Calling all Frontier Psychiatrists
October 31, 2014 6:43 AM   Subscribe

Hey, hip mefi-ites, what, according to you, constitutes the cutting edge of music today?

... and your answer can be about any aspect of listening to music! I appreciate articles, books, links to music you think fits this question, absolutely anything, on this subject.

. What do you see happening with how we listen to music?
. What is the best, absolute latest, greatest thing in music production?
. Where is the next great fix coming from?
. Which place is the new "India"? Not really because I'm from there, but because I keep hearing about the role Indian music played in the evolution of Western music. But, you get the gist: -- insert your own country name here -- Where are people going to or reaching out for newer, weirder, mind expanding musical scales and tones? Or because we are all connected more than ever before, does this question even make sense in modern times?

The Beatles have been on my mind of late, and as a result I've spent a lot of evenings recently poring over their influences. This lead to me thinking about the revolution in 60s music production in general, and therefore, as a result, tracing the roots back and forward.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I seem resigned to that fact that a lot of "adventurous" music today seems to be a pastiche or reworking on everything people like Chuck Berry (with an instrument), Cage (with experimental form), Lennon (with psychedelics), Eno (with electronics), [... add your own name and concept here] did over the years.

I totally accept that I may be ignorant and the answers are probably all around me and obvious. But it just frustrates me because on the surface I feel I'm hip to all the cool music of today, but yet I realized I haven't heard anything that is a "true" revolution in my generation.

Where is the frontier? Where is the line between the known and the unknown, and who are the people working there?
posted by mysticreferee to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: MUTEK has festivals showcasing the latest in electronic and avant-garde art music.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 7:13 AM on October 31, 2014

Best answer: Author & Punisher (aka Tristan Shone) is one of the few people who is doing truly original work in electronic music. His "technique" is labor-intensive, but the results are refreshing.

Beyond that, there seems to be a marketplace of unknown size for "boutique", limited quantity electronic music devices. Not just "circuit-bent" stuff, but (for example). This:

Eurorack modular equipment also falls into this category, I think.

Someday, someone will do something really serious and successful with the iPad.

Finally: go peek at matrixsynth.
posted by doctor tough love at 7:36 AM on October 31, 2014

Best answer: Drone and doom metal are what I find most interesting today. Check out Sunn (see their new collaboration with Scott Walker) and bands like Earth. (Anyone on Southern Lord, really). These aren't new bands, but what they do is really experimental. A lot of Sunn's stuff is really more sonic sculpture than straight up heavy metal as you might think of it, and they have a deep catalog, and they've collaborated with a lot of experimental musicians, like Ulver, and you can pretty much go down the rabbit hole for hours once you get started.
posted by dortmunder at 7:45 AM on October 31, 2014

Best answer: If you want my advice - and there are a lot of people in "experimental" or avant-garde music who'd howl and wail at this, I must add - you should pick up a couple of issues of Wire magazine.

It's the only publication I can think of that even tries to cover the kind of areas you're talking about. It manages this with limited success - in many ways it can actually set the agenda rather than describe it, and it's an 'establishment' of its own these days - but it's still an essential read imho. It's also fairly eclectic within its remit in terms of the genres it covers, and has a good recent track record for predicting trends (dubstep, 'hypnagogic pop'/chillwave etc)
posted by Ted Maul at 8:43 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, and if you're interested in why this is:

Maybe I'm wrong, but I seem resigned to that fact that a lot of "adventurous" music today seems to be a pastiche or reworking on everything people like Chuck Berry (with an instrument), Cage (with experimental form), Lennon (with psychedelics), Eno (with electronics), [... add your own name and concept here] did over the years.

...then you might be interested in the book Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to its Own Past by (Wire contributor) Simon Reynolds.
posted by Ted Maul at 8:48 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

in the last few years, bounce music has stepped out of new orleans and gotten some broader popularity. check out: big freedia's gin in my system, nicky da b's drop it hot potato style, and related videos should get you the rest of the way there.
posted by entropone at 8:53 AM on October 31, 2014

I'm really into the work of Anna Meredith (previously on metafilter), which I think is an interesting synthesis of contemporary classical, pop, and electronic music.

Ditto Tristan Perich, who does interesting stuff with glitch and handmade electronics in the contemporary / experimental tradition. His stuff can be pretty dry and prickly to the ears though. (disclaimer: I know Tristan!)
posted by moonmilk at 9:38 AM on October 31, 2014

it seems like bluegrass is having its moment. not sure if that fits your criteria. check out the punch brothers, natch.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:50 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm the furthest thing from hip, but my brother is an indie musician and so I get to hear about new music secondhand from him a good deal. As I take it, there's a pretty strong strain of nostalgia in the indie music culture right now - a lot of people are looking back to sample music from the 1980s and early 90s in a way that sort of skirts the line of kitschy. His album is on this top 10 list from last December, so it might be somewhere to start.

I feel like this is also happening in the mainstream - just to give a random example Nicki Minaj is sampling Sir Mix-A-Lot now which is pretty darn retro - and also on the internet in a(n even) more tongue-in-cheek way with things like the CVS BANGERS series and Neil Cicierega's 90s mashup albums.
posted by capricorn at 11:59 AM on October 31, 2014

(It's also possible he would read this and think I'm hilariously off especially for using phrases like "the indie music culture", so please take with a grain of salt!)
posted by capricorn at 12:00 PM on October 31, 2014

jus' re-iteratin' fingers_of_fire's comment, Bluegrass music is chock full o' fascinating subtleties once you get into the groove.. which reminds me to do some research into dub/bluegrass fusion in the near future...
posted by ovvl at 4:06 PM on October 31, 2014

Si Begg
posted by hz37 at 6:14 AM on November 1, 2014

OK, I'm not all that hip but the Behind Closed Doors podcast has surprised me a number of times with how much new stuff I can actually enjoy (for reference, I'm a Bowie-Lodger-teh-best kind of person.) They've got a real appreciation for variety, too-
posted by JulesER at 8:34 AM on November 1, 2014

Best answer: One more: this person is constantly pushing the boundaries:
posted by doctor tough love at 9:46 AM on November 1, 2014

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