Monday, April 23, 2012

Bill Leeb, where have you gone?

Recently, in pursuit of Bruederschaft's "Return", I picked up a compilation of electronic music from 2008. Now, I've been a follower of various forms of industrial and electro (darkwave, coldwave, dark electro, hellectro, powernoise, acid house, trip hop, psychadelic sleaze... seriously, this sub-genre labelling nonsense has to stop) pretty much since these genres were codified. I was shocked all of a sudden to discover that there is a thriving strain of synthpop and electropop. I was even more astonished to discover that this new breed of synthpop and electropop (and the distinction between the two is somehow very important, although I'll be buggered if I can see it) is just as vapid, trivial, and bubblegum as pop music has always been.

Now, I understand that groganards like me should freely pass the torch to a new generation, who can do with the music as they please. But what happened to the meaning? To the focus? To the impact? When Funker Vogt wrote "This world is made of battlefields", one felt the horror of the devestation of total war in way that hippie ballads could never convey (almost as if it were Tom Clancy's conscience speaking in the dead of night). "Suffer the Flesh" stripped away pretensions of love, and even of lust and desire, to reveal, raw, consuming, self-abnegating need.

Sasha's burned out, Jourgensen has lost his way, Reznor has lost his anger. Faderhead has the look and the sound, but hasn't found the vision yet. Andy has been creating almost a caricature of himself. Ronan remembers every now and then that he used to be angry ("Automatic" is a beautiful piece of work that contains the fire of his early work) Mssrs. Leeb, DeMarco, and More, where did you go?

OTOH, Rotersand and Seabound are still doing inspirational work (including Rotersand showing us all how dubstep can be done right.) The bright (dark?) spot here is that Android Lust is working on a new album, one that threatens to go back to her roots and the magnificent "Resolution". Here's to her efforts...

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