I’m a huge fan of Simon Reynolds‘ writing on music and popular culture. Rip It Up and Start Again and Energy Flash are definitive accounts of the emergence and development of the post punk and rave scenes. Each book does a superb job of highlighting the socioeconomic backdrop for these exciting new musical forms in turn helping the reader understand and appreciate the music for what it was really all about. So it was with a dash of despondency that I came to the end of his most recent book Retromania. The disappointment didn’t come from the quality of the writing, which was as brilliant as always, nor the quality of the argument, which was considered and on point, but rather the conclusion which the book leaves you with. That message in a nut shell is that modern music has run its course, and that in the last 15-20 years, with the arguable exception of dubstep, we’ve done little but recycle old music forms in an endless youtube– and reissue-fueled stranglehold of the past.
1. Caribou – Caribou stepped onto the dance floor in 2011, and his arrival was most welcome, for it brought us a refreshingly musical and superbly produced set of 12 inch singles. His remixes for Virgo 4 and Junior Boys raised the bar and were the staples of many a Mister Saturday Night set this year. But it’s this remix of a rare African jam produced under his Daphni guise and released on his own Jialong imprint which was the stand out for me. I first heard this when he played for us back in March. It’s been in my bag ever since.
2. Four Tet – In a similar vein, Four Tet has leaned into dance music culture extending himself as a DJ and continuing to push forward with his own vinyl only 12 inch label: Text Records (strangely missing from most year end polls on best labels). Again the result is a breath of fresh air. We were extremely happy to have Kieran play the opening Mister Sunday this year (he’s back playing with us in February at 12-turn-13). Continue reading “Looking Back On 2011: Eamon Harkin”