Sunday, 29 December 2013

Essay: 'Something Beautiful?' The Hardcore Pastiche of YEN TECH and ADR

Yen Tech: Revengeance (download it here)

Dummy essay on the questions raised by such extreme and detailed use of pop pastiche, especially on recent releases by ADR and Yen Tech (click here to read). This one was a bit of a follow-up to last year's distroid piece. Since this essay went up, Gatekeeper released their Young Chronos EP in a similar kind of bag, and Yen Tech released two more great tracks - 'Creature' and the Christmas song 'All I Want for Christmas' (for the brilliant Christmas 2.0 Forever Priz Tats x PC Music compilation).

Earlier this year, two members of the Dis camp released what might be two of the most perplexing and provocative albums of recent years, and both of them work with the deepest, most detailed and most unblinking pastiche of among the most lurid and inauthentic (traditionally, at least) music around today: ADR's 'Chunky Monkey' and YEN TECH's 'Revengeance' mixtape. Both are spectacular. It's pastiche so hardcore that it seems like they form an extreme yet logical intensification, the furthest reach, an end-point perhaps, of the light pastiching that began with the likes of Stereolab, Boards of Canada and Ariel Pink messing around with cheesy old-fashioned pop. Where those artists casually invited you to a wistful afternoon of sunny, dappled nostalgia, safely distant in time and historicised, a little cheeky lemonade to offset the artisanal ales of indie folk, maybe a faint pang of poignancy here and there, 'Chunky Monkey' and 'Revengeance' slam your head right into the toilet bowl and shout over and over again, "YOU LOVE IT! YOU LOVE IT!"...

The gap between the caricature and its object narrows to a hairline fracture. No longer is underground new music merely caricaturing the sounds its audience associates with capitalistic or technological excess, leaving us space to comfortably situate ourselves in relation to it. For all intents and purposes, it is the music of capitalistic and technological excess...

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