In response to the terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande concert this week, Alexis Petridis wrote a quite wonderful paean to pop music (and experiencing it through the eyes of your daughter). If you haven’t read it, you should. I’ll wait. It’s beautiful.
20JFG have always loved pop music. Partly, no doubt, it began as anti-anti-pop-music posturing. You can only hear so many people bang on about ‘real music’ until you become the reactionary. I mean fuck, we like locked groove noise records, what’s so real about that? But really, the love of pop comes from somewhere purer than genre revanchism.
There is a drug-like purity to pop. A concerted effort to slide between the layers of cells defending your carefully curated tastes. Like a brilliantly sharp scalpel, slicing open the skin almost without feeling. And then it’s in, and it only wants to love you, from the inside.
Which brings us to the Industrial crypto-Pop of Higher Learning. Midnight reverb and towering drums; buried synth melody; long tape-sliped chords — this is somewhere around Fever Ray trying to land a slot on the Miami Vice soundtrack. Except, rather than compound a brutal, industrial sound, the vocal here is…pure pop. This could be (and should be) ripped from the event horizon of fucked-up pop (the heat death of the 80s) and the coming dominance of boy-bands. And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.
You can hear more from Higher Learning on his Soundcloud here. This track is taken from an EP that’s just begging for an official release. So, if you have the power to do that, contacting him through that Soundcloud link would be a good place to start.