Oh look: the Midweek Mixtape has been rudely (and temporarily) shoved aside for a new semi-regular midweek column, the Midweek Mouthpiece. Alex James/Crudely-Photoshopped Cheese Fans, fret not: the Midweek Mixtape will be back next week…
Of all the interesting points raised in this GQ article about – who else? – Skrillex, two in particular stand out.
Firstly, the surprise that Skrillex is still sporting the half-finished hairdo/NHS-glasses combo that has served him so well and yet spawned enough meta-hipster imitators to cause most people to reach for the electric razor and contact lenses; and secondly, the recognition that the Bedroom Artist has finally taken over.
Whether or not you consider a man who has previously been in a ‘real’ band and thus knows the industry inside out to be a true bedroom artist is almost a moot point – the rise of the bedroom producer has been quietly inexorable for a few years now.
It’s certainly been a point that ANBAD has been labouring for some time now (as a quick search for ‘bedroom’ reveals).
The beauty of modern bedroom-produced music, like both artists who have already featured on ANBAD this week, Mujuice and Mmoths, is that these are people making music that could never have been made even just a few years ago – and moreover, there has never been a place for these reticent, intelligent and deliberately withdrawn people in the macho gig-and-rehearsal-room world of rock ‘n’ roll.
The point is, perhaps, where next? If as the above GQ article suggests, the traditional cycle of write/record/album/gig/repeat is no longer even necessary, will we see the further fracturing of new music into an approximation of the glorious 1960’s reggae scene – where 12″ albums were non gratae, and the 7″ single the medium that best suited the genre?
This may or may not be useful. I’m all for artist-self-determination, and releasing an irregular series of one-off bombastic or beautiful songs is a hugely attractive and admirable work ethic, but is there a chance that the long-form collections are actually still desired by both producers and consumers?
Spin any of the big 90’s dance music albums – Dubnobasswithmyheadman, Orbital II, New Forms or even Dig Your Own Hole – and prepare to be wowed by the journey: the albums are collated or constructed to form a long, coherent bridge from start to climax.
That all these former ravers turned producers trod this route is telling: even bedroom amateurs/auteurs long for their own magnum opus.
The Big Skrillex Album is surely an inevitability: he’s too big (and on too watertight a deal, presumably) to deliberately shun the release of an album that will shift zillions to Middle American teens.
And I’m sure a pragmatic, intelligent man like Sonny Moore knows the financial and social value of a physical album. The music may be made in the bedroom, but any financial decisions will, as always, be made in the boardroom.