The Cosmopolitan Sterilization of Indie Rock?

With standardized digital audio production, much music under the "alternative" genre sounds conspicuously similar. Marrying this phenomena with the rise of Creative Class gentrification, and ultimately eclecticism without a sense of roots (see "Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology" for more), has indie rock lost itself to indie cred?

  • What timeline are you looking to focus on? Is this the roots of indie rock being compared to the modern trend "authentic" indie rock? I like the emphasis on audio production and I think that could be really beneficial for showcasing how the genre has become mainstream. I also think that this observation could be compared to "punk rock" and maybe that genre could included, or that could be its own Topic. – John McCracken 6 years ago
  • I referring to the contemporary world of indie rock. Let's say we're comparing the guitar-based, lo-fi sounds of Ty Segall with bands driven by synthesizers and maximal studio instrumentation and production. I like Segall's sound much better, as it doesn't feel like an affectation. I feel like too many bands played on SiriusXMU rely too much on technology and not on honesty, musicianship, and songwriting. – Kyle 6 years ago
  • I would suggest a wariness about the idea that "digital audio production" is the standardizing factor here. A) There are a ton of records made in the digital realm that are done so simply for economic reasons--it's a lot cheaper and easier at this point to work with inexpensive software on computers that most everyone possesses than to work with, say, a 24-track analog tape machine (which I know Segall often favors, but is, at this point in time, an enormously expensive boutique undertaking). B) There are a ton of records made digitally that emphasize so-called lo-fi aesthetic choices in instrumentation, arrangement, and overall production (see: Wolf Eyes, the latest Lightning Bolt, etc). I think the culprit here may be more about the cultural/commercial forces that see "indie rock" as a commodified genre with marketable stylistic tropes, rather than digital audio production itself (and to an extent, about the loss of meaning in the term "indie rock"...much as with "alternative" before it, it has become a sonic style more than a true "independent" category of creation). Digital audio production equipment ist just a toolset, and if you are skilled with the toolset, it doesn't demand or determine what the results are creatively. You can record nasty, one-take, lo-fi stuff into GarageBand or Pro Tools just as easily as on tape (and often for less money). I do think your central thesis relating homogenization of indie rock to creative class gentrification has legs, I'd just be careful about blaming the digital boogieman. – joshloar 5 years ago

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