Thursday, February 07, 2008

Music tastes: where are YOU from?

This article in the G2 section of the Guardian yesterday explores musical tastes as being defined by the location you live in. On first glance this seems to have a lot of truth in it - just look at the amount of music sub genres that are linked to a city -

Detroit Techno
Chicago House
Miami Bass
London Grime
West Coast Hip Hop
and more recently the sounds of Sheffield Bassline.

Does location create the music or music create the location?

Is the listener able to appreciate the music more because they can visualise an image of the particular location and imagine a 'scene' where everyone in that city is influenced by the sound of the music created? It seems to me a bit of a generalisation as most of the time the music linked to that location is only related to one (normally tiny) demographic.

On the other hand, the majority of musicians are influenced by their surroundings. The city they live in and the people they meet will be reflected in the music they make.

One interesting thing is that in a more globalised musical world, can this trend continue or will musicians become more influenced by global rather than local stimuli? Do musicians create music, consciously or subconsciously, to create an identity which represents their city? I would go so far to say that a city's very essence (culture, identity, economy) can be enhanced significantly by having a musical scene intrinsically attached to it, even if the reality is that the scene is generated by a minority band of locals. Usually this is centred around a single record label or collective (e.g. Underground Resistance records and Detroit - techno or Fence Collective and Fife - folk)

if cities do not have this musical identity, they are lacking a soul.

Laura Barton Guardian Article


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