Friday, August 25, 2006

What's Your Poison?

In the course of a month's business here on Tunetourist - or, at least, on the job that makes this blog possible - we get through about 800 tracks from at least 40 record shops around the world. Its not all stuff that we're hogwild about. In fact, some of it can be little short of a chore. The pop output of South Africa has some way to go until kwaito becomes more appealing than removing your eyeballs with a teaspoon.

But, from Thai pop to country music, we usually find something to enjoy, which begs the question of why so many people clamber into their genre boxes and stay there. Surely popular music has peaks and troughs, periods when a scene is fertile and others when it just runs short on ideas. What lover of fresh, inspiring electronic music would have preferred to have spent last summer listening to drum'n'bass when they could have been feasting on the increasingly imaginative dispatches of the Berlin electronic scene?

The obvious answer, of course, is one craving the swing and space of breakbeats over the cerebral click and groove of techno. But why can't we love both and just recognise when one of them is operating on a higher plane. Didn't many prog rock fans eventually grow to love the two minute blasts of punk? Didn't most of us grow up with a dirty metal habit that was eventually shaken off?

The Tunetourist podcast's hapless presenters take sides on the fifth show and play up to the stereotype of indie vs. b-boy, all for the benefit of a good scrap. It's music's archetypal showdown innit... melody vs. rhythm. The West vs. The Rest, even...

Look out for it next week.

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