The Null Device
I just watched Sticky Carpet, a recent (2006) documentary on the Melbourne music scene. It was quite interesting, interviewing musicians and scene figures about various aspects of it, such as the interplay between the mainstream and the alternative (most of them were very anti-mainstream), art and commercialism (the consensus was that when money becomes a consideration, the range of allowable creative decisions narrows severely), Melbourne's profusion of band venues and community radio stations, and even the theory that Melbourne's preeminence in the Australian music scene has to do with the cold winter days encouraging musicians to go indoors and rehearse.
Sticky Carpet's main flaw was its fairly heavy rockist bias, though, which it didn't seem to question. The majority of the music presented in it was either primal 3-chord blues-rock or heavier versions of such (metal, hardcore, punk). The concession to non-rock music consisted of extreme experimental music (a metalworker who makes his own instruments, a bloke playing a theremin and breaking sheets of glass over his head, atonal "sound art" with laser displays). In short, trading one form of machismo (that of primal rock) for another (that of strenuous experimentalism). This ignored a lot of other (usually less testosterone-charged) genres of music just as prevalent in Melbourne: virtually the entire spectrum of indie-pop was omitted (this was a world where the Lucksmiths, Chapter Music, Library Records and such never existed, it seems), or indeed the Country'n'Preston scene, or local hip-hop or electronica, and so on. (This was, in a sense, the opposite of a documentary on the Melbourne indie scene aired the Swedish TV programme Musikbyrån last year, which focussed on Architecture In Helsinki, New Buffalo, The Avalanches and Cut Copy, and didn't show anyone wielding a guitar; if one were to view both side by side, there would be little evidence of them referring to the same city.)
I was surprised to find that the frontman of Eddy Current Suppression Ring wasn't wearing a blue singlet or sporting a rat's tail mullet. I sort of placed them as part of a Bodgie revival.
Another interesting thing that was said in the documentary: Tony Biggs (who presents the talk-radio segment on 3RRR) made the claim that the fact that 99% of commercial music consists of love songs might contribute to depression and mental illness, as such songs instill unreasonably optimistic expectations in listeners.
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