There is a very real danger of the high-classification of extreme music genres like metal, punk or hip-hop. While on one hand, it's both inevitable and kind of a good thing, as musicians are forced to try a little higher, be more aware of their audience and the prevailing tastes in general, to try and convey their message in a style that people will be able to hear and understand. The movement is pretty much creating a golden age of each of these genres.
The down side is that these formerly raw, brutal, uncompromising and uncommercial sounds are falling under the Instagramming spell of late capitalism, like every other industry on Earth, from ice cream to travel insurance. Put the right nostalgic filter on it, and watch people lose their minds!
The danger is each of these genres traditionally are some of the most powerful voices of dissent around, telling it like it us, speaking with the language of real people. There's a danger of becoming too coiffed, too polite and refined, when these genres start scoring runways and catwalks instead of the rough concrete jungles of inner cities and poor neighborhoods.
Lucid, by Ottawa, Ontario's Beattie Bergstrom, isn't precisely metal, punk or hip-hop, but it's not NOT those things, either. Sonically, it falls somewhere between the noise-hop of Death Grips, the art-pop of Scott Walker, and a rough-hewn conceptual musique concrete symphony.
Lucid began life as raw audio, compiled from junkyards and outdoor concerts, which were then laid over with Bergstrom's chiming, singsong melodies floating over like the ghost of orchestral pop. It's as if Sufjan Stevens and Antipop Consortium were to get together to work on the New Jersey segment of the 50 States series.
Bergstrom is, as he puts it, "a restless space cadet. He is the product of a chemical society that is pleased to leave its mark." To flesh out this complex theme, each track on Lucid gets its own artwork on Bandcamp, which seem to spell out a narrative of decay and neural bombardment.
From the green shoots of "Lucid" with its bristling static sounding like vintage Skinny Puppy to the DMT sprawl of the "Colour Of The River Running Through Us” with its crystal-like marimbas becoming grids of meta-data that we can either summit or be strangled by. It's up to us.
Lucid isn't a fable or a morality play. It's just a complex look at a complicated situation - the exact thing we stand to lose if we shave off all the rough edges and unconventional points of view. Lucid is a stunning achievement for fans of artful electronic music and experimental pop!
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