Wednesday, April 05, 2006

An open letter to the Orlando Weekly's columnist Jason Ferguson

Mr. Ferguson,

I was sifting through some of Mr. Ferguson's older columns ("oldER" not "old," per say) because one of my best friends, who grew up in the Orlando area, was praising one particular column which I will hereon refer to as "Post-1990 music sucks."

That statement, though you did not make it directly but summarizes your opinion in the column I refer to, is categorically inaccurate. I'd even go as far to say as its flat-out wrong. Barring M.I.A. from that blanket statement (of which, I make many myself; and I also enjoyed "Arular") is no saving grace. If we can frame this letter into what is essentially American pop music-- mass consumed or not (I speak academically here)-- Sigur Ros first comes to mind as falling into the category of "sound[ing] out of place in 1990," because it would pre-date My Bloody Valentine ("Loveless" post-dated 1990 also) and even some of the Cocteau Twins' best work. Its only comparison in '90, and now in '06, is shoegaze music, or "Pink Floyd turned blue," to quote Spin Magazine.

I can give you a laundry list of music that would've sounded downright freakish in 1990: Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Boards of Canada, anything produced by Timbaland/Missy Elliott (maybe less so, due to '80s electro), Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx and so on and so on. Take just about any crunk, screw or snap hip hop song and put that in '90. People would freak out. Pretty much any post-New Order or post-Chemical Brothers electronic music would at least sound pretty out of place in '90. IDM like I mentioned previously would DEFINITELY sound out of place. "Kid A," on that note (a record that, by the time this decade ends by the way, will probably be considered as the finest music representing the '00s), would definitely sound out of place, even if it does essentially rip off Aphex Twin and Kraftwerk.

Basically, hip hop and electronic music are pretty much the only pop music genres that show demonstrable, sometimes drastic and (even rarer so) revolutionary evolutions in sonic originality in your frame of "1990 on."

Radiohead and much of the hip hop I named, of course, are rooted in pre-'90 music, yes. But to say that nothing came out in 2005 (even thought you wrote "2006," you probably meant 2005, being that '06 was only 19 days old upon your column's publication) that would sounded out of place in 1990 is fucking DUBIOUS. In fact, it might even show just how narrow-minded your view of music is. Now, I've read you before. I know this isn't true. Which is why your lack of musical perspective surprised me so much.

I'd like to engage in debate/discussion with you so you can explain or even recalibrate your position. I'm sure you're a busy man, but holla back, young'un.

konflict of interest


Blogger Scott said...

This is gonna run in Daily Variety or something, right?

Oh, new blog for me:

4/05/2006 7:54 PM  

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