Sunday, March 08, 2009

On the Origin of Scenes

Figure 1: Status quo

The musical scene is large and well established

scene: status quo

Figure 2: Outbreak

Frustrated with the status quo, musicians migrate from the core

this could be any established genre

scene: outbreak

Figure 3: Shared values

Some of the musicians find common ground and create a new camp

this is the "what do u call it" moment, where the rate of change and posibilities are the greatest

scene: shared values

Figure 4 & 5: Growth and influx

The new scene attracts an influx and grows

this is funky right now, dubstep three years ago, grime five years ago

scene: growth and influx

Figure 6: Becoming the status quo

The scene becomes the status quo

And frankly, who wants to be Status Quo... only joking. ;)

scene: becoming the status quo

25 comments:

jambear said...

Wish stageis the one wheremost of the output is horribly generic and its increasingly harder to find the gems? Somewhere between 5 and 6?

Blackdown said...

6 and 1 surely!

atatgg said...

the diagrams are making me think of parallels between scenes & cells right now

what about scene mitosis, scene mutations? are there any cancerous scenes which might spread out & kill the whole if lots of expensive treatment is used to get rid of them?

pollywog said...

Which stage is the one where most of the output is horribly generic and its increasingly harder to find the gems? Somewhere between 5 and 6?

oh that'll be the one where a migration from another scene takes place and they start cloning the lowest common denominator shit of the new scene...

...we'll call that a kode 9 alert

Blackdown said...

@ atatgg

you know! i have a whole nother set of diagrams that relates to scene tempos and viral shift/drift. just need to find a good way to draw it.

i think the spread/killing step is less cancer, more like a virus, where it takes over the host cell/scene. at that point i think step 4 represents this - incoming deadly ideas from an external genre.

Spike said...

I never did end up sending you my finished dissertation on the grounds that I ended up writing most of it the night before the deadline (and as a result had to wing it and make up a few facts/a lot of it), but the main theme was how dubstep fitted into this evolutionary model. If you feel like a bit of a lengthy read check out http://www.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/1/8/3/8/2/pages183829/p183829-1.php - Lena and Peterson's academic treatment of the same topic

Anonymous said...

Jazzfunk! Dubstep! Skapunk! Hip House! What is diluting what? Don't be scared, people. I'm old enough to remember when pirate DJs slagged off pop songs for using house beats, when punk purists slagged off bands for slowing down. That kind of musical fascism leads the sounds deep into the bowels of its creators. It's not a good look. '..incoming deadly ideas from an external genre'. I would say: 'mutate & survive!' As soon as someone makes a new sounding, innovative track it belongs to all its listeners. As soon as a club opens its doors it belongs to all the punters who make it through. Want to keep it pure? Keep it to yourself. Burn your art before anyone else has a chance to experience it, like Kerouac did. Otherwise accept you are making music that is the result of our wonderful mashed up cultures, good shit, bad shit & 'generic'. Thank you, goodnight.

Blackdown said...

oh yeah, i'm all about the mutation and offshoots. just as long as you dont cross breed something good with something terrible. the end needs to justify the means, not mutation for mutation's sake ;)

Anonymous said...

Insertion - 29 basslines

Deletion - unnecessary kicks/snares, bait reggae samples

Mutation - loudness wars, LFO

Transformation - Kode9 meets LD

Cancer - easy access to powerful computers, sequencers & VSTs -> increased rate of production -> swamping of the scence by idiots mistaking half-baked ideas for minimalism. Conversely, creation of classics which, by virtue of being immortal, outlast other tunes. Relative impact of each factor dependent on environment: scene involving 100 DJs playing 20 minute sets back-to-back per night favours the former, scene forcing DJs to play 2 hour sets encourages proliferation of the latter.

Virus - idea(s) from elsewhere previously unencoded within the genre. May lie latent for months before lysis, releasing millions of new infectious particles.

Viral miRNA - short sequences which prevent expression of tunes deleterious to the virus. AKA 10 new Zomby riddims a month.

Bad analogies - all of this.

Anonymous said...

mutation for mutation's sake? now there's a can o worms...

Renato Pagnani said...

These figures are spot on! Where did you find them?

danf said...

mutation for mutation's sake? now there's a can o worms...

Not really. Minor irritation followed by swift loss from the gene pool.

Blackdown said...

These figures are spot on! Where did you find them?

i drew them on the tube...!

pollywog said...

^^^wow...no shit

i'm impressed...

...no really i am

Blackdown said...

had to happen one day me old china, unlikely i admit but law of averages i guess...

pollywog said...

heh...dont give up ya day job tho eh;p

dubstep and grime wasnt about musicians being frustrated with the core tho was it ??? cos UKG/2step/breakstep wit accompanying MCing was still bangin til it effectively got shut down by violence, legislation and bad press forcing it underground to emerge mutated with new genus classification ???

...and what core is it exactly fnky is migrating from ???

isnt it more about art imitating life and reflecting the times ??? The darker strains of dubstep and grime echoing the oppressive bush/blair years and fnky the more optimistic worldly obama era.

And yet heading deeper into recession i just cant help feeling fnky is bubblegum music soon to lose its flava just like obama and to draw a comparison to a genre would be to equate it to the pure hedonism of non stop partying nu skool breakbeat which i guess artists involved did frustratinlgy migrate to the fringes and thus mutate into dubstep :)

Blackdown said...

you make me laugh Mugdub.

dubstep was a reaction to how vocal, saccarine and dressy UKG was.

grime was a reaction to how unwelcome the growing influence MCs had in UKG.

funky was a reaction to how agressive, male MC-dominated, concert-like/un-danceable grime had become.

where have you been?

pollywog said...

you make me laugh more whiteclown...

...so you're saying bad press, violence and legislation had nothing to do with the drift from UKG back to the underground to spawn darker beats and rhymes in a paranoid post 9.11 world or that fnky doesnt reflect a new worldly optimism ???

you make some good points but for fucks sake back em up cos your word aint gospel eh...

...and i still been here in NZ :)

Blackdown said...

you asked what caused dubstep and grime to leave the 'core' ie UKG, not what caused the downfall of UKG itself.

it's a question timelines: the seeds of dubstep (groove chronicles, el-b, horsepower circa 2000) and grime (so solid, hlc, pay as u go in 2001) predate the implosion of garage in 2002/3 anyway!

Developer said...

The diagrams are confusing.

musshhhk said...

innovation vs ritualisation

good pikcha!

Blackdown said...

The diagrams are confusing.

really? in what way. they just go round in a circle...

pollywog said...

^^^in a roundabout circular way i'd say

rich said...

"The darker strains of dubstep and grime echoing the oppressive bush/blair years and fnky the more optimistic worldly obama era."

air pie

rudeboybass said...

Pretty accurate depiction of what happens!