I have friends, people I have known for decades, who are convinced Music has died and nothing will bring it back to life; that Pop has eaten itself one too many times and is no longer throwing up anything more than nondescript bile.
That might be very true of the Mainstream music scene which, as anyone who spends a lot of time listening to music will shake a jaundiced head in agreement. But outside the mainstream, away from chart positions and pressure to “do another one just like the other one”, there is a vibrant and essential scene – a lot of it doesn’t make it to your radio or gets buried in iTunes and Spotify in favor of whatever the major labels are pushing this week. That’s fine – frankly, I would hate it if the mainstream co-opted a band like Unknown Mortal Orchestra; a band that has not rested on any laurels and keeps reaching and discovering. It is the essence what contemporary music needs to be about – reaching, going places, making discoveries outside the comfort zone.
I’ve been a fan since they initially arrived in 2011 with their debut self-titled album. There was a spark and a musical curiosity even then, and it was engaging and it prompted me to want to hear more. Wisely, the band made inroads in Europe, doing just about all the festivals on the continent and subsequently getting their message across via the multitude of live concert streams from most all the networks and broadcasting organizations in Europe. That was a great thing – and it did much to promote the band throughout the rest of the world and create a huge fan base in the process. It has made The Unknown Mortal Orchestra a must-hear wherever they appeared.
And in doing that over the years, the progression of the band has been impressive and further fuels the notion that contemporary music is indeed in good places and we have nothing to worry about – the doubters can relax.
This concert, recorded only a few weeks ago at the beginning of this month, comes from the celebrated Pitchfork Festival in Paris. it was recorded from the Pink Stage at the Grande Halle de la Villette on November 3rd.
If you already know about Unknown Mortal Orchestra I am preaching to the choir and you have no doubt skipped all this and headed straight to the Play button on this page. But it you aren’t familiar, looking for something different, looking for evidence music ain’t dead – I would urge you to give a listen and keep an open mind.