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 Princess Stomper

The Age of Clank: Why Genres are Important

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Dancing about architecture

So here we are, dancing about architecture, and spending countless hours trying to find words to describe music in our uphill struggle to persuade you to click on those links and experience it for yourself. It’s easy to forget how essential these words are until you try to do without them, and the lack of a term like “clank” really highlights just how important genre classification is.

A couple of years back, I just assumed that almost nobody was making music worth listening to any more, because I didn’t know where to find it. Then, having found it, I was hearing one or two albums I loved, but had no clue where to look for more. Yes, sites like Collapse Board post great examples every day, and you get into a routine of reading those words and clicking those links, but there’s no feeling of connection between them. Just one band making a great noise followed a few weeks later by another band making a great noise. They’re like stars winking in infinite space with incalculable distances between them. There’s no feeling of continuity, of collective inspiration. No sense of bouncing ideas off each other and partaking in a thrilling relay race in which the listener is the winner.

Until finally you start to notice that there is a connection between them, and suddenly there’s hope. If it’s not a one-off, if a pattern is emerging, then that means there might be more. And not just more people having similar ideas, but more people having great ideas and making truly extraordinary music.

And that is why we do this – why we do any of this – because what we want to do over and over again is to find and experience the best music that there is in the world, and to show people how to find it, and to do that, you need to know where to look.

Those neat genre classifications aren’t a guarantee that you’ll love what you’ll hear, but they’re a clue that tells you where to start your search.

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5 Responses to The Age of Clank: Why Genres are Important

  1. Matt O'Neill September 26, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Pretty great article.

    Clank can’t be a genre, though. It lacks hyphens, prefixes and suffixes. It just doesn’t work. Now, post-clank, clankwave, nu-clank, clankstep, proto-clank, clankcore, clank-rock, indie-clank or any combination of the above (proto-indie-clankwave, post-nu-clankcore) – those are genres.

  2. Libby September 26, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    All of this music is god awful. Throw “clank” in the bin now.

  3. Chris Razor September 26, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Nice article, Princess, and some superb examples. The Nice Nice track you picked is precisely what I had in mind (and I have to thank Lucy Cage for first opening my ears to that one.)

    I would hate to think, though, that “clank” might come to signify a very specific sound, or worse that bands would *try* to make it. (“I’m not getting back in the van until you say we’re clank.”) For me it’s enough to know there’s something exciting and raw and new happening and to have a rough handle on it. The second person to be accurately described as making Matt’s “post-nu-clankcore” will have entirely missed the point, the fun, the exploration, the exhilaration of making music.

  4. Princess Stomper September 27, 2011 at 5:45 am

    @ Matt – well, I could argue that Ohgr’s first album was proto-clank. 😉

    @ Libby – so when I went to Amazon and immediately stocked up on the tunes I’d listed because I just couldn’t live without them, that was the wrong thing to do? Who knew!

    @ Chris – glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I really love that Nice Nice track. Thanks, Lucy! I’m not sure that I agree with the bit about bands not trying to sound a certain way. It depends how it’s done. I mean, in all innocence, it’s plain inspiration. You hear something, think it sounds great, and realise that beat just fits with the lyrics you thought up yesterday and then it all somehow gels. That’s great. On the other hand, I’d hate the idea of some record company telling (since they’re this week’s whipping boy) Gotye that he needs to sound more clank.

  5. Mike September 28, 2011 at 4:27 am

    Yes! More glock-rock!

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