I don’t know whether an “Our” music, that Mikel is speaking about in his last blog, is possible for a culture or a country anymore. For that to happen there would have to be a kind of musical isolation in which there was a limited amount of outside input. Same as with the evolution of species. And because modern Australia is a young country I suspect the chance for a uniquely Australian form of music (outside of the ancient Aboriginal music mentioned) probably passed by with the advent of the radio. Radio introduced crossover on a big, international scale. Television and the Internet have only increased that crossover. Hybridisation is, I suspect, with us for good. In every context, not just music. At least until the first, brave human pioneers colonise another planet far from home. In fact based on the fact that Australia is quite other worldly (in a lot of the photos I’ve seen anyway) Mars Beat may yet prove to be the first truly Australian genre.
But aside from all of that, I don’t personally think that the creation of new, unique genres matters that much. If they happen they happen by accident anyway. What really matters is that people continue to create new things. Because we have to. That means that great creative new music can and will still be made. And if the person making that music is Australian, it will always have an Australian taste, if the art is coming from an honest place.
Mikel’s blog reminded me of a song I used to love by Midnight Oil called Beds Are Burning. I just listened to it, and it moved me even more than when I first heard it. Partly because it is a fantastic song, partly because it speaks some powerful truth, and partly because it took me back to a different time in my life. It was also a sad reminder of how slowly change comes. It takes more than simply the desire for it to happen, or the recognition that it needs to happen. It requires us (in my case, me!) to do something.
So I’m greatful for those Aussie boys for putting passionate, convicting words to a sweet pop/rock melody and a primal beat. A force of nature emerging from the outback like a giant, diesel truck from a heat haze . Top of the Rocks plugged into Alice Springs. It connected with me.