Thursday, January 6, 2011

My musical and societal recap of 2010...

As much as I'm a hater of them, end of year lists rock because they lead me to form my own zeitgeist of music/culture, people, and subcultures. I don't consider myself late in posting this as I took time to read through my favorite sites and blogs to see what they were into, and compared them to what I liked. I resisted posting a favorite list until yesterday, when I was listening to the NPR podcast of their "Favorite Music of 2010" (even though I do not consider NPR a go-to place for drawing music). They started off well, and by the end it became the typical NPR post-baby-boomer-hippie-sorta-the-cool-aunt-and-uncle-choices that you usually get from them. I was kinda disappointed, so I decided to do my own.

My time capsule for 2010 music would be summed up with the word "reaching." My favorite music reached to earlier times and foreign sources and what they came up with would not have existed in these origins, but could have if times were different. My favorite music reached for Detroit Techno, "ethnic sounds", Synthpop, Psychedelic, Booty, and Electro... reinterpreted (or misinterpreted for that matter) by technology, youth, ignorance, or postmodernism. The tunes I chose have a feel like stonewashed jeans; filtered, moved around, and set back, like a broken plate you glued together that still works, but lost that cleanliness of the original form. Vocals are a big thing for me this year too, each tune has some sort of filter or manipulation to them.

Personally, this parallels what I have been thinking about in my own development and the larger world. Before 2010, I felt very much in the modern of being a part of identities that I flourished within. Now, I consider myself a simultaneous modernist-postmodernist... exemplified by my understanding that framings and issues of race have changed in the last 5 years to that 2.0 and post-race thing... but I am still aware that disparities still exist and that institutional and personal discrimination are quite alive and well. We have examples of 2.0 and 1.0 race issues standing side by side. As I mentioned in my previous post, yesteryear's "Jim Crow" has now become "Prison Industrial Complex." I see interracial couples, same sex relationships, Albinism on MTV, and President Obama running the nation with less questioning and less essentializing (do you see any more TV show specials about Sally dating a Black guy, or an episode where Willis doesn't want to date a chick because she is in a wheelchair as much). Yet I still see a poor poor poor state of affairs with how we understand and relate to one another; xenophbia in Arizona, Tea Party bullshit, unemployment, minstrel show mainstream Hip Hop, the U.S. military takeover of Haiti post earthquake, the wack ass Word Cup's treatment of South Africans, G20, and so on and so on...

These social issues tie closely to music in this "reaching" thing. The difference is that music and art wants more, it reaches for something, looking for that vibe. Whereas the reframing of these social ills is about maintaining the status quo, not "progress" or "development" but maintain a stasis to trick and hide the fact that Western Civilization is quite stuck right now. On that happy note, here are my favs of 2010.

Twin Shadow - Slow (Reaching for 80s Synthpop)

Lone - Cloud 909 (Reaching for Detroit Techno)

Deehunter - Basement Scene (Reaching for Psychedelic Rock)

Ramadanman - Work Them (Reaching for Electro)

Addison Groove - Footcrab (Reaching for Chicago)

Mellowhype - Right Here (Reaching for De La Soul)

Acam Balab - See Birds (Moon) (Reaching for Burial)

Breach - Fatherless (Reaching for Ethnic)

Honorable Mentions: They were good, but didn't have that staying power as the stuff above... worth checking out tho... Rita Indiana y Los Misterios, Die Antwoord, Das Racist, Sleigh Bells, Caribu - Sun (Midlands Re-edit)

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