martes, 23 de septiembre de 2014

Ben Aqua, ambassador from the online underground

... a piece by Adam Harper on the emergent "online underground," a term used to describe the generation of producers who have been gradually reshaping the idea of what it means to make and release electronic music. Harper argues that this movement has uncanny echoes of the early punk scene: "the self-releasing revolution, the provocative aesthetics and the rise of a new generation." More specifically, Harper is referring to the groundswell of artists and labels whose music exists almost exclusively on sites like SoundCloud and Bandcamp, and whose visual and sonic identity is largely informed by the internet itself. This shift in thinking has seen producers sidestepping established music industry models and embracing the online platform, often building huge followings through nothing more than a basic web presence. The most visible names to come out of this "scene" are probably A.G. Cook and his PC Music stable. Both are associated with hyper-glossy forms of pop and club music with conceptual slants, playing with ideas connected to gender, consumerist culture and poor taste. (Along with Cook's collaborator SOPHIE, they're also the most controversial thing to hit electronic music in recent memory.) 

Ben Aqua is an Austin-based DJ, producer, visual artist and label owner who embodies the online underground's attitude and approach. He runs his #FEELINGS label across multiple onlineplatforms, and releases music—either for free or at low cost—that mashes high-intensity clubs styles. If you're new to the label, we recommend starting with Lotic's More Than Friends EP, #FEELINGS's first release, and then moving through Rabit'sgrimy textures, Supraman's vibrant footwork and poolboy92's slinky Jersey club. As Harper explains in the piece, the music of the online underground often arrives as bulk transmissions of weirdo sounds, from inter-connected crews and artists. It's therefore best to just dive in, click around and see what sticks. 

As an online underground primer, Aqua's RA podcast is right on the money. It's fast, slippery and wilfully garish, blending tracks by key players like A. G. Cook and SOPHIE with music from his own #FEELINGS stable. 

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