340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Friday, May 06, 2005

Enraged by the machine.

So I'm channel-surfing the other day and I alight on MuchMusic, specifically a show called One Hit Wonder. The premise is simple: 22 minutes of "cracking open the vaults and unearthing videos from the biggest hitmakers ever to be forgotten" (according to the blurb on the site); i.e., playing old hit videos from artists who later quickly faded from the charts. The show's hosted by fresh-from-a-hair-conditioner-commercial Devon Soltendieck, formerly the managing editor of Non-Threatening Boys magazine.

(before I continue, a quick caveat: I know it's just a stupid teevee show on stupid MuchMusic; I know it's supposed to be tongue-in-cheek; I know that the whole thing is an exercise in acontextual reconstructive history-making; I get all that. I also understand that there are more important things to get mad about, but something significant is going on here...)

They aired Arrested Development's Mister Wendal and US3's Cantaloop. The first represented a radical new voice in early-90s hiphop and the second was an innovative blending of Jazz and hiphop. Neither belongs on a show that celebrates failure--even commercial failure, which both of these bands did, admittedly, experience.

US3 built on ideas first presented in De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising and crafted their own unique sound that defied convention and became massively popular both in North America and the UK.

Arrested Development have even less business beging name-checked on this show. Emerging during the heydey of G-funk, this progressive group delivered an explicitly political, anti-racist, Afrocentric vision. Their melodies were spacious, sweet, breezy and uplifting; they combined a spiritual bent with a political will and intense, undeniable musical ability to create a totally unique sound which put "Southern Rap" on the map long before Goodie Mob or OutKast.

Hosted by someone too young to remember anything he's reading off the teleprompter, this show just reinforces the idea that once an artists drops off the Billboard radar, the inevitable slide into irrelevance has begun in earnest. It's just one more example of MuchMusic's allegiance with the corporate music industry and their combined need to straightjacket the public's understanding of music, history and who the "important artists" are.


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