STAFF 2012 WRAP UPS: KATE
Posted by Kate Magoc
A lot of you probably don’t know me ‘cause I’ve never written anything on LFTF before. But I’m going to take this opportunity to introduce myself, give you a sliver of my tastes and tell you what I think about the musical happenings of 2012.
For someone who listens, thinks and writes about music on such a regular basis that it’s become as routine as brushing my teeth, the idea of tackling what’s happened in the entire past year is daunting. The Internet has affected all of our attention spans anyway so I wonder for how long I even have yours, or my own for that matter. I’m already itching to check my Google Reader to see what sounds the blogs have unearthed for my ears this morning. That habit is certainly not unique to the year 2012 but, for me, it was heightened this year. In retrospect, I actually think I made a subconscious New Year’s Resolution last year to be better at organizing the cacophony that is my cultural Internet fodder.
Like an addict, the past several years had me frantically consuming and exploring as much as I possibly could. But after all the excess without order and a continuous attempt at commenting on all that I was hearing in the world of electronic music, the addiction quickly turned tiresome. I realized that if I wanted to write about this stuff, I needed to set parameters and I needed to understand what fell inside of them as well as outside of them. I determined those by focusing on the sounds I like and tried to understand why I like them but did so without ignoring the ones I don’t necessarily like. That led to a concentration on the historically converging worlds of house and techno and all of its current manifestations. But I never set aside sounds like trap, Bmore Club, R&B, rap, dubstep, indie rock or new classical for that matter. I love what I love but in order to tell music’s story, all the sounds are important.
One of my most listened to albums this year was Simian Mobile Disco’s “Unpatterns,” a testament to that organic convergence between techno and house with a disco dressing. I also devoured Blawan’s “His He She & She” time after time and was thus sent spiraling into his backlog. That led to a craving for new techno sounds. I was subsequently turned onto France’s Gessafelstein and Brodinski, which in turn circles back to what I said about including the categories of sounds that I wasn’t quite as interested in. Brodinski is one techno artist who you’ll actually find mixing trap into his sets. There’s something about context that has me loving it yet still uninspired to dig it up and waste precious hard drive space with it. If that all sounded like a bunch of names annoyingly threaded together by a music journalist, don’t worry about it. All you need to know is that, with music, everything circles back and we all have our own circles in a giant ven diagram.
Though some of my tastes tend to be on the fringes, I also listened to LOL Boys’ “Changes,” Sinjin Hawke’s “The Lights” and Cosmic Revenge’s “Palace Gates” all incessantly, all mostly not at will. Cosmic Revenge’s “Damn Girl” became something of an anthem in DJ sets and mixes. And tracks by artists like Salva, Baauer and Flosstradamas were heard the Internet over. If you’re reading this then I can probably assume that you know some of those names. They’re popular, a new kind of popular. They’re part of a pop ethos that’s not Rhianna or whoever won American Idol last year. They’re the popular of the Internet. And while I’ll admit, I know very little about what’s on the Billboard Top 100, I know that a collab between Flosstradamus and rapper, Danny Brown, about hitting it from the back would never make the list. There are different constituents in popular music and in the one that lets Danny Brown become a huge success, there are just less taboos and a lot more drum machines.
Oftentimes I hear people in the scene speaking to a concern about over-using a sound, about giving into hype or being too influenced by a certain few voices. Now, more than ever, people want to be in control of their own tastes and they often do so at the expense of ignoring the greater cultural conversation. To that I simply ask, why? Listen to what you love and understand why you love it. But don’t ignore the hype just because it’s hype. There will always be an artist working within a genre you may find to be overblown who’s doing incredible things with it. Seek them out and hold them up as an example as to why genre doesn’t matter. And by all means, don’t take this stuff too seriously. We’re all in this for the fun of it. We’re all addicts.