Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Intonation Music Festival

There is a review of the Intonation Music Festival in the New York Times. Here's some of it:

Intonation was curated by the editors of Pitchfork Media, a site (online at pitchforkmedia.com, and updated daily) run by and for indie-rock obsessives. It remains a shoestring operation, with a full-time staff of four, and the festival reflected that; a two-day pass cost $22, which is $2 more than Pitchfork pays some freelancers for album reviews. And yet those reviews - which include a grade between 0.0 and 10.0 - can be surprisingly influential.

...But let's not get too carried away with the idea of Pitchfork as a launching pad. The two stages at Union Park weren't filled with bands that seemed destined to blast into the stratosphere, or even the troposphere. Instead, the stages were filled with bands that are already about as popular as they will ever be. The weekend - full of people wandering around clutching vinyl records and silk-screened tote bags - felt a bit like a throwback to the mid-1990's, when fans and fanzines supported a community of musicians too weird for the mainstream.

...In the park as online, Pitchfork seemed to have trouble figuring out how to incorporate genres beyond indie-rock. Dance music and hip-hop still seem tangential to the Pitchfork mission, and you could see some of that awkwardness in the D.J. tent on Saturday, when the rapper Jean Grae (7.9) and the iconoclastic indie-country singer Will Oldham (8.4 for his "Superwolf" project) collaborated on a D.J. set; the crowd thinned noticeably around the time Mr. Oldham played "Whiskey Lullaby." Sunday's dance party was more successful: Diplo (7.5) spun a furious, thrilling mix of Brazilian hip-hop and dancefloor remixes, and he kept going until the speakers gave out.

By weekend's end, it was clear that Intonation had succeeded on its own terms. But it was hard not to think about what was missing, namely the swagger and ambition and hunger of musicians ready to take over the world, or at least the country. Many of these acts seemed happy to stay right where they were, making music for fans who accept them as they are. Any park where Deerhoof is a crowd favorite can't possibly be a bad place. Still, two days is a long time to spend there, let alone a whole career.

Or to make a long review short: 7.3.
The writer seems to have a slightly condescending attitude toward Pitchfork, but it's nice they got the write-up in the Times. I haven't paid much attention to the website because it deals mostly without Overt music, but I'm always pulling for the little guy.

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