THE NU WORLD
As producers of products – of art, music, writing, whatever – we find ourselves going into the next decade locked within a culture hard to move in, as the room we once had to wriggle and kick our feet is squeezed by the larger corporations who have discovered intelligent ways to dominate proceedings, again. These corporations, in providing a seemingly endless, flat terrain that allows for the total equalisation of all data, can take full control of the mediums of art themselves, control the parameters of the products and in effect, control the producer.
While platforms such as Soundcloud, Youtube and Bandcamp afforded us a relative liberation, with the illusion of endless space, as the independent producers of products in this past decade we now begin to see the failure of these systems to maintain a level of growth and innovation required to bring about a true open market that allows for the producer’s control of the medium itself. While it looks as though things are expanding through one lens, the space is in fact contracting into familiarised territory – creating a claustrophobic cabin fever arts underground that has merged all its colours into one sickly looking turd brown smeared on a miniature palette. The liberation was just a deeper imprisoning.
In regards to these named platforms: Soundcloud limps into the next decade in its newfound role as an the memorial ground of the 2010’s explosion of exponential digital musical evolution, occupied today only by a certain brand of graveyard ghoul so focused in their craft that they have missed what is happening around them, and as such provides some decent entertainment at best on the clunky algorithm that is Soundcloud Artist Radio. Youtube, succumbing to greater influence from the mainstream, sees itself engaging in mass censorship and demonetisation, straight-up leading its own products into the firing line as to appease old masters who are now digging their fangs in for whatever pocket change it can muster. Bandcamp, after ten years of inertia, remains a mere “camp” for “bands”, the pay-to-play talent show, forever in stasis, with the only evolution in a decade is some irregular fixture of articles like: “Top 10 Sub-Saharan Experimental Techno Artists”, “The Mongolians Writing MIDI Black Metal That You Need To Know”, “A Romanian Babushka With A Bionic Elbow Produced *THIS* Ambient Soundscape,” all written beneath a cloud of e-cig vape from a Macbook Pro (2017 Touchbar Edition) in Oakland, empty frappucino cups in the recycling bin at the side of the desk. Try telling the average person on the street to find your latest product on “Bandcamp”, for example, and watch their eyes scan the top of their head as they recall visions of some forgotten, weed-haze memory of American Pie 4 on DVD.
Beyond these useless pyramids, Spotify is the behemoth that casts a much denser triangular shadow over the horizon, as the app claims its spot as the ONLY authentic way to experience music in the 21st century, forcing us producers to say a sweet goodbye to ten years of wasted Soundcloud profile tweaking – just as Facebook once did to our beloved Myspaces. Spotify, now dominated by the “majors”, is reshaping exactly what experiencing music means in the nu world: playlists of senseless data to suit the occasion, in doing so curating the ambiance of the environment you wish to lose yourself in without you having to think. The range of human emotion, then, becomes refined and easy to understand products to partake in and of themselves, patched together with the endless, unstoppable data we provide, as the producers, with barely a moment to stop and reflect, lest we be forgotten for inclusion on the latest “Noises After Dark” or “Virtual Reality” playlist to catch the pennies and playcount, all playing our part to reduce the synthesis of art and human emotion to a cozy range of scented candles.
Dream Catalogue, too, has seen its own pyramid become inverted through disarray, represented with a new logo that debuted a couple of years ago, providing esoteric emotional outrage and animalistic lashing out at the aether. With the “record label” itself falling into the realm of a punchline in the eyes of some, praised by others, while a crowd of curious onlookers remain, looking on at these ashes of the fires of endless self-parody that burned away for years, far beyond absurdity. Raccoons, angels, and even Henry fucking Moonchild. The Cleaner. All of these provided chaos: an antidote to order, when it was needed the most. A raging but ultimately futile scratch away at the congealing map of mind-wrecking, boring shit. As such, Dream Catalogue in these years was a skewed reflection in shattered glass of the zeitgeist, in many ways (which needn’t be recapped here).
Where we are right now: this announcement of the schism of Dream Catalogue into DREAM RED and DREAM BLUE. Some kind of dualism, of object and subject, masculine and feminine, yin and yang, light and dark, but which one is which etc.
The concept stems from another impulsive outburst of mine, on a recent podcast (shoutout to CANVAS), but one that I intend to see through – purely because there has to be a point where a new foundation for a temple is built, otherwise we will journey through these woods for years on end going nowhere, in search of nothing, until there is nothing. So here the temple must stand, even if we are deep in the forest now. As such, this new infrastructure will aim to provide the antithesis to this corporate landscape of fruitless equality, even if we have to continue operating within it at some level for the time being.
DREAM RED will be of my personal curation, regardless of present taste, just as Dream Catalogue has been at times, and as such will act as the subjective unfolding tapestry – all of the absurd extrapolations, the outliers, the ridiculousness.
And just as Dream Catalogue has operated at other times, DREAM BLUE will attempt to reflect the object itself as it mutates in the perception of the subject – the scene, the time, the aesthetic, the prime, the natural divinity of the design.
At the end of each month, one album will drop from DREAM RED and one from DREAM BLUE.
We start, this evening, with the return of Sangam to Dream Catalogue for DREAM BLUE, as he brings his latest work, “The Evening”, seeing the modern ambient master make his return to his home label, with another foray through pensive melancholy, deep emotion.
Next week will see the arrival of Shima33’s new album “Recreation” for DREAM RED, the latest drop from my CANVAS co-host, as the Bradford-based lunatic seeks to successfully merge a sonic template of 80’s electronic motifs, 128kbs Youtube samples, somewhere between techno and prog that can only be seen in the genre: ‘Shima’
Both of these albums will first premiere on Spotify, before eventually arriving here on dreamcatalogue.com.
More on all this later.
Of course, RED and BLUE are contextual of one another, and so we will of course see the two play off one another over time, such is the way with these things. But the important thing to note is that this is the new order, this is the new decade, this is just the beginning and: look out, get hyper, go insane, kick a hole in the wall, shave your head, punch the earth, dance a dance, do a backflip, harness the energy, have sex, make some music, write a book, direct a film, invent new mediums, find the holy grail, crack open an energy drink, do 100 push-ups, biohack your existence, take a shower, hit the weights, get a clue.
Written by HKE, posted unedited.