What Does Your Future Sound Like? (Futurism in 2020?)


Lately I’ve been slowly making my way through Mark Fisher’s “Ghosts of My Life” and his essay “The Slow Cancellation of the Future”, while I don’t completely agree with it, got me thinking: What sounds like the future to you, at the moment?

While I was writing this post I stumbled upon the Futurism in 2018 thread, which was a great read! A lot of really valid points in there to consider - including the fact that futurism isn’t exactly the most solid concept and the question itself is somewhat misguided.

But nevertheless, I’m in a spot in my life where I’m finding the idea of the future personally useful - being able to have a feeling of control over my future through music selection is something that’s giving me a lot of hope right now. So! Maybe it’s worth approaching from a personal standpoint: What does your future sound like right now?

For me, at the moment, it’s these records.


I’d recommend reading Infinite Music by Adam Harper, really good exploration of future of music as listener and musician

Always liked that Bowie quote from 2000s on how availably the internet makes music - ‘Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity,’


Cheers, will definitely have a read!


Just joining in to say +1 to Adam Harper. Interesting concept and I found helpful as a producer to quantify my own work


what I would like to hear is a revisiting of roots music with a focus on updated musicianship and dancing/crowd engagement - still waiting for Future Zydeco to blow up across the States


Interesting! That makes me think of why I’m really enjoying DJ Plead at the moment. It feels like a really unique approach to dabke (although tbh I haven’t really dug deep enough into the genre yet to know). But in terms of the personal approach to futurism I was talking about before - as someone with Lebanese heritage that didn’t really grow up with that culture due to colonialism (long story lol), that music has given me an entry point to engage with that culture and history a lot more. It’s been a really positive force in my life and, to me, feels like the past, present and future coming together at the same time.


whoa. my Syrian students put me onto Dabke this past year, from an Irish dance background this shit is crazzzzzy! ------ HA, YOoo. connection bizness - whatUP sleepers !!! ------- Been thinking a lot lately about how people power is somehow displaced in todays music … how traditional music might be fertile ground for allowing different interpretations and new ways forward, let’s just say that

big tune dis 1. vvv

:stuck_out_tongue: - cheers from Buffal0 - MARHA !


@sleepers I too went through a big Mark Fisher phase and found the idea of a 21st century “futurism” to be very fascinating and a useful standard to aim for as a creative (given the current political/cultural inclination towards retro fetishism, etc.).

Some contemporary music that strikes me as “futurist” by 2020 standards include Lee Gamble’s most recent work https://leegamble.bandcamp.com/album/exhaust (as well as a lot of other more recent Hyperdub material in general), the futurist dancehall of Equiknoxx https://equiknoxxmusic.bandcamp.com/, Gazelle Twin https://gazelletwin.bandcamp.com/album/pastoral, Cairo’s Zuli and associates https://uiqmusic.bandcamp.com/album/terminal-uiqlp003, and especially everything coming out of Africa from the Hakuna Kulala label https://hakunakulala.bandcamp.com/music (MC Yallah, Villaelvin, Ecko Bazz) and Nyege Nyege https://nyegenyegetapes.bandcamp.com/ (Jay Mitta, Sisso, Nihiloxica).

Earlier in the 2000s, I would definitely qualify Chicago Footwork and UK Grime to be some of the decade’s most “futuristic” musical movements (and I think both genres still have plenty of unfinished business too). As far as bands are concerned, Battles are really the only group that immediately comes to mind that would fit the “futrist” descriptor (though I don’t see them as having any explicit political intentions in their music).


As far as bands go, I’d put Health and Death Grips up with Battles as well


Good call on both of those (although I never really got into HEALTH tbh. Maybe now is a good time to give them another chance)


Give 'em another try for sure! ‘Get Color’, their second one is pretty much the best imo, the new one is also ace!

The new Battles record friggin rocks :metal:


Sorry I only just saw this! Been a busy time lately haha. 100% agree re: people power! It seems weird that a lot of music I’m listening to atm foregrounds very individualistic concerns over community ones. I mean, that’s definitely a huge generalization, but I think there’s something to be said for tech/capitalism/globalization/neocolonialism/etc… influencing a worldview (that comes out in music) that’s a lot more individualized and less communal - definitely less local. Not trying to say that online communities aren’t real and meaningful (because ofc they are!), but more that it feels like capitalism etc… promotes individualism as a way of dividing to conquer? Obviously it’s more complicated than that because individual expression is important and not mutually exclusive with solidarity. But at the same time, the uprising in the states has got me thinking about what solidarity looks like in my own life and I’ve been noticing a lot of moments were my actions might be inconsistent with my beliefs - where I want to believe in building local community, but having trouble putting myself out there for a lot of different reasons, one of which might be a more individualistic or selfish worldview than I’d like to admit. Something I’m enjoying about making music with other people at the moment is that it gets me out of that space, which makes me think about how these sorts of “people-powered” traditions can be a way of resisting colonialism. And, just to bring it back to the futurism thing, lately that’s making me think I want my future to be filled with the sounds of other people. :fist:


Awesome recommendations! Thanks! Really like Equiknoxx and hadn’t heard of any of the others so will be going through them over the next little while :headphones: :dancer:

Had a quick listen to Zuli, btw, and was really blown away. Suuuuper interesting music - definitely gonna be on repeat for a bit!


Whatever Burial is putting out.


Sleeparchive if I’m pessimistic
FourTet if I’m optimistic
Rosalia - El Mal Querer if im drunk


great suggestions. I saw DJ Diaki (Nyge Nyege Tapes) at Berghain and it was the most thrilling/original thing I had heard in years.
I think there’s a very fine line in any associations with technology and the ‘future’ now - that optimism/dystopian thing is played to death. I love music made with technology but I wish it would disassociate from its process more, even more so when it comes to imagery. I think that’s why I can’t listen to or watch Richard Devine modular, and have a bit of a meh attitude to most Autechre. I respect they want to explore that rabbit hole, but it feels a bit myopic at this point.


I’m interested to see if creation and performance becomes more communal after lockdowns and venue closures have given people a newly invigorated appreciation of connecting in physical space with others.

Perhaps new types of bands will spring up performing live and utilising digital instruments.

That’s my optimistic thought. Pessimistic thought is AI generated chillout music on Spotify playlists and more dark droney stuff released under the banner of experimentalism.


Just wanted to add to the people power/dabke convo. Been listening to a few things that are working with this lately and reeeally enjoying them. Wanted to post some of them here for everyone else!

47Soul. If you haven’t seen their tiny desk show, it’s great and the tune ‘Jahrusalem’ is killer

Praed. My life goal is to do a dub version of this record.

New DJ Plead on Livity Sound. Great tunes.

DJ /Rupture has some great notes about this kind of thing in his book Uproot, too, with some beautiful listenings and videos on his website: https://uprootbook.com/listening-guide/how-music-travels