Pradžia / Garsas / Sound

JOANNA DEMERS: There are too many playlists to count that feature vaporwave or synthpop

Joanna Demers writes both scholarly and creative works that explore philosophical issues in recent music. She is Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where she teaches courses on post-1945 popular and experimental music and aesthetics. Here's our 4th talk about music (2018 01 14).

Mindaugas Peleckis
2018 m. Vasario 12 d., 17:08
Skaityta: 50 k.
JOANNA DEMERS: There are too many playlists to count that feature vaporwave or synthpop

You can find other our talks here:

Many experiments from almost silence (John Cage, also many bands/musicians who insert "silence" in the middle of their albums, or sometimes in the end) to almost total noise (harsh noise, noise wall styles, many bands, especially Japanoise ones) have been made. Some musicians experimental with short waves, record under ice and in the forests, field recordings continue with various things - both live and non-live. There are even recordings from cosmos. There are various collaborations between schlager/pop musicians and, say, black metal ones (or cover bands like Death In Rome, which performs famous pop songs in the manner of Death In June). So, we can conclude that people are very creative and they have made a lot of interesting albums, songs, recordings. But... What next? Is there any sign STOP where all experiments shall end and musicians shall return to a creation of simple, but nice melody, simple, but catchy tune, rhythm? Isn't the music going backwards?  

I tend to think that we hear more about the fringe music than we would have twenty years ago. It may be that there's not quantitatively more limit-pushing music than there was before, but we hear about it more, and so conclude that most music know is preoccupied with the limits you mention (audibility; taste; genre).  

There seems to be a prevalence of mastery of style: compilations of newly composed music written in any microniche of pop music history. There are too many playlists to count that feature vaporwave or synthpop, for instance, and it's the same formula we've discussed, of recently composed nostalgia.
What is Your opinion about Eurovision? Why is it so popular that makes people go crazy? What unites them? The idea of single Europe? Or it's just an urban myth?

I'm not European and so come to Eurovision with a somewhat touristic perspective. It reminds me a bit of the American television show Hee Haw, from the 1970s, or local-access public television. The enthusiasm may have a lot to do with seeing one's local culture onstage. And yes, the ideal of a united Europe is mythic and compelling. That said, it's a delicate balance, because of the varying degrees of schlock and sincerity.  
Should bands sing in their native languages? Some of them say: well, in English we sound cool no matter what we are singing (despite an accent), and in our language it could sound stupid.

I like hearing people sing in their own languages, but again, I probably bring to the subject a touristic sensibility. I also find it charming when non-Anglophone singers sing in heavily-accented English. I certainly don't subscribe to any perceived supremacy of English. Being a product of the 1980s, I remember when English accents were very cool, at the beginning of the decade, to the point that some American singers would try to sound English. The converse of British Invasion-era singers who tried African-American accents, in other words. I was very pleasantly surprised, for instance, when Jimmy Fallon finally invited Philippe Katerine to The Tonight Show to perform "Moustache", and especially because Katerine performed it in French instead of English.
What is the future of music?

One current seems to be a type of pointilistic referencing of past styles (from the 1980s, often), often via one particular song.  
New Order's "Blue Monday", for instance, seems to have spawned a few dozen recent "synthpop" tracks; George Michael's
"Careless Whispers" has, too. 

Again, it doesn't seem so much like a future at first, because the sensibility is so concerned with the past. But it is able to cultivate territory through visiting, and revisiting again, moments we perhaps lived through too quickly the first time.