Friday, May 29, 2009

Musi(c.)PSX: Clubbed to Death (1996)

Sony's Playstation console was first released in Japan in December of 1994.
A year later, it spread across the globe, leading to it's eventual assimilation into modern living. The console was officially discontinued by Sony in 2006, but began a process of phasing out with the 2000 release of the Playstation2. Known in it's early years colloquially as the PSX, the console was characterised by a slick attitude that met modern gamers on varying levels, boasting releases like Wipeout, which fused electronic music culture with the gaming experience. This post is a celebration of that time. Music circa (c.) the PSX

Rob Dougan - Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Variation) (1996/2002)

Despite gaining cult status upon it's initial release in the mid-nineties; the elusive Australian DJ/solo artist, Rob D, first gained widespread recognition for his underground hit, Clubbed to Death, when it was featured in the 1999 breakout picture, The Matrix.

Drawing upon samples from a wide variety of sources, the DJ elevated himself to greater recognition as a solo artist with an eclectic sound that merged classical refrains with looping dance beats.
It wouldn't be until 2002 that an album would officially be released, but his many variations and remixes of his, and other artist's work, provided a wide catalogue of works throughout the nineties. His many self-referential mixes culminated with the fan favourite version of Clubbed to Death, the Kurayamino Variation.

After visiting the subject of the Matrix yesterday [AdVantage Point: Matrix Online], it seemed fitting to blog about a track that managed to gain significance at multiple points throughout the PlayStation lifespan.
The song itself might not have had any significant connection to the console, none that am I'm aware of, but it again captures a reflection of a moment of time. From it's close association with The Matrix, the song takes on even greater significance, providing a soundtrack to a vivid example of the lofty aspirations that took hold of music and cinema in the final years of the twentieth century.

Even without court-settled accusations of plagiarism, The Matrix was a hybrid of influences stemming from comics, animation, cinema, and science-fiction. While it combined the tone poem of these many interests into a single gestalt entity, one could arguably attribute a great deal of it's success in the mainstream to the coinciding relevance of technologies like the Sony PlayStation.

By 1999, the console was well ingrained in the social consciousness. As part of the same movement connecting homes globally via the world wide web (internet); gaming's growing significance as a household appliance helped induct families into logics vital to appreciating the metatext of the basic concept of the Matrix. An expanded library of 3D action-adventure games also surely contributed to preparing unsuspecting audiences to anticipate the types of action sequences that were at the core of celebration of the much loved film.

Like all of these articles, I'm conscious of the need to emphasise that this is no claim of sole responsibility. The PlayStation, for all it's achievements, did not invent the wheel. It's merely my hope to look back fondly upon the influences and features of the era, to observe how this timeline of change ushered in the conventions of the twenty-first century. It is my opinion we have lost much of the creativity that took us to new heights in the race toward the year 2000.

I wonder what lies ahead for this century and how an emerging generation will make up for lost time during this decade. As current consoles become indifferent facts of modern life regardless of any perceived mediocrity, I wonder how gaming will play a role in the future of entertainment. It would be easy to take current information as a forecast for grim times ahead, but I am hopeful that there is still plenty more to come from what is still a relatively young industry. I am hopeful that we can again break from convention. That everything old can be new again.

I am hopeful that someone will run ahead of the pack, and there will yet be more to miss.

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