Music from the Haunted Bedsit
The perennial problem with any attempt to resurrect unacknowledged or unfinished artefacts of the past is the possibility of mere pastiche. Most hauntological works manage to avoid this, despite an occasional tendency to resort to Radiophonic Workshop tributes. One problem with hauntology though is that, perhaps unsurprisingly given the concentration on memory (as this is the area of the assumed eternal present, no matter how derivative the music) it's never really Pop.
Something like The Puppini Sisters I sort of feel I ought to like: I saw them live a few months ago and Andrews Sisters travesties of Smiths songs seemed rather like a good idea. But what tends to make this little more than a one-joke cabaret act is the otherwise unrelenting fidelity, the clarity of the pastiche, with only a couple of raised eyebrows or feminist subtexts to indicate the passing of 60 or so years. What would be really interesting, and a possible way out both for the un-popness of most hauntological music and the retro gestures of various conceptual bands, would be a synthesis of the two.
I've had a vague idea for a band for a little while, though zero musical ability or inclination have stopped it from gestating in any interesting manner. They might be called Greeneland, or Impromptu in Moribundia. The gist would be a kind of Grim Brittania pop, the musical equivalent of a Patrick Hamilton novel or a Bill Brandt photograph. The band would be photographed in smokily melancholy caffs like this one, would look vaguely akin to the young WH Auden (for boys) or Dorothy Parker (for girls), would play no Rock instruments of any sort and would generally do Tin Pan Alley covers: none of that 'writing your own songs' piffle. But the crucial point would be that the sound would be totally degraded and worn, suffused with echo and glitch: essentially it would have to sound like The Caretaker producing Anne Shelton, or Fennesz collaborating with Hutch, taking the crackle and hiss of the old recordings and treating them as an instrument in themselves. It would be the sound of decomposing matinee idols. It would be pervaded by twitching net curtains, dilapidation and lashings of guilt-ridden sex. This wouldn't have to limit itself to pre-pop pop either: Spector's wall was already pervaded with echo and aural degradation to match the songs' simmering sexual frustration. What it would have to be is pre-Rock, of course.
Considering that ever since Pop Idol and its ilk the pre-rock and roll model of stardom has been more or less restored, there's no reason why it couldn't happen. With an ever more elderly population, it could be marketed in some 'memory lane' manner, in much the same manner as retro jazz mag Classic Glamour, except with all the gaps, lacunae and disintegration of real memory left in. All it needs is for Louis Walsh to get into Basic Channel, or Simon Cowell decide that he can sell Luomo for it to become a possibility...