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Scabrous Birdseed
27-06-2005, 18:59:25
Er. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I've agreed to do conduct a course for novices in pop music history since 1970, a total of eight 2 1/2 hour lessons. The money is pretty bad but I could use the extra cash, and it'll be a lot of fun.

The problem is twofold:

1. How on earth am I supposed to retell 35 years of music in 20 hours?

2. How on earth am I supposed to fill 20 hours with my, frankly, limited knowledge?

My lesson plan (they wouldn't let me do ten) is probably gonna be something like this:

A. Introduction/Music up to the late sixties

B. Soul and Reggae

C. Hip-Hop

D. Other electronic music

E. Punk Rock and Metal

F. Indie Rock and Pop

G. The mainstream and its relation to other genres

H. The future of music in a globalised world

Now, I've got B and C pretty well covered knowledge wise. A and H are also good to go with a bit of reading and dowloading. The rest is... patchy. I suspect especially G might be a bit slim on literature, and my metal and indie histories are vaguely circumstantial. D is pretty much a gaping black hole of knowledge, and I'm not sure it justifies a whole lesson but I can't think what else to put it with.

Any seminal books I need to read/songs I need to download? I can do it on my own but I would like the affectionados of genres that bore me (like trip-hop) to throw me a few pointers. Will write more about the set up of the course soon.

Debaser
27-06-2005, 20:03:38
England's Dreaming by John Savage is an excellent book about the Sex Pistols and the birth of punk. Probably much more infomation than you'll need, but you should read it anyway 'cos it's great. It's probably my favourite book.

The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock_by John Harris covers the British indie/alternative scene in the 90s pretty extensively, which might be quite useful for your section G 'cos the book's basically about how, for a while, fringe genres hijacked the mainstream. It's not just about chirpy-chirpy brit-pop either, it also covers parallel stuff like the Bristol trip-hop scene etc

The Norks
27-06-2005, 20:16:40
I would steer clear of a lesson on 'the mainstream'- it doesnt mean anything in itself, and you should be including that as well as more obscure bands in every lesson to illustrate different ends of the spectrum, and different developments. You've totally missed out dance music as well, which is one of the biggest music movements of the last 30 years, and one of the most interesting. Other than that, its a pretty good plan. Why not start fleshing it out by intuitively writing down all the bands/important songs/subsectors you can think of for each one, and then start reading up and googling?

Sounds like a brilliant job to me!

Debaser
27-06-2005, 20:19:32
Dance music = Lesson D: Other electronic music

Lazarus and the Gimp
27-06-2005, 20:33:53
Originally posted by Scabrous Birdseed
I suspect especially G might be a bit slim on literature, and my metal and indie histories are vaguely circumstantial.

By far the best book on Indie in the 1980's/90's is "My magpie eyes are hungry for the prize" by David Cavanagh. It's the story of Creation records, but also goes into considerable depth on the great early Indie labels- Postcard, Cherry Red etc. I'd recommend it over Alan McGee's own version of the story as it has much greater depth.

For "D" the top books are "England's hidden reverse" by David Keenan and "Painful but fabulous" by Genesis P Orridge- they chart the growth on industrial and avant-garde music in Britain.

Essential songs-

Indie

"Spiral Scratch EP" by Buzzcocks (the birth of Indie)
"Bela Lugosi's dead" by Bauhaus (birth of Goth)
"Loaded" by Primal Scream (birth of the crossover remix)


Electronic

Stockhausen has to be covered.
"Dr Who" by The BBC Radiophonic Workshop
"I feel love" Donna Summer/Giorgio Moroder

Lazarus and the Gimp
27-06-2005, 20:35:45
I'll second Debaser's pick of "England's dreaming" to cover punk.

Seriously- I'm a goldmine of trivia on this stuff, as are others on this site. What exactly do you want to know?

Lazarus and the Gimp
27-06-2005, 20:36:40
Have you considered anything on psychedelia/Krautrock?

Scabrous Birdseed
27-06-2005, 22:18:12
I'm thinking of involving bits of Krautrock in the Electronic section (probably in the Hip Hop lesson, absurdly enough, but you can't really tell the story of dance music until you've explained Grandmaster Flash, and you can't explain Planet Rock until you've played them Trans Europe Express) and bits in the Indie segment, together sixties and seventies bands that proved influential.

I've really got two groups of people I'm targetting with the course. One is middle-aged people who at some point in music history lost touch with current trends (like my girlfriend's dad). The other is young people who know today's music but wonder about the past. I'd like to be able to give everyone a context to the music they're hearing on the radio. (Which, unfortunately, includes the Britney Spears and Atomic Kittens of our time, which is why I think G is important.)

This means I pretty much have to build up historical threads. try to identify key tracks, key changes in sound, and try to not get anyone lost on the way. (That is also the reason for the lesson order, indie without punk and hip-hop without soul is pretty much unthinkable.)

In the history I'm most well covered in, Jamaican music, I can easily tell stuff like "this change in musical language is what turned ska into rocksteady, and it involved this and this new technology and this and this outside influence, and the person who was first to do it was him". I'd like to be able to do the same for the other lessons. Currently "unlinked" in my head are:

Soul from 1981 to 87 or so
Pretty much all of dance music after Electrofunk
Punk after 78, Hardcore and whatnot
All of metal

Indie is patchy and I don't really know how individual bits fit together. Also, I've no idea where to put some genres, like Americana. Plus I'll need a Swedish perspective on all this you lot can't really help me with.

Scabrous Birdseed
27-06-2005, 22:27:18
BTW it's all very general now as AH suggests - it's likely I'll come along with much more specific queries during the coming months.

protein
27-06-2005, 23:08:35
I'd split up punk rock and metal. Different movements.

protein
27-06-2005, 23:10:21
it might be nice to touch on punk leading to post punk and the introduction of ecstacy and dance music.

Scabrous Birdseed
28-06-2005, 08:51:21
Originally posted by protein
I'd split up punk rock and metal. Different movements.

They were split up in my original lesson plan, but I had to cut it down to eight lessons. Same with Soul and Reggae, two different movements from different social groups.

The thing is though, in later years there's been a certain convergence between punk and metal, what with grindcore and death metal and stuff. So I thought I'd highlight that. More difficult to justify combining Soul and Reggae, but I had to.

I thought I'd handle the "death" of punk in 1978-79 by putting the post-punk in the indie section, the synth-pop in the electronic section, the new wave in the mainstream section and keeping oi!, second gen ska revival, hardcore and pop-punk in the punk section. Not because I think those justify the punk label more but they lead onto what people today identify as punk.

However, there might be a point in moving the second electronic music lesson to after punk...

The Norks
28-06-2005, 15:55:25
i suppose dance could be considered electronic but I would separate it from things like Kraftwerk and Industrial types of electronic. I would think it warrants a lesson in itself, but I guess in 8 lessons you have to make compromises

Scabrous Birdseed
28-06-2005, 16:34:21
In two and a half hours I should be able to cover both electronic history and dance music I think. If someone could point me to a source that nicely sums up the difference between house, techno, trance etc. that'd be good.

The Norks
28-06-2005, 17:44:02
http://www.ibiza-spotlight.com/night/history_music_i.htm

http://www.internetdj.com/article.php?storyid=267

http://www.jahsonic.com/Dance.html

Greg W
29-06-2005, 03:11:28
There are some rather odd groupings there from my perspective. Taking note that I have never studied music, nor paid a hell of a lot of attention to music genres as such.

Where's plain old Rock and or Roll in that? Or is that supposed to be Indie Rock (I always pictured that as something different) or Pop (I never pictured half of these bands as Pop)? Does Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, U2, AC/DC (they're NOT heavy metal), Fleetwood Mac, Chuck Berry and the like fit under that category?

Where's Surf Music covered? Back in the late 60's/early 70's that was huge. Where's R&B, and it's modern bastardised version fit in? Is Rap under "Other electronic"?

Then again, as I said, I don't know much about genres and the like, so maybe I'm just speaking out of my arse. :gasmaske:

Eklektikos
29-06-2005, 11:52:10
Originally posted by Scabrous Birdseed

Any seminal books I need to read/songs I need to download?
The book Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad gives a pretty good impression of the way the US independent scene developed in the 80s, if that's any use to you.

Funko
30-06-2005, 11:11:08
About the groupings: He has 2 1/2 hours, he can split the lesson into seperate sections.

PosterBoy
30-06-2005, 20:00:21
for any country rock stuff check out Are you ready for the Country by Peter Doggett

Fergus & The Brazen Car
01-07-2005, 12:28:24
Originally posted by Scabrous Birdseed
D is pretty much a gaping black hole of knowledge, and I'm not sure it justifies a whole lesson but I can't think what else to put it with.




How strange. Given electronic music's influence on everything from soul to hip-hop, dub reggae, advertising jingles, film scores and ambient music I find this an odd statement.

Bernard Herrman was an innovator in the use of the theremin in film soundtracks- predating 'classical' composers such as Stockhausen and Xenakis by quite some time. His influence can be felt all the way through the Sixties and Seventies, right down to Carpenter's film music for 'Hallowe'en' and 'Assault on Precinct Thirteen' and any number of French and German soft core porn films.

Harder edge popular electronica dates from late Sixties early Seventies Kraftwerk/Neu musique concrete collaborations, through Can, La Dusseldorf, Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, Throbbing Gristle, Suicide, Cabaret Voltaire, early Human League, S.P.K. and Industrial label artists in Great Britain.

Ask Afrika Bambaataa how influential the electronic beat of Kraftwerk has been.

The art rock of Roxy Music's first two albums would have been vastly different were it not for the synthesizer treatments of Brian Eno- who also introduced David Bowie to popular electronica with Donna Summer's German influenced 'I Feel Love' and went on to do his own Can type thang with David Byrne on 'My Life In The Bush of Ghosts'- a sort of homage and progression from the seminal 'Soon Over Babaluma'.

It's but a short step from there to Massive Attack combining dub reggae influences with jazz, funk and electronica and tabla and sitar backing and Portishead resurrecting the theremin and Tricky utilising ambient soundscapes with George Clintonesque and Herbie Hancock 'Rockit' like rhythms.


Oh, how I love electronica in all its myriad ways.

Scabrous Birdseed
05-07-2005, 20:38:46
Well, Molly, you've illustrated the problem pretty well yourself through that post - most electronic music tends to fit under other genres or as an essential component in describing other music. I fully intend to include Kraftwerk in the Hip-Hop section for instance, because as you say it's a crucial influence. Which leaves a few scattered "others" in the electronic section, general influences, plus industrial/dance/leftfield electronica. Which should be able to fill the lesson okay.

Greg - I'm trying to work backwards from today's music, which means some of that stuff barely gets a mention. As to where I'd put the straight rock'n'roll that's not dull and mainstream or metal-edged, the answer is, frankly, I don't know. Like with country. I'll have to fit in odds and ends here and there... (R&B -> Soul, Rap -> Hip-hop).


Everyone: does anyone have a generalised history of music production to recommend? Or a specific one?

Japher
05-07-2005, 21:42:05
The 1970s... Rock and Roll emerges from it's psycodelic haze with the death of Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin. At this point it seems to diverge with some heading back to their roots such as Lynard Skynard and others pushing the envelope back... way back...

"So you children of the world, listen to what I say
If you want a better place to live in spread the words today
Show the world that love is still alive you must be brave
Or you children of today are Children of the Grave."
-Children of the Grave, Black Sabbath, 1971

While the 60s brought messages and passion to this new found form of music, rock and roll, the 70s brought experiment and noise. A noise, that took until the 80s to perfect, with Mettalica's Kill 'em All.

The 80s, while embaressing, was one of the best eras in the evolution of music. The brith of rap, the formation of metal, the onslaught of techno out of disco. It was great age, at least compared to the 90s. Which was rather stagnant, IMO.

If I were to teach a class on music of the past 30 years I would focus on Rock and the influences other music genres had on it. For with the rise and fall of each type of music rock has been mutated and perverted into something so strange, and so wonderful, that even what is considered indie can be subject to opinion... the way music is suppose to be.


Follow Pink Floyd, The Greatful Dead, The Ramones, Metallica, U2 and other long lived bands and analyze the change in their music as the years go by.

Scabrous Birdseed
06-07-2005, 18:39:31
There was a change in the music of the Ramones? ;)

While a few big bands will get a look in, I'm more interested in generalised trends I think. If at all possible, I'd like to pinpoint exactly what has changed in music history and when. The material factors leading up to each change (change in market/technology etc.), the creative leaps, the social context... "Groundbreaking" is what I'm looking for. Events that changed the face of music, albums that shattered all previous conceptions, new technologies used in new ways, and so on.

Fergus & The Brazen Car
07-07-2005, 14:57:07
Originally posted by Scabrous Birdseed
There was a change in the music of the Ramones? ;)

Events that changed the face of music, albums that shattered all previous conceptions, new technologies used in new ways, and so on.

Kraftwerk's 'Autobahn'.

Brian Eno's 'Discreet Music'.

Can's 'Soon Over Babaluma' .

The Sex Pistols 'Never Mind the Bollocks'.

Throbbing Gristle's 'D.O.A.'

The Last Poets: This Is Madness

Gil Scott Heron: Small Talk at 125th Street and Lenox Ave.

Scabrous Birdseed
24-07-2005, 19:08:35
Okay, first specific task:

Yellow Magic Orchestra, strange jap band. What are the good albums, who influenced them, how do I connect them to Planet Rock?

Scabrous Birdseed
29-07-2005, 09:43:04
Request #2:

I need a New Wave song, or a New Wave-influenced song, that was a big hit with children. Don't ask, just do.

Fergus & The Brazen Car
29-07-2005, 09:57:43
Lene Lovich: Lucky Number

Lazarus and the Gimp
29-07-2005, 19:31:13
Originally posted by Scabrous Birdseed
Request #2:

I need a New Wave song, or a New Wave-influenced song, that was a big hit with children. Don't ask, just do.

These were big playground hits cica 1979.

Buggles- "Video killed the radio star"
Susan Fassbinder- "Twilight Cafe"
Ian Dury and the Blockheads- "Hit me with your rhythm stick"
Lipps Inc- "Funky Town"
Sham 69- "If the kids are united"
XTC- "Making plans for Nigel"
Martha and the Muffins- "Echo Beach"

paiktis22
29-07-2005, 22:24:56
Originally posted by Lazarus and the Gimp
Martha and the Muffins- "Echo Beach" [/B]

Ah so that's what it is! I hear it every other day on the radio! Pretty nice!

Scabrous Birdseed
05-08-2005, 20:10:48
Thanks everyone for your help so far.

Now for something completely different.

Mr. Bungle. What's worth listening to, what's the significant influence on today's music, where do I get material from a band whose most important material supposedly consists of a bunch of ancient demos?

I suspect Eklektikos might be able to help me with this one.

Scabrous Birdseed
09-09-2005, 16:16:07
The David Cavanagh book is pretty good, I finally got hold of it yesterday. It definately covers stuff I wasn't aware of before.

Scabrous Birdseed
24-09-2005, 20:03:34
Right. Record labels Mute and 4AD - these keep getting mentioned everywhere. What (good) acts were on them? Why are they important? Why are they always mentioned together?

Debaser
25-09-2005, 01:29:13
Basically they were probably the two most important independant labels during the 80s.

The Pixies are probably the most influential 4AD artists, but they had loads of era defining indie bands like Throwing Muses, The Birthday Party, Cocteau Twins, Bauhaus, Belly, The Breeders etc Pump Up The Volume by M/A/R/R/S was also released on that label.

Mute were more of a stable for electronica, putting out early records by people like Depeche Mode, Erasure, Soft Cell etc, though they went more indie in the 90s, releasing some Sonic Youth records and signing Nick Cave.

I suppose they're held in pretty high regard because they're both text book examples of how an independant label should be run.

Lazarus and the Gimp
25-09-2005, 17:33:15
"4AD" was orinigally an off-shoot of the Begger's Banqut label, and a by-word for arty, left-field indie from the word "go", and always went for particularly adenturous bands which they wrapped up in beautiful art by Vaughan Oliver. In fact, 4AD is the only indie label to have cover art featured in the V&A museum.

Mute was very much a "family" label with a small, tight-knit roster that stayed put. However it was massively successful- by a large margin the most successful British Indie of the post-punk era. It almost solely features moody, gothy, pervy types. Daniel Miller was an influential artist himself as "The Normal", with hits like "Warm Leatherette".

Ivo Watts-Russell and Danieil Miller are (alongside Alan McGee) the holy trinity of Indie label owners. They typified the tight-knit, community approach of indie labels, and command immense loyalty from their acts.

Nills Lagerbaak
30-09-2005, 16:42:49
Originally posted by Scabrous Birdseed
Thanks everyone for your help so far.

Now for something completely different.

Mr. Bungle. What's worth listening to, what's the significant influence on today's music, where do I get material from a band whose most important material supposedly consists of a bunch of ancient demos?

I suspect Eklektikos might be able to help me with this one.


I can help a bit. Firstly Mr. Bungle are going strong so don't quite know what you mean about influence on today's music.

A common mistake is that Mike Patten started Bungle after Faith no More as one of his side projects. He was in fact doing Bungle simultaneously.

Quite correct their stuff is a bit dispersed. This might help http://www.bunglefever.com/

Nills Lagerbaak
30-09-2005, 16:45:28
Sorry, I guess I don know what you mean about todays music.... I can name you some unsigned bands clearly influenced by them, but they really are pretty unique in terms of today music.

Funko
30-09-2005, 16:46:05
Oooh, great link thanks.

Nills Lagerbaak
30-09-2005, 16:49:15
:lol: Anarchy up your Anus!


Great punk song title. :brwncard:

Eklektikos
30-09-2005, 16:51:17
Originally posted by Scabrous Birdseed
Thanks everyone for your help so far.

Now for something completely different.

Mr. Bungle. What's worth listening to, what's the significant influence on today's music, where do I get material from a band whose most important material supposedly consists of a bunch of ancient demos?

I suspect Eklektikos might be able to help me with this one.
I'm not convinced that the demos are the most important material myself - being mostly juvenilia or songs which eventually found their way onto the eponymous debut album - but they can be found in mp3 format at bunglefever.com (http://www.bunglefever.com) along with more (accurate) Mr Bungle information than you could ever want or need.

I couldn't really single out one of their albums as being more worthwhile than the others, given that they're each so different and the fact that I like them far too much to give a particularly objective opinion. However, in terms of influence on other artists, it's the first album you want to concentrate on. The second is all electoacoustic experimentation and terminally wonky songwriting of a sort which I've not noticed being picked up by all the horrid nu-metal bands who cite them as an influence, while the last is probably far too recent to be relevent.

Eklektikos
30-09-2005, 16:52:49
Originally posted by Nills Lagerbaak
I can help a bit. Firstly Mr. Bungle are going strong so don't quite know what you mean about influence on today's music.
Bungle are dead, Jim.

Nills Lagerbaak
30-09-2005, 16:54:11
Oh shit yeah! End of last year right...?

Eklektikos
30-09-2005, 17:00:21
Not sure exactly when it was made "official", but Patton and Spruance supposedly haven't spoken to each other since the end of the 2000/2001 tour - while Dunn's consistently declared the band dead whenever asked since some time last year I think.

Eklektikos
30-09-2005, 17:01:56
On the plus side, Secret Chiefs 3 are getting better and better with each release and have a couple of albums slated to come out next year.

Which is nice.