Meme nominee: Banned Experimental Music

In today’s Hollow Tree Experimental Music Report, Zeno has posted a list of “formerly experimental” bands that will no longer be mentioned, having since hit the big time and committed themselves to rote performances of purely monetary intent. Or as he puts it:

“Any particular music that achieves market success can’t be called experimental anymore. When you start to sell a lot of records, your experiments are over, and you have begun applying your findings.”

Sounds like a meme to me… Here’s my list:

1. Phish
2. Plastikman
3. Aphex Twin
4. Boris
5. Godspeed You Black Emperor!
6. Acid Mothers Temple
7. Mike Patton, and all related side-projects
8. Sigur Ros
9. Blue Man Group
10. The Flaming Lips
11. Did I mention Mike Patton?

Unless preceded by the words, “Did you hear about the horrible bus accident involving,” all mention of these entertainers’ current activities will result in my eyes becoming rapidly glazed over, and/or your suffocation.

6 Responses to “Meme nominee: Banned Experimental Music”

  1. autumn Says:

    Hate to be a cynic (actually I really love to be a cynic), but any group, or band, or collective, or social wonderkiss is putting their art, at the dime of an interested party, onto little discs in the hope of getting others to enjoy them. This (enjoyment) means buying. The only goal of an artist is to disseminate their art, and in the real world, that means having others want to posses it. Let’s not get all geeky over who liked whom before anyome else, and instead try to simply allow and exult the dissemination of what we as individuals think is good music.

  2. startlingmoniker Says:

    I think this is a fun thing more than anything else. Heck, I’m talking about suffocating people, so clearly there is more than a little facetiousness going on here.

    Besides, I won’t claim to have liked most of these bands “first”, or ever. I’m just sick of people saying, “oh you play experimental music? You mean like Phish?” Ugh!

  3. Graeme Says:

    It’s kind of fun and silly and what not, but I think there’s something to it. Part of me saying this is due to self-promotion because I’ve been blogging on the subject recently and think that people should visit my blog, but I think that experimental music is a really vague concept and is hence really susceptible to abuse. Moreover, I think that if we want to talk or write about experimental music we should be clear about what we’re talking about–to the extent that is possible–if only to exclude jam-band loving hippies from the conversation.

    I don’t know, I’m just tired of seeing hacks with Line 6 delay pedals making noise and then thinking that they’re brilliant for it.

  4. Omestes Says:

    How silly. The term “experimentation” has nothing to do with success. By nature some experiments will be successful, some not. Just because one picks up popular appeal does not make in un-experimental. Sure, if they cease to change it means that experimentation has ended, but if it continues to innovate, EVEN IF MAINSTREAM, then it still is experimental. The term has nothing whatsoever to do with being mainstream, popular, or not.

    Mike Patton, for example (love or hate him), is rather popular, BUT his projects are constantly changing, which would follow in the definition of “experimental”, same goes for the some-what popular John Zorn.

    This “popular = not experimental” thing is just elitism, and a chance to sound special by eschewing the mainstream.

    I will agree that a couple bands on your list (and the linked one) have stagnated, and thus their more modern stuff is not experimental. But the original works still are. Can we go back in time and say that Frank Zappa is no longer experimental because people like him? Can we go back and say that the original atomic bomb test was not an experiment, since we now know it works? No.

  5. startlingmoniker Says:

    I don’t know about the “going back in time” thing… don’t fling the word silly around if you’re going to get all Marty McFly on me, okay?

    Look. I see where you’re coming from– but since I want to hold my “it’s my blog, so toss off” card for someone defending their beloved Phish; I’ll argue with you a bit:

    The reason these folks are popular is because they ceased to be experimental (or possibly never were) in any meaningful form. As has been proven time and time again, tickets don’t sell when audiences don’t know what to expect, and the same goes for albums. Fans can yak all they want about Tool being some magnificent force of new sounds and whatnot, but they’d quickly end up in the crapper if they didn’t shovel out another load of their plodding, bullshit progressive noodling and fx’ed vocals.

    As for elitism, I’m agin’ it, to quote Grumpy Dwarf. I love plenty of pop music– James Brown, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Barry White, Nirvana, and David Bowie are all extremely popular– but I don’t confuse them with experimental stuff either. Any ideas you have of me angling for the hipster aristocracy via band slander are your own.

  6. electronicmusik Says:

    Looking at the list I would harly describe many of these performers to have ‘hit the big time’. Surely their success only serves the cause of getting music out to people that is genuinely different ?

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