I first went out to Sydney back in 2003 I think and was struck by the vibrancy, passion and self-confidence of what felt like a truly global city. It felt like somewhere where anything was possible, & whilst it wasn't the most culturally rich city (in terms of homegrown talent), it more than made up for it in it's willingness to import the best from around the world. It was also extremely musically literate, with a burgeoning festival ethos that catered for a broad range of music tastes.
Relationship, Affinity, Acceptance, Fellowship, Association, Attachment, Inclusion, Rapport, Affiliation, Kinship, Togetherness, Closeness, Membership, Community, Solidarity, Family, Understanding, Conformity.
The sense of 'Belonging' in music is something I've rarely felt when it comes to belonging to any sense of 'tribe'. Perhaps it's been my inclusive attitude to sound, and my preference of focusing on what I deem to be good music, that's led to that sense of not belonging to a single group or tribe.
The most vociferous 'believers' in a sound have, in my experience, always been those with the most undiluted and 'purist' attitude towards that sound. As people who see themselves as core members of their tribe, they tend to be defensive and fiercely protective of what they see as their core musical values. In a sense, it's the same in any movement - the most radical proponents of political movements, for example, tend to the be the least tolerant and the least inclusive. Perhaps you could argue that it's this purism that drives sound forward into new areas? For me the more interesting fulcrums of change and innovation have come through the cross-pollination of differing genres.
The music industry media rarely praises this cross-pollination, especially in emerging artists, because in this industry music is funnelled into tramlines of conformity. Are you Tech House? Techno? Deep House? Even within those broader genres, there's no shortage of invented sub-genres and uber-niche categories, and no shortage of artists who relentlessly pursue the same sound throughout their careers with barely a deviation.
What's interesting, is that some acts attain the Holy Grail. They become self-contained brands, whereby those tramlines no longer contain them as they effectively transcend genres. Take The Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx, Daft Punk, The Prodigy, Underworld as examples. Their successes have put them all in categories of their own, and with it, they've attracted their own tribes, and with it their own sense of belonging.
I'd encourage people not to judge artists for taking risks, for daring to be different, for experimenting outside of the tramlines within which the industry pushes them to belong.
We are all standalone brands. We are all different. We all have the potential to make rich and diverse music, if only we allow ourselves the opportunity to do that.
a moment serves us
not in words
but all at sea
of tides on
grasp the mettle …
where once stood pillars
of dogged wonder
the scorched tramlines
of wisdom’s harrowed brow
so heal me
staring into vortex
deep & dark within
a deadened soul
of goldfish bowls
of mirrored hearts
of mirrored goals.
treacle sunrise unfurls
a golden filo sky
as ribbons of light
dance from eye to eye
the beaming dawn
mist rolls languid
night’s cloak spent
Days of cloying clouds & faceless days had merged into one grinding winter's blur.
The dark months may be receding but it's a slow burn. The early shoots of spring are visible for those with a keen eye, but days like these are special... days where the morning is wet, dank and over-bearing, but then the weather system blows through and on the back end a huge sunshine smile erupts and the world breathes again.
A light breeze at home equates to a savage blast at the coast, and as the sunlight shards split the gloom of the studio I know I am done with the day, so I jump in the car with two of the more lively dogs living with me right now, and head straight for the majesty of Camber Sands.
I know this beach well, and I know what it's capable of giving on a day like this. The sand on the upper beach dries first and the Northern winds push it across the vast, damp, sandy expanses. The sky expands in all directions, the sand stretches in perpetuity and all around is the most graceful orbit of space.
The dogs, wind in their ears, fly like Hover Dogs - two feet off the ground. The white in their eyes shines from distance as their back legs seem to overtake their front at times, in this most gleeful of scampers.
I feel alive again for the first time in days.