DO IT YOURSELF (DIY)

"Do It Yourself" is more a frame of mind, or approach, in creating music than any identifiable style or genre. While the term has been specifically applied to 1980s postpunk artists committed an amateurish, Everyman ethic, it has probably existed since homo sapiens first arrived at the concept of music by slapping various body parts, and experimenting with castoff bones, gourds, and sea shells. Art music composers such as Erik Satie, intrigued with the dada movement immediately following World War I, seem to have had an affinity for DIY conventions. Certainly, it has provided an alternative perspective for the development of virtually every indigenous American popular music genre. It all but defines folk music from a purist standpoint, and has fed the populist element of rock music—that most rebellious and anti-elitist of all musical forms. The spirit of DIY literally saturates 1950s rockabilly, 1960s garage rock, and 1970s punk/new wave. It represents the missing link between the passionate rants of the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and thousands of other bands on both sides of the Atlantic who were barely able to play their instruments prior to the 1980s, and the more stripped down, incendiary, low-fi proponents of the 1990s alternative rock. Notable practitioners—and seminal recordings—of this transitional postpunk variant include the Adverts (Crossing the Red Sea with the Adverts; Bright 201; 1978), Swell Maps (Collision Time; Rough Trade; 1981), Mekons (So Good It Hurts; Sin 008; 1988), Television Personalities (Mummy Your Not Watching Me; Fire; 1982), and the Posies (Dear 23; DGC 24305; 1990).

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