It was certainly right to define my last post before the cat picture as clutter and not a real essay. I would certainly need to go back and reread a lot of books before taking a stab at turning that into a real critique, something I am not in the position to do at the moment, but I still want my readers to understand that, even if I can't quite explain it as well as I should, I have addressed something fundamental to the issue of "what is wrong with music" in 200x. Anyone coming to this site knows that, on the one hand, there are certainly plenty of great records coming out, and yet, no record is a piece of a larger picture, but rather is the totality of the picture itself. Anyone who grew up in the shadow of punk, post-punk, hardcore, and rave in the broadest sense surely must feel a lack if their interest in music went beyond simply the sound music itself.
When I speak of the religious in music, in art, it is not that those sentiments directly mirror, or should mirror, the exact sentiments of actual religion, but certainly there was some confluence. Choosing certain sounds, certain instruments, and using them in certain ways had moral implications for artists, even if there was and is no intrinsic morality in sound. In other words, and following from earlier writing, there is no inherent superiority to sampling versus making ones own sounds, or lush reverbs versus dry recordings or improvisation versus through-composition. But what unites ABC and the Sex Pistols and Basic Channel and Production House is that, whether explicitly so or not, the sounds that were deployed were deployed with some sort of critical perspective, a reasoning based on beliefs that were broader that the simple desire for self-expression that any artist has. With the failures of this discourse external to the artist, the failure of the quasi-religious discourse, this assumed and redundant rationale for artmaking, self-expression, which used to be interrogated, becomes not the invitation to discourse but its closure, the self being inviolate. The question that must be asked of any work at all now must not be whether the work is any good, but rather, should it have been made at all?