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About Insomniak

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    Doesn't Sleep!

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  1. This essay has a great deal of Quotation Marks, so beware. I mean everything I say, and take no prisoners.

    "IDM" or for you people who havn't listened to anything new since you got out of high school, "Intelligent Dance Music", is a loaded term. The word is generally used to describe a form of Drum and Bass, itself a loaded term, charaterized by cut up beats and samples carefully arranged by computer at blinding, stream-of-conciousness speeds, and is seen most prominently in modern electronic music exported from and around the United Kingdom.

    "IDM": The acronym has nothing to do with one's intelligece, dancing, or in some cases, music at all. Say it around the wrong person and you get breathless rants of mostly buzzwords (no talent, pre-programmed, no real instruments, over reliance on technology, impossible to dance to it, general snickers and rasberies). The term seems to be destined a mutation soon, notibly Rephlex Records trying to pass it off as "Braindance", or as "The Next Big Thing", which some people already beleive. Forums for the genre are filled with giddy, rejected high schoolers and young adults, talking mostly about how much money they spent on a vinyl or limited edition, and wasting most of their creative energy on talentless photoshop contests and pornography. The artists who get slotted into the genre reject the title and have mostly never used it as a title for their works.

    Nevertheless, from out of the muck of the abomination known as Music Journalism, yet another loaded term (We all know Frank Zappa' famous quote, so I won't bother putting it here), comes high praise for this synthetic genre. Nameless music critics verbally masturbate the albums, squeezing hard and milking the music for their bread and butter. Words such as "future", "unlistenable", "childhood", and "Technical" show up often, and people who don't know any better rampently spend as much hard-earned cash as they can to aquire this bloated whale and proove their "musical superiority" over others.

    Somewhere along the way something broke. Artists became power mad, taunting their fans, overdoing material to the point of, "god forbid", unfavourable reveiws. Yes, I'm speaking about Aphex Twin and the divided rejection and praise of "drukqs". Yes, I'm speaking of Autechre and their "Confeild" album.

    Early into my initiation of "IDM", I came across a copy of the, at this time of writing, most recent album by Tom "Squarepusher" Jenkinson, entitled "Ultravisitor". I had seen it at a small independent record store, specializing in mostly "punk" and "emo", while filling time before a dentist's apointment. I was young, and naive, and the music caught me off guard. I liked what I heard, but it was overpriced. I later bought the album at a different independent record store (God, I hate that phrase), but it was the limited edition, and it cost a pretty penny.

    I worked my way backwards through his Warp catalogue, with indulgences in the "Budakahn Mindphone" EP, followed by the so-claimed jazz influanced "Music Is Rotted One Note", the disappointing "Do You Know Squarepusher" album, which had been tainted by listening to faster and "better", and was only redeamed by the extra live disc, itself mostly material from the previously released "Go Plastic" album, which I will not buy due to my extreme dislike of what I have heard on the live disc. the "Big Loada" release, mine released via Nothing Records and including the full EP, the "Port Rhombus" EP, and the bonus mixes from the "Vic Acid" single, was a disapointment, but not as bad as it's preceding album (I'm getting to that). The video for "Come On My Selector", which I had seen previously, was included in the disc, and the fast-paced beats killed much time on by bus commute to work.

    I decided to get the prior release by Squarepusher, the highly-regarded "Hard Normal Daddy" album, his first release on Warp Records. The "Big Loada" EP had nudged me in it's direction, and also the fact that his first album, Rephlex' "Feed Me Weird Things" cost over $30 CDN for the CD alone. I placed it in my discman on my way home, and knew something was wrong.

    The first track, "Cooper's World", came on jarringly and studdered. My discman was not enjoying this, it having no problems at all playing "drukqs", "Tri Repetae", "Drum 'n' Bass for Papa", or any other album. The disc was brand new,and the lens was in good working order. the anti skip was faulty, but never to this

    degree. I had heard the beginning of the track before on the Warp site, mostly typical d'n'b drums, TB-303 acid lines, electric piano fills, and the manic "IDM" breakbeats. The time between the piano fills was aching, the breakbeats seeming to meld into a white noise so only the basslines and piano interupted it.

    This isn't high praise, this is insulting. This isn't "IDM", this is ambient.

    I literally fell asleep. Missed my bus stop and had to catch another one back home. I played it some more on a CD player in the kitchen while cooking my dinner, where it played fine, but the dull, echoing electric piano of "Beep Street" looped over a barrage of beats, drilled into my tired head and sounded continuous. I couldn't tell where the tracks started and stopped, the instruments and melodies sounded identical and uninspired. "Papalon", despite it's fluttering, deep, and artificial horns, could not keep me from drifting off on the packed commuter shuttle the next morning, the song dropping out every 20 seconds from the discman. It's length of 8 minutes didn't help either, blending seamlessly into "E8 Boogie". The only standouts I can possibly think of are the two songs that made it out of the album and onto the only single. "Vic Acid"'s desending synth line and less-than-frantic beats made for good listening, and the above-average "Fat Controller", with it's squeltchy bass line endlessly repeating and being filtered, it's fake scratching waking me up, and it's faint vocal samples giving the only sign of life on the album. Folks, this is not a good thing.

    So in conclusion, I would like to hope that my perversion from the usual high praise for this album has made you a little more objective towards the music you listen to. You all know that old "you don't have to follow the heard" message; this isn't some after school special so I won't go into that routine. I, personally, need something new, and no I don't want suggestions. Jazz calls, but it's a behemoth and listening to it's many different faces can be isolating and confusing. I need to focus more on my own music I'm creating soon.

    Thank you for reading this.

    "IDM", man, what is this shit?

    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. AndrewB


      I didn't read your entire message. I read the beginning, and then skipped to the end. I still can't tell whether you're "for" or "against" this type of entertainment.

      There IS a lot of talentless stuff our there that people worship. Just look at all of the Ashley Simpson fans, for example. Look at how her popularity and fame has increased after two instances of public humiliation.

    3. Psyonisis


      'Come on my Selector' by Squarepusher is a shitty song and I can't understand why anyone would enjoy it.

    4. Danarchy


      Man, entering this thread made me feel like I stumbled into Ishkur's guide.

      Numbermind said:

      5) Listened to Legendary Pink Dots lately?


      Man, why is it so hard to get ahold of their albums? The only place I seem to be able to find them is on this mail order site which sells them for $25 a piece. I tried Amazon, but when I ordered from them I got a bad Coil album instead. >:|

      DJ_Haruko said:

      I'm afraid I don't know the Frank Zappa quote...

      "Definition of rock journalism: People who can't write, doing interviews with people who can't think, in order to prepare articles for people who can't read."

      Also, I don't really like IDM. Too Fruity Loopy I guess.