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A Magazine for
Sound

Progression.

"Do you ever feel like a plastic bag?" It's a quandary whose true meaning resonates through the annals of time, back to the widely accepted dawn of intentionality; an era that cultivated a symbiotic relationship between abstract thought and expression and is widely accepted to be mankind's first awakening; a time 60,000 years before Katy Perry was widely accepted as a credible musician. A simpler time. A better time. Like a Latin breakcore cover album, the music that existed 60 millennia ago wasn't exactly Mercury Award material. It leaned fairly heavily toward the percussive persuasion, but it was expressive and musical nonetheless. Give it a few years for civilisation to simmer and Robert's your mother's brother - culture. I'm paraphrasing somewhat but I'm on a word budget here. Music is intrinsically affected by society and other artistic mediums. Take whichever abominable wretch writes Perry's ditties as an example. At some point they more than likely flicked over to Film4 after a long day drowning puppies, caught the last 45 minutes of American Beauty and had a brain fart. The paradox here is that music has a profound influence on society too. It's like some sort of causal loop system where an inanimate plastic bag sings songs about itself. The relationship between music and societal change has been apparent throughout the ages. Think of a period in modern history and the music that defined that time is sure to follow. We define experiences by decade. Think of the 60s and 90% of you will instinctively hear The Beatles. This is because the music and politics of the time became one, like stirring jam into warm rice pudding. Look back to the 19th century and you see the intellectual ideals of Romanticism reflected in the music of its time. The expressive and emotive Romantic era of classical composition saw its stars become scholars and the people unite as aristocratic ideals were scrapped and the music handed back to the middle classes. It was an important time for both musical and political awakenings as they both found ways to influence and manipulate each other. The punk rock movement that infected the 70s was a callout to the tame, watered down music the world had settled for and quickly became the soundtrack to mass rebellion. The youths were revolting in every sense. The punk subculture that grew out of it was fueled by palpable disdain for anything establishment flavoured. The movement taught many to boycott convention and made the oft ignored youth of the time a true force to be reckoned with and their official soundtrack something to be remembered. The 90s saw the advent of the Spice Girls and saw someone finally do something about women's rights. The nation saw a harem of shrieking tossers single handedly shatter the glass ceiling, and perform their post modern take on the selfless work of the suffragettes, albeit without the climactic gesture of throwing themselves under the hooves of a stable of racing horses. Shame. The term 'progress' suggests a positive increase and sometimes its use just isn't applicable. Perhaps it's more apt to say 'change'. Things don't have to change for the better. We've all noticed that Big Macs and Twisters have been getting smaller for years. So as society progresses music must change. As we find ourselves in the middle of exponential progression in all facets of life we see music struggling to keep up. Where so many decades were looked upon fondly as hotbeds of creativity and fresh ideas, we are currently trapped in a loop. Music has always taken influence from what came before, but since the dawn of the new millennium music as a whole has been using Mark Twain's famous ponderings on the impossibility of new ideas as a justification for lethargy. In the early noughties juno synths and hairspray made a comeback as the 80s was raided for its sounds and fashion. As we find ourselves in decade number 2 so we find the house music and double denim that defined the 90s saturating the streets. Although superior from a technical standpoint, most of the music on offer to the current generation is less an homage and more a clone. There's little evolution - just faithful reproduction. I often worry about the lack of vision 2020 is going to have. If we're emulating the music of a decade or two before then we're going to start copying a copy. You can't clone a clone. If music and society have been intertwined for so long, then using the sonics that defined another generation to define the current one is going to lead to misrepresentation and a lack of identity. I don't want to be remembered as part of the generation who were too lazy to come up with new ideas. Although that's still preferable to the generation who felt "like a plastic bag". )

Next article in issue 60

Letherette: Wolverhampton Duo Talk Innocent Pleasures

Letherette are a production duo based in Wolverhampton. Now signed to Ninja Tune after releasing two wildly popular EPs on Ho Tep, a sub-lab…

Letherette are a production duo based in Wolverhampton. Now signed to Ninja Tune after releasing two wildly popular EPs on Ho Tep, a sub-lab

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