Take any musical revolution of the past 100 years, and you can bet it’s been driven by technology. From Dylan’s electrical blasphemy to kids in Chicago squeezing a bass synth till it squelched out acid house, where R&D leads, A&R follows. So what happens to music when technology becomes obsessed with chopping life into tiny chunks of clickbait? For better or worse, wildly popular phone app Vine is providing the answer.
For the uninitiated, Vine is to YouTube what Twitter is to Facebook. The app sprang into existence in January 2013 and now over 40 million addicts are hooked on its simple format: users create six-second video loops which the community then shares, rates or slates. In the space of a year-and-a-half, these tiny bursts (known as vines) have evolved into an ever expanding ecosystem, complete with their own language, humour, stars and soundtrack.
As Vine gained popularity, a new rave genre was gaining traction online: Jersey club. Born in the blue-collar nightspots of New Jersey, Jersey club is a brutal, high-speed pop culture pile-up. Jersey producers ransack any source material they can find – saccharine pop hits, TV sport coverage, screaming animals – cherry-picking the sections that pack the most drama, and looping these snippets at breakneck speed over a thumping bastard of a kick drum. Vine users quickly realised that Jersey club’s crazed sample repetition and pounding beats made the perfect accompaniment to the six-second dance routines that are hugely popular on the site, at the same time as Jersey club producers were mining Vine as a rich source of bizarre, anarchic sample material. An unholy alliance was born.
Producers such as DJ Taj, Phoenix The Producer and iMarkkeyz have been plundering Vine for samples, chopping audio from vignettes of delusional rappers, cute little kids and bewildered old folk, and triggering them endlessly over hard, sparse beats. These ragged productions are uploaded to SoundCloud and tagged #Vine. There, they are played and downloaded by kids choreographing new Vine dance routines, and the cycle begins again. As has been noted in the past, pop will eat itself. On Vine, it’s barely pausing to chew.
While mainstream dance plods dully towards stadium pomp or toothless, tasteful house, #Vine music is the snot-nosed punk response. It’s disposable, fast, fun, and almost completely lacking in any redeeming features that might endear it to an older generation. In keeping with the hyper-speed culture that birthed it, there’s a fair chance that by the time this article is published, the scene will have mutated into something totally different, leaving nothing but a handful of catchphrases and an endless loop of a twerking bum. But compared to the horrors of Avicii’s country-flavoured EDM, that’s not such a bad thing.
Read the original on The Guardian here