I started the first batch of reviews of the tracks submitted calling /mu/ the musical elite of the Internet. Of course as most people there I fell in love with /mu/ immediately, I felt it replaced my ill-fated lifelong search for friends with whom to talk about music. For the first time in my life I found people that new more about music and cared as much about it as myself and it was refreshing as fuck. I’ve been to other boards but I don’t think they are as good. Reddit for example was quite disappointing.
Instead of listening to the best of /mu/ album while I write, I’m listening to Radio Reddit so I get a kind of perspective, something to compare to. Actually, I have just took it out because it’s kind of shitty. There’s something about this compilation that just feels like a home run. The level of good taste on every single track is amazing. So I went back to one of my favorites, the very short and sweet “My Gun” by someone called Nedmund. Some guy like me, lurking /mu/ looking for the best music for this moment right now. I’ve been to a bunch of sharethreads, I’ve spent hours in that sharethread archive and later listening to such music as chillwave, black metal, blackened hard core, free jazz etc. It’s mind-boggling how one group of people can listen to such diverse music.
Being a musician myself, I drifted towards the soundcloud threads, eventually being forced to make music of my own again, after years of just guitar improvising. The quality of what I found, along with the lack of general interest outside of /mu/ for it, drove me to start this blog so I could write about it exclusively, perhaps get a couple more of people to enjoy it as well. Of course I know most people on this compilation – and more than a hundred were left out – will never “make” it. “Most” might be very optimist, but I’m sticking to it because I can’t see how thousands of people wouldn’t be amazed listening to Less Deceived, Victor Florence, Somnitone, Joey Spencer etc. I also know most of the electronic tracks are incredible as well, such as Rekapper’s and the oh so pretty “Walmart”, by Brendan Rincon.
What concerns me is that the average /mu/tant’s music taste isn’t representative of what works outside of that universe. Most of the albums /mu/ goes batshit about (the essential charts) are there in the best of all times lists everywhere else, but buried with albums most of us don’t care about. Outside of the honorable top position we give to In The Court of the Crimson King in our essentials chart, for example, it sits awkwardly in some 20-something place on other lists. The same with the rest of /mu/core. Our appreciation for masterful musicianship and staggering originality doesn’t hold a breath for catchiness and radio-friendliness for everyone else. The case for Electronic music is even worse of course.
So this is the kind of people who came up with the tracks that form this compilation. But have they managed to make music that would please the high standards of /mu/tants in general, the people who populate epic sharethreads? Fuck, I don’t know, but I don’t see people caring much about it there, so I don’t think it went that well, just like outside of soundcloud threads no one cares about them much. In my best hopes this compilation would be /mu/core, but I don’t see that happening. Of course much of it boils down to the fact that /mu/tants aren’t that outside of mainstream. They follow Pitchfork, albeit with higher standards and figuring most of the Best New Music stuff isn’t that good anyway. They enjoy more obscure releases such as Pope Killdragon and Have a Nice Life, but I don’t think most of them care much for soundcloud music.
It makes sense if you think about it, perhaps the music industry isn’t so shortsighted that the very best music going on today hasn’t been signed by at least a very obscure but respected label. So in the end the people listening to this compilation might be the same people who made it, who submitted tracks to it. Fuck, I submitted a track (thanks to the 5 people who voted for it) and I am writing about it now. Is anyone else? Please post links in the comments section if so. It would be great if Fantano reviewed it, but who knows if that will happen.
So this compilation, made by us, was made for us as well. I love it, but that’s not surprising, since over the course of the past few months I have developed a taste for this stuff, listening to almost exactly the tracks that were chosen. The fact that it’s an acquired taste speaks volumes of how good it is, but it’s also sort of a death sentence. The Flying Batteries’ track seems to me like a perfect summer hit, but would the novelty of its 8-bit influence sound quirky to the outside eyes? The first time I listened to it, the band was called Cold Haze and I chatted with the poster about how cool it sounded. For me it was like a friend showing me his music. How about Viktor Disque’s Frank? A Problem Like Maria’s voice in it sounds to me as familiar as Lady Gaga would sound to a teenager girl. I’ve lurked twice as many soundcloud threads as I have posted my music on, so I’ve seen guys like Rekapper and New Motive Power talk about their music as they see fit. If I were in a taxi and their music started playing, I’d be amazed and ask for the taxi driver to go around the block once more (taxi rides are that cheap were I live). Having sincerely enjoyed Trout Mask Replica though, how representative can I possibly be?
My greatest fear though isn’t that these guys might never be successful, but that nothing here is really, truly original, even though they push the limits constantly. Some tracks are incredibly beautiful, such as “Pale Beneath a Brilliant Sky”, and Djiti’s “No One” feels awesome, for example, but I don’t see the next Tom Waits or Thom Yorke or something. Most of the tracks are made by people who genuinely love some kind of music and want to make more of it because they see they can. In the end, this compilation is a perfect showcase of what’s going on in music now, of what it feels like to have great taste in music and be able to replicate it. As such, the result is outstanding. You have perfect specimens of music of different genres, truly enjoyable and worth a dozen listens, but my admiration for /mu/tants expected more. I want the next generation of music geniuses to come from /mu/.
Something about this doesn’t ring right though. The last time I checked Pitchfork’s 100 tracks of the year list I think it was referring to 2008. Just checked, yeah, that’s it. This one. I remember I asked myself what someone in the bottom of the list thought of it. Well, the track on the very bottom is by Girls, “Hellhole Ratrace”. That’s a great track, full of emotion and life. They went on to come up a critically acclaimed album and will probably be much higher in this year’s list. I want music from /mu/ to at least break that barrier, I want something I caught in a soundcloud thread to feel like a million dollars, come ripping through best new music, get a Fantano strong 9. Hellhole Ratrace isn’t particularly innovative, it’s just a great track, just like most if not all of the tracks in this compilation are. The people responsible for these 26 tracks are up to an awesome start, you broke a sizeable barrier, made it through a contest that started with 133 submitted tracks, all created by people who love music and (mostly) know how to make it well. On this side of it, the side that didn’t make it, I’m amazed by your musicianship and talent. Every single track is great. To put it concisely, this album is /mu/core in my book.