It's no secret that the comeback of coldwave and minimal synth has me full of glee--well, as much glee as is appropriate for the genre. Electronic music's always been a major passion of mine, from the Kraftwerk and early Ultravox my dad played me as a kid to the early-morning early days of Methods of Dance at Oberlin, and seeing people who've been plugging away at a dying, unfashionably icy genre (at the time: these were the days of electroclash, mind you) for ages finally come to blogger prominence is pretty awesome.
Say what you will about the "comeback" of "dark media:" say that witch house is bullshit and potentially racist/classist (yes, these are arguments about Salem and the appropriation of screwed music I've read online), say that it's a passing fashion (of course it is, and if a bunch of kids running around with plum lipstick and black hoods bothers you, reassess your priorities. Didn't they tell you that fashion hurts?), give it socioeconomic heft by correlating "grave wave" with the gloom of the recession, but one thing remains: a lot of these bands are really, really fucking good, and a lot of these musicians deserve it after years of playing basements or dive bars.
Credit goes to Minimal Wave Records for naming it and Wierd Records for...popularizing it, I guess. Relatively. Step outside of Brooklyn and no one really gives a shit--perhaps in other pockets of urban America, and perhaps further abroad in the genre's countries of origin, but its prominence and championship is really on the internet.
It's funny to have done these two interviews back-to-back for Prefix: first, Martial Canterel (aka Sean McBride, also of Xeno & Oaklander)--read HERE--who talked to me about the "coldwave renaissance" and its appeal today:
[T]he real attraction, and for me the paramount attraction, is the equipment itself. The last 20 years of electronic music have primarily involved emulating analog synthesis, speeding up and tidying up the process, "stabilizing,” of making a performance of this music akin to someone checking their email. The true materiality of this music is what really appeals, its truly electric nature, the vulnerability of the instruments, the synthesizer as an "instrument with a limit.” All these things purport a kind of humanness to electronic music; something we haven't seen widespread in many a decade.
...and currently, I'm wrapping up a feature interview with Andy McCluskey of OMD, who--in an unbelievably charming, self-deprecating, and fascinating way--waxed poetic on his own influences, why OMD saw it fit to come back now (he's noticed the tides turning in his band's fashion/direction too!), and assessed today's synth acts. I can't reveal all until it's published, but here's a gem of a quote: "Most other bands, if they want to make a comeback album, they just have to sound like themselves. But we had this abject dilemma: we used to be the future! What do old modernists do in the postmodern era? Discuss."
I have a lot to report still when it comes to Fashion Week: not seeing shit except Grace Coddington's flaming red hair at Y-3! Backstage at Katie Gallagher going on and on about how awesome Coil is! Front row at Parkchoonmoo! Sleeping through Rad Hourani! Meeting a really attractive male model from the Jeremy Scott show afterwards--and shaking hands with Kanye, and getting street ambushed--and playing with his gluey hair (all in the name of JOURNALISM)! But...priorities. Will keep them coming!