The Black origins of shoegaze and dream pop

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  1. JadeB

    JadeB la force de l'avenir

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    [​IMG] FEATURES
    EXPLORING THE BLACK ROOTS OF SHOEGAZE AND DREAM POP
    M.I.C uncovers the Black origins of shoegaze and dream pop and meets the Black musicians taking the sounds forward

    • M.I.C
    • 24 MAY 2021
    It is common knowledge that people of the African diaspora are to be thanked for conceiving or at the very least inspiring all forms of contemporary Western music. The polyrhythmic percussion found throughout modern metal can be very easily be traced back to traditional West African drumming; Jamaican toasting is to thank for the cultural zeitgeist that is hip hop and before jazz music was gentrified and transformed into something synonymous with Ronnie Scott’s and Whiplash, it was being championed by African American musicians as early as the 1920s. Even the aesthetics of goth music could be attributed to the morbid writings and funereal on-stage antics of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. But shoegaze? Or dream pop? Surely Black people’s influence is not so pervasive to have had a hand in the creation, development and continued existence of the genres “born” from the Scene That Celebrates Itself?

    For the uninitiated though, what the hell even is shoegaze music? Is the term interchangeable with dream pop? I’ve been an avid fan of many of the artists associated with the genre for years now and I still have trouble explaining the genre tropes in a succinct fashion. A genre staple of shoegaze/dream pop is the guitar sound: prioritising ethereality over everything, via bountiful usage of pedals and effects processors, with obscured vocals rarely exceeding the volume of the aforementioned guitar in the mix. A.R. Kane, a band of two Black Londoners who were big fans of pioneering Scottish group Cocteau Twins, exemplify this on their debut album, 1988’s ‘69’. This album’s sound was prophetic, predating the release of My Bloody Valentine’s so called genre-defining album ‘Loveless’ by just over three years. It would be remiss not to mention that A.R. Kane were also the ones to coin the term “dream pop” in the first place, with founding member Alex Ayuli first using it to describe their band’s sound.


    So what is the point of me mentioning all of this? Why are you reading this piece written by me, a musician with a come up apparently worlds away from shoegaze? In the internet age, detailed chronologies of virtually every musical style and sound are accessible within a matter of clicks or taps. You can become a veritable historian of anything from speed garage to grindcore in less than 24 hours of ardent cyber trawling. Without a doubt in my mind, there is going to be a journalist out there that can word almost everything I have written so far a lot better than me, maybe because of a more advanced level of literacy or due to possessing music industry knowledge I have not been privy to. Here’s the thing though; I spent a long time searching online for an article, or a documentary, or something, anything, about Black people in shoegaze and dream pop music. Hours scouring the web and I found next to nothing. It didn’t help that every search of “Black shoegaze” brought up bands such as Alcest and Deafheaven; an assortment of bands that took black metal’s ferocity and paired it with the dreamy atmosphere of the bands that gazed so listlessly at their guitar pedals. Great music, but not necessarily made by black people specifically. This couldn’t just be it…

    Luckily, it wasn’t. Picture me circa June 2020. Lockdown was getting to me, curiosity took the reins and I was blessed by the advent of the Black Artist Database, a tool that allowed me the means to locate black musicians from across the globe making every conceivable sound and style. All of a sudden, I was able to listen to shoegazers the world over that were like me and it was invigorating. Being armed with the realisation that Black shoegaze really was a thing, I felt emboldened, so it only made sense for me to connect with some of these other Black shoegazers and “dream-poppers” and see what they had to say about this music
     
  2. JadeB

    JadeB la force de l'avenir

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    The rest of the article with links to various Black shoegaze/dream pop musicians
     
  3. KingZimbabwe

    KingZimbabwe Superstar

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    All of that “alternative” music was stolen by CACs

    Well, “inspired” in their own words :mjpls:
     
  4. Dorian Gray

    Dorian Gray Superstar

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    I actually love Shoegaze and Dream Pop. My favorite bands are within these genres. MBV, Cocteau Twins(my shyt), Silversun Pickups, The Radio Dept., Deftones, Jesus & The Mary Chain, M80.

    Didn't know Shoegaze had black origins. Rep for the drop.
     
  5. Tanahashi Coates

    Tanahashi Coates Superstar

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    Have you heard of Loathe? They have a black lead singer
     
  6. Dorian Gray

    Dorian Gray Superstar

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    Nope. I was unaware of any black Shoegaze bands. Bout to be up for the next few hours creating a black Shoegaze playlist from the list of bands mentioned in the article. I'll check out Loathe too.
     
  7. JadeB

    JadeB la force de l'avenir

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    Black Screamgaze


    Super obscure dream pop musician
     
    Calibrated dapped this.
  8. JadeB

    JadeB la force de l'avenir

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  9. K.O.N.Y

    K.O.N.Y Superstar

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    Jamaican toasting is to thank for the cultural zeitgeist that is hip hop


    this lie again:mindblown:
     
  10. Dorian Gray

    Dorian Gray Superstar

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    This is tricky because Cocteau Twins is considered to be the origins of, if not Shoegaze, then Dream Pop. Many people say the two genres sprang from the same origin and most would attribute it to the Cocteau sound which even AR Kane says was their influences. Anyway great article. This hits home because I play a little guitar and had thoughts about starting a little band within the Shoegaze space. I'm glad there are other black people that enjoy the genre as much as I do.
     
  11. JadeB

    JadeB la force de l'avenir

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    "History is rewritten everyday":wow:
     
    Sankofa Alwayz and L2014 dapped this.
  12. JadeB

    JadeB la force de l'avenir

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    You fukk with Slowdive?

    EDIT: and Airiel too? (They lean a bit more emo)
     
  13. Tanahashi Coates

    Tanahashi Coates Superstar

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    Chino from Deftones linked their video on his socials and they've become a meme in the extended range community because the $350 Squire Jazzmaster they played are discontinued and going for $600-$1000 used

     
  14. Dorian Gray

    Dorian Gray Superstar

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    Yep. Also Ride, Nothing's, Boo Radleys, A Place to Bury Strangers, Wild Nothing's, a whole bunch. It's honestly my favorite genre.

    It's interesting to hear them mention black artist like Luther Vandross having some Shoegazey elements because I've always said I can hear Jill Scott doing some covers of Cocteau Twins and how the shyt would be a hit.
     
  15. JadeB

    JadeB la force de l'avenir

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    A lot of hip hop and R&B is shoegazy. SZA's Good Days is listed on the playlist the article included. Cloud rap is also practically the rap equivalent of shoegaze too. Just listen to Playboi Carti and ASAP Rocky. Even some Trippie Redd.
     

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