File under ‘rock notes’.

The gap between jams widened, as various members of the band emerged from catarrhal malaise only to discover their rehearsal space was enjoying some quiet time, courtesy of half term holidays. ‘Damn teachers and their time off!’, they joshed.

This week, Rock Notes considers a few points related to fanaticism.

One was prompted in conversation today with an old pal of The Mortal Bath, former band mate, continuing musician and musical lodestar, and Radio Free Midwich correspondent, Luke. He was round for some lunch and, while the kids sported in familiar precincts, we discussed various matters arising, including, inevitably, music.

Among the points was the enjoyment of genre-mining, and the near infinite pleasures to be had from close study of the nuances of particular forms. Reggae (/dub/lovers’ rock/rock steady/ska), for example, or jazz, or funk, classical, country, no audience, hip hop, “world” (exemplar fatigue shorthand setting in)… or – as LV has been doing for the last few years – the serrated edges of metal.

It’s fun, even crucial, to skate across multiple modes, to experiment. There is also a great deal to be said for extended research and immersion in a subject.

Related to this notion was a tangent on the phenomenon of reaching a certain age/mindset and finding oneself uninterested in stepping outside whatever musical zone in which one has become comfortable. Inhabiting that genre exclusively.

One can see the reassurances in this sort of cultural monogamy, particularly in people who have explored the outer reaches, the many alternatives, and finally found love. It may be, for them, a case of east, west, folk festivals are best… but, we agreed, musical sluts that we are, despite having some avowed favourites, this self-limiting scenario remains a long way distant.

There’s just so much stuff to enjoy!

Relatedly… recently it came to my attention that a favourite group of mine, LCD Soundsystem, were headlining La Primavera festival. This came as a slight surprise, as they had disbanded last time I checked in. Still, why not? I thought. Glad they’re out and about again. They were a nice rock n roll band – game-changing albums, saw them thrice, in various locations, London and Barcelona, they were great every time – good luck. And, given a sudden lotto windfall, see you in Spain.

For some people, though, good news is anything but. Apparently, I discovered, fans of LCD who had mourned the passing of the band were even more unhappy that they had decided to reconvene. I refer you to LCD head honcho James Murphy’s sensitive blog post on the issue:

i was so clearly expecting the cynical cries of foul, that i hadn’t seen the heartfelt complaint coming. we’ve always talked about how we’d never betray anyone who cares about us, but here we are now. given the chance again to make new music with the people i care about, and who have given a big part of their lives to doing this weird thing together, and who wanted to do it again, i took it. and in doing so, i betrayed whoever feels betrayed by that action.

The betrayal blame acceptance is a generous acknowledgment by Murphy. People who dig music can get upset about some weird shit. I get it, I think, I mean, I remember it, that feeling of personal involvement (I’m doing my best to avoid the fiscal language that often intrudes here: investment, ownership…) in an artist. When you part ways for whatever reason. The desire to preserve a perception of perfection, to dip one’s personal cultural history in formaldehyde, is a strong one.

However, it strikes me as something that has to be resisted if one is to avoid becoming the sort of person that shouts “Judas!” at people because they’re moving on and you are not.

Especially if it’s based on really liking a group as thoughtful and fannishly aware as LCD Soundsystem.

‘But I was there…’

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