Monday’s Suggestion (08-09-10)

In Matt, Monday's Suggestion on August 26, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , ,

Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music, v2.5

A website.

More specifically, it’s a guide to the history and evolution of electronic music.

It feels somewhat like an interactive exhibit at a children’s museum, (I don’t know whether or not you remember the Liberty Science Center, but anyway it opened in the 90’s when I was a kid with a huge buzz over its family-fun oriented modernity and science fair-esque aesthetic, which, beside serving as an illustration of the simile, holds a lot of nostalgia for me, [as I have unintentionally made apparent]), except at the children’s museum, it’s usually very reductive, meant (modestly) to imbue them with simply a vocabulary word to remember and the hint of a concept (or the cynical view would be that the exhibits aren’t really designed with the children in mind at all, but rather their parents, and how well they appeal to their want to involve their kids in the kind of activity that is deemed educational and overall beneficial, without it being so hard that they become charged with having to work alongside them to keep them from getting discouraged and that they actually get something out of it, and in the process be forced into little confrontations with their own mental flaccidity and ignorance…I haven’t been there since my eighth grade field trip so I couldn’t say).  This guide is much more involved, complicated, and adult (if you allow for something this recreational to be considered ‘adult’).

There are non-linear timelines, genre designations such as ‘techno’, ‘trance’, and ‘house’, and others, audio samples (best part), and written summaries.  The writer and designer, Ishkur, is at times snide, offensive, or profane.  He is edgy and often judgmental, or enough to keep you on your toes.  He is also funny at other times and openly enthusiastic; and it is clear that the audience in mind is not made of the cognoscenti, but the kind to whom you would hope a ‘guide’ would be directed: the general less-informed but open and interested reader.

Recently added (as a link on the first page) is an introductory tutorial composed with a serial, retrograding structure that expands its perspective as its narrative draws backward into the past.  You can read it first or just skip to the main component, which is the layout of different genres and subgenres (such as ‘hip-hop’ and its categories, in the genre called ‘breakbeat’) divided in bubbles and arranged to reflect their existence in time, as well as their successive and/or reflexive influences on each other.

I suggest you take your time with this. Check it out. Snoop around. Leave and then go back multiple times over the week, in order to not get overwhelmed. Like I said, it is complicated and involved, and it’s really not made to be taken in and digested in one sitting.  Even Ishkur admits it can be “a bit daunting at first glance”.

He does not claim to be an authority (he, in fact, makes it clear that he is not). Regardless, while exploring this site, I came across many delightful revelations: things I didn’t know I knew, like how prevalent a lot of this stuff is in popular and commercial art such as movies and advertising.

Here is a link to Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music


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