predictions on music and its culture(s) in 2019


thanks! just entered 33 aka my jesus year so doing my best to spread the psychedelic PLUR clown blacklit k hole gospel and not get crucified on socials.

yeah i agree with the blanket statement danger, one of my preferred ways to engage lots of people in dialogue in a forum is to make a big blanket statement to catch lots of eyeballs and see who wants to challenge me to distill it, as you have done, and then from there start to comb out the knots of what we’re really talking about…

i think this, as most things do post 2008 or so, boils down to a big issue we all seem to have with this thing called authenticity. now past discussions on this concept in the early days of this thread veered super critical theory art school hauntologically-oriented-meta-blabber so im gonna do my best to keep it in laymans in the interest of keeping the discussion more accessible.

some of us grew up in cultures of hip hop, rave, soul, or something “cool”. others (like me) grew up in towns on the edge of the urban centers where these cultures were boiling the stew that all of us now eat to feed our souls. suburban and rural kids come to these cultures and, ideally, integrate by learning the rules of the game. in hip hop that meant you grabbed a can or a marker, learned to breakdance, practiced rapping or beatboxing with your boys, or borrowed some turntables and bought wax. In rave culture that meant you drove ridiculous distances to roll all night and meet friends you normally wouldn’t talk to unless they wanted to give you a bracelet with some candy on it. in other places it was just the kids on the block doin’ their thing and the whole neighborhood knew everyone else cus it nobody was moving in / out and all you had was each other i.e. the hood.

Around the early 2000s the internet, gentrification and social mobility for millenials changed all of this. Now you had (and currently have) kids who never actually physically participated in the cultures they are attempting to be a part of via the interwebs, they just watched mad YouTube videos and listened to mix after mix after mix and dissected (deconstructed) what they were hearing in a very isolated, mental way. This creates an aesthetic of “i wasn’t/cant be there but i think this is what it feels like to be there” for me.

Juke and Footwork kids are in the South side of Chicago dancing and sampling Dad’s House records and Mom’s sould records. And for that matter kids in Croydon will be dancing and sampling Dad’s FSOL albums and Mom’s Orbital…but for me the ones that grew up in a cultural wasteland have to fake it before they make it because instead of going to the rave and meeting people all they have is comment threads and algorithms.

Which leads to a larger problem, ill try not to soapbox about it…but spaces. Where does incubation occur? Online? Yes, sometimes, but more often I_R_FUCKING_L!!! Plastic People was an ecology of dancers, musicians and cultural workers that reinvigorated lots of burnt out UK things. The Low End Theory spun out over a decades’ worth of albums and an incredible Los Angeles sound. Without physical spaces and accessible stages for amateur musicians, djs and producers to meet each other and share tracks / ideas / form an aesthetic there will not be new music.

It’s in the long term plan for me to create a space like this but i have some travelling learning and stacking of dollars to do before im ready…


thats a good point.

i’d say that new formats of sounds (ill replace genres with sounds to sidestep the whole genres are bullshit tangent) are the space in which we challenge old cultures and recontextualize our previous generation’s energy/experience into our own sounds, something that is present and speaks for the people of the present. hip hop nowadays isn’t gangster afrocentric or hip house like it was in 93 or cerebral like it was in 98 it’s vibey and emotional in a way the youth connect with yet pulls from all of these historical strains to inform something NEW…and elders are confused by this while the youth loves it.

now i’m not saying ALL new electronic is stuck (this not a blanket statement lol) if we’re just doing edits on old house and techno memes over and over or deconstructing without innovating we’re trapping ourselves in static nostalgia and not capturing the energy of this moment and creating music that informs our presence in 2019 energy…we’re missing an opportunity to inspire and push things forward…sure let the hype die down and the journos move onto a new thing to cycle into the next marketing campaign but imho it would be best to find ways to evolve our culture into a reflection of these times, not a stylized version of feeling like we’re in a better, cooler, more sexy 80s, 90s or early 2000s.

that’s just a consumer culture trap. we have to stay one step ahead of the machine, not sell its wares.

but maybe i’m wrong. if so i’d be interested to hear how or why.


Autechre will release 10 new albums each 24 hours long.


ha, good ol’ Retromania argumentation. imo you can’t force these things sometimes.

i am someone to blame f.e. to buy loads of old music on vinyl and playing it. sometimes i force myself to buy or even listen to new releases. i honestly believe that music speaks to me or not. it doesn’t matter in which decade it was made and where (although it’s an important to me to know something about the context).

i also believe that most of the new things happen by accident. mostly because young music-makers make mistakes by trying to do certain kinds of music with super interesting results. dubstep is a good example: i loved the first releases i’ve heard because i could see the fruity loops pattern behind the music. sounded sometimes like some of my crappy beats at the time, just alot better sounding because of proper mastering studios etc.
so the best would be to push young people making interesting things and try to take all the manuals and tutorials away from them :smiley:


which means we all should less care about the things autechre and afx will do in 2019. :innocent:


Yeah, I’d agree that either it works for you or it doesn’t, and I’m very much a digger learning music through my vinyl and in the used bins when I’m home with my collection. I just think the Retromania is a bit too manic right now, but who am I to change things just attempting to be somewhat of a cultural commentator. I don’t even produce just bedroom dj. However these things swing back and forth like a pendulum so we’ll see how the next year or two plays out.

As far as taking the tutorials away good luck with that one entire business models ie production classes & schools are peeling money off creating little four on the floor bots…

An interesting to thing to add is that for the most part innovation in the scene has come from poverty aka broke people with minimal gear innovating new sounds because they couldn’t afford any other way. Or a bunch of weirdos that found a weekly to descend upon and sprouted a physical scene that went viral. That’s not to say well off people never made anything worthwhile it’s just to underscore that hunger breeds hustle. And honestly more criticism of what is shit and what is a rip-off separates the wheat from the chaff. It also creates a discussion which invigorates non participants to get involved when there is a lul in the scene.

Not much of that in our social media channels these days, but maybe everyone whole would be commenting is busy working on that 2021 banger…


hold on, I’m not sure I fully grasp the argument against nostalgia-peddling…what exactly is inherently wrong with it? I happen to think that really incredibly interesting and beautiful things have come out of the collision between modern techniques and “retro” components. I’m thinking, sure, Boards of Canada, Lone, Machine Girl, Jamie XX, etc. but also Netflix’s Bandersnatch, Maniac, and Stranger Things


yeah, there was a massive thread on the Hardcore Continuum a while back, and I was one of those basically playing devils advocate with Mark Fisher’s ideas of modernism, and also those of Retromania… I mean, I do agree to some degree there is a point to it… I saw a Mike Patton interview where he was dissing Wolfmother, like ‘what fucking year is this?’, and he has a point when someone is just literally rehashing… But also, I kind of wonder whether Mike Patton is a good example of the antithesis, like would I really prefer Mr Bungle to Wolfmother? I dunno… I haven’t really listened to either to be honest.

Any ways, what I was trying to say is I reckon my ideas have moved on a little… I still think doing something new, and expressing ourselves in a way that is in keeping with today is of the utmost importance… But I think spotting old tropes and suddenly saying ‘nah’ is really the wrong way of going about that… Like a lot of the ‘lo-fi/outsider house’ stuff that continually got trashed by Fact for apparently being a massive hark back to yesteryear, or ‘too ironic’ (??)**… I legit think this is young kids expressing something new, and not about going back to anything nostalgic… on the same note, most the mainstream techno RA seem to push and rate highly sounds like Carl Cox 30 years ago to me, so maybe it’s all semantic bullshit, in the end

**irony is the death knell of modernism and proof we are about to start drowning witches in 2019 [my prediction for 2019 right there]


also, worth mentioning [to anyone who will listen 2 me] 1) this is the first century that electronic technology has ever existed (phonographs, electric guitars, music videos, spotify), how that affects our creativity and plays out is way beyond ideology and control. AND 2) modernism, this beacon of NEW was itself birthed in the renaissance – literally meaning the REBIRTH. Those medieval peeps totes looked back to ancient greece with rose tinted glasses and began the enlightenment. So it’s all about how you look back.


for sure. but I think there’s a massive difference between “re-creating” a sound (e.g. Wolfmother, Greta Van Fleet, et al.) where basically all the work has been done for you and, like, finding some loose end from the past and bending time-space around it to create an entirely novel thing (e.g. hauntological/hypnagogic).


@criminiminal basically for me it boils down to asking “why dont you dig just into the past and unearth some gems for sets potentially making that artist some money rather than attempt to charge money cus you’ve made a ripoff and replicated the same sound with new more polished retro sounding VSTs?” as in that’s a question we could ask more of producers who play out in general.

probably because we don’t have a community of journalists to call your exploitation of a sound for profit out, and paying dues isn’t really a thing anymore. not that im bemoaning any of this, it comes down to people with connections and sway being able to serve nostalgia with their 5 min of production rather than give a full sprectrum serving through a space / scene / bunch of sets.

this is a larger comment on the state of music 2019, we drop into 5 min of electro, boom gave them that, a sprinkle of deep house, ok cool, its a shuffle state sort of set. but my thing is that why is what we all care about referential to something we can google the history of? what is actually something new and unforeseen? and where does that have opportunity in 2019 to grow and root??

to me nostalgia is cheap, surface, an easy target. you could call it pop, a formulaic recipe that will succeed, based on the success of past things in that pocket. some can do it well, people you’ve mentioned…but most who are imo very talented producers are instead making something thats been done before. we’re getting into a larger discussion that im stoked to have.


an alternative way to look at all of this is that we are getting to a point a few years down the line where any genre from the past is fair game and fully liberated to drop into a mix which is an interesting future…one theory is that things are cliche until they are used over and over and over then they become nostalgic…like at the present moment to drop into some trance would be cliche…give it a year and a half or so it will be nostalgic.

years ago to drop into some electro would have been a wtf moment, but forward thinking djs were incorporating it into sets…

im not sour about any of these trends mind you just fascinated


yeah, but there’s a fine line… it can get nitty gritty…

take Khruangbin for instance. they take inspiration from vietnamese/thai rock tapes from the 70s, from blogs like Monrakplengthai, then replay live with an almost hip-hop/breaks drum production, which sounds, to me, quite unlike an exact reproduction of something from the past… but also very much related to the past… is it worthless nostalgia, or does it have something to say? Certainly if you go back to those old records/era, the songs aren’t as streamlined. there’s something in the whittling down of the past that might be useful to today somehow

maybe it just comes down to whether something is shit or not?


youre spot on about the HOW we look back, and for this generation i guess the how we look back is through deconstruction, remixes, and homage tunes…


yeah, I totally feel you on this. @ETC to your point, nostalgia, no matter how creatively it’s executed, doesn’t automatically deserve some sort of credit. I think a lot of acts are getting away with this red-handed because, honestly, the listeners let them; they encourage it.

and @nickecks, man…this does open a wider debate. I mean, at its core, dance music is purely functional. are you going to take the formalist route and enforce strict guidelines to ensure that your old school Chicago house set isn’t contaminated by retromaniacs? or do you go for vibe, go for a feel, go for an idea, and basically admit that, if some throwback sounding lo-fi track made last year nails that vibe, who cares? the dancers are none the wiser…


Which is exactly why i love everything coming out of Vancouver these days, even if it rips off Moodymann, Omar S, and Kyle Hall…in the moment on the dancefloor who gives a fuck but we need to give credit where credit is due…and dollars, gigs and publishing along with that credit. If we’re gonna talk about being woke and pc and accepting of outsiders lets talk about white artists mining black culture for money i.e. most of American music in the 20th century.

but to go back to my point if we get all nostalgic for sounds and then choose to recreate the sounds rather than re-charge the musicians’ career who first made the sounds that to me is double exploitation, once in the past by the label and again in the present by the youth. more specifically this is a cultural conversation about how youth learn from elders in an internet era. how in 2019 we pass our sounds and our culture down generationally through the fiber. and how it gets really interesting when nobody talks in person just listens alone, comments, produces/spins alone, posts, and occasionally shares a playlist. good forums, spaces, and conversations change this…


well, I just don’t think the world works like that. no one keeps tabs on culture in the way you’re describing. imitation, inspiration – it’s all way too fluid to have gatekeepers demanding that the youths show “respect to their elders”. can you imagine a young Dimebag Darrell being forced to learn Chuck Berry riffs? no, he went straight to Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen…fuck credit where credit is due! it’s just a minor pentatonic scale. five notes. no one owns that…despite the lineage, despite the heritage, despite everything. and besides, black culture is mostly ambivalent to what preceded it. you think Tobin Abasi gives a shit about Charlie Christian? hell the fuck no, he’s too busy reinventing the guitar. Lil Yachty dissing Biggie and Pac. he’s living in the now, that old shit is wack. why shouldn’t this mentality apply to dance music?

(sorry, defense mechanism override EDIT) @nickecks yeah, maybe I missed your point a little. I think some tangents related to this conversation are a little incoherent to begin with, so pardon my rant(s). putting my reply in-line so I don’t derail the thread…

a couple of things:

first of all, we will always have innovators and we will always have biters. in many ways, these two camps are driven by such different motivations and are comprised of such completely different mentalities that it’s almost unfair to compare the two, really. in my opinion, this dynamic is not particularly unique to our current era or to dance music though there are several reasons why I think we might have a disproportionate amount of biters in 2019.

much like pop songwriting, dance music is a formula. therefore, as dance music forms become more mainstream and general interest in the genre increases, well, so does the tolerance for formula and the formulaic thinking that underpins it. formula works. don’t stray from the formula. innovation is bad. rock music, historically, conversely, has always been about icon worship. this is precisely why you see outliers like Richard D James adopted by far larger audiences than one would reasonably expect. he plays the icon role to a tee. what we’re seeing now is a shifting and splintering of fairly established paradigms and, because of that, we’re asking (expecting) producers to behave like icons (spoiler alert: most of them aren’t).

in my experience, innovators don’t really care about formula. your Burials and Drexciyas of the world aren’t really engineering music for dancefloors as it were. are they making music rooted in and informed by deeply ingrained scenes centered around regional dance culture? absolutely. will I reach for one of their records when I play out? probably not. is it wrong for a young producer to mine their unique sounds and adapt them for a 12” tailor-made for a banging sound system? not at all. will I buy that record for the express purpose of slaying a dancefloor? fuck yes. will I wax canonical about this record for years to come? nah. it was purpose built. it wasn’t even intended to live in the canon. unfortunately, we’re living in a time that, so long as dance music is given media attention that it’s getting, this trend will likely perpetuate itself ad infinitum. I just don’t see the correlation or agree that retromania as an act in itself is de facto bad when I don’t really see that being the root of the problem to begin with.

simply put, we’re not going to be talking about Drexciya rip-offs 10, 20 years down the road. those records won’t be central to any discussion regarding the canon or the innovators who contributed to it. your ears are ultimately your guide – by virtue of contributing to this forum you already inherently know what’ll stick around for the long haul. if it’s tinged with a little retromania here and there, so be it. handing out wokeness awards to stewards and stalwarts of culture because they’re doling out proper tribute to the “masters” while they should be busy inventing new music is NOT a solution I think has any particular or demonstrable merit.

my prediction for 2019 is that none of this is going to change any time soon. it’s extremely hard to be an innovator when formula is rewarded. this is the real threat; this is the state of 2019.


I think you’re missing my point. If someone were to come out today in the electronic world and be like “Drexciya Can Eat A Dick!” and actually had a NEW sound I’d be like fuck yeah let’s RAVE. But that’s not happening. They’re like “Drexciya were visionaries years ahead of their time let me lick their ass and make tracks that sound like them so more people will know about how ahead of their time they were” and all we get is the same fucking 808 303 electro bullshit.

Motherfuckers are scared to talk shit about the greats because they have no substance, nothing new to replace them with. Techno is stagnant so most areh mining the past for ideas rather than building and creating new sounds. And that’s just the state of 2019 imo.


Really enjoying reading through the discussion in this thread. Feels to me like this is the kind of conversation that’s been lacking in the electronic music community as blogs and forums have faded away and big financially-backed hype-boosting reviews, features, and interviews have become the norm in music writing. Maybe the closing of the RA comment section will spur more conversation on outside channels again? One can hope…

My two cents are that it was inevitable that there’d be a reawakening of obsession with 90’s rave sounds with the rise of easily accessible music through YouTube and whatnot. I think the appeal has more to do with a reawakening and collective discovery than sheer nostalgia (tho that’s certainly part of it). For the old heads this stuff has been rinsed to death, but there’s an entire new rising tide of folks discovering DnB and Jungle for the first time and finding the urgency and excitement in some of these dated sounds thrilling. This music came out of a cultural and social context that feels like a completely different world from today, with less of the pervasive dread, anxiety, and disconnect plaguing millennials, and that definitely comes through in the raw immediacy of these tunes.

By the same token I hear some of these new producers refashioning the sounds in engaging ways, wrapping the warmth and . Could a track like “Talk To Me You’ll Understand” by Ross From Friends really have existed at another point? The synths may sound familiar but it’s all re-contextualized and hyper-edited to produce something that uses the past to evoke something new, like @criminiminal was talking about. I think the blogosphere played a part in spurring interest in this era again too. Adam Harper and Mark Fisher’s writings about hauntology definitely promoted a wave of re-interest in refashioning older sounds, and I think the immense popularity of Burial drove producers to mine the past for new emotions in search for a similar “next big thing”.

Anyway to the actual question of the topic, the stuff coming out of Bristol sounds especially fresh right now. All the artists involved with Livity Sound, Timedance, Tectonic are still making super rhythmic, tight, minimal yet colorful techno that still sounds filled with possibility. Definitely seems like they’ve inspired the “hard drum” sound associated with HER Records, Sans Absence, Nervous Horizon, Super Kitchen, ETS…really curious how that whole scene will continue to develop and splinter off going forward into 2019. Looking forward to what Whities, Ilian Tape, Incienso, and UIQ put out as well , plus with new mixes from c- and Dekmantel to look forward to I don’t think I’ll get bored.


@nickecks i agree in regards to 303 tunes, it’s so over done. when a producer i admire has a new EP on the horizon with the marketing words telling me it’s some str82tape acid tunes - fully sick y’all! - i can’t help but welp. as @anxietypills said though, there is much to be excited about. lee gambles UIQ is a granular cluster bomb of fresh along with Batu’s Timedance pushing the envelope. listen to that Bruce LP, it’s like from another dimension yet accessible at the same time, that boy has ears.

2019 will still continue the small trend of L.I.E.S. and Lobster Theremin pumping out throwaway EP’s with a few nuggets in between. i think the hype has died down around these labels anyway