Monday, July 07, 2014

What the Future Used to Sound Like

All of the music in this episode was recorded before 1984, some as early as 1978, and ties many experimental strands together as it firmly establishes the foundation of the "No Wave" movement (which sprang from the art scene in downtown New York City).

The roots of this musical family tree spread all the way back to the underground music scene of mid-60s London, to bands like Soft Machine and Gong (members of which feature in the episode). In fact, perusing the lineups of those two groups in particular, one is led to artistic endeavours as diverse (and important in their own ways) as Manfred Mann, The Police, Sonic Youth, Carla Bley, jazz fusion, prog rock, ambient noise and countless others. This is music that influenced - and influences - high and low art from the late 20st century through today. Dig deeper, starting with the artists here. Whether you move forward or back in time from them, you will be astounded by the scope of the reach and impact.

Much of the music in this episode is truly of the "timeless" variety. An overused word, for sure, but rather than stretch for synonyms, let's call it what it is. Whether it is recording techniques, instrumentation, or composition, a significant portion of the songs in this mix could have been recorded today. Or 35 years ago.

This is what the future used to sound like.

Process / Motion - Material
Materialism - New York Gong
Panther Burn - Curlew
America Is Waiting - Brian Eno and David Byrne
Conversations With White Arc - Fred Frith
Shadow to Shadow - Kip Hanrahan
Reduction - Material
Square Dance - Material
Fastfather - Daevid Allen
Lizard Point - Brian Eno
I'm Sorry, I'm Such a Weenie - Jill Kroesen
Gate - Massacre
Filter - Elliot Sharp

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