Of all the genres of music that have ever meant anything to me (and there are quite a bit - rock, punk, be bop, hip-hop, etc, etc.), shoegaze has always been my favorite. The moment I first discovered the glacial chimes of Lush or the beautiful feedback-drenched reverberations of My Bloody Valentine, I knew I had found the sound I was looking for.
Shoegaze, to me, will always be a timeless music genre. Born in England and tagged with a disparaging moniker by a member of the constantly fickle British music press, shoegaze quickly fell out of favor when the twin maelstroms of Grunge and Britpop came blowing through town. While detrimental at the time, the bandwagon-hopping inclinations of the music market would, in time, prove to be quite advantageous to a scene that appreciated effects pedals over sacchrine pop hits. In going underground, shoegaze, as a music genre, eventually gained a certain air of mystique and mystery to it.
While Oasis and Blur battled it out in Brittan, and Nirvana and Pearl Jam were influencing the future generation of "constipation rock" (Creed, Matchbox Twenty, Nickelback, etc.), many underground American musicians were basking the shoegaze afterglow, writing and performing their own dreampop songs. From the mid-1990's up to now, it's this level of dedication to the tone-bending craft - by those who appreciate it the most - has allowed shoegaze to age with both dignity and grace.
Twenty years on from the time bands like Ride, The Pale Saints or The Boo Radleys were staring down at their seemingly vast arrays of effects pedals, hammering out shimmering atmospheric ditties, shoegaze has followed its vapor trail back into reverence and appreciation from an shortsighted and imposed musical purgatory. Bands such My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver and Slowdive have recently reformed and are currently playing shows all over the world. A few have even released new albums.
It's a good time to be a fan of this music genre.
Which brings me to this: Los Angeles-based film director Eric Green's documentary about "the scene that celebrates itself," titled Beautiful Noise. Generated via Kickstarter, and produced by Green's wife Sarah Ogletree, Beautiful Noise traces the roots and influences of the shoegaze movement, featuring interviews with My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields, Jim Reid from The Jesus and Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie, and Mark Gardner of Ride, as well as interviews with rock luminaries such as Wayne Coyne, Billy Corgan, Trent Reznor, Robert Smith, and more.
Beautiful Noise looks like the documentary shoegazers the world over have been waiting for. I certainly know I have.