As if I didn’t have enough postmodernist babble running through my head, today I read an interesting Guardian article about a new compilation CD ‘exposing’ the myth behind electronica sampling, firstly revealing Daft Punk, and now more recently, Massive Attack. Although in theory this concept is ingenious and could read like a back to mine CD, what the series demystifies is infact what makes modern electronica what it is (and all general pop music for that matter); it is all recycled but re-made to seem individualistic. Very little is ‘original’ these days, and exposing this flaw furthermore will only ruin the romantic nostalgia that we have over our cherished CD collections. Besides… can you imagine what a dissected ‘Entroducing’ would sound like? It would probably be over 4 hours long for starters!
The reason for my pessimistic tone at this revelation is because the idea of the postmodern condition, in my opinion, relishes the opportunity to expose all compositional elements, be it in art or music. In the search for the truth and power of knowledge, it’s always a race. To read/watch/listen to every top 100/latest release, first. How frustrating is it when you have an epiphany and discover something so truly amazing that you have to tell everyone you know about it… only to discover that they knew about it 6 months ago and didn’t share the wealth. These days knowledge is power, and while some are choosing to keep it to themselves, others are exposing more than they really should.
What does this have to do with romance? Not much really, unless you take a look at the forgotten institution that is the mix tape. How romantic where the days where you would slave a whole afternoon in your bedroom compiling a precious tape (or for my generation the CD) with all of your favourite songs to share with another? I remember when I received my first compilation… back in the day when I first started getting into Ska and Punk-Rock, thanks to a potential new boyfriend who had taken a shining to me and my growing music collection. Oh the relationships forged over the sharing of music!
Nowadays, who bothers making compilation CD’s when Last FM can tell us what other bands we would like, or Radio 1 reads out what is ‘hip’ like a New Year’s honours list? And then copying itself is opens up a whole new can of piracy worms, before we even mention the dreaded d word. Technology has made sharing too easy, thus the romance that could be formed from it is wiped out as quickly as you pull out your USB stick. I have tried to reinstall that romance, I made a few compilation CD’s for my girlfriends, all different, taking a particular theme, with some you will know, some you won’t. Have I had any gushing phone calls at the amazing discovery of some strange yet brilliant song that has touched a dark part of their soul? Of course I havn’t. They knew them all already.