Worlds in Music

Hey @disquiet, here’s a Junto idea! :wink:

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It does! I really appreciate that you took the time to explain.

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Mentioned this a few weeks back in another thread, but this quality is one of my favorite things about Boards of Canada. The way they are able to weave together a sonic pallet with their choice of symbolism, subliminals, and art direction is incredibly narrative. Listening to Geogaddi or Tomorrow’s Harvest feels like all the components of a movie are injected into my brain for me to play with.

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I love this idea, but take a slightly different angle on it. When I first encountered the phrase “illbient” it seemed to offer an all-encompassing guide to everything I loved about music: dub tempos and effect science, field recordings, ambient textures, turntablism, early electronics, raw hip-hop beats, sample manipulation, live instrumentation… and so much more. It was the essence of what I understood hip-hop to be: cherypicking the very best parts of all genres to weld them into a whole which celebrated the dust and grime embedded in the grooves of the recordings it plundered.

But then it never quite happened - not fully. Like so many things viewed from afar, illbient was an NYC thing that I would only touching distance. The very idea of it was intoxicating but the reality of it was never within my grasp.

When the end of the 90s bled into the start of the 00s something else happened, though. It was illbient made flesh but the focal point had slipped south hundreds and hundreds of miles, appearing in Miami. It wasn’t called illbient anymore; now it sported the somewhat incongruous title: intelligent dance music (labouring on the twin misconceptions that: dance music wasn’t intelligent and that this style of music somehow was).

From labels like Chocolate Industries, Schematic, Merck, Counterflow, Metatronix, Beta Bodega and others came not just a sound but a whole identity. A world.

Struggle Inc, La Mano Fria and others (including The Designers Republic, in my home of city of Sheffield, UK) provided the visual identity, but Graphic Havoc was the main one that summed it up for me. Borne of the same minds who had given me the best designed graffiti magazine ever made - 12oz Prophet - GHAVA (Graphic Havoc A Visual Agency) connected all the dots from graf and NYC (illbient roots…) to Chocolate Industries and my friend Edgar (Push Button Objects), his collaboration with Craze and his collaboration with (illbient touchstone) Liquid Sky producer DJ Ani for skate brand Zoo York.

All of this presented a world which tied more or less ALL my loves into one entity. Not just an album that created a world, but a whole movement - one that spread down the East coast of the US and beyond - connecting with Warp Records (then still partly in Sheffield, but on the verge of moving completely to London) and me.

Then, almost as soon as I’d begun to feel at home within this world, it splintered and was gone - leaving behind a feeling that it maybe never really existed, at least, not in the way it had appeared in my mind…

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(Sorry if that took things off track - it’s just what the OP provoked in my mind)

One of the things I love about Yes is how they can conjure up worlds without the trappings of a whole Tolkien-style mythos/history. In and around the lake, mountains come out of the sky, they stand there.

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Yes, they do, they stand there!

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Listening to that track while driving through a Rocky Mountains snowstorm after a night of… revelry… can be quite a euphoric experience.

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I’m not sure if you’re describing this as the birth of IDM. Around 1995 I was on a mailing list called IDM where we discussed acts on labels like Warp, Rephlex, Clear, etc. If you haven’t, there’s another whole world to dig into there.

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That Jega album with the song Geometry always reminded me of world building. Also Peter Rehberg’s stuff.

The IDM list was p rad. Pre-netlabels!

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