Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Of a certain age

Right. A non political post.

I was (well, still am, bit like riding a bike) a musician. Except I played Synths during the eighties. I'd learned piano in the lower middle class family I was raised in, in the hope that it would improve my IQ and further my climb up the greasy pole. My dad had also bought a house that had a Broadwood concert Grand Piano in it. They couldn't get it out as they had built an annex around it. So I started at 7 and gave up at 12.

At 17, I was fully into music and decided to buy a synth. A yamaha CS-5. Monophonic, tiny and full of knobs and buttons

Within two years, I had a rig to rival Pink Floyd. I remember spending £3500 on the first Memorymoog imported into the UK. I was then earning £2400 a year. Aged 19.

Suffice to say, it worked. I signed to a foreign record label, moved to Frankfurt and toured throughout Europe with some great, great bands. Worked with some great, great musicians and have a very interesting Xmas card list. I gave it all up naturally to become a racing driver, but that's a different story (no, I am not Andrew Ridgely)
Me, aged 23, on tour in Germany, with my long fringe and pixie boots
Why is music such utter shite these days? I realise the sixties were great and I was lucky enough to actually be a part of the eighties. But has anything happened since? I mean, 30 fucking years have passed and NOTHING has happened. No new instruments, no new sounds, no new movements, no new passion, no new tribes, NOTHING.

Someone, please explain.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Pop music by and large ground to a halt in the early to mid eighties when rap/hip hop was first invented. I thought it was a great novelty at first, but unlike all the other great novelties since 1970 or so, a quarter of a century later, it's still the same crap. Unlike e.g. New Romantic, it didn't come and go.

Hank Vermin said...

Record companies stopped being interested in anything new because they were too busy earning millions manufacturing and over-hyping boy-bands. Nowadays it all seems to be about who's going to win the latest glorified karaoke contest on prime time saturday night.
Why spend money promoting someone with talent who may take a year or two to hit the big-time, when you can make a quick buck, dump 'em and move on to the next one?

Anonymous said...

What about drumfunk, dubstep or neurofunk?

Old Holborn said...

I don't think record companies are to blame. I blame youth. Look at the first 30 years of rock and roll. Full of innovation and experimentation. What stopped it?

Obnoxio The Clown said...

I think that the real problem is that the music business has so many niches. If you step outside the world of "pop", which really has turned to shit, then there is a lot of great stuff going on in the world of dance: house, trance, chillout, nu-jazz, even some garage isn't too horrible.

I think where "real" music has become tedious is with rock, it's endlessly derivative, merely rehashing everything from Led Zeppelin to the Beatles.

Henry Crun said...

OH, could it have something to do woth the MTV generation? Kids with the attention span of a gnat would rather be stuck in front of a computer screen being spoon-fed entertainment, rather than learning to play an instrument.

Having said that though, if there was an Xbox or DS based interactive guitar tutor, I might be a better guitar player than I am at the moment.

I don't listen to much "new" music and the last "new" band whose CD I actively sought to purchase was The Zutons. Other than that, I buy back-catalogue mainly blues artists and highly recommend the last studio album by the recently deceased Jeff Healey.

Old Holborn said...

Yeah, but the same happened during the seventies and the reaction, by youth, was Punk and New Wave and the reaction to that was New Romantics.

What reactions are going on out there now? None.

Obo. I HATE rock. I have now hated rock for over 35 years. When I see 14 year olds looking like mini me Phil Lynotts, I reach for my RPG. I also hate Retards Attempting Poetry, long haired musicians playing guitars and looking like they have been dragged through a time machine from 1969 (ie. every "new " band out there now).

Utter cack. All of it.

V said...

You are just too old to spot what you were young enough to spot when you were younger! :)

Highlights of music since Punk.
Acid House
Drum n Bass
Nu Metal
This new Mash thing!

It is only through hindsight that you can see what has changed. The problem is by then, you have lost interest in the current scene - and can be caught listening to Radio2 for fun!

the a&e charge nurse said...

Rock/Pop came with built in obsolescence I'm afraid, OH.

Vs-Chs-Vs-Chs- M8-Chs [fade], or a few variations on this formula.

Themes were also limited.
Boy meets girl/girl meets boy.
Splitting up is hell.
Nobody understands me.
Lets dance/get pissed/fuck, etc etc.

Funnily enough my daughter arrived home last night after touring with Lou Reed [re-staging the Berlin album] - I went along to the rehearsals, remember Steve Hunter, the guitar virtuoso......he's blind now.

Henry Crun said...

Saw Lloyd Cole in concert at local theatre venue at beginning of June.

Very much singer/songwriter solo artist now, but to me one of the best lyricists of his generation. All is not lost.

Musical taste is all very subjective anyway, either you like a band/artist/genre or you don't. I'm not a rap/hip-hop fan at all but like Outkast. I just try not to get too hung up on what other people like or deride their musical taste.

Chilean said...

The other day I saw some kids lugging a drum kit, I thought "great" until I spotted one of them was also carrying one of those guitars that they use for Guitar Hero on X-Box. This is the way music is going my friends, it's easier to push a few buttons that get blisters on your fingers

I think i'll use this on my blog.

Dracunculus said...

I loved those old Yamaha synths, could never afford one mind you so I had a little Korg monophonic one (but so did OMD so I felt suitably cool). Saved up like crazy and ended up with a Roland Juno 6.

Still got them but in software emulation now.

Old Holborn said...

My current rig contains a Korg N1 (88 note, weighted keys), a Korg X-3, Oberheim OB12, Akai Sampler and Yamaha TX81 rack synth. Plus a HUGE box of leads that I have been collecting for 30 years. Most of them don't work.

All linked up through a Sony Vaio running Cubase SX.


Lilith said...

The best music these days is World Music. There is some fantastic stuff out there. Did you miss Gomez?

TheFatBigot said...

The last cd I bought was Val Doonican's Christmas Album, so I'm keeping out of this one.

archduke said...

methinks you must have missed out on the dance music of the 1990s... there were certainly "tribes" in abundance in the various genres of electronic dance music - and still are.

its mostly underground though.

i take it , from your article , that you've never been to a rave? i find that hard to believe, especially since you've blogged in this post about your love of synths and electronic music.

Old Holborn said...

Ferdinand, I was living in Germany for much of the '90s, going through my earn lots of money and have lots of babies phase.

The Germans still had mullets, they listened to complete earshite like Europe and the Scorpions and frankly dressed worse than an Australians nightmare. I'm not entirely sure they have caught up even now.

Plus of course, once you have been to a Kraftwerk gig, everything else is a very, very poor imitation.

Old Holborn said...

Mind you, I did take the kids to Bristol this weekend to see this mob


pond life said...

I blame Oasis. For everything.

archduke said...

funny how Oasis are a bunch of labour supporting "progressives" and yet make the most conservative, reactionary, regressive music going.

old holborn - i guess you missed out on those Berlin Love Parades cos of your baby phase. understandable.

if you want to catch up on modern electroniuc music, google for the "dance department" podcast (from amsterdam). the "dj cruze" podcast is also very very good. (thats from manchester).

both are hi-nrg club music - on a softer, more laid back soulful house sound, check out the "Go Deep" podcasts. they're from chilled out Ireland.

archduke said...

found the podcast links mentioned above
just cut and paste the links below in your podcatching software:

Dj Cruze

Dance Department

Go Deep

Old Holborn said...

Thanks for the links, i'll check them out (for the record, check out dephazz).

In my opinion, the sixties happened because of a new instrument. The electric guitar (plus multitrack recording of course)

The eighties happened because of the of the synthesizer AND midi.

The nineties happened because of the sampler, Cubase and digitisation.

We need a new instrument or we need a new movement. It ain't the fucking guitar and it ain't new fucking labour.

Old Holborn said...


DJ Cruze is Kraftwerk remixed. Not sounds like, not a bit like but full on Kraftwerk.



Ratings and Recommendations by outbrain


Related Posts with Thumbnails