Good Question

Over at Dial M, main man Phil Ford asks what "post-rock" is, exactly:

Is it a genre, with specific musical conventions and characteristics that can be invoked or withheld for expressive effect? Is it a scene, a regional filiation of bands and individuals? Maybe, and maybe. But I like to use it as a term for music conceived within a particular historical moment -- a moment where the rock narrative is revealed to be the rockist narrative, i.e., as just another ideology, and as such something with a history and therefore doomed to eventual senescence and death.

...It's not as if you can't make rock music after that awful moment where the jazz-flute abyss opens before you, but you can't carry on as before. Henceforth, you're not rocking, you're "rocking." You take your first tottering steps towards modernism, doubt, and self-reflexivity -- all notably un-rocking things.

Okay, sure, but that raises a question of periodization. The expression is associated with certain 1990s bands, for example, most of which I would pay no small price never to hear from again, unless struck with life-threatening insomnia. But Phil's description seems like it could apply to earlier developments.

Not to turn this into a replay of that old game show When Did Modernism End/Postmodernism Begin? but I have to ask....

February 13, 2008 6:18 PM | | Comments (4)



Post-rock began with the first Bark Psychotic album and the last two Talk Talk albums. It really solidified as a specific "sound" with the first Tortoise album.

Was that the game show where Habermas and Charles Nelson Reilly got into a big fistfight because winners got a washer/dryer and runners-up got the complete works of Frederic Jameson?

You would think that would be on YouTube, but no.

poor brewsky lover has something to look forward to (stoner time!) when he discovers the jazz beyond jazz -- Rahsaan Roland Kirk rocks harder on flute than Tortoise, I promise, and guitarist Jeff Parker seems to find a way to bridge the divide with Tortoise and AACM buddies, both.
Furthermore: pomo is but an apostrophe to modernism, which if we're really, really lucky ain't dead yet.

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