George Szirtes has invited examples of “those occasions when I had only to hear a bar of music to know that something had radically changed.”
This will do, for me:
I’m cheating, really, though, because it’s not just that piece of music, though I think it holds up pretty well and it does have a brilliant opening with that sample of Rickie Lee Jones talking about sunsets. It’s standing in for all that late 80s, early 90s bleepy stuff from the ambient to no-nonsense thumping rave music.
I’ve never actually been that keen on clubbing—too loud, too boring—and the rave scene happened without me, but I’ve always loved the aesthetic. Instead of electronic instruments being used as a simple replacement for physical intruments, the music starts embracing the ways in which they are different from physical instruments. The artificiality of the sound becomes part of the point. I still like that sound; I still like rather electronic-y pop music.
Looking back at the early stuff now, part of what appeals is the simplicity of it. Even though it’s obviously been made with electronics rather than bits of wood and catgut, it has a rough-hewn quality that’s sort of charming.