Friday 13 July 2012

'The Virtual Plaza': Two Kinds of Art-Pop Critique (Audio and Mixtapes too)

I have a new two-part big-'un article (click here for part one and here for part two) for Dummy on some recent, rather anti-techno-capitalist and potentially accelerationist pop-art tendencies in underground music:

"Global capitalism is nearly there. At the end of the world there will only be liquid advertisement and gaseous desire. Sublimated from our bodies, our untethered senses will endlessly ride escalators through pristine artificial environments, more and less than human, drugged-up and drugged down, catalysed, consuming and consumed by a relentlessly rich economy of sensory information, valued by the pixel. The Virtual Plaza welcomes you, and you will welcome it too.

This is the world broadcast in brutal high-definition by a new faction within underground art-pop that’s exploring the technological and commercial frontiers of 21st-century hyper-capitalism’s grimmest artistic sensibilities. Wearing manic caffeine grins or concealed enigmatically behind corporate muscle and mirror-shades (or both), musicians such as Fatima Al Qadiri, James Ferraro, Gatekeeper, INTERNET CLUB, New Dreams Ltd. and many more are performing the next step in techno-capitalism’s disturbing and disturbingly logical sequence. They let flow the music that lubricates Capital, open the door to a monstrously alienating sublime, twist dystopia into utopia and vice versa, and dare you not to like it."

Part One looks at 'vaporwave', a successor to hypnagogic pop and Oneohtrix Point Never that adopts (near-) contemporary sounds and imagery from corporate promotionals and has less of the lo-fi. Part Two discusses a more violent 'distroid' aesthetic in music by Fatima Al Qadiri, BODYGUARD, Gatekeeper and others. Accelerationism and the work of Nick Land are mentioned along the way.

To get a sense of what these sounds are I put together an hour-long mix for each part to stream or download, see embedded below (see tracklistings on the original article or by clicking through to SoundCloud) :

And of course, I did the spoken word audio with musical examples, for your listening convenience:

Artwork by New Dreams Ltd.