Sophistication

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
it's not that emotion is forbidden it's just that we're not overpowered by emotion, it's held in abeyance, we master it, even if it's at great cost. We put on a brave face, the show must go on, keep up appearances. That gives rise to a specific range of affect, for example regret/ruefulness/melancholy. These emotions native to repression/forebearance/acceptance
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Nothing rustic or naive obviously. Sophistication is of the city, urbane.
In older times, of the court, courtliness.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
The thing is though, when Sade made those early records, with their vision of sophistication, she was living in a squat, hanging out with art students and fashion designers and spending every evening in clubs; she was in her early 20s, basically still a kid herself. It was a deliberate projection, that was swallowed whole by actual 1980s adults (the last clearly defined set of adults) in the provincial towns and cities.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
now associated with the provinces and the suburbs the home of winebar house. And people like us can only patronise
 

craner

Beast of Burden
Hed Kandi become the de facto sound of sophisticated adulthood, but it's still refracted through adolescence. In the same way that American political culture became normative in the West despite the specifics of any one polity, so the teenage has become the dominant aesthetic and behavioral model for everybody, hence 30 and 40-somethings buying their clothes in Top Shop, the way high street fashion now caters to one age: the eternal teenager.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Exactly. And any attempt to bypass this makes you look more ridiculous than just going along with it.
 

Simon silverdollarcircle

Well-known member
There used to be a "sophisticated" counterpart to big musical developments didn't there? The grown ups version so they didn't have to get involved in kids drug music.

So IDM and hardcore. Conscious hip hop and gangsta rap. That Circle lot and UK funky.

Dont really have that polarity anymore do we ? There's no sophisticated counterpart to drill is there?
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Well changing tack and undermining my whole thesis potentially, graphic design music is a kind of sophistication, or aspires to it. Very well mannered and tasteful. Techno lends itself to sophisiticated veneer.
 

Simon silverdollarcircle

Well-known member
Yeah techno is an interesting one. Definitely has deep roots in sophistication. The grown ups revulsion of just putting a banging donk on it.

But it's also very (self)consciously hedonistic and adolescent in some ways. Berghain as a drug fueled playground for 20 something graphic designers etc. So it doesn't quite commit to sophistication. Tries to have it both ways
 

craner

Beast of Burden
There's an aspirational, image-making component to the techno vision of sophistication, though, like Sade. I seem to remember Simon Reynolds talking about Jeff Mills being obsessed with Richard Gere's wardrobe in American Gigolo.
 
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