Culture and subculture used to move across the world at the speed of plane travel and surface mail. Buying records in Chicago and flying to London with them. Japanese techno happened without Japanese musicians having heard techno – they just read descriptions of it in magazines and tried to invent what they thought it must sound like.
You’d have things like acid house propagate over the world as a single thing, and it wouldn’t fractionate and complicate until later. Movements require(d) time and a low-information world to be that One Thing, that Punk or Psychedelia or Rock’n”Roll or whatever.
Dubstep is just one example of what the 21C did to popular culture: a brief coalescing of six different things that exploded on contact and was already complicating and flying apart and turning into new things the second after the wider world noticed it. A cloud of microcultures.
The above being nothing more than an excerpt from a long mail written as part of a conversation with a bunch of people I’m doing a panel with, this month: a recapitulation of old thinking, but I want to preserve it so I can consider what’s changed and how to update it.