Today sees a good, intense salvo from Ronan Fitzgerald, the Irish techno DJ and critic recently relocated to London (and, yes, a friend), about the nature of hype. As in, how anyone who complains about it is pretty much kidding themselves: “Hype is not created by some shadowed Illuminati behind the castle walls. Hype in the post-Internet age is you, me, and everybody else. We are the hype. People attacking hype are just more hype. Hype seems to have become a cheap way of referring to information overload.”
The post is specifically about dance music, as is Ronan’s wont; I suspect he’s talking even more specifically about Resident Advisor’s 2.0 (out of 5) review of SIS’s “Trompeta”–a track Fitzgerald has blogged enthusiastically about–which concerns itself largely with the record’s hype cycle. (There are lots of span classes in the post but no actual links.) Yet read the following paragraph and tell me he isn’t talking about rock or hip-hop or every other music Web folks tend to check for:
This reactive reviewing seems to lend itself to world weariness too easily. People are pretending they’re so in the scene that they hear others talking about a big hit record everywhere they go, when actually all this tells you is they probably spend all day on the Internet! I should know! If people could say “I’m sick of HEARING this record” that’d be interesting, but it seems they’re more sick of hearing about it.
Obviously, “scene” is important in hip-hop or indie/alt-rock especially, as well as in dance music, but it’s the internet part that’s that matters here. The small pond takes on the aspects of a universe was never unique to the Web, as anyone who’s ever identified themselves as part of a not-online subculture will happily explain. But the instant-expert rate is higher now, and so is the burnout rate, and while I realize I go on about this almost every week I slip into my guest chair, these are both good things to guard against even if you’re not being paid to share your thoughts about music online or elsewhere. “Hype” won’t kill us all, but it may just make us sillier–and right now, it’s safe to say that’s the last thing anyone needs.
Please [House Is a Feeling]