I’ve been thinking recently that, with this booming scene for deconstructed avant-garde electronic music and the like, futurist sounds are becoming the norm more and more. What defines futurist music for you in 2018? AI? Hatsune Miku? Post- Gabber Baile-Kudurostep?
I agree, it’s not the future anymore. I’d argue you can’t define futurist sounds b/c as soon as you do they aren’t the future anymore but the present. (Also there is no future)
You’re taking the term a bit literally there perhaps. It’s more about the ethos of pushing forward, carving a path into the unknown. DJ Abstract - Touch sounds like the future to me despite being over a decade old.
Part of “futurism” for me is the mixing of the global disapora, rather than isolated scenes, and everything else that comes from that mixing.
But right now I think a lot of futurism in music is happening in the AI/Machinelearning sphere. There’s some artists that use that with things like live coding and “algorave” and similar such labels (Miri Kat - Pur5u17) but I think the classical album/EP format limits that and the real wave futurist wave is happening in persistent generative music. Sort of a bit like some of the Brian Eno experiments and apps/services like Mubert.
When I think of a futurist sound, my mind goes immediately to both kraftwerk and jungle i.e. old music… perhaps a ‘futurist’ sound is more just like a timemarker now. Most of the more interesting new music I hear tends to either have a foot in the past, be a continuation of recent developments (footwork, trap etc.) or be individuals with their own unique sound. I think it’s very difficult to imagine their being a scenius, bolt from the blue ‘new sound of the future’, just the mainstreaming of what was previously underground (edm explosion in the US springs to mind).
Yh I suppose I’ve worded it a bit haphazardly, just thinking as state of the art sound production tools are becoming more and more accessible what rly stands out to people as more cutting edge than the rest
Lorenzo Senni is the future for me, especially the PerpetualTranceMix stuff. I love hearing familiar sound palettes twisted into something new. I hope we start seeing more innovation around form and affect rather than just focusing on new “sounds”
Someone needs to bring the Future Sound of London back
Has the very term ‘futurism’ not simply become another genre/label/category/classification to sell product? In hyperreality everything happened now?
Perhaps a futurist style of music will take on a more timeless quality to it, sounds that transcend any time or location. I’m thinking something along the lines of Journey into Anywhere by Compound Eye or Erebus by Bvdub and Loscil.
Perhaps it will be an attempt to make a potential attempt with extraterrestrials or something beyond us, thinking of an album like Final Trajectory by S.E.T.I, which is like a synth odyssey trying to make first contact.
I don’t think all futurist sounds are necessarily like past conceptions of the sound of the future, but tracks and albums that will stick around for the future.
I don’t think that there truly can be anything like futurism anymore. nowadays the term is basically used to sell something new and exciting.
there will always be a new and exciting sound/artist/album though that pushes the boundaries of dance music. music is easy to reproduce and at one point in time a unique sound will eventually turn into a subscene or even become the norm with enough artists reproducing it. the sound of futurism is an illusive thing that disappears at the exact moment you think you’ve found it. it always outpaces itself.
for example, remember future garage? that didn’t stay ahead of the curve too long. the same happened to any form of afrofuturism (DJ Mujava, NON), PC Music & Sophie, and it will also happen to Lorenzo Senni, EC and post-gabber, Sinjin Hawke, Príncipe and anyone else working on new, exciting sounds once the sound loses its unique aspect.
and while anything in the machine learning/AI field may seem promising it first has to prove if it can become relevant enough to actually contribute to the music scene and surpass its role as experiment or piece of art.
What is this “deconstructed avant-garde electronic music” you speaketh of? I’d love to hear some. All I hear everywhere I turn these days is 4 to the floor with some synth on top or long boring drrrrroooooones.
While a lot of what is considered futurist takes from past genres, I do believe that it is cool to hear artists use their past influences and throwback sounds while making music. I used to hate when artists used cliched sounds and obvious samples, but I believe that when done right, it is akin to the use of semiotics to create a message in itself, as well as forward thinking art. Through this use of semiotics, a lot of artists I consider taking their sounds to the next level are using the past forms to create something entirely contorted. Good examples of producers doing this are Mumdance with grime (Listen to The Sprawl), SOPHIE (Eurodance), and I also remembering someone on the site mentioning Oneohtrix Point Never with vapourwave, and Aphex Twin with techno.
I don’t believe it is entirely necessary for artists to use throwbacks to create stunning music, but I think it spices things up by showing their own past interests and what they listened to when they were younger. I do find the term “futurist” to be used to create headlines quite a bit nowadays, but I do find that futurist ideas are more common than ever thanks to the democratization of music software and DAWS readily available to anyone with a computer. All you need is a computer and a creative mind.
Very good post – to which I’d add, isn’t the very idea of futurism potentially prone to exoticism (ie an imagined other) and fetishism (ie a narrowing of artistic parameters along the lines of some posited aesthetic framework). Plus, the whole genealogy of futurism as it relates to the Italians has unfortunate connotations of war and death that it might be useful to look outside of.
I’d include the idea of ‘pushing forward’ in this also.
At this point in time, maybe it would be worth consider if, say, punk rock could be futurist, or improvisation – why would being innovative require a computer?
There is so much music out there so I don’t really care too much what the future may be in 2018. Most of the time I find amazing music that already is 5 years old.
And the other problem I have: Is this really the right approach towards music? Should it be the main argument for listening and buying music? Some of the music of the last 20 years that was the future for a certain time sounds so old today while some more “conservative” music still sound fresh.
Good point. Just listened to Colin Stetson yesterday which is a good example for innovative music without computers in my opinion. But can’t say if it fits into the whole futurism-thing.
I hope not, globalization is BS and we shouldn’t fuel it with music IMO.
Interesting take. I agree that free-market globalization is rotten to the core, but at a human level, sincere cultural cross-pollination ought to be a joyful thing.
Yes, I’d agree with that. Music is the exception that proves the rule here I think – because music can be worked on remotely, it’s not necessarily physical, etc – it’s one thing which can be done globally without (I think) many consequences
David Stubbs’s new book on electronic music seems to focus on these kind of futurist vibes – haven’t read it yet, but it’s attempting to explore this notion
lol irony of fucking ironies they became a neo-prog rock band.