The more things change, the more things stay the same. I could just as well leave this post at that. Ten years ago Tom started this site with the basic idea of highlighting music that is overlooked by other outlets. The same frustrations that brought about the blog still stand. It may seem like we are dead half the time – and we did officially die at one stage – but we haven’t been able to fully let it go. Tom recently highlighted a new wave of small independent sites that have started appearing and possibly more so than ever in the last ten years, they are needed. This isn’t an anniversary post where we can state that we even came close to winning the fight. Some of us – and it is increasing daily, as I talk to various friends, peers – have rarely, if ever, felt so lost in this culture.
It feels like I rarely see people talking about music at the moment. For all the seismic changes that are occurring in the culture – both good and bad – what about the music? More than usual, it seems like it is taking second billing to all the other nonsense that surrounds it. Dance music is currently going through a huge commercial boom; and this commercialism is never going to be what makes all of this interesting and fun. Our corporate overlords, however benign they may seem, are taking a grip of this culture and doing their best to steer it in the direction they currently see fit. Even when that direction may seem positive, I still don’t want it to be Red Bull, Smirnoff, fucking Fiat or whoever Boiler Room is giving greasy back rubs to this week, to be those whose money is fronting it. They do not care about the “underground”.
It has become harder to stay independent and be seen and heard. Can you blame people for embracing some multi-national that is willing to throw cash at them when it feels like no one will notice you because you can’t afford professional PR, management and on and on. Can you blame people for getting careerist because they see the current obsession with the superstar dj and want a piece of the pie. I guess you can’t, but you also can’t blame people for getting increasingly pissed off with this being the state of play.
There is no utopia in dance music. If there’s one problem dance music has it is this idealised notion of a utopia that exists in this culture. It never existed and it never will. It is a constant battle, and one can never be complacent with the lay of the land. And this is certainly not a time for complacency and its why, however sporadic our functioning may be, we won’t let ISM die.
So what about the music? Those last paragraphs do read bleak but never is it a case where all is completely lost. Curling up in the corner in defeat isn’t an option. I refuse to let myself become that “back in my day” wanker, and the current conveyer belt of revivalism, irony and Really Fucking Bland Whoosy Macbollockfaced fllooooooffy techno will not win out.
Dublin, and indeed Ireland, has never been quite cool enough to attract the hype merchants. Hard to summarise in easily digestible sound bites, and with no noticeably defined sound to hang buzz pieces off, music has allowed itself to develop in an organic fashion, that little bit removed from *some* of the nonsense. I have a tendency to scoff at articles where people roll out the “yeah, man things are really going off at the moment” clichés about their locales, but this is the best I’ve felt about Irish electronic music in some time. Be it those who have been plugging away for a time, or younger heads making their way, I can feel rest assured that everything isn’t falling to pieces. Check out the likes of Lumigraph, Naïve Ted, Bong Gozling, Rusangano Family, All City Fam(ily), Wherethetimegoes crew, Colm Kenefick, Davy Kehoe, the Winos, Sunken Foal, Magic Pockets, Cignol, New Jackson; these are some names from off the top of my head. There’s more, be it stalwarts or upstarts, and much of it flies in the face of todays cynical and compromised dance music industry.