Discontent – Hypnogogic Pop (Mixtape)

This mixtape is inspired by David Keenan’s ‘Hypnogogic Pop’ article in August 2009 issue of The Wire. Keenan asserts that the phrase refers to “pop music refracted through the memory of a memory“, drawing its power from “1980s pop culture into which many of the genre players were born, and which is now being factored into underground music as a spectral influence“.

I was drawn to this partly due to my admiration of Pocahaunted (featured briefly in the article), but also more particularly to the aesthetic – music drawn through layers of continual disintegration, indifferent to (and indeed almost entirely opposed) to clarity or crisp production, with instrumentation seemingly drawn from cheap, disposable sources. The packaging too is born of the same sensibility – many of these releases find themselves distributed via cassette, in limited runs, with photocopied covers and no hope for a simultaneous digital release.

In times when the printed zine is making a stand against the endless digital ephemera of blog culture, it’s perhaps unsurprising that a new generation of experimental artists would reject free and easy digital distribution in favour of lo-fi, corruptable, DIY recordings. But in this hypnogogic realm, looking back across the planes of over two decades, the time-scarred inspiration from that era is also corrupt, endlessly photocopied and degraded to such a point when it becomes almost entirely detached from the source. The natural result, as Keenan notes, is a sense of being “haunted by pop” – which also references “hauntology“, coined by Simon Reynolds in 2006 describing a crop of British artists who deploy “delectable morsels of decaying culture-matter”.

As with all material on Discontent, music found on this tape has been made available for free by the artists, hence it represents only a slice of the scene. Some of the artists on this collection are cited in the original article, others I’ve take liberties to include – such as Australia’s Cock Safari (whose new EP feels like the perfect bridge between continental scenes) and Salem‘s take on Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets Of Philadelphia’, which feels like a more direct coda to the abstract references peppered throughout these 72 minutes.

Download: Discontent – Hypnogogic Pop

img | Neil Krug (Licenced Via Creative Commons, Some Rights Reserved).

Comments (1):

  1. Dr. Koper

    August 16, 2009 at 5:09 am

    rocking, no matter who calls it what in the louche world of genre journalism. it works even if if you do not believe in spirits.

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