As each year passes by, I find my beliefs on art changing. While some months I will be convinced that a particular sort of aesthetic is what I love, and any other aesthetic or technique is worthless, some other months I will come up against something which completely changes my opinion. Tastes change and the way in which I look at art transforms. The way in which I perceive art changes the way in which I write about it.Some months I will judge something by a certain set of values, without looking at the social context or historical importance or immediate perception. I have written about an album within two days after first listening to it; sometimes after 5 years , music is inherently so strange a phenomenon that I struggle to put down two sentences that express what I really feel about it in the present. The only thing I am sure about is that the only yardstick for awesome art is survival (most people would point towards album sales and Pitchfork ratings as yardsticks and I wouldn’t directly refute this but would say that it is more subtle than that)
I have been a snob in my time and derided other people’s taste in music – mostly because my tastes were generally looked upon as strange and unpalatable by my peers-but that only served to make me enjoy music more, and after all one of the purposes of listening to music is to carve out an identity and create groups (and I guess that would explain (I am no sociologist) why teens are often the most passionate lovers of music – those are the years when you are trying to fit into groups and creating your own identity-it is somewhat like a facebook profile only much more subtle – a way of telling the world “this is my way of life” etc)
When I started writing all I wanted to do was tell the world about great music-after all the name of the blog is “That Doesnt Sound Right”- but it has ended up becoming an archive of sorts. The only concrete thing I have learnt about music is that it brings pleasure by association-just like your old room and posters-you remember the time when you were listening to the song in the past and it conjures up nostalgia and the smell of the food you ate and the jokes you made-it might not even be one specific memory-just a wash of images and words and colors.
The reason I wrote all that random rambling is because of this album by Grimes (though it is more in the nature of “stream of consciousness thoughts). Firstly I just heard this a few days ago – the reason I state this is because of my hesitation in writing about something that is new to me-so whatever I state about something new to me comes with the disclaimer above – tastes change. Secondly – just a few months back I would have told you that this stuff is terrible. Thirdly – I would probably be more charitable about the music if you asked me about it next year-the whole pleasure by association thnigy – because I am enjoying the electronica ditherings of Grimes in the lazy winter nights.
This music is not elevator music – but definitely qualifies as lounge music – ambient music for people who aren’t feeling particularly angry about something – in fact they are pretty well off and enjoying an expensive drink. Most of the album is pretty mediocre – the reason for it being so is because of the track “Oblivion” – which is much, much better and different from the rest of the music that surrounds it – it is in the same vein – sparse electronica with an ethereal voice – but it is disconcerting, immediately getting it banned from the exclusive lounge with the margaritas – the droning synths hint at something out of place – the intervals are deliberately uneven – and Grimes excites me with her roguish/impish vocals laid on top of one another – the pretty piano line emphasizing the madness and dreamy atmosphere, this track makes me come back to Grimes again and again. There is real talent here. The rest of the music is more straightforward in the vein of Portishead-gone-straight (amazing the number of times I refer that band) – sparse electronic dream pop with a fairy like female sliding on top of the lethargic beats.
I am not very enthusiastic about most of the music – I find it dull and uninspiring – no particularly offensive or bad – technically correct notes but not able to enthuse me like “Oblivion” which stands out – if I may say so – like a sore thumb.