Tuesday, June 29, 2010

mix 'n match

Trend spotting is like tourist spotting. Every week it's new; every week it's the same.

So, surprise, surprise, there's this new trend in town. And it has nothing to do with balls. Or, rather, no. it has everything to do with balls. The ones between your legs; not the ones that elude your legs. Or break your legs. (sorry, i had to. when you've grown up with rugged rugby players crushing each other's heads between their legs for a warm-up, it's just quite funny and rather futile to try and take seriously a crying Italian who kicked the air so hard he landed on his arse and broke his hip).

Trend number two thousand and ten. Musos as DJs. it's great. Wormstorm initiated it (up with the Garden Boys!), Louis expanded on it (or maybe it's the other way around. anyway, both the chicken and the egg get eaten), and now i'm waiting for bands to replace opening acts with an iPod. As if, you say... as if you don't understand the evolution of influence in these city streets. If it can be called that.

of course, it's more than a new trend and a way to make cash for maestros tired of busking their asses off for coins (oh, wait, no, that's illegal this month. along with wearing band shirts in stadia). it's a gesture of courage and goodwill on the part of the musician, an act of attentive adoration from fans, and probably an interesting anthropological exercise for foreigners who want 'African' music and the very fucked but-not-that-fucking-arsed-to-intellectualise it... back on the semi-celebrity front, anyone with any interest in local creativity is likely to listen in to see if they can suss out their favourite vocalist/guitarist/drummer/etc through his/her musical taste(or push the pedestal a little higher up their ass). And in-between it, there might be a synergy. A magic, even. We might dance. Together. Forever. Thing is, like with all novelties, the newness wears off and the second skin is really the beginning. What are we doing with this besides putting musician's social and professional roles on shuffle for the good of mankind? We the MuJays (or MeJays?), the dancers, the ... trend spotters?

I'm wondering if we can isolate what works about it, take away the initial uncertainty, find the essence of the exercise and turn it into a real cult movement that really moves people, metaphorically and literally, instead of just a few stabs at sonic exhibitionism sans strings. Maybe comedians will start selling their oil paintings. Maybe graphic designers will start doing performance art installations in the street. It seems everyone else is, after all. Metelerkamp had a stab at it. Inge and Sannie had a go. And under the ground, someone is threatening to make Middle Eastern beats hypolitically correct. The point is creative cross polynation, and we're ripe for it while the patron saint of patriotism, Togetherness, is patting everyone on the head while we sing nkosi sikhelel on the train in harmony. Time will tell. Pity we're impatient.

The adventure in it is that music and movement are a mystery we'll never truly know or control. Kind of like love. kind of like life. Let's dub it the puzzle of inspiration and make it into a poster campaign. we could cover the streets in them and give those idle, posing soccer balls to the children who need them. What's more (what - more?), the more the merrier; while this scene is finding itself a manifesto, i can't see why we wouldn't want what we've been given. if you have two feet that like tapping, you've probably also found the fodder a bit thin when it comes to recorded stuff to dance to in skinnyville. Or live stuff, for that matter. Or live recorded stuff, whatever that's called.

but one point must be made before the Scene turns this trend into a fashion and reality TV catches on and partners with MTV (again) and then implodes to maybe form a movement about movement (and music). Even if you do it during a headstand, tweaking the turntables is not going to improve your performance or your composition or your technique. That takes blood. And dirty fingernails.

Oh. And that other trend - using about five different genre names to create a composite, completely contradictory and misunderstandable mother term that only your mother can use without blushing. A mix of more than 3 genres in a running description of your music means you're CONFUSED, not inspired. If you're really inspired, you should be making up your own genre name after 3 comparisons, or not caring at all what it's CALLED. And what's with calling your stuff a mix of "Progressive, Indie, Classical, Blues, Punk and Melodic Rock" when you sound like Kurt Darren with an electric guitar? Sadly this trend has persisted for some time, so i think it is renamed a turnstile. Let's skip it.