at this point anybody who advances a big overview or puts forth a
major proposition deserves a pat on the back. And that applies to
viewpoints I disagree with. Sure it would be painful to have someone do some
major devastating critique on some little pet area of music, but I'd
probably get more out of it, ultimately.
Wood not trees approaches always miss nuances and details and stuff, but the
benefits outweigh the disadvantages. They are generative moves, whereas the
nitpicking thing that net culture seems to have devolved into, largely, just
grinds everything down into smaller particles.
A good example recently of the Big Look is this piece that Keenan did
in the Wire on what he called 'hypnagogic pop'. It wasn't fully-baked,
ideas wise (i still don't quite understand where 'hypnagogic states' come into it) but he identified a whole area of interesting music that was going on and threw
a whole bunch of interpretation and deep reading-into at it, some of it more
persuasive than other bits, but in the end something to think about it, and
it alerted me to a lot of music I would otherwise been much less likely to
notice, if each band had just been reviewed separately as totally autonomous