A musical phenomenon of interest to the Kingpin gentleman is one that is emerging from genres being called ‘chap hop‘, ‘modern burlesque’, ‘steampunk‘, even ‘industrial hip-hop opera‘ all of which I put under the broader category of what I have termed Victrolacore. You heard it here first!
The key elements of this branch of the punk bush are the reuse of previous cultural expressions now considered quaint and old-fashioned. Samples taken from recordings of the 20s and 30s; use of antiquated instruments like the banjolele or the harmonium and lyrics peppered with out-of-date colloquialisms are commonly combined with a modern musical approach, like hip hop or industrial structures and then viewed through the gin-soaked lens of satire.
These grafted together with a Kurt Weill sensibility the evokes the music halls of Berlin and London in the period between the world wars. The pervasive decadent burlesque mood hangs from the music. Clever wit (including a stage persona that amplifies the musician’s over-all intent) fuse these disparate elements together.
To get an idea of the artists covered by my Victrolacore label I would direct you to listening to Doctor Steel, Mr. B. the Gentleman Rhymer, and Professor Elemental. I would also include the work of Richard Cheese and Frisky and Mannish, as their work utilizes the same devices, only in reverse; they apply antiquated musical styling to current pop music, and produce the music live as opposed to using samples.
Key to all of these artists is being elegant ladies and gentlemen their work exudes, each with deeply satisfying satirical effect. Especially enjoyable is how the unrelentingly evil Doctor Steel is careful to observe proper social etiquette in his quest for world domination.
“…define our Dandyism, in essence, as simply making as much of an effort as possible with the limited resources available. An effort in sartorial flair and individuality, an effort in civility, social responsibility and courtesy, and an effort in communal culture, welfare and hedonism.”
and Charles Baudelaire puts it best, that,
“Dandyism is not even an excessive delight in clothes and material elegance. For the perfect dandy, these things are no more than the symbol of the aristocratic superiority of his mind.”
Victrolacore musically expresses this same flare. Rage on, good chums, rage on.
Article first published as Victrolacore – Satirical Music for the Sartorial Gentleman on Technorati.
- Frisky and Mannish – review (guardian.co.uk)
- Row Breaks Out in Cheeky Hip-Hop Genre of Chap-Hop (wired.com)
- British MC’s New Musical Mix: Gentlemanly ‘Chap-Hop’ (online.wsj.com)
- In ‘Chap-Hop,’ Gentlemen Rappers Bust Rhymes About Tea, Cricket (online.wsj.com)
- Victrolacore – Satirical Music for the Sartorical Gentleman (kingpinchic.com)