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A new genre making...waves!
December 9, 2010 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Is Chillwave the Next Big Music Trend? - Wiki: Chillwave is a debated genre of music where artists are often characterized by their heavy use of effects processing, synthesizers, looping, sampling, and heavily filtered vocals with simple melodic lines. Its musical predecessors are diverse and include the synthpop of the 1980s, shoegaze, ambient, musique concrète and various types of music outside of the Western World. In this case, nostalgia of 80s synthpop is filtered through a distorted lens, re-envisioning the era in a more vague and lo-fi sense. Just don't call them that. You can always check in at the Hipster Runoff (the birthplace of the term) for news about the vaguely new subgenre.

Highly, highly recommended tracks to check out:

Washed Out - Feel it All Around
Memory Cassette - Ghost in the Boombox
Toro y Moi - Minors
Teen Daze - No Regrets
Small Black - Photojournalist
Star Slinger - May I Walk With You?
Millionyoung - Hammock
Teen Daze - June 2010
Blackbird Blackbird - Summer Heart
Memory Tapes - Stop Talking
Big Spider's Back - Warped
Star Slinger - Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins Rework)
Beat Connection - Same Damn Time
unouomedude - Dream Home
Deastro - Mowgli the Lynx
Keep Shelly in Ashes - Cremona Memories
Games - Planet Party
Brothertiger - Vision Tunnels
Boat Club - Always Away
Alpine - Icypoles (Star Slinger Dreamix)
Phantom Power - What You Said, It Was Perfect
Sutcliffe Catering Co. - Ponderosa White
Wise Blood - B.I.G. E.G.O.
Bon Accord - Happy People
Houses - Endless Spring
Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer
Washed Out - New Theory
posted by Christ, what an asshole (103 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's been a while since I've been to Hipster Runoff. Did they end up turning into the thing that they were making fun of?
posted by schmod at 1:47 PM on December 9, 2010


The Wall Street Journal reporting on a musical trend originally defined by an abusrdist-quasi-parody blog. I have never been more proud to wear the Very Tight Pants of my people.
posted by griphus at 1:47 PM on December 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yeahhh, chillwave's pretty nice. Have you caught the crunkwave yet, though? that's where it's at.
posted by boo_radley at 1:50 PM on December 9, 2010


The first time i ran across this genre description was in the id3 tags for mp3's i was given of Washed Out's ep. Seems to fit.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 1:50 PM on December 9, 2010


If it's in the Wall Street Journal they probably ought to use the past tense instead.
posted by jackflaps at 2:00 PM on December 9, 2010


These bands are like Instagram/Hipstamatic of music. They are already sounding dated. But welcome to 2K10 WSJ bros.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:01 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


And everybody knows that Rapegaze is where its at now anyway.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:03 PM on December 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


Welcome to summer 2009.
I came across chillwave like I suspect alot of people did, through the brilliant Memory Tapes.
Unfortunately the massive glut of mostly unremarkable chillwave records getting crapper put right now suggests to me that it must be really easy music to produce, just the same as hushed indiefolk was before it
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:03 PM on December 9, 2010


"crapper put" = "crapped out"
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:04 PM on December 9, 2010


I would watch a hipster runoff.

In lane 1: Nightsnow- an intern at The New Republic, dressed in Urban Outfitters girl jeans, Vans and a red vintage hoodie.

In lane 2: Frankie- works at a bar but plays harmonica for "The New Undertones", a chillwave experimental "jam group". Vintage bell bottoms, fair trade recycled boots and a t-shirt from www.sheldonshirts.com.

In lane 3: Jane- lives in SoHo and works in a law office, but "homesteads" with her "tribe" on the weekends. Homemade pattern dress and moccasins, with 5 kinds of homemade jewlery ordered off etsy.com

First one to tag the MC Lars collector's edition vinyl wins a PBR tallboy.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:05 PM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Welcome to summer 2009.

lol
posted by shakespeherian at 2:07 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Chillwave's already pretty much a joke. Pick 80's reference as band name, slow down and loop something off a wobbly tape, add reverb, take Hipstamatic photo as album cover.
posted by kersplunk at 2:09 PM on December 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


It's nice to see what basically amounts to a mixtape disguised as a FPP for artists in a style I personally like.

Also, the recent resurgence of shoegaze makes me happy.
posted by byanyothername at 2:10 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's been a while since I've been to Hipster Runoff. Did they end up turning into the thing that they were making fun

Sort of

With post-irony it's hard to tell.
posted by codacorolla at 2:11 PM on December 9, 2010


I mean, there's lots of nice stuff out there, but in the genre life cucle, we're already in the Bush/Collective Soul phase.
posted by kersplunk at 2:11 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


epony... ah fuck it. Pass the bong.
posted by unSane at 2:12 PM on December 9, 2010


Also also I'm glad to see everyone's getting all I Liked Them Before WSJ Thought They Were Cool now.
posted by byanyothername at 2:12 PM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


I believe there will never be a genre name as satisfying to me as shoegaze.
posted by Corduroy at 2:14 PM on December 9, 2010


"crapper put" = "crapped out"

here I thought it was a term for a group of hipsters playing mini-golf
posted by mannequito at 2:16 PM on December 9, 2010


Which is to say that when your style is to be ironic to the point where you're making fun of the "alt" people who are being ironic to make fun of the "bro" people who are being ironic to make fun of the "poor" people (who are in theory too undereducated to be self aware to make fun of anyone other than other races and sexualities) it's easy to become lost in a dismal post-modern swamp of triple-meanings. At what point are you your own person instead of a cultural reaction to someone else, and is that even possible? It's an ouroboros of sneering contempt that encircles our entire shitbird capitalist culture, which is why "hipsters" are in fact the most honest of us all.
posted by codacorolla at 2:17 PM on December 9, 2010 [16 favorites]


Is Chillwave the Next Big Music Trend?

Oh god I hope not.
posted by Theta States at 2:18 PM on December 9, 2010


MetaFilter: An ouroboros of sneering contempt that encircles our entire shitbird capitalist culture.
posted by griphus at 2:19 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Thank you for a post about this new and interesting musical genre I was unaware of.
posted by benzenedream at 2:20 PM on December 9, 2010


Yay, an entire thread of people attempting to position themselves as the sort of person who has no desire to position himself with regard to how people position themselves! Allow me to contribute.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:20 PM on December 9, 2010 [15 favorites]


This thread really puts the meta in metafilter.
posted by kersplunk at 2:22 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Shakespeherian, I think you just formulated the Anti-Life Equation.
posted by griphus at 2:22 PM on December 9, 2010


Does that come with a trophy?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:25 PM on December 9, 2010


I mean, there's lots of nice stuff out there, but in the genre life cucle, we're already in the Bush/Collective Soul phase.

Bring it on, I say. I saw the newly-reformed Bush play a festival gig a few weeks back. They were incredible, and (on an irrelevant side-note) Gavin's every bit as dashing as he was 10 years ago. He's like a human time capsule.

Most of the stuff I listen to is 80's or 80's-inspired, but I think I'm ready for the big 90's post-grunge revival.
posted by kryptondog at 2:25 PM on December 9, 2010


Yes yes hipster grar hate gnash hipster augh omfg hipster kill kill hipster gah.

Is the music any good?
posted by ardgedee at 2:26 PM on December 9, 2010


This is a remarkably depressing thread.
posted by IjonTichy at 2:27 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like a lot of what I've heard in the links -- thanks!

But I'm a little confused by this discussion -- do the people who make this music want me to like it because of the way it sounds, or because of the "ironic" appropriation of 80's material? Because I really like the way and sounds and wouldn't even recognize 99% of whatever 80's material might be buried in it.
posted by treepour at 2:31 PM on December 9, 2010


Yes yes hipster grar hate gnash hipster augh omfg hipster kill kill hipster gah.

Is the music any good?


I like it. It mashes together the 80s revivalism that's been building over the past ten years (starting, imo, with The Killers hitting the main stream as a glorified Depeche Mode cover band) with the hipster appropriation of dance music. It makes sense for this to be the sound du jour at the end of this decade, to me at least. Another representative band that was left off the initial list (although I do enjoy the initial list) is Twin Shadow. You can call him chillwave Morrisey if you want.

If you take it outside the Hipster Runoff context, and go into already like new wave, and shoegaze, and house music, then you'll probably like this.
posted by codacorolla at 2:34 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is Chillwave the Next Big Music Trend?

Have the Corn Laws been repealed?
posted by a little headband I put around my throat at 2:34 PM on December 9, 2010


Shakespeherian, I think you just formulated the Anti-Life Equation.

Yes yes hipster grar hate gnash Highfather augh omfg hipster kill kill hipster for Darkseid gah
posted by benzenedream at 2:39 PM on December 9, 2010


Wait, chillwave? When did this stop being called trip hop or downtempo? 1995? Aw god it's my birthday tomorrow and I just remembered I'm old now...

Anyways, I like this stuff and it makes me feel like I have old school chillwave cred for spending way too much time in records shops between 1995-2002. Good post.
posted by Hoopo at 2:49 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's the source sample for Feel It All Around btw: Gary Low - I Want You

I don't think there's any big ironic/sneery undercurrent to any of it - I have lots of friends my age (mid-late 20's) who are really really into early 80's Italo etc. There is a big nostalgia/regression to childhood element to a lot of stuff I've heard, though.
posted by kersplunk at 2:52 PM on December 9, 2010


Boards Of Canada made these sound first, and better. Cf. Geogaddi (2002).
posted by Ratio at 2:54 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Twin Shadow has released what I think is the greatest album of the year.
posted by griphus at 2:55 PM on December 9, 2010


Made these sounds, I mean.
posted by Ratio at 2:55 PM on December 9, 2010


Yeah I had a chillwave-themed radio show for a while. Then it stopped being summer and almost all new Chillwave bands stink because it's the same garbage done over and over. Feel It All Around is still one of my favorite songs ever.

Here are some cool slowed down 80s music mixtapes posted on mnmlssg. All the stuff on this record label rocks: Hippos in Tanks
posted by azarbayejani at 2:58 PM on December 9, 2010


It's nice to see the hipster hate taking the place of "dirty hippie" "genX" hate that was so popular a few years ago. Remember kids, last years cool kid is next years dick, don't let it happen to you.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:58 PM on December 9, 2010


Welcome to summer 2009.

Yea wow, those were the days huh? Back in Aught Nine things were cool, not like now.
posted by octothorpe at 3:00 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Boards Of Canada made these sound first, and better. Cf. Geogaddi (2002).

Funny enough, the early BOC stuff (A Few Old Tunes vol2 etc) sounds really really like a lot of the current chillwave stuff (ie more 80's).

Also, here's a proper lolchillwave discussion (bear in mind that a lot of the people on the board are music critics).

This article comes to mind too. It's about photography, and also on Pitchfork (sorry folks, Eric Harvey's a good writer), but it really touches well on some of the second-hand nostalgia stuff that a lot of chillwave is reaching for.

Remember kids, last years cool kid is next years dick, don't let it happen to you.

Down with beatniks, with their bongos and turtlenecks.
posted by kersplunk at 3:02 PM on December 9, 2010


Okay... is it just me, or do almost all of these tracks (granted, I've only listened to like 7-8 so far) sound like they were made by the same band doing the exact same thing? I mean, if this mix wasn't given a tracklist, I would have thought it was a single group's album and not a mix at all. And there's a 'Memory Cassette' AND a 'Memory Tapes'? Really? And this is coming from someone who actively listens to, and can tell the difference BETWEEN, Lustmord, Lull and Rapoon.
posted by FatherDagon at 3:07 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


people attempting to position themselves as the sort of person who has no desire to position himself with regard to how people position themselves!
posted by CynicalKnight at 3:19 PM on December 9, 2010


Wow... never realized Washed Out actually sampled that track from Feel it All Around. What an idea.
posted by priested at 3:22 PM on December 9, 2010


I thought this was called spacerock
posted by chillmost at 3:24 PM on December 9, 2010


...is it just me, or do almost all of these tracks ... sound like they were made by the same band doing the exact same thing

That's what makes it a genre and you an old person ;-)
posted by i_cola at 3:27 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I believe there will never be a genre name as satisfying to me as shoegaze.

Me too. I think a lot of it is how it was originally meant to be a jab at bands making music in that style, but the image of someone making really pretty, trippy music while staring at their feet somehow wound up becoming a positive affirmation of everything good about the genre.

I just love the way it sounds, too. It's closer to a sincere attempt to describe the feelings it evokes than most of the ugly portmanteaus that get tacked onto musical styles.
posted by byanyothername at 3:30 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ouroboros had me grabbing the dictionary!
posted by rain at 3:40 PM on December 9, 2010


Is the music any good?

It's sort of like when somebody first introduces you to the sustain pedal on a piano.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:55 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Have the Corn Laws been repealed?

Only when the Corn God says its okay.
posted by justalisteningman at 3:59 PM on December 9, 2010


What's up with the kick drum compressor pumping thing? Is that the new autotune? There are a lot of really good musical ideas here, and they're getting pummeled by the pumping effect.
posted by SteelyDuran at 4:09 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whew, okay. It's hardly pervasive after all. Good stuff here. It's made for evening of dreamy, enjoyable listening, and I thank you.
posted by SteelyDuran at 4:16 PM on December 9, 2010


And there's a 'Memory Cassette' AND a 'Memory Tapes'? Really?

They're different projects of the same guy.
posted by naju at 4:17 PM on December 9, 2010


I thought the Twin Sister album and the Toro Y Moi album and Washed Out were pretty good. All that happened was a bunch of chilled out, shoe gaze type music came out all at the same time and got lumped together.

One of the best albums this year is by Beach House who have been making music for years and it's considered "dream pop," but I would also say it falls in this chilled out category.

It's just really a lot of hype about some music that has all come out at the same time. And now, according to Hipster Runoff it's all about "rape gaze" or witch house (see Salem).
posted by hazyspring at 4:29 PM on December 9, 2010


I think this music is awesome, but like others, I'm surprised this genre needs to be introduced to MeFi when I figured anyone who's been following music's been aware of it for some 18 months now. Rather than being the 'next big thing', most people seem to be looking on to what might be next as the good chillwave ideas keep getting recycled over and over again.

One of the most interesting articles about this phenomenon was back in August 2009 by David Keenan, in The Wire. I think this was before 'chillwave' was coined or settled on, so back then it was dubbed 'hypnagogic pop'. Full scans of the article here.
posted by naju at 4:33 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I think Carles of Hipster Runoff might be reading this thread.
posted by naju at 4:43 PM on December 9, 2010


Also: Keep Shelly in Ashes -> Keep Shelly in Athens
posted by SteelyDuran at 4:54 PM on December 9, 2010


For anyone who digs that Toro y Moi album (or anyone saying damn kids just sampling 80s stuff and putting reverb on it,) check out his daytrotter session and this video where he plays with a live band and plays all the instruments himself, respectively. Amazing.
posted by saul wright at 4:55 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I read the title of this post out loud to my two music-blogger buddies. They immediately both said Chillwave was already finished.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:57 PM on December 9, 2010


Also, I think Carles of Hipster Runoff might be reading this thread.

Or perhaps the WSJ?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 4:58 PM on December 9, 2010


It's kind of interesting to see this pop up — Back when I was covering music in Southeast Michigan, there were a bunch of IDM DJs (mostly out of the Ghostly camp) that had a couple of recurring nights where they'd spin New Order and Spiritualized and Boards of Canada, and call it "chillwave." For Detroit, it was profoundly nerdy stuff, done by kids who straddled the techno/indie line. I don't remember if Dykehouse ever did "chillwave" nights, but he's the sort of person who would. It burned itself out pretty quickly when the folks involved all started getting known for their other work, especially as they moved beyond the portion of their DJ careers where they were expected to only play the popular bangers or whatever'd shown up on a Sasha/Digweed mix that month and could actually drop a little OMD into their regular sets.

I didn't cover it that much, mostly because I was (and am) much more into rock, and I have only enough brainpower to micro-genre things with guitars. I'm also not aware of any direct connection to the latest "chillwave" fad, but it's funny to think that it was totally a sub-genre that comes more out of necessity than anyone really creating it intentionally, and the idea that it's "the next big thing" is pretty funny. I mean, from where I sit, it already played itself out twice!
posted by klangklangston at 5:01 PM on December 9, 2010


Shakespeherian, I think you just formulated the Anti-Life Equation.

Yes yes hipster grar hate gnash Highfather augh omfg hipster kill kill hipster for Darkseid gah


Needs some GrimDark.
posted by MikeMc at 5:06 PM on December 9, 2010


As for the Pitchfork article, never trust anyone who likes Jandek.
posted by klangklangston at 5:11 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Or perhaps the WSJ?

Nah, that WSJ article is nine months old.
posted by naju at 5:13 PM on December 9, 2010


Washed Out and Memory Tapes I'd heard before. They're OK. But Star Slinger and Phantom Power are very good. They have more of an electronic remix thing going on. As Ratio notes above, electronic artists like Boards of Canada have been playing with the patina of age and nostalgia filter for a long time.

Anyhow if you like the more electronic side of this you will probably like remix artist Onra who does something similar, maybe with a little more spine.
posted by fleetmouse at 5:17 PM on December 9, 2010


Micro-genres make Mike head hurt. Mike want to kill person who make HRO.
posted by MikeMc at 5:22 PM on December 9, 2010


SteelyDuran not sure of the effect you're talking about... might be sidechaining? Lone does this a whole lot - drive the compressor control input with the bass-drum track...
posted by joeblough at 5:30 PM on December 9, 2010


Nah, that WSJ article is nine months old.

Oh shit, it turns out it is I who is the dumbass.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:38 PM on December 9, 2010


What about yachtgaze?
posted by acb at 5:56 PM on December 9, 2010


I think the best defense of this sound was written by the Pitchfork Review Reviews guy. That said, as much as I like the idea of a scene with Cocteau Twins as their godhead, not much of it speaks to me. Too much of it sounds far too bland to me. There are a few tracks I've enjoyed though.

Balam Acab - See Birds
Forest Swords - Miarches
How to Dress Well - Ready For the World
posted by Hubajube at 6:27 PM on December 9, 2010


> might be sidechaining?

A-ha! Yes. That very effect.

I rescind my former negative comments about it -- in New Theory it sounds quite appropriate and rhythmic.
posted by SteelyDuran at 6:33 PM on December 9, 2010


I misread that as "chiliwave" and mentally heard a very different genre.
posted by eegphalanges at 6:48 PM on December 9, 2010


It may not be sidechain compression but just a plain old compressor across the mix buss, or more likely something like the Waves L3 Ultramaximizer. You turn the kick way up and then every time it hits the mix, it squishes everything else down momentarily. It is indeed like the Autotune thing. In fifteen years you'll be able to date a mix by it exactly.
posted by unSane at 6:52 PM on December 9, 2010


As for the Pitchfork article, never trust anyone who likes Jandek.

Nobody actually likes him, but some of us find him weirdly fascinating.
posted by jonmc at 7:27 PM on December 9, 2010


I enjoy a lot of shoegaze but the artists' names that I recognize on the list in the post are ones that I can't get excited about: they're OK but not "OMG I must stop what I'm doing and buy this album right this moment" kind of music. I feel like I'm missing something when I listen to chillwave, but I can't figure out what it is exactly.

I'm only moderately excited about 80s revivalism in general because I am that old and the 80s never went away at my house. Related: if the Killers are really a glorified Depeche Mode cover band somebody point me at the right album, because I really should check that out.
posted by immlass at 7:43 PM on December 9, 2010


Man, I came of musical age in the 80s and they FUCKING SUCKED. There is exactly one album from the 80s which I listen to and that is the Go-Between's BEFORE HOLLYWOOD, which is possibly the greatest recording of the second half of the twentieth century. The only possible justification for 80s nostalgia is irony, and even that is weaksauce.

(Yeah yeah yeah Smiths Frankie Madonna but I am talking about stuff that you ACTUALLY THINK IS ACTUALLY GOOD NOW ACTUALLY THANK YOU.)
posted by unSane at 7:47 PM on December 9, 2010


What's up with the kick drum compressor pumping thing? Is that the new autotune?

Yes. And it's ruining beats the way autotune ruins pop music.
i.e. some people use it to great effect, most people use it and sound like shit.
posted by Theta States at 8:03 PM on December 9, 2010


Autotune doesn't ruin pop music. It's just what pop music sounds like right now (like the pumping kick/bass thing). It'll stop as soon as it stops making money. Enjoy it (or not) for what it is.
posted by unSane at 8:09 PM on December 9, 2010


Baths -- Hall

Baths -- Maximalist

Shlohmo -- Hot Boxing The Cockpit
posted by jason's_planet at 8:29 PM on December 9, 2010


Fischerspooner and Ladytron's debuts both came out in 2001, so the 80's revival has lasted as long as the actual 80's at this stage - I've been praying that the mainstream of retro will move to the early 90's for ages now.
posted by kersplunk at 8:31 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is anyone done with their dubstep remix of chillwave? If so you better mail it to the past where people care.
posted by fuq at 9:05 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always really liked Bang Bang Machine's Geek Love, from 1993, and think more people should know of its loveliness.

That is all.
posted by Devonian at 11:20 PM on December 9, 2010


I kinda like it and i don't want to sound snarky, but it all sounds like [Adult Swim] interstitial & bump music from three years ago.
posted by KingEdRa at 12:14 AM on December 10, 2010


I ♥ Witch House
posted by shoepal at 1:27 AM on December 10, 2010


Leave it to fucking metafilter to introduce me to something new and cool, and then make me feel uncool because I haven't heard of it yet. It's like somebody giving you a bowl of Wheaties and then pissing in it.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:33 AM on December 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


I mean, there's lots of nice stuff out there, but in the genre life cucle, we're already in the Bush/Collective Soul phase.

Got any names, other than the stuff already mentioned?

(Yeah yeah yeah Smiths Frankie Madonna but I am talking about stuff that you ACTUALLY THINK IS ACTUALLY GOOD NOW ACTUALLY THANK YOU.)

Closer Psychocandy The Stone Roses The Queen Is Dead (yes still) Three Feet High and Rising It Takes a Nation of Millions Disintegration Ocean Rain Brave Words Melt Tallulah (for that matter, not just Before Hollywood) I could quite happily go on. I was born in 72 and I think the 80s were great.
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:47 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The horse is well out of the barn, worldwide, but I sometimes rue the cultural moment when very specific flavors of music started having names. It seemed useful at the outset, I guess, like when I woke up in my musical soulmate's studio in Ewing Township after a fevered late-night session of synthesizer fucking and staggered into the bathroom to brush my teeth to the accompaniment of what I presumed was him screwing around with his drum machine with the tempo knob set around 180.

"What the hell is that?" I hollered, with a mouth full of licorice foam.

"Jungle!"

"What?"

"Jungle!"

I spat. "What?"

"It's Jungle."

"Oh?"

Then it was speed garage and dubstep and shoegaze and counter-rotating tremulous jittercore and it's natural to want to name and identify things, but after a while you set this precedent that's more about hunting the elusive cool and tagging the everpresent uncool.

"Wait—you haven't heard of counter-rotating tremulous jittercore?" they'd ask, incredulous, because I'm supposed to be a guy who knows about stuff that most people don't know about.

"Wait—what's wrong with counter-rotating tremulous jittercore?" they'd ask, months later, after someone else rolled their eyes over the constant invocation of counter-rotating tremulous jittercore by the sorts of people that used to always put on Tortoise at all their parties in an attempt to demonstrate detached majestic systemic disinvolvement.

"I'm really more into quasi-orbital tremulous jittercore these days," they answer.

"Shit, why is every club on this side of town always playing counter-rotating tremulous jittercore, like it's such a big fucking deal?"

"Yeah, I know. SO over."

"Wait—you like counter-rotating tremulous jittercore? That's so 2013."

"What? It's good music."

"You know, I don't think we should really see each other anymore."

"What? Why!?"

"You said you were only hipster-adjacent, but I'm getting a whiff of true hipster."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Sausage pants."

"These aren't hipster! I put on thirty-one pounds while I was depressed and now my pants don't fit right and I don't want to buy new ones."

"Saw a lot of sausage pants down in hipstertown last weekend. Just sayin'."

"I am not a hipster!"

"How 'bout you spin your counter-rotating tremulous jittercore at jittercore night at the VFW, cool guy," they say, and so the landscape slowly tips away, sliding into the sea.

"I'm really more into acoustic revival shibuya-kei, anyway," you say, but the party's over.

"I have to go. Have a nice life, hipster."

And thus, all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

The time machine lurches, and I hurtle backwards in 1982 or thereabouts.

"What's that third song on the mixtape you gave me?"

"Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. I think that song was 'The Messerschmitt Twins,' if I remember right."

"In the dark? Really? Huh. I love that song, though. It's just...well, I don't know."

"Same here. I love new wave," my friend said.

"Yeah, new wave is cool."

Then, we weren't sophisticated. If it wasn't Steve Miller, was not quite punk, and if it involved a synthesizer or drum machine somehow, it was new wave, but you only ever said that to explain to the people who'd hear your music deedle-deedling out of your orange foam walkman headphones as a little bug symphony of aural leakage, who could never conceive of why you weren't listening to Foreigner like everyone else.

The time machine hisses and thumps and heaves forward, and I'm here again, trying my best not to go for the invisible rake in my head, but I miss the amorphous days of just liking stuff without having to catalogue it like butterflies pinned to wax slabs in the basement of the Smithsonian.

"Mr. Joe," says one of the interns, invoking a weird respectful greeting that makes me feel like a pornographer in a paneled family room, "I made you a mixtape. You were asking about neo-romantic electro-bluegrass."

He hands me a flash drive, and I will dump it into my player and listen, but it'll be two hours of the same thing, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it misses that certain essence mixtapes had before we knew what slots things fit in, back when they were tape, shitty shitty cassettes that would tangle and stick and get little crumpled sections from being extricated from the deck in your Datsun B210 that you started thinking of as part of the music.

I hand over a flash drive of my own, but my mixtape is something a DJ at WFMU would produce shortly after going off his meds—a clash of Eno, Nina Hagen, Klaus Nomi, Cramps, Kraftwerk, Jah Wobble, Can, Freur, Cibo Matto, Neubauten, Telex, and more and more and more, laid out the way you laid out these things as a message for the people you loved as a way of sending out some kind of message of who you were right then, at that precise and magical moment.

He'll roll his eyes at a lot of it, and ask me what the other things are.

"New wave."

Already I'm looking up some of these songs and bands, and some of it is just lovely, the kind of application of the synthesizer that really gets how simple electric tones can convey a whole world of feeling, but I'm not going to put it in a genre that'll only kill it, and make it clinical.

In my day...as they say, and yet I won't really go there, to that place where nostalgia saturates everything and gives it the sheen of legitimacy burnished by burning time, but it's a nicer way to spend the war.
posted by sonascope at 4:44 AM on December 10, 2010 [30 favorites]


sonascope just won Metafilter. Mathowie, you can go ahead and close the site up now.
posted by unSane at 4:55 AM on December 10, 2010


Also also I'm glad to see everyone's getting all I Liked Them Before WSJ Thought They Were Cool now.

"Now"? This is no different than any other metafilter day.
posted by blucevalo at 4:56 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


there are 2 kinds of people: there are people who make music, and there are people who expend enormous amounts of attention inventing endlessly contrived "sub-genre" names and blathering on to a most incredible degree about the attributes that supposedly distinguish them and who, once they have the detailed imaginary recipe of said "sub-genre" polished to a gleam like the sheen of winter moonlight off a fresh steaming dogturd, post wordy pseudo-scholarly articles about them on wikipedia.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:21 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


sonascope, I'm not sure what sub-sub-genre this is that your writing fits into so consistently, but I hope it never goes out of fashion.
posted by vanar sena at 6:48 AM on December 10, 2010


I think my favorite insulting micro-genre name is Clownstep.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:18 AM on December 10, 2010


Wow I came to this thread party late. Here's my powerpoint:

-Weird Tapes hit the sound first in 2008 coming off of the demise of Hail Social. He also became memory tapes, memory cassette and presumably soon memory reel2reel. ;)

-Pictureplane often gets lumped it with this lot. Someone earlier was asking when retro was going to hit the 90s. This shit just bleeds 90s rave, trance and happy hardcore through a blender and spit out as dirt broken modern techno. Or something like that. But it hits happy buttons.

Trance Doll
Goth Star
Cyclical Cyclical

posted by Smegoid at 8:21 AM on December 10, 2010


And yes it needs updating, and yes I'm sure that it's been on the blue before and can't be bothered to check but it's just a comment and that's OK surely, but a few pleasant minutes can be dissipated wandering through the interactive helpmeet to modern electronic music genres that is Ishkur's Guide.

(Oh, Chillwave? There is a cubic lightyear of synth noodling out there in a sphere which has been expanding exponentially ever since the technology got cheap enough for intense young men with no social life to buy their own - I think that was around 1970. Yes, some of it is good, but it's like hunting for the solitary chilli pepper of consolation in the galactic vat of bland spaghetti.)

(( Oh x 2 - when WILL Boards of Canada put down the rizlas and GET ON WITH IT? I don't want to die before the next one. That would be irritating.))
posted by Devonian at 8:26 AM on December 10, 2010


I think my favorite insulting micro-genre name is Clownstep.

I remember a hardcore mix that was called Clowncore, which was all gabber/happy-hardcore themed off of circus music.

But still, donk is my favourite microgenre name.
posted by Theta States at 9:40 AM on December 10, 2010


But Theta States, you didn't link to the Donk video! That's the best part.
posted by shoepal at 1:27 AM on December 11, 2010


Neon Indian - Mind, Drips

Several different videos have been made for this song, but I like this one the best.
posted by Neilopolis at 10:59 AM on December 11, 2010


Shlohmo -- Sippy Cup
posted by jason's_planet at 12:08 PM on December 11, 2010


"The air is cool and there are plenty of things to do . . . . "

Baths -- Indoorsy
posted by jason's_planet at 12:17 PM on December 11, 2010


Blackbird Blackbird -- Heartbeat
posted by jason's_planet at 4:19 PM on December 11, 2010


Love, this is a dark world
And I've lost focus
Please tell me you need me . . .

Baths -- Plea
posted by jason's_planet at 12:10 PM on December 12, 2010


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