The Focus Group | SPOLK

Music Oct 15, 2013 No Comments


“With regards lots of the half-remembered things, YouTube has obviously broken things wide-open there. Old films and TV shows are all accessible now. Prior to that, if you hadn’t caught them when they were broadcast, they were gone. Jim and I grew up in the pre-VHS era; there certainly wasn’t any Sky Plus back then. I do think that now that everybody has access to everything at all times, it means nothing is unique or quite as affecting. When you base things – music, imagery, whatever – on vague memory, it invariably makes it slightly wrong. If you go back and study the actual thing before creating a piece of art, it’s always going to be a pastiche. I think what we do is about trying to get a vague sense of what the memory of that thing was rather than copying things. I think it’s one of the problems with music now. Simon Reynolds wrote something that hit the nail on the head saying that a post-punk band back in that period would have gone to someone’s house and they’d hear – say – a Can album. They wouldn’t own that album but they’d go off with the memory of that Can album and make something that they thought was like the record from memory. That music would be completely off somewhere else based on that memory. Now people can watch and see everything, they can see footage that shows them what microphones were being used and what amp settings they had. You’re going to get it right but you’re not going to get it right. That half-remembered version is a key part of the evolution of music. We always think of it less as a half memory and more as a parallel reality, a sort of, ‘What if?’ world. I always thought of the whole picture as one of those chaos theory/butterfly effect type things where someone goes back in time, changes one thing and the whole of the future alters because of that change. It plays into that quantum physics idea that every possible outcome happens, there are billions of parallels happening concurrently. Ghost Box is a glance through a window seeing something running alongside our version of reality. Like, what if Paul McCartney had made records with the Radiophonic Workshop?” – Magical Unrealism: Julian House Of Focus Group Interviewed, Quietus.

Andrew Frost

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