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Re: Maybe why Avante-garde looping in US...

At 4:51 PM -0800 2/2/06, loop.pool wrote:
>>mech wrote:
>>So, to summarize, there is interesting Hip Hop being made.  You just
>>have to get out of the US to find it.
>ooooooh,  I'm sorry but I will contend that statement with all due 
>respect, mech:

You contention of my criticism accepted with all due respect, of course.  

(One note before we get started however: I just want to bring it back 
that because I don't find the current state of American beat music 
very inspired, I don't necessarily agree with the article that 
started all this.  Just because I think there's not a lot of 
interesting Hip Hop being produced here, that doesn't mean I agree 
those artists here are inherently incapable of producing interesting 
Hip Hop.  That's due to a choice, not a lack of ability, IMNSHO.)

>There is wonderful experimental and very innovative hip hop going on 
>in every big city
>in the US these days.
>There are also a lot of indie underground bands who have hip hop 
>backgrounds as kids
>and are doing spoken word over backing tracks that is like a more 
>laid back version of hip hop.
>There are at least three groups in my small home town alone 
>exploring this territory.

The spoken word stuff sounds interesting.  Since we're talking local, 
I think there may be a couple of people here in Chicago doing similar 
things.  However, I think at times our own history here hangs around 
our necks like an albatross.  Supposedly, the first Poetry Slams 
originated over in Uptown at the Green Mill decades ago.  So people 
seem to uphold tradition and venerate the spoken word performances, 
and don't tend to push them too far out on a limb.  House music 
started here, so people also look at you a little funny if you try to 
take that musical form further out -- as if you're somehow betraying 
your roots.  That's somewhat understandable considering the way 
different cities put their own stylistic stamp on the same sort of 
music; House from Chi, Techno from Detroit, Acid from London, etc., 

If anything, I see a lot of the innovators here slipping into 
Beatboxing.  I think that's because there's not any real baggage that 
comes along with that.  And there's a small IDM community here, but a 
couple of the record stores that were at the center of that scene 
have closed in the past year and left it a bit rudderless.  It 
doesn't help that a local artist will just start to get some 
recognition, then suddenly blast outta here for parts unknown (Greg 
Davis' recent move to Vermont, or Telefon Tel Aviv to New Orleans, 
immediately come to mind here).

In addition, I think Hip Hop has become so mainstream that a lot of 
innovators intentionally steer clear of it.  It's sort of like when 
the big-hair spandex metal bands were at their peak.  For a while it 
was tough to maintain your self-esteem as a guitar player when most 
of your peers were more concerned with hair spray than doing anything 
truly innovative.

The guys who are left in the spotlight are, like the dinosaur rock 
bands, more concerned with getting wasted or getting laid (not 
necessarily in that order).

>Ever heard ClouDdead?   Check 'em out.

Saw an article on them in Grooves magazine, but haven't actually 
heard any of their stuff.  Now I'll have to go find some.  Didn't 
they just put out their "final" album and call it quits (ala Big 

(aside: speaking of Grooves, i just saw that they've now gone 
completely digital.  nuts, this is going to put a real crimp in my 
bathroom reading material.)

>ps   Also, and this is out of the US, but nobody seems to know about 
>the wonderful group, originally from East Berlin before the fall of 
>the wall,   TARWATER.

I picked up "Dwellers on the Threshold" for a buck last year when 
another local record store was going under.  Didn't really get into 
it, but I'm not sure what I was expecting.  I'll have to go dig it 
back out again.

On a completely different note, I was over on iTunes the other day 
and picked up the Nation 12 collaboration with John Foxx.  I don't 
think I ever would have thought of that combination -- heavy Hip 
Hop-style drum and bass tracks with Foxx's trademark monotone, 
alienated (and often vocoded) vocals over the top.  However, I was 
pleasantly surprised to find that it actually works very well.


"If Television is a babysitter, then the Internet is a drunk 
librarian who won't shut up..."