"I tend to think groupthink is much maligned - and that the strength of scenes and genres is when people “swarm” or “flock” around a currently reigning sound-template and stretch that template in all kinds of ways, without actually abandoning it.

"I’m very into this idea of “the sound of the radio changes” - and that’s on the pirate radio level (e.g suddenly the pirates nearly all switch to UK garage in 97) but also on the mass level (suddenly in the early 90s grunge and alt-rock take-over the radio). because it’s exciting - and you feel like the popular culture is going somewhere

"It relates to this thing I’ve started calling “positive unoriginality” - when an innovation is copied. So e.g. Timbaland comes up with some new beat structures in the mid/late 90s and he’s widely copied - and the sound of R&B radio changes. The copyists are actually playing a valuable role. Because of them, innovation becomes installed at a culture-wide level.

"You see this syndrome again and again in the electronic dance music - the Beltram and Belgian sound, sped up breakbeats, the French filter disco sound.

"It also means as well that when the clones come marching in, an idea-template will get used up quicker and so there is pressure to come up with something new - so everything rattles along at a fair old clip.

"The everyone-going-their-own-solo-path approach can produce wonderfully odd quirky things - but I think atomised auterism has an entropic tendency. There is no overall forward-rushing front of change; lots of individualized trajectories."

- Simon Reynolds

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