As every sensible person quite readily accepts, the behemoth that we know as "THE MUSIC INDUSTRY" is now a weak-kneed beast, clawing for survival against the odds.
The odds? Of course - the most creative, imaginative and forward thinking pop music in the world is now created by outsiders, netlabels, dreamers, people with no ambition to attach to this dying giant.
Mainstream media speaks about the demise of the music industry as some kind of tragedy, but the tragedy only exists for those within it, most particularly the rich men in suits, or jeans and black T-shirts, that sit atop it receiving favours from nubile young women in exchange for a few months pretending to be talented in the eye of the world.
The loss of the ability for musicians to make money from the selling of millions of units of plastic discs is no tragedy. The existence of the music industry as we know it spans less than 100 years, a blip in the evolution of music.
This blip, however, has led to two things. One is the devaluing of music that has resulted in so much homogenised, empty, money-oriented nonsense being unleashed on the fertile minds of teenagers.
The other side of the blip, however, is the positive side of the coin. Pop music has thrown up so many remarkable things, so many delights, in both (so called) "high" and "low" pop. I am not interested in a definition of pop music that places The Beatles on an intellectual pedestal above The Spice Girls - lest we forget, The Beatles in many ways were The Spice Girls of their time.
Over the past ten years I have released in free mp3, Creative Commons licensing, a wide range of reinventions and interpretations of Pop Music. I have performed surgery on Beyonce, Aphex Twin, The Prodigy, The Velvet Underground, Radiohead, The Pet Shop Boys, Kelis, 90s club classics, Whigfield, Erasure, The Four Tops, Justin Timberlake and many more.
I have often been misunderstood as a "plunderphonics" artist, but actually my interest has never been satirical or political. Rather, I'm interested in how this music works, how it breathes, outside of its cultural baggage.
I believe "Oops I Did It Again" is as good as anything Brian Wilson ever wrote.
Which brings us to POPSURGERY.
I want to take a cross section of around 90 songs from the entire history of pop music, from the 1920s (when 78 RPM records began to take off), to the present day (when it is all falling to iPieces). The choice of the number of songs represents the approximate amount of years the music industry, in its current basic model, began to exist from.
With each of these songs I want to perform reconstructive surgery, using the basic structure and shape of each song to create new shapes in pop music, combining electronic, acoustic, digital, and improvisatory approaches supplanted onto the basic shapes of each song to imagine the future of POP. Using the past to imagine the future.
The definition of pop music can run from Rihanna to Captain Beefheart, from Kurt Weill to Steps, from Kylie Minogue to Cardiacs, The Savoy Orpheans to The Fall, Chuck Berry to Justin Bieber, Squarepusher to Eminem to Spike Jones to Portishead to R Stevie Moore to Michael Jackson to Sly Stone to The Platters to REM to Lord Kitchener to Glenn Miller to Kate Bush. My "taste" will play no part in the choice of material to go under the surgeon's knife. This would defeat the object of the project, which is to take the entire life of the music industry, and create possibilities and probabilities for the future using its forms as a point to leap off from, into the abyss.
As a sidenote, although POPSURGERY will be a cycle of around 90 songs, that does not mean that the subject matter will be limited to 90 pop songs. Each song in the project may well be constructed from elements of numerous pop songs, finding relationships between melodies, progressions, themes across the gamut of pop music history. POPSURGERY will be 90 songs that will soak in hundreds of songs.
This will not be an academic, dry attempt at reaching definitive theories about the history and motion of pop music. Rather, it will function, like all my work, with the logic of a dream. Chronology will be askew, the overall structure dictated by cross-references, peculiar connections and bleeding juxtapositions.
If I sound slightly pompous rattling on about "the future" and so on, please remember that I am nothing if not a frustrated Dr Who. If I cannot crowdfund this project I will have no option but to break into the BBC studios and demand access to the Tardis. And from within that Tardis, I will make this project.
The project will be released as free mp3s, with a vinyl record exclusively to contributors of a cross-section of the cross-section, and the entire 90 song cycle will be played live in marathon performances around the world. (Interested venues are encouraged to get in touch at this Crowdfunding stage, as a performance fee can also constitute a contribution to the development of this project).
Crowdfunding contributors will also, depending on their contribution, help shape the project. For £10 or more contributors will receive their name on all materials as a contributor to the project. For £30 or more contributors will choose a song to be included in the project, receive their name on all materials as a contributor, and a copy of the vinyl record. For £100 or more contributors will choose a song for the project, vote for which pieces are included in the vinyl version, a credit, and receive a copy of the vinyl. For £250 or more contributors will choose a song, choose a song for the vinyl, receive a credit, receive the record, and access to a private blog to access the songs as they are recorded in real-time. For £500 or more contributors will choose a song, choose a piece for the vinyl, receive the record, access the private blog, and an original, framed visual collage on the history of pop music made by yours truly for the artwork to accompany the project.
What can you do, in the meantime, to help? If you have downloaded and enjoyed my reinventions of pop music in the past, please send me a Tweet (@ergophizmiz) or a short message (to ergophizmiz at gmail dot com) about my cover versions, that will then be used in the crowdfunding video pitch.
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