Monday, June 18, 2012

when present is past, and past is... past?


really feels like new music is ending:

the number of re-issues, re-discoveries, and 'amazing lost classics' just continues to burgeon.



i have been thinking about this... and it is cool, but what i don't like is that there are not many people who are then using these re-discoveries creatively. how can they help us rethink about music now? not everything demdike does is spot on, but at least they are trying to do that. it has to be about more than just playing cool forgotten 80s records...



exhausted/exhausting post modernism.

There is no vision of the future.

Even commitment to modernism now strikes people as romantic, and/or has to be re-asserted reactively in relation to the strictures of pastiche and nostalgia.

I think 'media' in the broadest sense have a huge role to play here.

Think of the time/space involved.

'Nommos' spends years as a virtually unknown and genuinely neglected masterpiece; now we just DL it, and it circulates, and in six months everyone has eked all its energy out, and they're already on to Jean Piche or whoever the next 'one' is.

People really are music 'users' now, I think. They squeeze the juice out of recordings like juice out of a prima, then they dump it for the next one.

'Cos there's always a next one.

Thus there's no time for reverence.

We know how to escape this, but for most people it's so much easier to be lazy.

'here's three hours of svreca'

(can you imagine how monumental a 3 disc DJ mix would have been in the 90s, and how much people would have pored over it?)

'hey, can we have FLAC?' this is the thing: people are madly trying to find scarcity.

They are mining and mining and mining until they bring up something 'rare'.

But because of the way media circulate as files, nothing is rare, as soon as it is in circulation.

But if you keep it out of circulation, you can't collect social and symbolic capital from knowing about it (before others).

So you put it in circulation, but in doing so, you squeeze it and empty it out.

The only solution is not to record...

...but then no one knows about you...

...what a weird confluence, no?


one thing about nommos, though, is i am not sure how it became 'known'. i guess sharing on a blog for obscure music led to a quiet repressing.


it didn't get a proper repress. it got a dodgy unofficial one. it used to be on discogs, but it appears they have even removed it.

so because it was a dodgy repress this meant it escaped the boomkat mailout which always attends every special repress... and so we all missed it, we were not informed about this 'must have' 'limited edition' 'lost treasure' from 'the archives'. except for a few people who hunted it down, or discovered it by chance, either on discogs or in stores. and for the rest of us, it remained forgotten.


boomkat strikes back! how did this repress become more 'known'? raime had it in their top 10 chart for 2011. where? yep. at boomkat. and so the circle is complete. at least until the next 'unearthed gem'.


postscript: about two hours after this conversation, i (chris) made an order through boomkat. of the seven purchases, two were reissues. one was described as: '...the result of almost two years spent trawling through the archive in an attempt to piece together a coherent document of one of the most pioneering and genuinely experimental characters in electronic music history'. the other: 'incredible archival electronic experiments recorded in 1984-1987'. time to start squeezing again. at least until the next mailout...


  1. But just remember it is not only in music but everywhere the focus is backwards looking

  2. ...and then this happens:

    what is real?

  3. I love the fact that you meant 're-pressing'. And in omitting the hyphen you produced a sentence that makes sense and reverses the intended meaning.

  4. There is an interesting tension here where you talk about the number of re-issues but the lack of time for reverence. It might suggest there is a time for reverence but it is not our time. Reverence seems to pertain to past classics, or those that may one day be classic.

  5. Hmmm, a few things I'd like to mention here.

    1. - Boomkat's marketing style is to describe every single thing as a lost classic or as the most amazing piece of music the world has ever bore witness to...until you get to the next page on their site. Most of it does not remotely ring true, so a good way to not get sucked into this "problem" of countless re-pressed "lost gems" is to do what I do...avoid boomkat as much as possible.

    2. - New music is not ending. I constantly find new music that excites me. You moan about new music, you complain about old music getting out there. I'm honestly starting to wonder what is the point of the ssgs anymore.

    3. - It is inevitable that people have more music now because of d/loading but I am not a consumer of music this way. I don't even rip most of my music I buy on vinyl, I just play it at home, but I still have a huge problem trying to consume everything. It's part and parcel of being a music obsessive. So I do consume music the same way I did in the 90s and it's still difficult! :)

    4. - "So you put it in circulation, but in doing so, you squeeze it and empty it out." Oh, so you let other people know about music you like that has not gotten wider recognition and it "empties it out"? You do realise you run a blog which I presume a main purpose of was to get some lesser known artists in circulation?

    Sorry, but I find a lot of this post baffling and so negative. Maybe it's just as I'v gotten older I've become more and more bored/tired of all these issues and I'm less interested in it clouding my pure enjoyment of music.

  6. is this not how you / we / us have always interacted with music though i.e. searching for the new & digging for the old lost gems?

    new music for me is getting a bit stale so sure the balance is shifting a bit, but it goes through cycles.

    sites like boomkat simply act as a mirror of public taste. if ever there is a site intent on selling as many records as it possibly can then it's boomkat.

    putting the hyperbole onslaught to one side, i think boomkat is a great resource for finding vinyl and they should be commended for making a load of decent, old music available. it's getting a bit OTT on the post-punk/synth/new wave 80's tip but it's nice to have the option. i'm finding an interest here that i can't source in much new house/techno right now[/last two years]

    Re: this: "'Nommos' spends years as a virtually unknown and genuinely neglected masterpiece; now we just DL it, and it circulates, and in six months everyone has eked all its energy out, and they're already on to Jean Piche or whoever the next 'one' is."

    when you say "we", are you referring to the general "we" or you/chris? do you actually know from canvassing any opinion that this is how music is now consumed or is it just conjecture, based on a request for a flac? it does seem a little like you feel something "empties out" when it becomes "mainstream". this is only natural. (i really liked the drive soundtrack, but i didn't like the fact that so many people liked it haha!)

    personally i don't do much digital purchasing everything is vinyl pretty much, from the likes of boomkat, discogs, vod, and things haven't changed much for me in terms of consumption/attention. i think this is why vinyl is so important to how i consume music. slows things down a bit

    and to come full circle it's the likes of boomkat that are keeping vinyl/attebtion alive if you ask me

    the one thing i hate though is those really glossy boomkat mail outs of "something special", where the record looks like something out of a design museum. vinyl porn pure & simple and this detracts somewhat from the music, people get fooled into their next fix before they've consumed their last one. but if you can ignore the marketing, do some listening around the blurb, you soon know if it's for you or not. resist the urge before you splurge

    thanks again for all the efforts with this site guys! really going to miss the mix series, hope the editorial lives on. it's been a real journey and i've made some top friends. hope to see you both on the lab d-floor again one day, much respect!

  7. Proust: "Like every obstacle in the way of possessing something... poverty, more generous than opulence, gives women far more than the clothes they cannot afford to buy: the desire for those clothes, which creates a genuine, detailed, thorough knowledge of them"

  8. "'Nommos' spends years as a virtually unknown and genuinely neglected masterpiece; now we just DL it, and it circulates, and in six months everyone has eked all its energy out, and they're already on to Jean Piche or whoever the next 'one' is."

    Who is everyone? I think it's just you, PC. Maybe you should just remove it from your ipod.

    It's an obscure track that got a re-release, a handful of people bought it and enjoyed it (like me because of Chris's recommendation). I doubt anyone on this blog has ever even heard it in a mix. It's all good.

    Glad you reminded me of it though. Only heard it once. Will put it back on tonight.

    There's one simple cure for being tired of music. Leave the mp3 player and only listen to records at home. Easier to savor that way, and no risk of saturation.

  9. The music world is bigger than the boomkat mailout. It's just a website.

  10. @ Rob:

    There can be a time for reverence, but you have to make time for it. And this takes discipline, given the distractions of media.

    What does it take to turn content back into music? Time, space, respect… this might begin by having respect for the time it took to make the music; or it might involve making a sufficiently good space for listening to that music properly, which in this case I think means giving it your undivided attention.

    I don't have a problem with 'do while' work music/muzak/BGM… but what happens when that becomes the culture of listening, or the context where we consume content?

    @ Unknown

    @1: BK is really extreme in this regard at certain moments, but would they do it if there weren't both

    - an abundance of releases
    - an audience/public for them, that can be 'excited' by the notion of redsiscovering a 'lost classic'.

    As I see it, they are a clear expression of a clear moment in time. Consider by contrast the intensity and energy of early rave releases, and the culture of reception and distribution there.

    As Jonny P says: BK are just a mirror. They're a smart one, too, and what they do is interesting and valuable up to a point.

    It certainly wasn't about a bunch of online peepz fetishizing ltd. edition vinyl and pontificating about innovative use of FM synthesis… or was it? I dunno… but I guess not..

    @2: read me carefully: I said

    We know how to escape this, but for most people it's so much easier to be lazy.

    So yeah, back to discipline, and not being lazy generally about what you listen to and how you listen to it. There's heaps of great music out there. I think we're shitty listeners. I don't see the problem is with music, but its reception and consumption. Onus = on us.

    @ 4: we are ending the mix series. This is surely not the only or primary reason why. But note well…

    I'm also interested in your 'pure enjoyment'; seems what ticks you off is someone spoiling your enjoyment, no? And yet and yet: it provoked you to respond. So you don't find it *that* boring, obviously. More a way of positioning your own listening practices (good, yours) in relation to baffling negativity (bad, ours). i wonder what you think about that? I raise these as possibilities, rather than assertions.

    @ Jonny: the distinction for me would be one between 'music' and 'content'. In practice no such distinction exists, it's a different relation to the same thing.

    @ Josh: yes, Proust comes home to roost. And lack is so much easier to deal with than abundance. Perhaps this is why Julia now says we must have growth AND austerity.

    @ Russell and Soyuz: 'Nommos' was just one example, and the conversation was an email thread that we decided to make public. That's all. It's not nommos in particular. 'Nommos' is just 'X'.

    Is there not underlying this a culture of boredom and and bombardment? Overstimulation and anhedonia. I implicate myself in this…

    …I think vinyl might be better, but I think it's not a medium issue. You can listen to music as such on an mp3 player.

    The difference might be just a kind of attention, a kind of care.

    Thank you all for your attention and care so far, excellent thread!

  11. i would like to point out something and maybe it will help out a select few who come across this comment...

    the oversaturation that "we" experience as anhedonia is super simple to fix.... just STOP with all the trend addiction, get off the music train, leave heaphones in the closet, stop consuming music and practice some mindfulness, remember that for thousands of years man got along without recorded audio... there are plenty of "normal" people out there that dont listen to music at all, and they are more easily entertained, is the feeling of excitement that a college freshman gets at a girl talk performance fake? ought music not be an enhancer for life, if it has become commoditized , over abundandant, and thus devalued, isnt a fast in order? isnt this what boards of canada is all about? i like to think those two are off hiking somewhere, enjoying the natural world...

  12. Dudes! Like - I dunno waz y'allz major malfunction. I download erthang fo free99 and then listen to it once on my iphone4s (Surri in da hizzie - what! what!) before filing it away on miCloud and forgetting I owned it, and ya know what? Hooda thunk, but that shiznit is totally awesome.

    PS: Who dat Markel Prowst is? What he talkin' 'bout, Willis? Maybe I need my eyez be checked but seem like he defined a OG goldigga. Would dem hoz be goldiggaz if dey rich already? Nah. Thanks fo sherrin, Marky Prow!

  13. Randomness. Noise. Chaos.

    "A lot o' people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o' unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top o' everything." - Repo Man

    There is only now.

    As soon as there are names
    One ought to know that it is time to stop.
    Knowing when to stop one can be free from danger. - DDJ, 32

    Kill the Buddha.

    Put on the shuffle, it'll set you free.


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