Oct 6, 2010

Student's guide to new music

You're settling in to your halls or your crumbling shared house, but you haven't quite burned all your music from dad's computer yet. What music do you listen to if you want to be cool at university?

Obviously, you'll be bombarded with chances to hear thrilling bands if you're in a decent city. Manchester Academy, for example, is due to host amazing shows from Bowling For Soup, Peter Frampton and Napalm Death.

But this is an electronic music blog, so no doubt you've come to me for a few special recommendations to set you a few paces ahead from your clone mosher friends.

The first and only rule of Fat Roland's guide to new music for students is: if you listen to any music at all, I'll smash your face off with that gatepost.

Seriously. If you go within a thousand miles of anything resembling a rhythm or some kind of assemblance of melody, I'll kick you in the liver.

Biology lesson. A remarkable thing happens to the human body between the ages of 18 and 20. Before then, your synapses are made from phlegm and tears; they lack the connectivity to enable you to appreciate anything good. So you'll foxtrot to Keane, fandango to Kesha, fast-step to Kanye.

From about 19 or 20, you become a complete human being for the first time in your life. Your ears start talking to your feet and your heart, and what develops is a perfectly passable music taste that lives on for a decade or two. Your mp3s become file names like Cripple Bastards, Shitmat and Burt Bacharach (but only ironically).

The danger is, though, and I want you to read this as though it's one of those ominous adverts for AIDS in the 1980s, a residual echo from your pre-18 days lingers in your brain, terminally damaging many of your cells and then hiding until it chooses to ambush you later. Imagine Simply Red hiding in your fridge all night, waiting to pounce when you get milk in the morning.

And so, when you hit 32, all those old musical numbers you jived to in your teens pop back into your memory, and you utter the incantation that has destroyed many a cool person: "D'you know, that stuff wasn't so bad after all. At least it had a melody..."

There is only one way to stop this happening. Your musical taste must be sliced off the moment you hit university. For at least one year, you must be sonically castrated and taught that all music is evil. You have to go through a reverse-Clockwork Orange, and watch Akira Kurosawa or Jean-Luc Goddard films while subjecting your pinned-open earholes to Will I Am, Tiao Cruz or The Saturdays.

You should probably be locked in your room and bubblewrap be glued to every surface, including yourself. Your computer shall have an auto-tune filter, so anything melodic will sound like kittens being slowly diced with an apple corer.

Save yourself from yourself, new students. Listen to nothing. Not even your lectures, for fear of catching accidental intonations or a dull recitation of a textbook unintentionally forming a pleasing pentameter that could easily be set to music.

And all you will be left with is the cleansing wash of a lonely silence except in the dark of the night when the only noise is the dull thud of your heartbeat. Except, of course, a heartbeat is a recognised rhythm, so unless you've surgically wrapped that in jiffybags, that'll have to go too.

I'll ween you when you're ready. We'll start with Boards Of Canada, then go deeper. Meanwhile, let the silence begi--

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