Friday, May 13, 2011

The Bloody Beetroots

I'm not trying to pretend to be up on the latest trends. Heck, after the beatdown I've taken this week at work, I'm not trying to claim to be much of anything.
But, I do keep my ear to the ground. I try to see what's coming along, and gauge for myself if it's worthwhile. For example, I think the electronics-infused post-pop coming out of Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Denmark and Germany is worth staying alert over. I'm not saying they'll rule the airwaves, or get lauded in the history books, because pop culture doesn't work that way. Smart stuff like dEUS, Ghinzu, Silence is Sexy, Kashmir, and so on always occupies a kind of "cult" niche. Likewise, some music just isn't fit for mass tastes, like the thrash punk of bands like The Capaces, or the math rock of the United Sons of Toil, because the aesthetics are so far removed from mainstream "pop". However, I think such things are worth hearing because they're exploring the limits of pop music in interesting ways. Then, of course, some stuff, whether it garners mainstream attention or not, is just worthwhile, and I feel like it's just as snobbish to turn down the popular as it is to turn down the unpopular- such is the case with a lot of the Stoner/Doom metal coming out of the deep south like Kylesa and Torche.
So, what I'm saying is that, like the title of the Blog, I'm finding my best path is individual, not mass. I've already gone over the theoretical underpinnings so I won't go there again- but I'm still surprised when the individualistic, idiosyncratic path converges with the mainstream. Exhibit A would be the Bloody Beetroots. They're not playing MTV or Clear Channel. They're actually pretty damn smart, and artistically ambitious. They play a challenging melange of dubstep, techno, minimalism and experimental electronics. Minus the 4 on the floor dance elements, they'd be right there with early industrial noise merchants like Non, SPK, Throbbing Gristle and Whitehouse. So, it surprises me that by casting the net so wide out onto "long tail" territory, they're able to garner the fanbase they have. We're talking thousands of folks paying to see an italian duo (or trio) wearing Venom masks, quoting situationists, playing atonal noise at bonesplintering volume, and liking it. I know it's a validation of what I believe (that the modern marketplace, due to the widespread availability of quality recording gear, and the easy distribution offered up by the internet now isn't about "stars" but about audiences gathering around shared tastes) but it still surprises me to see it laid out so starkly. My son's friends hear Bloody Beetroots tracks, and decide to put it on their Ipads- and we're talking teenagers who otherwise listen to Linkin Park or Katy Perry. That impresses me. So, even if you don't share my enthusiasm for their music, I'd suggest you watch how the process unfolds. I think it promises to be fascinating. I'm not saying that as an arbiter of taste, but rather as just a guy who's been watching this shiny machine we call pop culture for over a quarter century. There is something new under the sun, but what it is, remains to be determined.

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