Savages is a relatively new band from England that I first heard of an hour ago. In the intervening time I have been able to watch several of their videos, look at hundreds of pictures, read a manifesto and a few articles about them, and eat breakfast. The technology that makes this possible is one of the things that they are railing against. 50 years ago it would have taken years for word to spread via radio and magazines of an in-your-face rock’n’roll band from England poised to invade. 30 years ago, the band might have been derailed by a singer’s suicide on the eve of their US debut. 15 years ago, fans might have had to glean scraps of information from zines about an arty band who eschewed interviews.
Likewise, the aesthetic swings of musical culture are coming at an ever increasing rate. Trends that might once have defined a decade come and go with the seasons. With every new crop of young people, there will be those who want to get back to basics and reject artifice and excess. Are we approaching a point where everything exists at once, and nothing is new or old?
In 2013, long dead performers can be resurrected as holograms on stage, and the Rolling Stones may never need to retire. The idea that one “had to be there” will soon lose resonance when the memories of those who were can be downloaded to create a virtual facsimile, which anyone can experience from their couch. For now, here is an HD video, only two or three levels away from the real thing.