03 June 2009

Rouge's Foam fantastic article on aesthetics of "wonky" and much much more

Loving Wonky by Rouge's Foam

Through Zomby's myspace I caught an absolutely amazing, (if a bit too academic - not a criticism, but rather a statement of fact) article about wonky / acquafresh / psych-dubstep by Rouge's Foam. The premises for the article are very interesting and really work: to make an attempt to show the phenomena in its various shades, approach it from a theoretical angle, yet without trying to explain everytyhing (which always assumes some form of taking sides or pigeonholing). The author asks the dear readers to digest the contents and synthesize their own opinions out of the ocean of threads presented there. Although the sheer volume of details and diverse clues made my head spinning when reading this fantastic piece of music criticism.

The following paragraph is probably the best introduction to the enormous text awaiting you on Rouges' Foam blog.

As ‘wonky’ (also known as ‘w***y’ - I’d suggest ‘the music formerly known as wonky’) is one of the main fronts in the aesthetic-generational value war that rages on, I thought I might try out some of that ‘magnified listening’ on the music involved to find out what can be described as going on in it with a view to exploring the sorts of aesthetic significance (value, if you like) that it can afford. More than just an exercise in appreciation, this could shed some light on differences among the value-judgment criteria that pull the strings in discourse of/on UK popular music (that is, popular in production rather than destination) and put ‘wonky’s’ adherents and detractors into a cultural and ideological context.

Loving Wonky takes Zomby, Hyperdub, Rustie, Lucky Me crew, Ikonika, Gemini, Joker and dissects them into in an extremely comprehensive way while putting the entire avant-garde movement into so many contexts that simple listing of them would be the size of an average post on a typical music blog.

The musical characteristics of ‘wonky’, is my favorite part, which is quite obvious as being a fan and avid listener of this type of stuff, too many times had I made futile attempts at grasping the essence of my listening experience and trying to verbalize it into some coherent and comprehensible written form. Fortunately, now I have a solid basis and a reference for my future streams-of-consciousness rants about purple wonky universe.

"Simply put, ‘wonky’ features a wider range of moods and styles than the mono-mood of classic dubstep and other genres in the nuum or popular music at large. Joker really brings this aspect to life with his eloquent mood-music (I’d love to see him do a film soundtrack), and played through, collections such as the Zomby EP and Starkey’s Ephemeral Exhibits take us on a tour of assorted affects and stylistic configurations. The latter’s exquisite contemplation ‘Miracles’, bringing to mind different-ball-park acts like Boards of Canada, seems to be our chillout room - but there’s a subtly ill look on the faces of the punters gathered there. Such stylistic cornucopias/smorgasbords (oh me, I just can’t decide between those two deliciously pretentious words) seem to point to IDM’s ‘home listening’ illustrated encyclopaedias of style, suites such as Aphex Twin’s Drukqs being a prime example. "

And the real killer comes in the comments section by the author himself where he makes a sort of aesthetic associations between music and visual arts, assigning painters to each main icon of the wonky scene :)) I think I see the direction in which this comparison goes. Check it out:

Zomby - Kandinsky (agree 100%!!!)
Ikonika - Picasso
Darkstar - Paul Klee
Joker - Edward Hopper
Starkey - Boccioni
Burial - JMW Turner

And don't forget to check numerous links of the article, in particular the ones referring to "hardcore continuum" debate started by Simon Reynolds. But this is a subject for another discussion.

Finally, to all the Twitter Headz out there: BEWARE - this article is definitely not for your short-attention-span minds!!!! You cannot skim or scour through it, you have to go deeply, which means wasting your precious time. Just don't complain I have not warned you....