Forget What The NME Says. This Is The True Face of Musical Progression.

I won’t get bogged down in the details, but I recently wrote an article about how musical progression, on the face of it is in grave decline compared to the second half of the twentieth century and it seems many are living in some ignorant bliss about it all. In what was largely a rant against the ‘Indie Hipster’ I did paint a pretty bleak picture about the majority of those who weren’t pushing music forward so I thought I’d redress that and show you who is.

 

Factory Floor and The Knife

Dark and gritty synthetic churnings and grindings of an industrial nature. A collage and a deep texture of different electronic sounds burrowing beneath the song or fire out from it in a laser like fashion. There isn’t really a traditional base or middling sound and if there is it isn’t playing centre stage. Songs that are pretty lengthy and play on sensory and emotive vulnerabilities. These are enhanced by the very different ways the vocals are packaged. Only inserted at intervals to enhance the sound or scare you half to death.

 

Bombay Bicycle Club

Though perhaps not making such a huge difference to the progression of music before; they certainly are now. They could almost act as the in-between or the transition from the ‘Hipster’ culture to the progressive and forward thinking culture and the highly futuristic nature of Factory Floor and The Knife. They are slightly less shocking and assertive in their approach and they act in a much more accessible and melodic fashion particularly with ‘Carry Me’ with a sustained vocal but still with a great focus on the music and an untraditional approach to verses.

 

Pinkunoizu

A great combination and clashing of different sounds to forge a new type of music but one that still has a large air of familiarity to it. Combining the punk and krautrock elements with the neo-psychedelic, shoegazing and even folk elements but in a much matter of fact way rather than making a mockery of the respected genres in the process. It results in direct and easy to grasp song progression but one that is much more complex and varied.

 

Warpaint

A fantastic proprietor of the atmospheric and of the expanded sound. They don’t plug a cheap atmosphere using the same default echo and distortion that most bands who think they are of the same banner. They in fact utilise the natural sound of their vocal as well as the differing effects that they have at their disposal. The also do this with the natural rotating rhythms and in using sounds to build up textures that are fluid and drawn out. Sometimes the atmospheric quality comes from the vocal, the guitars, the bass, percussion, synths etc. This can allow them to control the type of atmospheric quality of each song. Sometimes it can change mid-song, but they have the ability to produce completely spaced out and unlimited sounds and much more bottled up and immediate atmospheric moments.

 

The Horrors

Psychedelic music of the future. They have already went through a rapid personal musical progression and it would be a crime to leave them out of this list. The free flowing synths and the layering atop of it can be complex or simple but divulges the sound perfectly in a way original psychedelica has not. Combine that with the wizardry of guitarist Joshua Hayward. To a passing ear it just sounds like an aggressive shoegaze style, but it does so much more. Instead of acting as a side show of the rest of the song he uses it as the songs engine to grind out a tune from the reverb and to act as an added melodic element. You just have to look at the abundance of pedals he has to see where he is taking guitar music as a whole to an age of the intelligent and disciplined guitarist. The bass is always less obvious in it’s bass lines and Faris’ vocals speak for themselves for a fresh vocal style.

 

Rose Elinor Dougall

Not only was her debut album Without Why a great rejigging of outlooks on genres with brilliant combinations and fresh approaches on each; but her 2013 EP Future Vanishes is a great example of a new type of pop music. One that is more intelligent and does so much more than provide the quick fix people look for. Lyrically capable as always; she moulds songs that are infectious in their beat, rhythm, groove and melodic feel. You can sing a long and you can dance along to them. There is also a great spaced out quality to her music from which you can be totally immersed and lost in. Something that is rooted deeper by her lyrics. That doesn’t detract from those infectious qualities and if anything she cleverly utilises and manipulates this to enhance such things.

 

Damon Albarn

Already a legendary innovator in several guises; he has recently shown he can still do just that as we all set about embarking on his solo venture. Songs like ‘Everyday Robots’ are broken and off beat with their melodies and the mismatch of percussion going on at the same time. He combines the traditional strings and piano with the samples and lets them sit separately and unifying them with his easy listening vocal to smooth everything over. He has much more to give and much more to show younger generations currently driving music backwards.

That was just a few off the top of my head but there are such artists out there. You just have to find them and go to their gigs and so on for they are the true driving forces of music. Even if they are behind the scenes they are the forward thinkers and the progressives like generations before them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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