Sunday, 5 February 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #51 - Hype Williams, "Find Out What Happens When People Stop Being Polite, And Start Gettin' Reel"

Pointed in this direction by the mighty Yaaard (@yaaard) after a discussion on the chillwave/dreampop wonkblur phenom.

I'd got Hype Williams stuck in my head from another era and consequently thought it was guy from YooEss; but it was in fact (and remains) two art school graduates in Hackney, YooKay.

"Rescue Dawn" opens with an Autotuned baby screaming a nice wee tune and then lists Pokemon, mumbling a "Gotta catch 'em all" mantra. I like the kick in the gold teeth of the ubiquitous AuTune. "Blue Dream" sketches out a detective series set on the sun. "The Throning" comes across like a memory of a sexy dance looping as morning and the alarm breaks in.

The cover is a blurry Polaroid of a blow back. I don't quite buy the idea that all this blurry, tape hiss fake analogue wobble is an expression of nostalgic yearning. It's more of an invention than that. Yaaard traced it back to Boards of Canada. I think Burial gave it real momentum as well. Although the truth is probably more connected with advances in affordable tech. It says as much about time in the present (liquifying it and passing it through vials and diodes) than time in the present (experiences ready for re-processing at a moment's notice). My main gripe about the nostalgia idea is that my experience of imagining the distant personal past is very sharp and immediate, not distorted and phased at all.

So if it's not nostalgia, then what language are they using? Perhaps it's more a case of the massive clipping in our minds as we try to process all the information (both real and imagined) that presses on us at every turn: the fuzz of too much signal. The nostalgia for an era when things didn't work so smoothly perhaps - the Bladerunner future, the Dark Star future that may already have been digitised out of existence. This chillwave is the sound of culture unable to cope. Pop never got to eat itself: it got took up in the tide of itself instead.

Rating: Untitled out of Insouciance

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