Wednesday, February 25, 2009
What the Fuck, Pitchforkmedia?
Since the nineties internet music trendsetters Pitchforkmedia (www.pitchforkmedia.com) have continually exhibited extremely eloquent writers, impeccable taste, up to date news and relevant columns. Since it's origin in 1995, the site has gained readership to lofty levels, making it now the most read internet music magazine. Along with the readership came an expansion of features. In 2003 they introduced Best New Music, a gallery of sorts for the most adventurous and artistically inclined music of our age. Not long after came Recommended, where albums that were worth seeking out but that didn't quite make the cut were showcased. Also there was the features section which included interviews, live reviews, lists, and columns from their best writers. Relatively new to the site is the Forkcast, where a constantly updated list of streams, videos and mp3s relevant to the average pitchdork are made available. All good things must come to an end, I suupose. In the last couple of months the updates to the website's features section has become erratic at best, completely omitting everything except interviews and the occasional special column. Gone are the monthly music columns that explained what is going on in various important genres of music such as Dubstep, Grime, and Techno, each of which has literally it's own world that simply cannot be taken care of by the main site. In other words, there is basically no more information to be found on these genres at all on the website. Gone are the heartfelt personal columns by writers such as Mark Richardson's always ridiculously interesting Resonant Frequency. Mark Richardson's prose is completely and utterly unmatched by any other music critic that I have ever read. They are so personal but completely void of any form of arrogance, they are eloquent but coloquial, they are beautiful but relevant. The Recommended section is completely gone, it is only survived by a review simply marked "recommended" on the day of its publication only. There is no way to see what they recommend unless you write it down in a list throughout the year. Same almost goes for the best new music section itself, which can no longer be archived, meaning we no longer can look at past inductions, only a recent few. I address these problems as a disheartened fan, not as a sneering disbeliever. I only want the best for my own and others' musical interests. I hate to see the ultimate in music criticism slowing sinking in the murk. I have no explantation for these follies either, since no information on the changes was posted on their website, and they have refused to answer the two concerned e-mails I have sent them. Is it laziness? A lack of funds? Are they planning to shut down? I wish I had an answer, but I seem to be faced with a music source that is utterly not concerned with their viewers. I suppose I am a geek, but having said that, music is my ultimate source of joy and pleasure, and yes, for the most part that does require Pitchfork. Their tastes match my own to an insane degree, and they usually recommend music that would otherwise completely go unnoticed, not to mention they house the best music critics known. Does this arise questions of our new reliability of the internet? Perhaps so, and I'm not afraid to admit that I completely rely on the interent. Why shouldn't we? I feel confident in being interested in the music itself, not in the culture surrounding it. The blog world has created such a hostile battlefield for the quest of becoming the most relevant person in the world that it is hard to not get caught in a shitstorm (see Hipster Runoff's dismal Animal Collective post, the blogger manages to say absolutely nothing about the music, but instead bullshits endlessly about the internet's influence on a band). I just want the outlet for my passion back to the way it was.