As you may have noticed, I strongly believe the brief but explosive MP3 blog or music blog era that ran from roughly 2004-2009 as an important and undervalued moment in music journalism and fan engagement. Before expressing an opinion could instigate a social media beatdown and playlists and YouTube algorithms began to kill any drive towards discover in many a music fan new and old, the mp3 or music blog suggested the since-untapped power of online music writing in guiding one's musical consumption. As Thomas Cox has roughly sketched on his own site from that era and I've discussed in past tangents, the end of this era happened swiftly and somewhat mysteriously. Sure, there were tens of thousands of imitator sites that could manipulate Google's search algorithm way easier then can be done today, clogging the internet's arteries and deterring online digging. Additionally, the bullyish dance music blog niche proved a fertile field for sites with money like RA to poach writers from--killing plenty a career in the process as more sincere heads would recoil from the increasing PR-ization of musical influence, not to forget the brutal slaughtering grounds or comment sections that could cultivate neuroses where there were none before.
Part of what makes that era so easy to romance is that while the power of hype and getting them clicks destroyed many a quality blog--or at least it happened to me!--plenty were born out of a very sincere place that felt like a logical extension of the zine-like quality sites like LiveJournal already provided without the emo baggage. Many of the ones I visited would post a track a day and while the blog house bubble turned this organic process of earnest discovery into a clicks arm race, it's a mentality I find myself trying to draw upon and update for the streaming era as it's the type of impassioned drive to share that I believe must be rekindled and constantly encouraged. There were many facets of the phenomenon and I make no qualms about being the most familiar with the dance music sphere, arguably a kindling moment in the spread of dance music's popularity in the states. That DJ's would willingly share their finds as a means of useful self-promotion seems more than a bit quaint these days, yet the stakes have never been more real due to the dangers posed by streaming clearinghouses like Spotify. The playlist has become a bizarrely harmful trend in the streaming era as it streamlines the research process into an endless process of suggestion that can feel like one is on a path of musical enlightenment when one is just on autopilot.
The beauty of sites like YouTube is that its user-sourced content means those true believers will keep a large amount of the world's musical catalog being unloaded onto those massive Google serves and one's search for new music becomes 4D as one doesn't just have to read about what a song or album sounds like, but can listen to it as well. So, in the spirit of regular content and informed discovery, I'm going to start uploading a track every day or a few every few days or something like that and share my own discoveries both recent and otherwise along with as much backstory and musical analysis as I feel up to...starting with a group oddly missing from the recent spate of interest in 80s Japanese avant-pop and ambient, Sohichiro Suzuki's World Standard. Released on Haruomi Hosono's Non-Standard imprint, the first self-titled album is a truly lush MIDI tribute to the whimsical orchestrations of Penguin Cafe Orchestra, but with an unmistakable fourth world touch. Personally, I just think that guitar line is too catchy for words and puts the pep in my step.