February 04, 2004

GIVE IT A NAME

Matt disagreeing about the Name Issue. But k-punk remains insistent. When there is a threshold shift in sound, there HAS to be a new name. Simon is surely right: if we're going for garage, we might as well opt for something even more non-specific like 'hardcore'. (Not that the decision will be made by 'us' of course). 2-step might not have been a particularly resonant name, but at least it did the job of registering a shift in sound, mentality and methodology. 'Rap' would do more harm than good, suggesting a set of affinities and alignments that are problematic and misleading (cf the blog debate a while back about why eski isn't hip hop). What have you got against specificity in genre names, Matt? Surely there's a contradiction in both calling for the name 'garage' and the name 'rap'? The very fact that both are in some sense appropriate is precisely a reason why a new name is necessary (and an ungainly hybrid like 'garage rap' won't cut it either). Incidentally, I'm not sure what Matt means by saying that great names 'be they detourned insults, always come from within.' The scene must at a certain stage 'elect' to accept and detourne the insult, for sure, but, since it WAS an insult in the first place 'jungle' (like 'desi') originally came from outside. By the way, wouldn't Matt's logic, if in place at the time, have led to a resistance to 'jungle': 'No, let's stick with hardcore.'

Luke is no doubt right to say that 'anyone who thinks the lack of a name is going to spell the death of the music is crazy anyway' (see woebot comments); yet that isn't to say that the lack of a name doesn't reflect a certain crisis in the scene. Crisis has a positive sense: lack of resolution means that a scene is still germinal, still unsure of exactly what it is, still in a state of becoming - not 'branded', in any sense of the term. Yet (contra Woebot) I would suggest that perpetual avoidance of auto-branding is damaging for a scene. Simon MUST be right that the lack of a name is holding the scene back.

'I guess the real issue at stake is that magazines and the cross-over crew don't just need a name, a handle, they need a NEW name,' Matt writes. 'It's packaging and advertising isn't it, a NEW product is needed to stock on the shelves.' But the product IS new, and perversely refusing to i-d it in some spirit of anti-media lockdown is like flat-earth folkies resisting electricity. There is a difference in being named BY the media and being named FOR the media.

Taking a step back, there are two interesting things about genre names.

1) They involve a COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS. An individual may come up with a name, but its acceptance amongst a scene is a 'decision' taken collectively, not, needless to say, by committees debating round a table, but by the unconscious desire of the Massive. Only if a name resonates with this unconscious collectivity will it stick. It's like a chemical reaction.

2) Naming is not a neutral act of referring. Naming produces surplus value, something that wasn't already there in the first place. 'Jungle' is a classic example of this: the name didn't just describe a style, it provided an instant mythology. There's a lack of will to myth in falling back on 'garage' (which IMO was never a great name any way).

Posted by mark at February 4, 2004 09:39 PM | TrackBack
Comments

i reccomend you getting the lord of the decks dvd volume two mark. it'll help you. big apple in croydons not too far away is it? by the way i just got sans soliel and la jette on dvd on your reccomendation, so if they're rubbush you owe me 23. no ones refusing to name it, it's just the scene's too diffuse to agree on something. as simon pointed out jungle didnt really take hold till quite late. the music had to wait till it was more formed, it's not fully formed so it has to wait a little bit till it properly finds it's feet and the major players get older and more confendent. i don't think its a big issue, although i agree it's an intersting process

Posted by: luke at February 5, 2004 12:08 AM