Liking ‘new’ things is a relatively recent evolution within humans. Consider for a moment that we went over 10,000 years between inventing the method of making fire and inventing the match. That’s hundreds of generations of people content to rub rocks together without demanding any significant progress.
500 years ago, depending on your financial circumstances, you may have only owned 2 sets of clothes and eaten nothing but apples for 3 months of the year. These are stories that make the purveyors of consumerism quake in this week’s electric blue Louboutins. Even the moderately conservative 21st century humans demand new. We have been sold a dream the future! The dream of rapid development. For the spoilt children of the technological evolution, nothing is ever enough. “Where is my hover-board?” screams generation X. “How long do I have to wait before I can print my own food?”. “Why is my mobile phone so heavy?”. “Why is space travel so expensive?”. “Why can’t Siri understand me when I’m micro-dosing?” “Why does change take so damn loooooong?”. “Ooh look a new iPhone….”
And yet a spin off to this all-consuming drive to re-invent ourselves, to compete towards being first into the future state, is the creation of so much mediocrity. Why wait for the next great thing when you can have 400 of the next slightly crappy things along the way. To temper your impatience and bolster the bank accounts of corporations, whilst they imagine up your next requirement. Yes indeed, let’s deliver the future through increments of disappointment.
So what of the arts. Does ‘new’ mean an opportunity for better? Are there still levels of greatness to be attained in literature, music and the visual arts? Have we already read the best book that will ever be written and gazed slack jawed at the finest picture ever to have been tickled out of the end of a sable haired painting wand? (I’m told on good authority that is the official name of the tool) Were the Beatles the greatest band that will ever live? Should we just hand the reins to the computers? Because they can probably bake a hit song more easily than a human, simply by accessing the entire history of music and the quantitative evaluation of ‘success’.
Thankfully art differs from science in that its merit is subjective. What sounds like a hand full of nails in a blender to one person can sound like whispering angels to someone else. One person’s daub of a sad flower in a vase will touch another person’s soul in a way that changes their entire world view.
For the meantime we are blessed with our differences and opinions. It would be nice to think that the continued integration and deeper understanding of cultural diversity, has yet to bring us art and music of a more holistic human representation, which may yet lead to something more beautiful that we have seen or heard until now.
I certainly believe, and simultaneously am thankful for; the fact that a large group of humans are so furiously dedicated to producing beautiful things, in the same way that other groups are so fervently devoted to making more food products from corn syrup or imagining more money out of hash algorithms
Whilst we inhabit the world in this state, before we finally come to terms with our chemistry and augment ourselves across another cognitive revolution. Whereupon everything we created in this phase of our evolution will appear as simplistic as a baboon thumping a tree stump with a stick. Whilst we are here, the search for ‘new’ can be as rewarding and frustrating as our individualism would allow us.
It may appear from the outside as if I am content with the old. Sifting through the dusty sleeves of my MP3s to find some nugget of past joy to play for you. But unfortunately the particularities of my disease do not allow. Discovery of “new” is an intrinsic part of the music lovers’ sickness. And when “new” does not naturally occur in my world, I am bound to strap on my rucksack and head into the jungle to seek a rare and interesting specimen.
I caveat this by stating the obvious to many, but I am not an influencer, a mover, a shaker or in any way considered cool by anyone over the age of 8. These discoveries are ‘new’ to me and that is qualification enough for this blog.
First fresh egg cracked into the pan is Blaenavon with Prague ’99. Originally a 3-piece from Hampshire, UK, now a 4-piece, possibly not a natural growth spurt, but I’m only guessing. It is at this point when I wonder whether I like the musicians themselves, or in honesty I’m just a huge fan of Jim Abbiss the producer of their debut full length album, who has delivered some incredible works over the years (Bombay Bicycle Club, Adele, Massive Attack, the Arctic Monkeys – to name a few). I think if Blaenavon continue to work with Mr Abbiss they will go far. If they stray, who knows, but there is something good here at the core and I for one want to hear the next effort.
Next, this kind of jumped out and mugged me. George van den Broek is Yellow Days. George hails from Manchester although having a Dutch name, and may physically be 19 years old but he must be the re-incarnation of some ancient, semi-respectable blues-men. This raspy, funky anguish is a treat. I’m not sure I really understand the haircut, but then I’m not supposed to. I’m old enough to be his father. I’m looking forward to more from him. This is A Little While and its very good.
Haley Heynderickx hails from Portland Oregon. Somewhat the deep end of the musical gene pool in the Pacific Northwest. It’s fair to say there is a certain expectation if your surname is Hendrix, however you chose to spell it, and I can admit that she doesn’t disappoint. There are a lot of female vocalists around at the moment who have astonishing voices. It almost seems as if there was something in the water in the 1980’s. But a combination talent like this lady has is rare. I’m a fan. Also The Bug Collector has a credible amount of fun to it, in that it’s about chasing insects out of a bedroom. I normally use the “swinging T-shirt” as my weapon of choice but hey.
Ok. I really reached here. There is a lot of new music which well sounds a like older music. There is a lot of music which sounds tired and generic. There is a lot of music by musicians who should frankly just have stayed in school and not listened to their friends. There are certainly some mothers who have done a rather too good a job of convincing their little prince and princesses that they are truly special…
That’s probably what George van den Broek’s dad said (I should know.. (I’m not by the way just in case….)) This 4th tune is often the hardest to select and still I’m not totally sure. But Starcrawler have something honest about their sound. There is nothing wrong with going back to basics with distorted guitars and a bit of shouting. I don’t know if I’d buy their album but I’d love to see them live. I hope they make it big enough to warrant coming to my part of the world. Also following the bug theme from Haley with Ants. – just further down the coast so a bit more sunshine and less.. er depth.. can I say that? probably not. meh.