Friday, February 12, 2010

Hi-Fi transformation: Stereolab

If during the time of space age music created optimism over technology in the late 1950’s and 1960’s in France as well as created anxiety or ambivalence in America, then towards the early 1990’s the progression of space age music has taken shape. Stereolab’s, “Stars to our Destination” uses the progression of French and American influence to drive its space pop rock to the next level. Taylor states, “To understand space-age pop music-jazz influenced popular music of the late 50’s and 60’s that thematized the exotic, whether terrestrial or in space, and was intended to be played on hi-fis….” These hi-fi systems were supposed to be played in the home during the postwar era that brought about new technologies that progressed the future. Stereolab revived that influence of previously fringe music of the 60’s rock and used many methods of recording such has hi-fi’s and analog synthesizers to invoke the succession of the space age pop to the 90’s.

Although many saw the hi-fi system a masculine object of desire, women made the transition as well as to adjust to future technologies for the home. With the new technology scares in the 50’s eluding to the fact of the atom bomb many were frightened with the idea of space and the unknown as well as these new technologies given in stride. The mix between men and women and the use of technologies was quite far fetched and as in the present time the work of Stereolab combines the nature of space rock with a touch of both men and women in collaboration. Although the clash of masculinity reeks through the technologies of the 50’s the main stay have feminized relations in the 90’s. “If the federal government’s plan for massive expenditures of income tax dollars on nuclear energy and weapons and later the space race were to be justified, this technology thus had to be made acceptable to everyone, not just men.” The work of Stereolab’s album Mars Audiac Quintet provides the generational gap between the power that both men and women can make new technologies (synthesizers) as well as older technologies (hi-fis) create a sound in which can generate new age space rock with a touch of the older influences to absorbed the space age unknown.

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