise and washed out shoegaze moire obscuring all obscure reference and contemporising all dated source material... it's made me feel tired, and old. The latter particularly in this old-man need craving for cleaner, purer, and more earnest music. And this is what's hit the spot:

Bernard Gunther: Time Dreaming Itself (Trente Oisseaux)
Pristine lowercase drones. Nothing on youtube but this is comparable:

Morton Feldman: Palais de Mari
Just piano, and silence.

Buck Owens: Hello Trouble
Shimmering Bakersfield country. Ironic too but not arrogant - speaks to its audience, not down to them. And such an ordered, finished product.

But there's only so much pleasure to be had in historic cleanliness. I'll get to grips with what the kids are up to and speak of modern things later...

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