Song of the day – 511: Halo Halo (and some passing commentary on the ‘Mercury’ prize)
I feel like the panel of judges for the Mercury Barclaycard Prize.
[Simon Frith, chair of the judging panel] said it was fitting that a band’s debut album had won a prize that valued fresh sounds. “We hadn’t heard a sound like that before,” he said. “If it tells us something about music now it is that the concept of genres is problematic. All these albums are taking interesting things from all sorts of genres.”
(Mercury prize celebrates 20 years with award for Alt-J’s debut album)
Of course he hasn’t heard a sound like that before. That’s because it was specifically ‘invented’ for the Mercury.
Likewise, Halo Halo. Obviously, Halo Halo haven’t ‘invented’ their sound specially for me. Equally, it’s a sound that fits well within the Everett True oeuvre without sounding too much like any of the previous combatants in the Everett True oeuvre. Except for Woom perhaps. Or Muscles Of Joy. Or No Mas Bodas. So yes, wow. I’ve never heard a sound like this before. (It occurs to me that my problem here might be too much knowledge: only folk with a passing love and a scanty knowledge of music can make sweeping statements like, “We haven’t heard a sound like that before”. It’s nonsensical. If it was true, then there’s no fucking way it’d be getting voted in for a music prize. Corporate or otherwise.) And yes, wow. Isn’t it incredible how Halo Halo are drawing elements from all sorts of genres… even though we’re agreed, er, that genres don’t exist in 2012?
The sound of steam solidifying. Liquid becoming essence becoming a winged guardian. Long tall blocks of office furniture imploding into cardboard and then shooting through into constellations of spaced-out percussive sounds.
A joyful noise unto the bored.
I’m not sure why the concept of genre should be any more problematic in 2012 than it was before, incidentally. If you delved beneath the surface it was never going to stick, despite sweeping patronising commentary from rock ‘experts’ like Dick Hebdige to the contrary. All it means is that academics and rock ‘intellectuals’ can’t get away with reductionist versions of history so easily these days. Boo hoo.