FORM 02 - 2022

Underground Sound

A technical set up of large screens randomly placed inside a dark hidden (literaly underground) space. Various online music documentaries are streamed simultaneously and mixed up in various ways. Image and sound are clustered into a complex and chaotic mix of styles and musical cultures. The surreal atmosphere created is that of an underground music festival, where we look back into history, and history is in the making. Yet there is nu public. These underground sounds and subcultures were created by a diverse group of people, who, in this particular case, are not attending. This event has no ending, there is no time table.

There is a wide range of music that can be classified as underground, with some genre's being more popular than others. Underground music is often seen as more creative, forward-thinking, and energetic  than the mainstream. It is full of energy and often very forward thinking. Often, these genres and subcultures were created by real people with true passion. Artists working in this genre keep a distance from the mainstream music world. The term “underground” may not be perfect but it covers a lot of different aspects of making, listening to, and talking about music. Underground music is considered the opposite of mainstream music. It is more of a term than a genre, like “indie” or “alternative”. It’s used to describe “underground hip-hop”, “underground pop” and even “underground jazz”. As a result, underground music involves genres and subgenres of music that you don’t hear often. These types of music are called “underground music,” no matter pop, electronic, rock, metal, or jazz genres. “Underground music” is a term that is hard to define. Underground musicians seek tremendous artistic liberty while also rejecting the mass media. In other words, standard “mainstream” media turns art into a commerce product. Underground music is one of the most trending musical terms that possibly has no clear definition. Maybe it’s a genre or maybe it is about how musicians commercialize their music. Underground music is a practice based on self-organized production and promotion. The term “underground” indicates the way people work and the philosophy underneath. It keeps a distance from the mainstream music world connected with business.

Still, the term “underground” is different from DIY. It has a different cultural significance and disregards popularity. But, artists are still trying to break beyond their own circles while maintaining some DIY techniques. This includes independence from commercial concerns and artistic and thematic underground aspects in their art. The term "underground music" has been applied to various artistic movements, for instance the psychedelic music movement of the mid-1960s, but the term has in more recent decades come to be defined by any musicians who tend to avoid the trappings of the mainstream commercial music industry otherwise it tells only truth through the music. Frank Zappa attempted to define "underground" by noting that the "mainstream comes to you, but you have to go to the underground." In the 1960s, the term "underground" was associated with the hippie counterculture and psychedelic drugs, and applied to journalism and film as well as music, as they sought to communicate psychedelic experiences and free love ideals. In modern popular music, the term "underground" refers to performers or bands ranging from artists that do DIY guerrilla concerts and self-recorded shows to those that are signed to small independent labels. In some musical styles, the term "underground" is used to assert that the content of the music is illegal or controversial, as in the case of early 1990s death metal bands in the US such as Cannibal Corpse for their gory cover art and lyrical themes. Black metal is also an underground form of music and its Norwegian scene are notorious for their association with church burnings, the occult, murders and their Anti-Christian views. All of extreme metal is considered underground music for its extreme nature. Gothic and Industrial are two other types of underground music originating in the late 1970s to mid 1990s with goth rock centering around vampires, black magic and the occult and Industrial using primarily computer generated sounds and hard driving beats. Underground music is often more energetic than the mainstream. There are elements of things like mumble, trap, there’s maybe some jazz, but I don’t think the mainstream - underground distinction holds like it once did. With how complicated the application of the term has become I'd say it's definitely easier to attribute it to artists of the past, but honestly I believe that the underground scene is as strong if not stronger because of how easy it is to find new music now. Although we don't have as many fanzines as in the old days, the internet allows for fans of even the nichest of bands to come together and helps them to find even more. The days of passing around mix tapes is behind us, but now you can make hours of playlists on streaming sites to share with your fellow fans. To some people the word underground will conjure up acts like Carter USM or Ned's Atomic Dustbin, but it is still a scene that is alive and well just not necessarily referred to as underground by the people who are listening to it. Some underground rock bands never got non-mainstream roots. They are radical, aggressive 1960s bands such as The Velvet Underground,The Stooges, MC5, 70s bands like Ramones, The Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Clash, and 80s hardcore punk bands like Discharge. Some underground styles eventually became mainstream, commercialized pop styles, as did for example, the underground hip hop style of the early 1980s. In the 2000s, the increasing availability of the Internet and digital music technologies has made underground music easier to distribute using streaming audio and podcasts.

Some experts in cultural studies now argue that "there is no underground" because the Internet has made what was underground music accessible to everyone at the click of a mouse. One expert, Martin Raymond, of London-based company The Future Laboratory, commented in an article in The Independent, saying trends in music, art, and politics are: The “underground history” relies on the historical and chronological line of subcultures, and, sometimes “cults” with the connecting art and films: in the 60s, psychedelic rock, in the 70s, punk rock, and from the 70s to the millennium, hip hop, and beyond the electronic underground (big beat, break beat, drum and bass, etc.) reigns. Underground artists are more for making music for the love of music and inspiring the fan base they’ve acquired. They try to do more for and with fans to keep them satisfied and dedicated to the music they’re making and the messages they’re trying to get across. Keeping fans part of their lives. Just as if they were a part of their family. Get to know them on a first name basis, being able to hold a decent length conversation. Possibly on a subject they can relate to and give advice about.
Underground record release happen through independent labels and/or internet radio streams, podcasts, blogs and pirate stations. Creativity, style, own ideas, visions and dignity remains in musicians this way, despite of the hard struggle in life. A music underground can also refer to the culture of underground music in a city and its accompanying performance venues. The Kitchen is an example of what was an important New York City underground music venue in the 1960s and 1970s. CBGB is another famous New York City underground music venue claiming to be "Home of Underground Rock since 1973".

 

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