Monday, 1 August 2011

New Weird Europe (New Weird England)

I've set up a moderated SoundCloud group: "New Weird Europe (New Weird England)". Obviously it responds to 'new weird America', 'freakfolk' and similar recent genre definitions.


http://soundcloud.com/groups/new-weird-europe-new-weird-england

I'm hoping to bring together some quite personal music, perhaps with an insular, cultish feel, but which still acknowledges a bigger cultural or political world. I'm thinking of music that confronts ideas of 'tradition' 'identity' or 'belonging' – easily associated with folk music in general – with a kind of disaffectedness.

There are some formal, technical aspects to this, but nothing is fixed. For instance, acoustic instruments and non-studio or field recordings might play a part in establishing an intimate scene in the context of a wide natural or urban environment. Totally synthetic studio creations probably don't do that, as a general rule. However, as a contrary example, I often think of 1970s German experimental rock as a kind of folk music made with electronics. This is because the music evolved, to a varying extent, as a set of grassroots projects expressing a German identity unlike any previous German-ness; and today an aura of clannishness and mythology remains around some of the groups and cities involved.

A lot of current weird- freak- and psych-folk is being made in America by artists reworking folk, rock, and psychedelic forms, especially from the 1960s. Some of these forms were heavily commercialised. Others were not, and so can still stand for a sense of marginality, oddness, and even a kind of authenticity in the face of homogenous, industrial pop. New music makers seem to be temporarily reclaiming these earlier forms and some of their associated ideas for quite personal ends.

My SoundCloud group is a place to collect together some current European music and audio related to the ideas summarised above. I want to keep the group focused, more like a selected compilation than a wide-spectrum new folk list. I do appreciate reasonable production values (even if it's 'lo-fi') but I'm more drawn to things which are strong in themselves rather than being preoccupied with trying to be good in any conventional way.

Suggestions of or from artists active on SoundCloud are invited.