Friday, 7 February 2014

The Definitive Sound of 2014: Wishlist

While the previous two parts of my 'definitive sound' guide have been fairly considered guesses and estimations, with only a sprig of humour thrown in, I thought I'd come up with a wish list for things I'd love to happen. It's unlikely that many of them will, but if they did, the music industry as a whole would be a better place. Strap in for a little foray into my outside bet for the Mercury Prize nomination, some possible fantastic collaborations and what Hardwell should do about Irish teenage binge drinkers.

Hardwell Binge Drinking
Not literally Hardwell binge drinking, that might ruin the high energy approach he looks for in his gigs. The news that teenagers were hospitalised from excessive binge drinking and served underage has evoked all the standard responses. The venue are blaming outside influence, the daily mail are blaming society and the lack of standards, politicans are seeking vote winning statements on the subject and Mixmag forum commenters are insulting Hardwell or bigging up their own mental booze / drug capacity.

While my personal opinion & experience is that people will drink underage, I reckon that (sorry Dave from Basildon, legend of a thousand raves in his local town in the 90s in which he whited out in 95% and crapped himself at 4% of the others) to enjoy the music best, you can't be completely out of your mind on whatever poison you prefer. Do what you do in moderation, remember the tunes, have a great night, don't wake up in an alley / hospital bed smelling distinctly of sulphur and shit. The 'bro culture' of Americanised 'EDM' shouldn't be allowed to perveate a great time. Please.

Old School Jazz Samples Return
Belgian group Gramophonedzie are pioneers of this, writing tunes incorporating classic soul, jazz and funk from the past before breaking them down into sexy, classy house numbers. More of this would be an excellent thing and help develop the resurgence in funky chilled house that's been spreading like wildfire in the past year or so.

Mercury Prize 2014
The Mercury Prize selections are not innately bad choices, they feature a great choice of albums from a broad spectrum of genres (although the snubbing of BMTH's There Is A Hell from the 2011 shortlist despite it's innovative nature is a traversty in my eyes). Obviously, most of the nominations are so far unreleased or even unwritten, but this year something other than the cool, check out my hip new band / singer release would be good. I'd love a win for something like Nero's upcoming second album which, (I predict) is going to be a vast, futuristic concept album building on Welcome Reality but even more so. Or just have a straight up guitar band win it and accept that you don't have to be cool to write good music.

Dogestep Becomes A Reality
Although the internet 'Doge' meme is now probably passe, I'd love to see someone create a 'doge step' song or genre, in which you had massive build up and hype before a piddling, insignificant drop. It'd be a swing both at the 14 year old Skrillex fan boy and the internet in general, and also, bizarre enough to amuse me.

Lady Gaga Releasing A Jazz Album
Whether you love her, hate her, or are merely ambivalent, the ever present figure of Lady Gaga is one unlikely to go away any time soon. Yet where she is lampooned for her crazy outfits and daring stunts (which I admire for their fuck you to the establishment if not their content),Gaga shines musically when taken away from the pop sound she's known for. Tracks like Speechless, the jazz version of You & I and Teeth, along with a truly great second half to her 2011 Radio 1 Big Weekend headline show demonstrate a musician of incredible soulfulness and potential. It might not have a thumping beat, but it's fun, provocative and far more brave than the collective 'Is that it?' of Artpop. Take away the beats, give her a jazz band or even an orchestra and this new analogue Gaga could be something truly remarkable.

The Resurrection Of Freddy Mercury
This will not happen, but it should. No man with a moustache has ever commanded the adoration of such a large crowd without also plotting world domination. No man with a moustache in a string vest has done this before or since. Plus I'd like to shake his hand for Radio Gaga.

Rise Against Playing A 10th Anniversary SSCC Tour
Siren Song Of The Counter Culture, Rise Against's 3rd album is my favourite of all time and it turns 10 this year. I love the primacy and immediate, raw feel of the whole work, it flows as an album and every song feels cohesive in its sound. I'd love to see a full version of this played live, as Rise Against work so well as a live band and it'd probably accelerate the savage beauty of this record to a whole new level

Crazy Cross Genre Collaborations
I'm not talking about the 'innovative' Zedd-Hayley Williams mix (it's just Airplanes all over again) but some truly bizarre collaborative efforts that just might work, of which I'll list a few here:

Bring Me The Horizon & Crystal Castles - One does heavy metal influenced by electronics to an extent, one does lucid electronica influenced by the human condition fed through a jet engine. They'd be able to create something dark, twisted, uncomfortable and simply amazing!
Ellie Goulding & You Me At Six - One has fantastic hair, the other is Ellie Goulding. A duet between Josh Franceschi's mob and national favourite Ellie could become a feel good anthem of the summer, except with actual guitars and a broader aim than to be track 3 of Now 88.
Chemical Brothers Vs. The Prodigy - Two 90s legends on one, slow burning, eventually explosive track that could shake a stadium to the floor. What's not to like.
Noisia Feat. Sean Smith - Blackout screamer Sean has lent his voice to South Central's Jaw Drop and The Proxies If I had a Penny to my Name. Imagine that raw energy on top of the brooding menace of a Noisia production.
Delphic & Frank Turner - Country punk meets electronic indie in a collision of which the sound probably can't be concieved. Or it might be a little banal. Regardless, they should try it.

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