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For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:21)
ReFabricated: Volume I - Cue Dot Records
When people talk about new music, very often what they really mean is that it is music by someone new that sounds exactly like the old music they like. It can also mean music from someone they already like that hasn’t been released before. Both things are, to be fair, “new” music. But is it new music?
If you like The Beatles and then another band with a drummer, a guitarist, a bassist and a singer come along, playing music that sounds terribly like the sort of music The Beatles were making… are you really listening to new music?
When a band you fell in love with when you were sixteen released an album that sounds a bit like the first album they released, are you really listening to new music?
I love lots of music that sounds exactly like other music I love. Just because I love, I don’t know, Sparks, doesn’t mean that I can’t also love Franz Ferdinand, right? Owning everything The Smiths ever released doesn’t mean that I can’t also love all the bands who have been inspired by them.
Maybe there isn’t any new music. Maybe all new music is just music that draws on old music. Maybe there is only music that is new to you?
When Cue Dot Records arrived in my life, I was ready for something new. I had just heard an album by a band that a lot of people were hailing as a big deal. It was the start of a revival or a revolution, it was the kiss of life for indie music, this was the one. I listened to that album from start to finish three times in a row. I couldn’t hear anything. I couldn’t hear a new idea. I couldn’t hear a new take on an old idea. I just heard the same music. It was like listening to an album of songs you already knew being played by the house band on Strictly Come Dancing. It was the musical equivalent of putting a shell to your ear on the beach and instead of the sound of the ocean all you could hear was one of those Father’s Day CDs they sell in motorway service stations.
I felt dead inside.
Cue Dot brought me Veryan…Moth Effect…Toby Wiltshire…R.Seiliog…Human Concept… Scissorgun…ambient sounds, field music, beats, bleeps, music for your soul, music from the soul. This was new music. Here were artists, craftspeople, humans…using machines to connect with their own humanity. The first Cue Dot release I heard was Toby Wiltshire’s “Shunyata: Emptiness” and it was the aural equivalent of looking at Alison Watt’s “Sabine' for the first time. A gentle, deeply intricate, emotionally intimate, personal, revelatory, experience.
I had suffered a cultural death, trapped in an endless loop of music that was all Jack Vettriano style but no substance. Colours and shapes daubed onto canvas, but saying nothing, offering nothing, revealing nothing and demanding nothing of me. These records, these artists, delivered me from death and made me whole, born again.
Now with ReFabricated: Volume I, each of the artists who have featured in the series return. Taking a track from another artist and reshaping it, creating new life from something already formed. It shows how it is possible to take pre-existing forms and create something more than a Xerox copy. This is not life after death as the undead, a Romero-esque vision of Hell on a turntable, but is, instead, a reincarnation.