DREAM POP—THE WORDS CATCH in your throat like swallowed bubble gum. Which is why they summarize so well the music they’ve been glommed to. Eventually popularized by such bands as Ride, Lush, and My Bloody Valentine, the sound that inspired dream pop originally lofted up from the clubs of Manchester, England, in the mid ’80s, where an emerging generation of teen alchemists patched strobe lights and fully cranked guitar noise into acid-house sequencers, wrapping rock metal around house’s sensual yet faceless motifs of process and repetition. Opposed to the civic-mindedness many postpunk acts had adopted (read: U2), such music concocted a decentering dance ritual that sought not to inform minds but to undo them; it proposed an impersonal psychedelia for the cybernetic age, an esthetic privileging of engineering over expression, loss of self over self-consciousness.
Distinguishing the Manchester
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