Vondelpark Seabed

[R&S; 2013]

Styles: post-internet romanticization of commodified history, simulated heart worn on sleeve
Others: 2009-2010 post-dubstep for the uninitiated

Quotes like this can be seen all over the internet (in reference to the banality of form and signifier):

Folk music is my fav genre…I would totally be content living on a farm. Walking around in flowy skirts and dresses with my Afro, barefeet with a banjo in my hand and my kids running around my feet for life… Smh that’s what I think about when I listen to music like this…lol

What does that even mean? The incongruous cramming together of signs and symbols is the way of the post-internet world — post-internet being a term that has been thrown around quite a bit over the last few years. It means to pin down the exact effects of a heightened form of communication, the shared hyper connectivity that has caused in some senses a sort of regression: the distancing from immediacy and focus on the hazy lines between things. There is as discreteness between known objects, a suggestive low context.

The banal is the Banal because it is, in fact, banal, and casual liaisons with commodified forms will forever produce questionable music. The expressing of one’s own interest and experiences can go in one of two ways: (1) as commentary, a reflexive/reflective take on one’s placement in a point in time, and (2) sappy, teary-eyed dreck. The notion of the self is quite relevant to these matters, the current matter being Vondelpark’s debut album, Seabed.

Simply put: Seabed is drained of an expressive self, meaning that it is a pastiche of Forms, all received via YouTube. I don’t mean this to be a compliment in the way that one would speak of chillwave or vaporwave, both of which spoke to the very notion of mass consumption and kitsch, the latter going as far as inverting the “furniture music”-like qualities as a means of situationist assault. But Seabed is outside of those forms, outside of being a commentary. Vondelpark, in other words, are naive about the aesthetics they employ on the album.

The “genuity” and the intent on Seabed is certainly commendable, but the referential nature of “indie” music at this point in time shows how dependent on signifiers we have become. This of course has been enhanced by the aforementioned post-internet state. Not a single genre — or rather, a single commodified genre — can escape the grip of young millennials who were barely alive at the time of the genre’s prime. The post-internet child YouTubes (yes, this is now a verb, simulation extended) Boyz II Men, feels a kinship with it, then combines it with the most modern genre (in this case, post-dubstep), and thus we have a “sound.” But wasn’t this already done almost four years earlier? What do you call an inversion of an inversion of a diversion? Confused. What we have now is a simulation of a commodity from the past.

Admittedly, I spoke around the album rather than about it, but what else can you do with a simulacrum but extract the context that fuels it?

Links: Vondelpark - R&S

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