I don't see that 'cartoon-like' and 'honesty' are necessarily exclusive of each other! ; )
And I wasn't actually saying I didn't like Odin, Ian. It depends very much on the mood, though I certainly wouldn't include it in my top 3 Cope releases (which is probably Kilimanjaro, Wilder and Fried in my case).
It's more a feeling that there's a certain, what could be construed as self-indulgence involved in it (he did after all make Odin for his own enjoyment by all accounts) and that it's not an album that will necessarily appeal to all Cope fans any more than Albarn's new one will appeal to his.
Maybe I need to check this new Albarn release out, because I think he's a genuinely talented bloke with a rare work ethic that only a few (the likes Cope, Cave, Hammill spring to mind) can match.
I just didn't think that the 'serious artist' (which on the one hand I understand but on the other consider a bit daft!) slur was exactly fair criticism in this case.
Well yes. Hmmm. Brain Donor was a sincere product AND a cartoon but not plastic or an intellectual gameplay for the entertainment of the media first and the public second. That's why he gets Kiss. Yes it is a cartoon. Yes they are cynical but it is aimed at fans not at critics. The most offensive critique of metal (and Brain Donor is total metal) is that fans are sold on it because we / they are dim witted. Brain Donor was not in any way ironic. It was a good thing because it is unashamed of its heritage and the people making it really do love rock n roll. Kiss are commercially cynical but what also comes through is that they really love rock n roll too. They wouldn't have the audience they have (for as long as the have had it) without that honest rock core within the cartoon coating.
At Kokos people seemed to think Cope was being ironic or arch when he seemed to me to be totally straight up. It was as if people couldn't cope with Cope playing that music without it being a bit of a joke.
My main problem with Albarn (other than the Chelsea thing) is not that he is playing at being a serious artist, rock history is choc full of slightly pretentious people who with a good editor avoid making under baked music, and his pop instincts are really good though I do think he is straying way into Sting territory here.
What really irritates and amuses by turns is how the arts establishment relate to him and his music. Like publishing and Labour politics this is a liberal establishment enclave. An enclave which is run largely by the same kind of people who ran it in the 80s, except now a few more of them are women. This is the world of the upper middle class, middle aged and Oxbridge educated. They don't understand rock, they don't like it very much, they certainly don't take it seriously as an art form but they think they ought to have some idea about what's happening for dinner party chatter and they like the commercial association as it brings a different kind of credibility, media attention and (crucially) money into their still fairly cloistered and elitist world.
For the non insiders the joy of rock is that non initiates always tend to get it slightly wrong. Maintaining that distance keeps the music relevant. Cross the streams at your peril. And the establishment know that so they buy their way into something for which they have no feel. Like a Russian oligarch buying footballers.
On the other hand how many contemporary English composers under the age of 40 could even the most adventurous of rock fans even name let alone talk about them with any authority? If that was a Pointless question there would be a lot of 100s scored. So on the one hand some quite average "serious" music gets over exposed and some truly great music that is accessible to the open-eared has no real platform at all except to an elite and a few music nutters.
That said the ENO do fantastic work. Of course it is horribly expensive to sit in a good seat but they keep a lot of fantastic music and theatre alive. They shouldn't need to play the populist card. As for Albarn I love the work ethic too (God knows that is rare enough in rock) but my gut feeling is that along with Emin, Hirst et al he will be remembered as part of the Major / Blair / Cameron era but only the Gorillaz will turn up in the history books. Probably on a page with Kiss and Kraftwerk!
When it comes to Odin, I think it is a fantastic record in terms of how it joins the world of Pauline Oliveros to the likes of Tangerine Dream but I have probably over-sold it a bit (!). I actually don't think many listeners (let alone critics) will remember Cope at all when we are all gone except for very possibly Jehovahkill. Though I think even that is unlikely. There is just too much else to listen to.
As time goes on and this becomes even more of a museum music than it is now, the only pop / rock era people will look back on with much interest is 64-79. Just as the only jazz most people care about is a post war era that ends with A Love Supreme. Doesn't mean that nothing else mattered it's just how culture gets compacted like dead vegetation.