Sunday, 28 August 2011

Simon Reynolds, 'Retromania.'

Simon Reynolds, 'Retromania,' is an exploration of a culture gone mad for nostalgia, whether it's bands reforming, albums being re-issued, remakes, tributes or mash ups.

The liner notes read:
But what happens when we run out of past? Are we heading toward a sort of culturalecological catastrophe where the archival stream of pop history has been exhausted?


It's actually a fantastic read for all enthusiasts of music culture, pop culture & the far outer reaches of all things obscure. It's meticulous, it's pedantic - There's an orgy of music, books, films, labels & blogs, I plan to Google at a later date. But even I found holes in his argument.

What surprises me most about Reynolds vast thesis, is his absolute failure to recognise the revolution in home technology & how this affected the culture of music, record labels, DJs across the world.

Programmes like Logic Pro, Pro-Tools & Garage Band have transformed the process for how music is made. There has never been more choice or malleability in Music Production from the world of VST plug ins to inventive software such as Max MSP.

Towards the end of the book, Reynolds rather flippantly skims through a number of more recent genres. But rather than an analysis of why they're not good enough, he winds up sounding like an extra on 'grumpy old men.'

It's easy to bang on about the importance & rise in social media & how this plays in the lives of 21stC artists. There again this is completely ignored throughout the book.

There is an entire movement of interactive art & galleries such as my mates, The Bitforms Gallery in Chelsea, NYC who specialise in digital art.

I even collaborated with Internationally renowned Interactive Artist Oscar Sol at The Whitechapel Gallery last year -

Retromania also reminded me of the amount of Musicians/Performers/Artists/Designers & DJs have nothing to do with employing retro or nostalgia at all. Just check out my 'Favourites' bar to the side of this page  I'm lucky enough to be mates with most of them.

You can check out the work of Patrick Wolf, Simon Bookish, Ada Zanditon, Leafcutter John, PlanningtoRock & Luke DuBois. This is only a small role call of mates. There are thousands of them out there in the world.

Reynold's does try to end on a positive note. 'I still believe the future is out there.'
Yes Simon Reynolds - it's out there and amongst us.
And We're living proof.

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