The world is a big, beautiful, and god-damn strange place, and the variety of music that is available to listen to is startling to say the least. Nowadays, proximity need not be the only glue that holds a musical scene together, and meme culture has certainly helped a lot of musical genres - which, pre-internet, wouldn't have been more than a tape in a kid's bedroom somewhere in middle America - become fully-functioning, commercially-viable scenes. Below are some of the weirdest music trends that have caught steam. Strap in: things are about to get strange.
This is exactly what you'd guess it is: British gentlemen indulging a spot of proper hip hop without succumbing to the brutish thuggish of their brethren over the pond. Subject matter involves tea, cricket, and perhaps a cheeky cherry. The 'Chappism' movement certainly cannot be taken seriously, as it is part joke, part social experiment, and part performance art, but you cannot argue with the rhymes of the likes of Professor Elemental, or Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer, who both employ a nasty… I mean, delightful flow. UK Education Secretary Michael Gove has even spoken on the genre, admitting he is "strangely addicted to 'chap hop' rappers." Once parliament weighs in, it is a true musical movement.
Eminem once rapped, "I don't do black music, I don't do white music. I make fight music." But ol' Slim Shady sounds positively safe when put in the ring with the Japanese genre of Danger Music, which operates on the principle that some forms of music can be actually harmful to the listener. The genre swings from adopting dissonant tones which can provoke anxiety and feelings of distress, to sounds that are so loud they will literally deafen the listener. Then there is the physical danger of the live shows; one artist Hanatarash ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanatarash ) plowed a bulldozer through the crowd at a gig. Not surprisingly, due to legitimate safety concerns, most shows are cancelled before they happen, so a lot of it is purely conceptual, but the shows that do manage to go ahead require the signing of waivers.
Oh, and they do also utilise the elusive Brown note, too. Listen at your own peril.
Tuvan Throat Singing
Also known as Mongolian throat singing, or "how the Christ do they do all those notes at the same time?", this vocal style involves singing one tone, and simultaneously pitching various other tones over this to create hypnotic harmonies. As with our meticulously-designed concert halls, environment is everything to a good throat singer, with Mongolians searching for the perfect geographical area to practice their art, finding caves, mountainsides and flat plains in which to properly carry their music far and wide. Many of the sounds are an attempt to approximate nature, such as the pulsating 'Ezenggileer', which is meant to mimic horses galloping, and Borbangnadyr, which is bird-calls or babbling brooks, depending on who you ask.
Lowercase started as a project by minimal artist Steve Roden, and quickly - and quietly - exploded into its own genre. It involves the amplification of field recordings of usually inaudible sounds, such as plants growing, human breath, insects rustling, and wind hitting branches and warps these otherwise hidden worlds into intricate avant garde pieces. Titles such as "Two Hands Submerged In Water", and "8 Breaths Of Different Lengths" should give you an idea of this strangely calming style of music. A beautiful meditation on the silent things living around us.
A psychedelic offshoot of vaporware - which is its own odd thing altogether - Simpsonwave matches old Simpsons samples, woozy VCR-style Casio-tones, and skittish drum machines, bathing the visuals in a purple haze. The effect is calming: basically like wearing tinted shades and watching an old sun-warped VHS of The Simpsons while stoned. This genre relies heavily on '90s nostalgia - ironic considering most of its creators were born towards the end of that particular decade - and will be no doubt be shut down by overzealous copyright enforcers any day now. Although maybe not; Matt Groening is a noted lover of avant garde music.
Go deeper into the cultures surrounding music in the SBS VICELAND series Noisey, screening every Tuesday night at 9:20pm. Catch up on previous episodes on SBS On Demand: