Sunday, June 05, 2011

Retromania and the Poverty of Abundance

I had meant to post this last weekend but life got in the way. Just love this excerpt from the review of Retromania in the Observer paper in the UK:
'Retromania is a book about the poverty of abundance. At malls, on mobile-phone ads, in the background as we work at our computers: pop, usually in the form of anorexically thin MP3 sound, is everywhere these days. Perhaps that ubiquity puts a brake on its ability to astound or shape-shift. Perhaps the process of circulating and accessing music has become more exciting than the practice of listening to it. And perhaps pop's status as a futurist genre has been supplanted by the giddying, immersive realm of video games."

Re-issues like those of Sun Ra's club residencies are part of what's holding modern pop back apparently...I don't agree BTW. Back to normal (ish) programming soon with a bunch of 45s.


gracenotes said...

There was an article by Simon Reynolds about his book, a few days later in the Guardian. His concept of innovation is so limited (young white pop musicians doing something that sounds slightly different to what their predecessors did) that it's impossible to take his argument seriously. But then it's all based on an assumption that Anglo-American pop/rock is the only music that matters, so it's hardly surprising.

Grumpy said...

If memory serves me Reynolds did mention West African reissues in passing but your point is worthy of discussion, gracenotes. I suspect he is writing for a constituency whose main interest is in English and American pop music. I think you could argue that most cultural histories are partial. "Poverty of abundance" is a neat, snappy phrase though the concept is as old as the bible.