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Rock and Electronic Music: Criticisms and Thoughts

By Version5 in Culture
Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 04:24:26 AM EST
Tags: Music (all tags)
Music

Music consists of three things. Rhythm, melody, and timbre. Most music contains all three, and all music tries to come up with interesting combinations. Melody tends to convey emotions well, and as a result, it is considered by many to be the most important part. Hence the term minimalism, which implies a minimization of the "important" part of music, the melody, instead focusing on timbre and rhythm. To those who defend Pop pablum, consider that true artistry lies in the ability to innovate in these three areas, not to simply repeat what has already been done. In this article, I will share my perspective and analysis of some musical genres as they relate to the three elements of music.


Rock Music

Like most western popular music, Rock considers melody to be the most important ingredient of music. When writing a new song, a rock musician tries to come up with interesting new melodic content without straying too far from the Rock framework. Rhythmically, rock is usually pretty consistent, and doesn't vary too much from standard Rock beats. Tonally, most rock bands are less than imaginative. Although some guitarists take great pride in their "sound", this is mostly lost on the majority of listeners, and most guitarists rely on standard clean and overdriven sounds or variations thereof. In the 60s and 70s, mainstream rock musicians experimented with new electronic organs and electric pianos like the Fender Rhodes, Hammond B-3 and the Wurlitzer and some bands still use these classics. In the 80s a few bands started using analog and FM synthesizers. Most of these newer sounds are rarely (if ever) heard in modern popular rock. Even when guitarists like Tom Morello come up with new and exciting ways of coaxing sound out of their instruments, they don't seem to have much of any influence on anyone. This is part of why I became dissatisfied with rock - it seems like most rock musicians are content. They are happily repeating what they've heard from other musicians. They aren't innovating anymore, not even bothering to try, and when you stop moving forward, you and your genre will die. Maybe its because a lot of guitarists aren't aspiring musicians, they are aspiring Rock Stars (TM). Rock Star first, musician second. I'm not saying that all guitarists are like this, but you have to admit, there has been quite a bit of Rock Star Syndrome going around in the past 20 years. Elvis, the Beatles, Van Halen, Metallica and Nirvana - their rock star excess has killed the genre that spawned them by drawing to it a crowd of eager fame-seekers, willing to do anything to achieve stardom. The rock star wannabes never sold out, because they never had any genuine feeling to express in the first place. There is an undeniable connection between sex and rock stars going back to Elvis at least, and it's common to hear of guys learning guitar or drums so then can join bands and get chicks. Hardly a noble motivation, and unlikely to produce intelligent, meaningful results. Don't get me wrong, I still love rock and I've been playing guitar for 12 years. It just isn't going anywhere with those kinds of people behind it.

Radiohead - "Saviours of Rock"

Radiohead experimented, or more correctly, borrowed from the experiments of innovative rock groups that the recording industry tossed aside as too weird for mainstream. They sampled old 8 bit drum machines (which Hip-Hop and electronic music has been doing for years), brought in a few of those fantastic electronic pianos from the 70s and analog synths and generally livened things up with an experimental sound that has never touched the mainstream. And you know what? They don't fit so well into that cosy "Alternative" or "Brit Rock" category anymore, and will probably suffer financially for it. That takes some guts, so they have my respect for breaking out of the mould.

Other Genres

Traditional classical music is very strongly melodic, fairly rhythmic and almost no imagination tonally :). Orchestral instruments have been around for hundreds of years, and we are all very accustomed to their sounds and I'm guessing that most classical listeners would rather hear their usual staple sounds anyway. William Orbit's Pieces in a Modern Style is a selection of his favorite compositions by classical titans like Barber, Cage, Beethoven and Handel arranged for synthesizers. I thought it was fantastic, but it seems to have been poorly received by more traditional critics. Many classical musicians have the idea that their instruments are "supposed" to sound a certain way, and there doesn't seem to be all that much leeway tonally.

Hip-hop relies primarily on rhythm, especially vocal rhythms, and is pretty short on melodic content, and except for variations in individual voices, doesn't particularly explore tonal qualities. I like music with strong melodic and tonal content, so I'm not a real big fan of this genre, although lately I've been warming up to it more, in part because of the influence of its had on electronic genres, especially Triphop and Drum n Bass.

Electronic Music - The Bastard Child

Most Americans regard electronic music with disdain, while erroneously referring to what little they hear as Techno, (which has a much less general meaning), or Electronica, (which means, in its original tongue: "A Name that Marketing Guys Made Up.") I prefer simply electronic music, which is a pretty loose catch-all term which includes Trance, House, Drum n Bass, Jungle, Happy Hardcore, Breakbeat, Hi-NRG, Trip hop, etc. There's a lot of different genres and sub-genres, not all of which I like, and I will probably misuse a few terms, so the experts may feel free to correct me.

The aforementioned disdain for my favorite set of genres has long confused and disturbed me. Some people call it "that disco shit", because a lot of House music contains disco elements, especially House from French artists. There's also a lot of disdain for Disco in general, probably because a lot of white guys are too macho to dance, and resort to making fun of those that can :P I must admit that a lot of crappy electronic music has somehow found its way to the mainstream, and a lot of this is called Hi-NRG and yes, I hate it as much as you do, but it's hardly representative of electronic music. A lot of electronic music is dance music, so it has a strong rhythmic quality to it. All dance music, including the waltz, swing, etc. is rhythmically repetitive. The drum sections of Trance, Techno and House influenced sub-genres usually have what's called four-to-floor beat which is that boom-boom-boom-boom that reminds everyone of Disco. As in any genre, some musicians deviate from the standard elements that define the genre and some stick with the tried-and-trusted formula. Educated listeners are able to distinguish between what's unique and what's formulaic.

The lack of meaningful lyrics in some electronic music also causes people to hastily reject it, although I venture to suggest that crappy electronic music suffers from insipid lyrics just as much as crappy pop music does. Most modern popular music contains strong vocal content, and very good instrumental music like Jazz and Classical has drastically fallen out of favor. Why the lack of interest in instrumental music? In my opinion, people don't take the time to learn to appreciate these extremely beautiful forms.

Its easy to connect with someone singing about their love and their heartbreak, but it takes a truly dedicated listener to hear someone express the same sentiments through music alone, and many music listeners are unfortunately unequipped to understand expression in this way. In some songs, the actual meaning of the lyrics is a mystery, but meaning is still conveyed in the singer's delivery. Expressions of happiness, anger, sadness and pain can be adaquatly expressed without meaningful lyrics. When people listen to music, they are listening for a human connection. When they encounter a foreign form of music, people often lack the ability to form this human connection, leading to quick pronouncements that its rubbish. So it is with electronic music. This desire for a human connection is reflected in the desire for live music. People like to see it being performed, to see someone interacting with their art, giving them a context and increased ability to "correctly" interpret the music. Sometimes at clubs, I see people crowded around the DJ who is doing nothing particularly special, and often isn't really interacting with the music any more than they are. Yet, they crowd around, wanting to see, wanting to visualize some human element. Lucky for me, as an electronic musician, I am the human element in the music.
An amusing side note: One day I ran into my neighbor after practicing guitar rather loudly. He commented he watched me through the window for a while during my practice session and he remarked that I had improved since he had last overheard me. Naturally, I keep a close watch on my guitar skills, and I don't think I had improved very much at all in the previous month or two. As a non-musician, he would probably be unable to detect any improvement in such a short time, but obviously, being able to see me play as well as hear me enhanced his experience.

Another objection to electronic dance music is "It's repetitive and boring." All music is repetitive. Repetition is used as form of variation in the Classical music formula of Theme and Variation. Pop music has the traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-chorus repetition, and Blues has the 12 bar Blues. People who are accustomed to listening to Rock or Pop have a hard time with lots of electronic music because they are so used to listening for melodic variation, and when they don't hear it, they promptly label it boring. In fact, they are listening for the wrong things. A lot (though not all) electronic music is melodically repetitive, but rhythmically and tonally extremely complex, which is really the aim. Electronic musicians often focus on innovating tonally, with huge arsenals of sound available to them, and tonal and rhythmic exploration is a cornerstone of electronic music. This is really a huge strength, because it gives an aspiring musician a great deal of freedom when composing, a freedom to draw on his or her own personal sonic palette. Jazz, Classical, Rock, and even traditional African and Asian sounds, rhythms and melodies are popular. To the astute listener, electronic music is a complex array of complex rhythms and sounds drifting in and out, complementing each other, fighting for dominance, combining with each other in fantastic rhythmic interplays, and constantly morphing, evolving and revealing themselves to the listener in a highly kinetic symphony of sound.

New listeners hoping to unlock the great unexplored treasures of the electronic music world must cast off their usual approach to listening to Rock or Pop music, and open their minds. Be prepared to dance :)

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My Favorite genre is
o Rock 23%
o Jazz 9%
o Classical 4%
o Hip-Hop 3%
o Something Electronic 24%
o Arm Pit Noises 3%
o Something else entirely 31%

Votes: 94
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Rock and Electronic Music: Criticisms and Thoughts | 119 comments (112 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
A few observations (4.50 / 6) (#1)
by localroger on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 10:23:59 PM EST

I have long been a fan of both Vangelis and W***** Carlos. It seems like these artists (and some others generally lumped under "new age" because they fit nowhere else) fill some of the craters in the moonscape you have described. These are artists who have done exactly what you have accused the mainstreamers of not doing, and acquired audiences for doing it, yet have not done it quite by the formula you seem to be prescribing.

You kind of dump on classical, yet it seems like Philip Glass has been doing exactly what you ask, with works like Koyaanisqatsi and the Mishima soundtrack, and getting audiences for it.

Finally, this list...

Elvis, the Beatles, Van Halen, Metallica and Nirvana

...reads like one of those "which one doesn't belong" problems you give your third-grader. If anything, Kurt Cobain's suicide was probably driven by the fact that he was being sucked into the very corporate void you criticize (assuming it really was a suicide, ed disclaimitrix dis). It seems like your neat little synthesis is less a value-neutral observation than a veiled attempt to stump for the music you like.

Which is a shame, because I will shamelessly admit that (having been raised in those years) I have an unrepentant fondness for disco and dance music myself. I just don't see the need to justify it with a bunch of music academy mumbo-jumbo. It sounds good and it feels good and isn't that really what matters, no matter what kind of music you like?

I can haz blog!

Not a musical criticism (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by Version5 on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 11:42:39 PM EST

Am I prescribing a formula? I don't feel like I am.

With respect to the "Elvis, the Beatles, Van Halen, Metallica and Nirvana" list, I'm not criticizing them musically or for their commercialism, I'm using them to illustrate the fame that wannabe Rock Gods aspire to in place of legitimate artistic goals. Perhaps that needs clarification?

[ Parent ]

Rock-God Wannabes (4.00 / 2) (#20)
by localroger on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 08:31:46 AM EST

With respect to the "Elvis, the Beatles, Van Halen, Metallica and Nirvana" list, I'm not criticizing them musically or for their commercialism, I'm using them to illustrate the fame that wannabe Rock Gods aspire to in place of legitimate artistic goals. Perhaps that needs clarification?

The problem I have with including Nirvana in this list is that nothing I have ever read about Kurt Cobain suggests that he ever wanted to be a Rock God, or even famous. Nirvana's low-rent grungy sound was meant to put off the mainstream music fans, but it was this very contempt for "Rock God" musical perfection that attracted the fans they did get. Nirvana was lyric-focused, in many ways comparable to the early Bob Dylan but much more pissed off.

There are plenty of examples of vapid music created by people who did aspire to Rock Godhood, but Nirvana isn't one of them.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Rock Godhood (4.00 / 2) (#21)
by Khalad on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 09:52:19 AM EST

Perhaps I misunderstand, but I thought the original poster was giving those bands as examples of rock gods that wannabes try to become, rather than the Beatles or Metallica were rock god wannabes. They are rock gods, and their talents are unquestionable.


You remind me why I still, deep in my bitter crusty broken heart, love K5. —rusty


[ Parent ]
That's it (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by Version5 on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 02:41:36 PM EST

You haven't misunderstood, that's exactly what I was trying to say

[ Parent ]
Loved this... (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by Vermifax on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 12:26:51 PM EST

"Which is a shame, because I will shamelessly admit that (having been raised in those years) I have an unrepentant fondness for disco and dance music myself. I just don't see the need to justify it with a bunch of music academy mumbo-jumbo. It sounds good and it feels good and isn't that really what matters, no matter what kind of music you like?"

That is 100% perfectly correct. People who insult pop music are just as wrong as those who insult elctronica, or rap, or any other form of music.

It all comes down to: you like what you like and you don't like what you don't like. Too often people will outright disclaim that some genre of music sucks, as if it were truth instead of just their opinion. I personally enjoy lots of music which includes music from current boy bands, to electronica, to classical, to metal, and everything inbetween.

This over analyzed approach to music, amounting basically to "My fav style of music is better than yours" is mental masturbation. Fun if that's your thing, but in the end, who cares, shut up and let me listen to the music I like.
- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]

aaaaieeee please stop... (none / 0) (#63)
by et on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 01:54:15 AM EST

...the subjectivism.... it's blinding....

--
rOWR!!!!! | I don't fucking dance
[ Parent ]
Would you rather... (none / 0) (#76)
by Vermifax on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 11:39:48 AM EST

...have absolute perfect irrefutable truth....and while your at it, is that my truth or yours?


- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]

your you're yore .... (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by Vermifax on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 11:43:45 AM EST

Won of these daze I'll yous the write form.
- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]
"No imagination?" (4.50 / 2) (#2)
by fluffy grue on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 10:30:23 PM EST

Classical music has no imagination, tonally? You realize, of course, that it was classical music which established the tonality of the instruments which it uses.

Also, most of those instruments have very real physical limitations, and many artists such as Chopin and Rachmaninoff did explore their full range. I mean, what's classical going to do, add semitone keys to the piano?

Granted, stringed instruments do have a lot more range which was never expressed, but most of the classical composers were pianists, and used their piano to plan out the melodies, harmonies, and such.

Also, I've yet to hear any modern music of any genre which explores alternate scale systems which doesn't Suck Ass. What little I've heard which isn't based on the 12-tone chromatic scale uses an alternate scale for the sake of using an alternate scale, and seems to put the "artistic" nature above actually sounding pleasant.

Oh well. Since it's actually on-topic for once, I'm gonna make a shameless plug for my own cross-genre music. See my signature.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Not criticizing classical music (3.00 / 1) (#6)
by Version5 on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 12:03:32 AM EST

I'm aware of the physical limitations of orchestral instruments, and my intention is not to criticize the genre. I do appreciate classical music, I'm just pointing out its strengths and weaknesses with respect to melody, tone and rhythm as a sort of prelude to my exploration of these same ideas in electronic music.

Your input is greatly appreciated. I totally feel you on the innovate-but-don't-alienate issue. Consider Aphex Twin: Off the deep end rhythmically, but totally sane and predictable melodically. My feeling is that if you want to go nuts in one area, give your listeners something they are more used to. Like that song you have in 5/5 time.

[ Parent ]

SNAFU (none / 0) (#9)
by cybin on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 12:16:49 AM EST

there is no such thing as 5/5 time... just a side note!

[ Parent ]
Argh (3.00 / 2) (#10)
by fluffy grue on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 12:23:13 AM EST

I have justified this many times. Please read that before you make a sweeping generalization.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

hey man... (4.50 / 2) (#12)
by cybin on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 12:44:09 AM EST

all i'm saying is that if you notated something in 5/5 time and asked a person who reads music to play it, they would think you were an idiot. read my post above, i'm on your side.

your piece is very interesting but i personally have never heard of a fifth note, and can't find anything about it... logically it is not allowed on the bottom of a meter signature, my notation program won't let me set it to 5 even in the "custom signature" box.

there was a piece by Don Ellis called "33 222 1 222", where it was in 19-beat phrases, so maybe it's more logical to refer to your 5/5 piece as being in 25/8, or 5+5+5+5+5... ? if you were going to write it down that would be a good way to do it :) but now we are off-topic... email me if you want to continue the conversation :)

[ Parent ]
Reread my justification (2.50 / 2) (#26)
by fluffy grue on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 02:17:50 PM EST

I'm not using formal notation. It's all sequenced in a tracker. A 'fifth note' sounds just like a 'quarter note' or 'eighth note' or 'half note' - it is simply a note which takes up 1/5 of the measure time.

Like I said in my justification, keep in mind where the /4 COMES from.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

this is stupid (4.50 / 2) (#35)
by cybin on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 04:26:21 PM EST

i'm sorry, but this is absolutely moronic. i KNOW where the bottom number comes from. the TOP number is how many subdivisions there are in the measure, the bottom number which note value gets the beat. there is no such thing as a fifth note. i don't care if you used a tracker, there are still note values that are nonexistant.

for example, a bar of 6/8, there are 6 measure subdivisions and only 2 "beats" because it's a triple meter. 5 is nothing more than 2+3 or 2+2+1 or 4+1. if you're not using notation, why claim to have a time signature when that is PART of musical notation?

i personally don't care what you think you are doing, but any musician that sees this crap is going to think you're a moron. your fair warning.



[ Parent ]
Okay then (none / 0) (#39)
by fluffy grue on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 09:55:09 PM EST

Tell me, why were notes originally chosen to be 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc.?
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

origins (4.80 / 5) (#49)
by cybin on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 01:08:56 PM EST

let me begin by saying i understand where you are coming from. you're thinking about the meter signature to mean some division of the measure, when in truth the meter signature is nothing more than a proportion given to the beat of the music.

without going too much into 14th century music, which uses a completely different notation system as the one we use today, sometime during the middle ages, when meter signatures were circles or half circles, either with a dot in the middle or without...

people didn't start putting bar lines in their music until the middle of the 17th century. before that, we see evolutions in the division of the beat that are based on 2's and 3's.

our modern time signature notation is based upon that -- back in the pre-baroque people said "OK, well, we have this long note. it can be divided into two or three breves. that breve can be divided into 2 or 3 semi-breves, those semi-breves can be divided into 2 or 3 minims, and those minims can be divided into 2 or 3 semiminums." the meter signature at the beginning of the music told you which one got the beat, and the subdivision of that value, essentially telling the musician where the downbeats are in the music.

in the 17th century the barline was introduced indicating a rough pattern of where the strong and weak beats were.

with all of this evolving over the centuries we have arrived today in a place where our meter signatures happen to be dictated by hundreds of years of musical evolution upon which people are still innovating. the interpretation of the meter signature is heavily dependent on how fast the music is or the tempo.

the bottom number indicates the undotted note value that recieves the beat, the top denotes the number of those beats in a measure.

this is not a perfect system, and in one of the books i used as a reference here the author, Robert Gauldin, says "it is unfortunate that an easier method of indicating meter has not become standard" and then goes on to talk about newer notations in which the composer will indicate the actual note value with its symbol on the score, i.e. you'll sometimes see 4/dotted-half, indicating that there are 2 strong beats (a quadruple meter) and that those strong beats have the value of 3 quarter notes. notice the quarter note here is not 1/4th of a measure, but in fact 1/12th.

the solution to what meter your piece is actually in may lie in this newer notation -- if you want 5 beats per bar obviously the top number is going to be 5. the bottom could be a symbol, and you say you want 5 divisions per beat... that would make the meter signature 5/(quarter tied to dotted quarter), or something similar depending on what the tempo is. certainly much more innovative than trying to invent a fifth note, which is, in essence, illegal according to the restrictions placed upon us by our predecessors.

i apologize to the rest of the community for being off-topic.

[ Parent ]
thanks for the history lesson (1.25 / 4) (#62)
by et on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 01:47:45 AM EST

..you patronising cunt
... without going too much into 14th century music, which uses a completely different notation system as the one we use today, sometime during the middle ages...
Oddly enough, a tracker has it's own completely different notation system much like the 14th century savages. And though I'm sure the tracker programs which have deviated from ye olde staff & sheet are all duly ashamed of the effrontery and pretense of their impudent code, that doesn't change the fact that you've missed the point here entirely, and that the way they function one can have themselves 5/5. You've continued this down to the point of giving history lessons, and fluffy grue rightly feels outright insulted by your self-absorbed patronisation. No, according to your painstaking learned rules of musical theory, there can be no 5/5. You are correct. But nobody was talking about your own frame of reference to begin with in the first place. Be quiet now, go make some good music instead of blustering on and calling people morons on a public forum.

--
rOWR!!!!! | I don't fucking dance
[ Parent ]
You're stuck with traditional meter... (2.00 / 2) (#65)
by Locando on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 02:19:43 AM EST

Oddly enough, a tracker has it's own completely different notation system much like the 14th century savages.
(snip)
No, according to your painstaking learned rules of musical theory, there can be no 5/5. You are correct.
Well, if you're changing around the notation system, then wouldn't meter be defined in some different manner? If you are saying the meter is 5/5 or 4/4 or whatever, it sounds like you're using the notation of those 14th century savages, according to whom there is no 5/5. It would have to be either 5/4 or 4/4 with pentuplets; otherwise you're changing the notation system. That is perfectly acceptable, but arguing about the existence of 5/5 in that case seems like arguing over the existence of 4/6/3/4 time (for use with planar, as opposed to linear time) - you kinda have to make your own construct to describe that one, and trying to make it exist under a predefined construct can't happen.

People are strange.
[ Parent ]
end. (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by cybin on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 09:49:24 AM EST

the question was asked and answered. i explained myself, apparently still not to the liking of the local attack dogs.

if fluffy wants to write his music down someday, i suggested a way he might do so.

so, i'm done. let me close by saying there is some really great 14th century music, if you want to hear something that sounds cool and different by today's standards, check it out.

[ Parent ]
Trackers use 64/16 time (none / 0) (#113)
by pin0cchio on Sat Aug 18, 2001 at 03:16:03 AM EST

You know what you doing.

>>Oddly enough, a tracker has it's own completely different notation system

>Well, if you're changing around the notation system, then wouldn't meter be defined in some different manner?

A tracker's meter is something on the order of 64/16 or 64/32. Each row is typically defined to be a sixteenth, twenty-fourth (triplet of 16th), or thirty-second note using the speed command (F0x in MOD, XM, and NED; A0x in S3M and IT), and each measure has 64 rows. Other meters can be created by inserting a barline with the "pattern break" command (D00 in MOD, XM, and NED; C00 in S3M and IT). The 4/4 feel that rises from the mess is the result of placing snare or clap hits on rows 8*n+4.


lj65
[ Parent ]
BTW (none / 0) (#40)
by fluffy grue on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 10:04:39 PM EST

  1. I didn't bring this up, and I don't know why you're (essentially) attacking me over it
  2. I don't know why you seem to think you're "on my side"
  3. "any musician that sees this crap" implies that I'm not a musician and/or that my music (by extension of my attitudes towards music) is crap, and that is incredibly insulting to me.

--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

5/5 time... (none / 0) (#103)
by lb008d on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 04:27:12 PM EST

...is possible under conventional notiation, but noisy. Look here for an example of how composer Henry Cowell composed his piece Fabric. Notice the alternate music notation system - this should hopefully clear up this thread about 5/5 time, namely that it would be easier with another notation system.

PS - Fabric is an absolute bitch for pianists to play.



[ Parent ]
Oh my goodness.... (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 05:41:09 AM EST

I'm aware of the physical limitations of orchestral instruments, and my intention is not to criticize the genre. I do appreciate classical music, I'm just pointing out its strengths and weaknesses with respect to melody, tone and rhythm as a sort of prelude to my exploration of these same ideas in electronic music.

Fortunately you did not mentioned harmony as well.

Are you saying that a musical genre that produces Beethoven's 9th simphony, Schubert's Lieder (songs), Wagner's and Verdi's operas has problems with melody?

Or that a genre that has produced the most exhilarating waltzes, polkas, or that has created polyrythms lacks rhytmic qualities?

Although I don't know what do you mean with tone, is worth noticing that the tonal system was created, perfectioned and first ignored in the confines of the classical tradition.

Are you saying that you can point out the "weaknesses" of music written by Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Cage, Part, Reich and many others?

Oh my, oh my, that is a challenging task of yours, which you fail miserably to even address in an anecdotical fashion.

Bach stablished the 12 tone equaly tempered system in western music, writing some of the best music ever in the process.

Beethoven stablished the language and technique of the piano, perhaps the most importan instrument of western music.

Wagner aimed to produce total art.

Stravinsky introduced to the masses polyrythms and announced the breaking with the tradition of previous centuries.

Schonberg set composers free from the harmony inherent to the 12 tone system.

Cage investigated randomness in music and questioned the role of the musician and the listener (4' 33'').

Classical music is not weak in the technical or artistic sense, if there is something weak as a genre in western influenced music is all the rock music that in general aims so low that achieves too little. While the people mentioned above were aiming to change Music and even Art as they knew it, today's rock bands greatest ambition is to have a 3 minutes hit or a few thousends fans. Pop music of most denominations is aimed to satisfy the human need to listen to something, but they are the Macdonalds of the music universe.

Where are the rock music attempts to play with atonalism, non western influences, microtonalism, to play without guitars, or to produce choral music? For goodness sake, where are the attempts of rock musicians to make music that lasts longer than 3 minutes and whose creativity is not constrained by how many tracks can go in a CD?

Leave classic music alone. I agree, rock music needs a lot of fixing, but to make your point it is not necessary to mention classical music: they move in completely different levels, aiming to do completely different things, which can be complementary, but never competitive or susbtitute of each other.
------------------------------------
"They only think of me as a Mexican,
an Indian or a Mafia don"
Mexican born actor Anthony Quinn on
Hol
[ Parent ]

About semitones in the piano. (none / 0) (#71)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 05:57:25 AM EST

OK, I guess that after you posted you noticed the mistake, but any way it is worth noting that the piano has those funky black keys that actualy are half tone away from the contigous white keys.

Some composers actualy designed and built pianos and other instruments with keys separated by 1/3, 1/4 etc of a tone. Mexican composer Julian Carrillo was one of them. The pianos look like normal ones but once one plays them the similarities end.

Although the experiments of him and many others became a dead end (musical notation too complex, arrival of computers), it exemplifies the willingness and curiosity typical of musicians in the classical tradition.

------------------------------------
"They only think of me as a Mexican,
an Indian or a Mafia don"
Mexican born actor Anthony Quinn on
Hol
[ Parent ]
If you want musical innovation... (4.25 / 4) (#3)
by DeadBaby on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 10:33:27 PM EST

Try Jazz. A lot of the stuff that happened in jazz in the 50's and 60's is still cutting edge. In fact, I personally think the quality of jazz from this period effectively muted the genre. There hasn't been much good jazz produced since. I think people are still trying to digest the greatness from this period. Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Monk, Charlie Parker. The list really goes on and on.

No other form of modern music had such a utopian explosion of innovation that jazz experienced in the middle of last century.

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
And yet... (2.00 / 2) (#14)
by Vladinator on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 01:03:57 AM EST

... After I voted, the poll said there was only one vote for Jazz. That's really suprising to me.
--
LRSE Hosting
[ Parent ]
Polls... (none / 0) (#22)
by DeadBaby on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 10:04:35 AM EST

I'm not a big poll fan..

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Jazz Dead! (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by phliar on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 01:47:32 AM EST

Try Jazz. A lot of the stuff that happened in jazz in the 50's and 60's is still cutting edge.
True.
There hasn't been much good jazz produced since.
People keep saying "Jazz is dead." Even people like Wynton Marsalis. And they're wrong. People seem to believe that Jazz must sound like Miles Davis and his First Great Quintet. Why?

(Don't get me wrong - Miles Davis and his First Great Quintet is among my favourite music and perhaps my most significant inspiration. If I had to pick just one track that is the most important to me, it would be "Bye Bye Blackbird" from 'Round About Midnight. That is what made me take up playing trumpet.)

Just as I'd call a lot of electronic music I hear today "classical", I'd call a lot of it "Jazz." To me, the difference is: if it's improvised, it's jazz. And that's not a very useful categorisation, if you're listening to a CD. Labels suck.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

What? (4.00 / 1) (#24)
by Aphexian on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 11:35:36 AM EST

Charlie Hunter, John Zorn, Diana Krall (although most of her works are covers), Mike Patton - I must be sitting on a goldmine of unrecognized jazz here in my 2 bedroom apartment.

No deference to Davis, Coltrane, etc... I'm holding quite a few of those albums as well, but to say there hasn't "been much good jazz produced since", maybe you need to realign your perception of jazz... Or get your butt to the music store (one who can import hopefully).
[I]f there were NO religions, there would be actual, true peace... Bunny Vomit
[ Parent ]
Electronic Music... (4.00 / 6) (#4)
by DeadBaby on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 10:37:29 PM EST

Isn't boring. It's bland. There's a huge difference. People who dislike it confuse the terms. Boring music would be music that you dislike so much it actually bores you to listen to it, it focuses your mind enough to frustrate it into not even being able to listen to the design of it.

Bland music would be music that you listen to enough to understand the concepts and design behind it but something that makes your mind feel restricted and unchallenged.

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
That is patently idiotic (3.00 / 1) (#44)
by kumquat on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 03:59:36 AM EST

You might want to start with something relatively simplistic like Aphex Twin or Squarepusher, then graduate to a little more complexity like Amon Tobin or Plaid, slowly working your way towards stuff like Autechre. You can take a nice little tour of ground-breaking music that challenges the listener at least as much as your precious jazz, and we haven't even touched the experimental stuff yet.

The majority of 'electronic' music that is widely heard is of-the-moment, disposable crap, just like every other genre of music since the beginning of time. But if you can be bothered to look a little deeper than the surface of 4-on-the-floor club shit for X-ing 16 year old kids, you just might find out that hidden behind the mass-produced bland are some amazingly creative and talented musicians. All musical genres are like this.

No other form of modern music had such a utopian explosion of innovation that jazz experienced in the middle of last century.
[taken from another of your comments]
You couldn't be more wrong. You are just too close-minded to realize it. Rather than try something new, your fear has led you to wrap yourself in the safe past where all the discovery and innovation has already been dissected and examined for easy consumption. All it takes to appreciate jazz (or classical) are a few trips to the record store and a couple hours thumbing through one of the hundreds of dry history books. Appreciating new music requires you to both be involved in current events and to utilize your own critical skills to determine what is important and what is forgettable.

[ Parent ]
Re: That is patently idiotic (5.00 / 2) (#45)
by Trepalium on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 08:20:41 AM EST

No, what's patently idiotic is that everytime someone says they don't like electronic music because it's bland, boring or irratating, someone always has to spring up to say that they're stupid because of this and this and this reason. Just because I or anyone else doesn't like electronic music genres, doesn't mean our opinion is invalid. To me, electronic music is bland, much of it is even boring. I've listened to Aphex Twin, and Squarepusher -- I couldn't stand it.

If you like electronic music, fine, listen to it. If he likes jazz, fine, let him listen to it. Just don't expect everyone else to.

[ Parent ]

Nice logic! (3.00 / 1) (#50)
by kumquat on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 03:25:40 PM EST

It is perfectly acceptable for a person to offer a blanket condemnation of something they don't understand very well. However, I have absolutely no right to counter that condemnation with an argument based on long-term experience.

The irrefutable superiority of your rhetorical skills is truely without equal.

[ Parent ]

My logic? (none / 0) (#80)
by Trepalium on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 12:36:39 PM EST

Let me tell you something about my logic. My logic tells me that his statement was an opinion not a hard-line stated fact, not because he said so, but because there's no way it could be anything else. My logic tells me that people will have different tastes and opinions and it's worthless to argue over them, because you'll never sway anyone's opinion.

My only question is why do you feel so threatened by his opinion?

[ Parent ]

Not threatened, flabbergasted (none / 0) (#84)
by kumquat on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 04:03:07 PM EST

To spare myself the hassle of rewriting something, please read this comment.

What I object to, in the strongest, non-emotional terms possible, is the presumption that elctronic music is worthless. This has nothing to do with my enjoyment of it, or anyone else's lack thereof. It is an assessment whereby I have looked at the field of music in as broad a manner possible and have come to the conclusion that electronic music and electronic musicians are having a huge impact on all music.

The problem is that most people refuse to accept this simply because they don't enjoy what the genre produces. They are the ones who are limiting their scope and improperly using subjective emotion to judge something. This is like me stating that SUV ownership amongst USians doesn't mean anything because I don't like SUV's.

There is a huge topic for discussion, but that discussion never happens because those who are opposed to elctronic music limit their arguments to the fact that they personally don't like the music. This is tunnel vision. This is being close-minded. This is what I consider patently idiotic.

The development of electronic instruments and how those using them have changed the way music is composed, recorded and performed is a huge evolutionary shift in the long history of music. The wonderful part is that it is happening right now. I don't need to wish I had been in Harlem in the 40's for the heyday of Jazz, or that I had been in Warsaw circa 1840 to see Chopin forever change the nature of piano composition. I can see history being made in real time. Knowing the past is important, but ignoring the present is foolish.

[ Parent ]

The basis for "Holy Wars" (none / 0) (#88)
by Trepalium on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 09:09:43 PM EST

There is a huge topic for discussion, but that discussion never happens because those who are opposed to elctronic music limit their arguments to the fact that they personally don't like the music. This is tunnel vision. This is being close-minded. This is what I consider patently idiotic.
Think about this for a moment: You mean that people who don't like something spend just enough time listening/discovering something to learn that they don't like it? I really don't think this should surprise you. I don't like electronic music, can I give you factual evidence why I don't? No, I can't. The best I can say is that it's often overly repetitive, and many of the synthetic sounds get on my nerves. If that's not good enough for you, well, then I'm sorry, because it's impossible for me to explain my tastes. Likewise, I can't explain why I dislike Country music, or anything else for that matter.

The development of electronic instruments and how those using them have changed the way music is composed, recorded and performed is a huge evolutionary shift in the long history of music. The wonderful part is that it is happening right now.
There have been people who have said this about every musical form that has arrised, regardless of it's eventual role. And, indeed, every musical form has left some kind of mark on "Popular" music in one way or another. But is it foolish of me to not be interested in electronic music because I don't like it? I'm sure there's exciting things happening in architecture, agriculture, and automotive industries, too, does that make me a fool for not being terribly interested in those?

It has been said that whatever form of music you grow up listening to until you're out of your teens tends to be the music you will want to listen to your entire life. I grew up listening to rock and rock alternative stuff, so it'd probably stand to reason that I'd prefer that stuff.

[ Parent ]

You're still misinterpreting (none / 0) (#90)
by kumquat on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 11:12:23 PM EST

But is it foolish of me to not be interested in electronic music because I don't like it?

What is foolish is to dismiss it as 'unimportant' becaue you don't like it. I never said people should like eletronic music. Unfortunately the typical comment is not, "I don't care for it myself." The typical comment is something like, "worthless crap made by machines." If that is somebody's actual opinion as to it's worth in regards to the entire field of music (as opposed to whether or not they enjoy it personally), then I expect a reasonable argument for that opinion that is not based on their personal listening tastes. Of course you can't can't convincingly argue that side if you have never really explored what the genre has to offer.

I'm sure there's exciting things happening in architecture, agriculture, and automotive industries, too, does that make me a fool for not being terribly interested in those?

Only if you try to claim that current architecture sucks, or that new cars suck, or that current farming practices suck. If people want to make any sort of intelligent commentary on something other than expressing their personal disintrest in it, then they better damn well take the time to learn about the subject first. To use a computer analogy, if my very non-geeky, Windows-using brother says that Linux is worthless based on one ten-minute experiment, do you consider that a valid opinion? After all, it is true for him. He has no need of it or interest in learning it (nor do I, but that is beside the point). His opinion is just as valid as anyone else's, right? From that we can deduce that Linux really is worthless. My brother said so.

It has been said that whatever form of music you grow up listening to until you're out of your teens tends to be the music you will want to listen to your entire life.

That is an absolute shame. Since you grew up with alternative rock, that means I am about 10 years older than you. As an exception to the rule, I feel bad for the rest of you. You're missing some great stuff.

[ Parent ]

pearls before swine (3.00 / 2) (#54)
by dr k on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 05:25:01 PM EST

I guess people just want attention. First they complain about how bad the music they listen to is, which invites others to make heartfelt suggestions about what they should listen to. But then the whiners say no thank you, I've already tried that, which qualifies them for a free punch in the face.

Here's some free advice: no one cares about what you don't like, and you are under no obligation to elaborate why you don't like what you don't like. Did electronic music kill your brother and kick your dog?
Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

Bahahahah (none / 0) (#96)
by NovaHeat on Tue Aug 14, 2001 at 03:22:41 PM EST

All it takes to appreciate jazz (or classical) are a few trips to the record store and a couple hours thumbing through one of the hundreds of dry history books. So... please, enlighten us as to what you know about jazz. Maybe you'd like to speak a few words about John Zorn and Masada. Or perhaps your specialty is Medeski, Martin, and Wood. No? What? Couldn't find them in "dry history books"? Oh yeah, that would be because they're making new music which requires you to be involved and to use your own critical skills to determine what is important and what is forgettable. Get a clue, man. Jazz isn't dead, nor is it a thing of the 1940's and 50's.

-----

Rose clouds of flies.
[ Parent ]

History (none / 0) (#109)
by zhermit on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 01:47:57 PM EST

Yes, thumb through a musical history book. It will teach you how to appreciate the music you're listening to. (I don't mean this as a flame, honestly, I'm just trying to make a point.) See, in order to truly understand where MMW or Radiohead or filla brazilla or whatever other experimental-ish band is doing these days, you really have to understand where they're coming from. This means understanding what's so special about the masters, from Beethoven to BB to e. (yes, had to throw in eels, why has no one mentioned them?!)
So all the experimentation wasn't done 30 years ago. And yes, it's still going on. But do you think what's going on today couldn't happen without the masters of yesteryear?

*****

I have a sig?
[ Parent ]
Delivery of lyrics (4.00 / 2) (#7)
by Nick Ives on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 12:08:58 AM EST

In some songs, the actual meaning of the lyrics is a mystery, but meaning is still conveyed in the singer's delivery. Expressions of happiness, anger, sadness and pain can be adaquatly expressed without meaningful lyrics
Of course, not all singers deliver the lyrics in a style that expresses the actual meaning of the lyrics. Take the Pixies as an example, everytime I so much as start to listen to one of their albums I cant help but smile and feel happy, but the lyrics range from bright & happy, dark & depressing to nonsensical. The contrast between the happiness that the sound generally delivers and the darkness that comes from the words is one of their greatest achievements IMO.

As for electronic music, well, I've actually been a long standing fan of electronic music in general. There are certain sub genres that I cant stand and other sub genres that I love, but overall I think that electronic music is a good thing, I mean, its new and people are trying new things with it, so yea, its cool. I do listen to quite a lot of electronic music, but I rarely listen to the dance genres outside of clubs. For me dance music is for dancing and the best time to enjoy it is when your on the dancefloor with all the lights flashing in a crowd of people who are all smiling and feeling the music as much as you are. That element is just as important as the music itself, something a lot of people tend to miss when talking about dance music.

--
Nick
moo

Disco creeping into house... (2.00 / 4) (#11)
by SvnLyrBrto on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 12:23:57 AM EST

>Some people call it "that disco shit", because
> a lot of House music contains disco
>elements, especially House from French
>artists. There's also a lot of disdain for Disco
>in general, probably because a lot of white
>guys are too macho to dance, and resort to
>making fun of those that can :P

Well, I'm white. I can't dance... well not very well at least. But that doesn't stop me from getting out there and trying. It's not too productive to be self-concious on the dance floor in the rave scene. While dance circles may form around the BEST dancers, no one really cares if youre not too good. It's a very "live and let live" scene.

And I *DO* like *good* house. It's just that there is a lot of BAD house out there. And the BAD house is usually that which allows too much "disco shit" to creep into it. Disco still sucks, it's dead and maggot infested, and it should damn well STAY dead. So when the DJ starts to spin house that starts to sound like it's been infected by too much disco, that's my cue to bail out and move over to the trance or NRG room.

Of course, when I'm fortunate enough to be at a partie with a Happy Hardcore room, or lineup.... all bets are off. The BEST house can't compete with HappyKore, and ONLY the best trance might lure me away.


peace,
john

Imagine all the people...

Disco creeping into house? (none / 0) (#30)
by spacejack on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 03:05:47 PM EST

Funny, house music pretty much evolved straight out of disco. Larry Levan? Taana Gardner? Frankie Knuckles? Come on, don't be shy of your history.

[ Parent ]
What has dancing to do with music ? (3.50 / 2) (#38)
by neuneu2K on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 06:14:12 PM EST

<rant>

When you listen to good music, you listen !
Sometimes, if you are in the mood, you may want do "follow" the music by dancing. It is a personal relationship with the music.
Implying that some people dance "well" and some others dance "badly" separates the dance from the music and make it into its more modern form: a social interaction that has no more to do with music then basketball (maybe even less !)



You must know the feeling: you are at a party, you like the music, enjoy it, the dance floor is filled of people who do not listen to the music, people who are there for social reasons (maybe they just want to fuck... maybe it is more complex !), you do not mind, the music is good.Then, a girl (or something else, adapt for your gender and orientation...) invites you to dance...
I dont want to dance ! I want to fucking listen to the music !!!


</rant>


Note to self: do not post a rant after drinking 1.5L of Grog !


- "And machine code, which lies beneath systems ? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic..." - Umberto Eco
[ Parent ]
You seem angry (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by spiralx on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 04:02:01 PM EST

Implying that some people dance "well" and some others dance "badly" separates the dance from the music and make it into its more modern form: a social interaction that has no more to do with music then basketball (maybe even less !)

I don't think that's what he meant. The whole point of going clubbing and listening and dancing to dance music is that there's no skill contest on the dancefloor, it's whatever you feel like doing.

Or at least that's what it's like at the places I go to. Dancing is purely an expression of your joy in the music, and has everything to do with the music. If the music isn't something I like, I can't dance to it, and the music affects how I dance.

You must know the feeling: you are at a party, you like the music, enjoy it, the dance floor is filled of people who do not listen to the music, people who are there for social reasons (maybe they just want to fuck... maybe it is more complex !), you do not mind, the music is good.

Sounds like you go to the wrong parties. There's a good reason it's called dance music - people go out to dance.

Then, a girl (or something else, adapt for your gender and orientation...) invites you to dance...
I dont want to dance ! I want to fucking listen to the music !!!

Jesus. Relax. You can do both at the same time you know.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Yes, I can do both at the same time... (none / 0) (#72)
by neuneu2K on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 06:30:02 AM EST

Sometimes I even want to !

But, i dont interrupt people who are dancing to invite them to come sit with me and enjoy the music !

What my rant is aiming at is certainly not dancing per se, it is the socially mandated part, if yu dont feel the pressure because you allways want to dance, good for you (really !).
But thinking that, to enjoy yourself, you must dance is repulsive to me.

Sorry if I seemed angry... I was, but you were not really my target :-)


- "And machine code, which lies beneath systems ? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic..." - Umberto Eco
[ Parent ]
Garbage - Sleep toegether (4.33 / 3) (#13)
by delmoi on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 01:02:31 AM EST

"If we sleep together, will you like me better?"
"If we come together, we'll go down forever."

"If we sleep together, will I like you better?"
"If we come together, move it now or never."

My point is that's a cool song. What the hell genera of music is Garbage in anyway, would you class them as "rock" or "something electronic." Your differentiations don't seem terribly nuanced to me.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Garbage (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by fluffy grue on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 02:33:31 PM EST

I personally consider Garbage to be electronica country rock. They seem to have an even blending of all three.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

odd (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by spacejack on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 03:22:13 PM EST

Ever hear that Romeo Void tune that goes:

"You might like me better if we slept together"
"You might like me better if we slept together"
"But there's something in your eyes that says never"
"Never! Say! Never!" (cue horns)

[ Parent ]
Garbage (1.00 / 1) (#60)
by et on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 01:22:24 AM EST

are aptly named

--
rOWR!!!!! | I don't fucking dance
[ Parent ]
about Radiohead (4.66 / 3) (#18)
by Delirium on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 03:51:02 AM EST

I know it's a bit of a tangential point in your article, but the current popularity of Radiohead is actually a bit interesting. You mention that they don't fit into any easy categories anymore, and would suffer financially for that, but that's not necessarily the case. They have in fact gotten much less radio play than in the past ("Creep" off their first album being a huge radio success), but if anything they actually are more popular now than before. Their albums sell millions and their concerts sell out nearly instantly. So while not as radio-friendly and "mainstream" as previously, they're hardly suffering financially.

Getting Laid... (4.25 / 4) (#23)
by Sawzall on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 10:48:00 AM EST

has been a central point to music a hell of alot longer than Elvis. I can point to Rocks roots - Blues, and BB King will tell you that his picking up the instrument for the first time had a lot to do with his interest with attracting women.

With a little bit of research, I bet a long history could be filled with such examples. I suspect that since sex is one of the primal parts of human existance, and music probably one of man's first inventions, the two went together long before anyone started "thinking" about it.

What is the purpose of poetry? (none / 0) (#93)
by dennis on Tue Aug 14, 2001 at 01:12:31 PM EST

..."To woo women!"

-Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society

[ Parent ]

And.. (none / 0) (#94)
by CyberQuog on Tue Aug 14, 2001 at 02:11:07 PM EST

The never ending search for good dope...


-...-
[ Parent ]
Radiohead... (4.20 / 5) (#25)
by zztzed on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 02:00:47 PM EST

Radiohead's a good band. Really. I like them. But every time I see them hailed as the "saviors of rock" or something like that, well, I want to say it makes me cringe, but considering I said that exact same thing (admittedly, about something else) in my last music-related comment, I'll say it annoys the hell out of me. I really don't understand why there's all this excitement about Radiohead and their electronic wankings. They've produced a few good songs since Kid A, but overall I don't think Kid A and Amnesiac are anything to be creaming your pants over as so many people seem to be doing. So they decided to put aside their instruments for synthesizers and sequencers -- so what?

Radiohead: (1.00 / 2) (#31)
by spacejack on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 03:07:25 PM EST

Worst band since Pink Floyd.

[ Parent ]
I wish someone would explain Radiohead to me... (none / 0) (#41)
by John Miles on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 10:11:46 PM EST

They sound like some dude rubbing a balloon.

But everybody seems to think they're really the coolest shiznit since Elvis, so it's likely that I'm the one who's clueless.

Can anyone explain Radiohead's critical and commercial appeal to someone who Just Doesn't Get It?

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

Sorry (none / 0) (#47)
by StrontiumDog on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 12:41:02 PM EST

Can anyone explain Radiohead's critical and commercial appeal to someone who Just Doesn't Get It?
I can't explain it either. I bought Kid A and OK Computer based on tons of enthusiastic recommendations of friends. Now I'm looking for someone who wants to buy a couple of slightly-used Radiohead CDs. I'm deeply clueless la Radiohead's appeal, and I would like to get a clue, but I'm afraid that's just not going to happen.

The thing that bugs me, is that people who like Radiohead genuinely seem to like Radiohead. They're not faking it. They really do like the stuff. So there must be something in it. Hmm, I think I'll pop their CD in the player again, and see if it hits me this time.

[ Parent ]

Nor can I (none / 0) (#75)
by fullcity on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 10:39:08 AM EST

I listened to Kid A several times over, figuring eventually I'd catch on to whatever is special about this recording. No dice. Even after about six times through, my reaction was still, "OK, this is early King Crimson. This song is just a Pink Floyd thing. And I hate to say it but this is nothing but a Moody Blues song. Is that an actual Mellotron, for God's sake?" I would like to see an innovative update to the 70's prog-rock aesthetic, but I'm afraid this doesn't seem to be it.


Today's roast: Panama Hartmann Songbird, very light roast
[ Parent ]

Radiohead's Appeal: Simple (4.00 / 1) (#108)
by zhermit on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 01:39:20 PM EST

They're doing what no one else in mainstream rock is doing at the moment: experimenting. What do you hear on a modern rock station? These days, it tends to be a bunch of clones singing the same song, sometimes with a slight deviation. Throw in a bunch of talented musicians, whose <i>love for the music</i> is apparent, and there's no way they won't become the big thing that Radiohead has become. Does Radiohead deserve it? I think so. I am a fan, yes, but I can also see that they don't really seem to care about what people want to hear; they play what they want to.
Of course, if you really want innovation, you need to escape mainstream music. I personally think "Indie" (what a grossly broad term) is where its at these days. And Radiohead fits nicely into the indie aesthetic.
So, to come around full circle, the big deal about Radiohead is simple: they're indie rock for people who are too mainstream to know about indie rock - but are open enough to know that there has to be something better out there.

P.S.-This is my first post here, so I hope it looks right.
*****

I have a sig?
[ Parent ]
I'll bite (5.00 / 1) (#97)
by rabbit on Tue Aug 14, 2001 at 07:10:17 PM EST

I'm not one of those people that's going to claim that RadioHead is the end all and be all of modern/prog rock, much less the saviors. There are plenty of bands doing far more interesting things than RadioHead. That said...I do like them quite a bit, and was lucky enough to see them recently.

Part of it is the vocals. Thom Yorke has a distinctive voice and vocal style. Some like it, some don't. In my opinion, it's at it's most distinctive on Paranoid Android on OK Computer. Yeah, it can be kind of whiny, but some of us like it.

Next on the list of things RadioHead that I appreciate: the lyrics. Radiohead lyrics speak to me. Some of them funny, some of them sad some of them both. Read the lyrics. They're not dumb.

Now the music...some of it I really like quite a lot; some it, I could do without. Barring Creep (one of the best pop songs of all time, IMNSHO), I can't stand Pablo Honey, and I'm iffy on most of OK Computer. I like almost everything on The Bends and will go about 50/50 on Kid A and Amnesiac. They're talented and skilled musicians (talent and skill are not necesarily linked). They know what to play and how to play it well. Their live performance was top notch. They may borrow an awful lot from previous artists, but they're not wholly derivative as some have suggested. While I don't think that their music is "groundbreaking" particularly, I do think their attitude might be worth some respect. They appear to be doing whatever they please. And, as it happens, what they please, pleases the fans. Even so, they're not for everyone.

One big problem I see with people when they judge music is understanding the difference between "I like this" or "I don't like this" and "This is good" or "This is crap". There's quite a difference between making a statement about quality and making a statement about taste. I happen to think they're a good band, and I happen to like them. I can't stand country, but I know that Johnny Cash is waaaay better than Shania Twain, for example, and even if you hate RadioHead you should be able to tell that they are waaay better than pretty much any boy or girl band out there.

-- I have desires that are not in accord with the status quo.
[ Parent ]
The poll (none / 0) (#33)
by spacejack on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 03:28:32 PM EST

Utterly useless. Where is funk? And disco?

And where is gisano when you need him? Jeez!

No funk No disco (none / 0) (#79)
by Rand Race on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 12:30:57 PM EST

or country, or folk, or japanese noise metal.

K.K. Null is da man!


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Classical, Jazz, and tonality (4.80 / 5) (#36)
by egerlach on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 04:36:19 PM EST

Okay... disclaimer: My music tastes are eclectic. (sp?) You won't find a genre of music I don't like. At all. Maybe one I cringe at at first, but if it's good music, I'll take to it eventually.

But I take offense to a few things: such as Classical and Jazz having no tonal exploration. Hah! Just because Beethoven didn't have synthesizers doesn't mean he didn't explore tone! Take his 9th symphony for example (it's the only one I can think of right now... anyone else who can think of a better one is free to comment). It was rare to hear voice as an instrument in a symphony back then. But Beethoven did it, and created one of he greatest masterpieces of all time.

Now for Jazz. Glenn Miller did something that no one had ever done in a big band before: he made a broader brass section. 5 trumpets and 4 trombones? Unheard of! Okay, that's exaggerating a bit, but the point is he created new tonal qualitites for the big band, and it was great! Best big band EVER, IMHO. Not to mention, him being a great composer helped a bit too. Nowadays the Jazz artists are using some synth to make great new sounds. Explore the Jazz section of MP3.com. You'll see what I mean.

My point is, don't diss an entire style for not exploring new ideas because the majority of what you hear is 50-200 years old. You've got to take yourself back in time to see that yes, they were indeed exploring along all of those fronts, and you could probably find 20 divisions within classical alone, each of which was exploring different areas of the new frontier in music.

"Free beer tends to lead to free speech"
All music is repetitive... (4.50 / 2) (#42)
by Anonymous 6522 on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 02:31:28 AM EST

...but there is variation in the repetitition, and that's what makes the music.

WARNING, this is most likely an innaccuate paraphase from a source I've long forgotten. Feel free to correct me.

There's a number called something like the "Golden Ratio" that the brain seems to find pleasing. Buildings have been buit using it for thousands of years. Someone, somewhere, analyzed several forms of music, from primitive tribal dance songs, to classical music, to that from very modern composers. On a scale of randomness, the music varied from highly repetitive to highly random, with much of the most pleasing falling close to or right on the golden ratio (I remember classical landing almost right on this number).

Fibonacci Series (5.00 / 1) (#43)
by kumquat on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 03:05:01 AM EST

The 'Golden Ratio' is based on the Fibonacci Series and your understanding of it is, well... both simplistic and rather inaccurate. Overall, it doesn't mean nearly as much as people want it to mean. Compare it to The Law of Fives and you'll begin to understand what the Fibonacci Series hype is really all about.

[ Parent ]
classical != pop (4.33 / 3) (#48)
by winitzki on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 01:05:54 PM EST

IMO, classical music cannot be meaningfully compared with pop music. Classical music fans, unlike the pop music fans, do not listen merely to "familiar sounds of classical instruments" that they "prefer", they don't listen merely to rhythms, they don't listen to lyrics -- they listen to the music.

Yesterday I finished writing a long essay on comparing classical and pop styles -- and was I surprised to see a K5 post on the same day...

Yes but you can't say electronic==pop... (none / 0) (#67)
by exa on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 03:21:20 AM EST

There are some characteristics of pop music well conveyed in the literature, but you can't simply say electronic music is pop because it isn't. Much electronic music is far from being popular.

I've had a look at your essay and yes you've drawn some well known differences between "mainstream" pop music and classical music.

You may have skipped the best known difference though: pop music is built on satisying the expectation. Listening to pop is convenient.

That AFAIK is a better definition for what is "pop", it's simply the bulk of mainstream music with less musical content and with more audience. It's purpose is "convenience". Boy bands are a good example of pop music, so are most of the music you see in prime time.

Though, the distinction you draw about music, that is saying everything except classical music is pop is rather incorrect. And basing that upon the divisions in a music store is not good evidence. Neither quoting discussions from an online forum.

And except the really mainstream music, the criteria you outline would fail.

It seems that all 7 are failing for the distinction that you draw. The problem is that there a lot of good musicians who are far from those criteria, and it would be very difficult to claim them to be doing "pop music".

There is another thing. How can you classify Jazz as POP? That's gross. And you also seem to exclude late 20th century classical music altogether.
__
exa a.k.a Eray Ozkural
There is no perfect circle.

[ Parent ]
Your generalizations are simplistic (none / 0) (#68)
by plastik55 on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 04:26:27 AM EST

Both with respect to 'classical' and to 'pop' music.

And you ignore jazz entirely.

I wonder what you would say about free jazz, or any of a number of "classical" dances such as the waltz. The former mostly lacking a rhythm, the latter being driven by rhythm.

And I suppose you missed out on the whole "progressive rock" thing in the '70s, where 9/8 and 15/16 meters were common.

I also would suppose Philip Glass writes 'pop' music by your definition--everything in 4/4 time, the rhythms repetitive, communication happening by modifications of the rhythm or by change of intonation--OK, you claim that change of intonation is a feature only of "classical" music.

I wonder what you would say about minimalist electronic music (e.g. Plastikman, other Detriot-style techno) where the communication happens mostly (in a lot of cases, entirely) through change of intonation.

I wonder what you would say about Baroque music, which is often very rhythmic and repetitive--though intricately so.

I wonder if you've listened to the last few albums from Autechre, where 3/4, 9/8, and stranger meters abound, and some songs completely lack an accessible tempo (e.g., the piece 'fold4,wrap5' where the tempo is contantly decreasing, and new, faster notes are introduced between the ones from the previous repetition, producing self-similarity across scales--a musical fractal.)
w00t!
[ Parent ]

discussion of classical vs pop (none / 0) (#81)
by winitzki on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 02:45:37 PM EST

My definitions of classical and pop may not be unambiguous, that's true, and they may not completely agree with other people's. I did not mean to split all music into two non-intersecting categories. A composer today might make up a piece using elements of both classical and pop music (in my definition). This is what some modern composers do, and why not. However, it doesn't make the difference between classical and pop disappear.

Put very simplistically: classical music is speech, and pop music is wallpaper on which lyrics are printed. Popularity of pop music, or its catering to the audiences, is not the real difference.

Yes, I did omit jazz, because in my view it was (historically and essentially) a transition between classical and pop music. Some jazz would be "classical music" by my definition, including perhaps the "free jazz"; although I think most jazz would fall into "pop" category, while some jazz would be in between.

Classical dances like the waltz: they may fall into either classical or pop category. You cannot characterize music precisely enough by saying that "it's a waltz".

Also, maybe you haven't noticed from my essay, but I am a classical music person and I own no recordings of pop music. Thank you for telling me! I knew nothing of "progressive rock" or "Autechre" - but these must be "fringe styles" because in my whole life I've never heard any 9/8 or 15/16 meters in pop songs.

Minimalist music (Philip Glass, Techno, etc.) is clearly "pop" in my definition. Some Baroque music is repetitive too, but repetition is not a means of expression in Baroque music, it's a musical form some composers used. In other words, they repeated something that had meaning on its own, not based on rhythm and repetition, while minimalists repeat things that have no meaning and express themselves by this very repetition and by slight variations on it. It is this difference between means of expression that divides classical (Vivaldi etc.) from pop (Philip Glass etc.) minimalists.

[ Parent ]

Regarding lyrics (3.00 / 2) (#52)
by jacoplane on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 04:34:47 PM EST

Personally, I'm into Electronic music. Well, dance music anyway. It's hard to call it electronic because the music I listen to is a mix between Bossa Nova, Jazz, Lounge, and Trip-Hop. Many of my friends who are into Rock music tend to have this superiour attitude regarding the music I like, saying something like "there are no lyrics, so there is no meaning/depth". What I say to them is go read a play or a poem. Music is NOT about the lyrics, it is about the music. Sure, a beautiful voice can add a lot, but good lyrics aren't essential for good music.

ciao

and...? (minor rant) (5.00 / 4) (#53)
by nevauene on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 05:21:34 PM EST

I've stopped even trying to count the number of k5 submissions on "the state of music today", which presume to offer some insight but which in fact often amount to the pointless meanderings of someone who is too limited and 'out-of-the-loop' in their knowledge of music and the directions it's heading to really say anything. In particular, it's always comical to see that geeks who listen to straight genre techno and Radiohead think they've got a handle on the entire ouvre of modern electronic music and the stuff at the 'periphery of rock' etc etc.

Not to diss Radiohead, it's just that there is so much more going on in the world of "rock" (particular if you accept what is called post rock into that definition) than that. When someone calls Radiohead cutting edge or claims that they're some of the last innovators on the dried-out corpse of rock, it only tells us how very restricted to radio / big label offerings they are in their tastes. Listen to some godspeed you black emperor! bootlegs and try telling me rock is dead. Radiohead? bah. there are 1000 bands flying under the rather meaningless flag of "post-rock" who are taking rock in 1000 new directions and fusions, and most are largely unaware of it because it doesn't get much press and doesn't get spun on the local crap "Modern Rock" stations.

As for electronic music, I make it myself. I've also played guitar for 8 years. But I don't give a shit about dance and I don't restrict myself to working within conventions. Fuck MIDI, fuck intricate sequencing, fuck bloodless music. I've done all that and I've moved on and started using the old patch-making and sample-editing skills towards making new music, non-genre music, music that doesn't care what it's called and just is, born out of live rough sessioning rather than timecode and click tracks. I'm fucking sick of the regimented dance-friendly 100-track hubris of the kind of modern electro you're talking about, there's no future there. (Although I was nicely suprised by Pieces in a Modern Style, perhaps because Orbit was applying his aesthetics to some truly visionary pieces rather than his own pap). I have had enough of the tyranny of the 808, the banality of the 303, of all sequenced sampling period - no amount of sweeping filters and rack fx and post production tricks will change the fact that it is still an 808 sound, it is still a 303 line, it is still SHIT.

ok... glad to have gotten that out of my system. What I'm railing against here first and foremost is that this article doesn't seem to have much to say. Yes, yes, we should all open our minds up to the unexplored treasures of the music world. And I suggest people do that by sincerely broadening their horizons. No more buying shit on the same labels, and of the same genres, or within the confines of a circle of friends' particular tastes. No more listening to grand pronouncements on the future of music or rhetoric about where the innovation is - in short no more listening to music critics, both self-styled and professional. People need to just simply expose themselves to playlists and styles and indie labels they wouldn't normally encounter, that's a start. Here in Canada we have a wonderful national vehicle for such eclecticism, the beloved brave new waves, not to mention a whole slew of college radio stations playing all manner of stuff. It's simply a matter of truly opening your mind, casting off molds, and ceasing to define yourself according to what stuff you like. (When I hear people say "yeah i'm into garage and trance, a bit off on minimalism" and other such crap, I cringe at their stupidity and shortsightedness) Merely cast off all intellectual trappings, such as those evidenced by this article, listen with your ears, and you will indeed discover a whole new world. You may not like what I like, and I may not like what you like, but no matter who you are there is one hell of alot of stuff you'd really truly love hidden out there in obscurity, just waiting for you to find it.

People who find time to bitch about pop pablum, shitty 'modern rock' radio fodder, etc, need to shut up and defect from the mainstream music world altogether, rather than looking to the major labels (or the vapid white-label techno culture) to bring them their salvation in a nice shiny case with a nice spiffy video. I don't listen to mainstream radio, I am blissfully unaware of all the 'latest songs' that everybody else has burned into them by incessant paid-for replays, and I am free. I'm not an elitist, I just don't have any patience for people who moan about the bankruptcy of mass culture when there are plenty of amazing local and independant cultures right under their noses. And plenty of radio shows bringing it all together for anyone who cares to step away from the spotlight and the world of the angsty poster-boys and glossy music rags. 


There is no K5 Cabal.
Fuck MIDI to an extent (none / 0) (#66)
by exa on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 02:47:36 AM EST

Godspeed is a name that was certainly heard before. Or so it seemed. I listened to one of their samples, and it was quite interesting.

Trying to do everything in MIDI is very counter productive and the result tends to get pretty dull. Though I'd really like to try out some of the new high-end MIDI synths.

I agree with your words on music making. No, following a simple recipe won't get you great pieces. It's about playing, listening and thinking. What electronic music gives us is new vehicles: fancy instruments, stuff that lets us control sound, a very non-linear workflow, perfect storage of sound, etc. Not some immediate formula to create. You must use those vehicles to an end.

I can now reboot into windows, and using my favorite set of composition tools I can add all the essential synths, drum loops and sweeping sets of parameters. Will that suffice to make a great piece?

I like your comments about the 808 and 303. You could use those instruments, but what's the point in doing the same song 10^6th time? :P
__
exa a.k.a Eray Ozkural
There is no perfect circle.

[ Parent ]
808 and 303 (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by Anatta on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 10:11:15 AM EST

I have had enough of the tyranny of the 808, the banality of the 303, of all sequenced sampling period - no amount of sweeping filters and rack fx and post production tricks will change the fact that it is still an 808 sound, it is still a 303 line, it is still SHIT.

The guitar as an instrument was around for how many hundreds of years before Jimi Hendrix picked it up? But then again, I suppose no matter how it's played, by whom it's played, and what techniques used, it's just a guitar line.

And you're not elitist.

While I agree with your basic precepts, suggesting that MIDI is for philistines is ridiculous. While I often do use CV, it doesn't take a genius to see that MIDI has its advantages and drawbacks just as CV does. MIDI is standard... I can pick up a Korg MS2000, a Waldorf Wave, an Arp 2600 + CV=>MIDI, and an Xpander, and hook them all up via MIDI. In some cases, I can control one with another. In other cases, I can have 30 different CC/Sysex parameters changing a sound occurring at once. It's very hard to do that via CV, or any other control type.

If you're so knowledgeable about electronic music that you've cast off the chains of the 808 and the 303, I can't understand how you missed that the 303 is nothing more than a one oscillator monosynth with an 4 pole, 24db filter and a sequencer with portamento that "pre"-slides. If you were to run a 303 through 5 different Serge panels, you'd get a sound that is completely unrecognizable but it would still be a 303. You cast off the chains of the 303... why not cast of the chains of the Arp Axxe, a one oscillator monosynth with 4 pole, 24db filter that has no sequencer but has a 4 stage envelope and an LFO? The 303 and 808 are not at fault, it's the synth programmers who are too lazy or two scene-oriented to come up with good sounds using them.

Remember, when Roland introduced the 303, it was supposed to be a bass synth that when combined with the 606 drum machine created a backing band for your early 80s bar room rock musician to play miserable renditions of Dire Straits songs. Looking at how much electronic musicians have bastardized the original intent of the 303 to wonderfully creative ends really is amazing.

I have no doubt that there will be plenty more very creative music made using 808s and 303s. As with all music, the instrument just makes sound, the player makes music.

I have neither a 303 or an 808, but I do have an MC-202 here... and I like to think I use it in very creative ways. In any case, the cult of the 303 was dumb, but for the most part it's gone... now it's time to place the 303 back in its proper position... as one of many tools a good electronic musician might use to create good music.

Sorry for the electronic music jargon, non-musician K5ers!
My Music
[ Parent ]

MIDI and creative freedom (none / 0) (#115)
by nevauene on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 05:37:22 PM EST

While I agree with your basic precepts, suggesting that MIDI is for philistines is ridiculous.

I don't think MIDI is for philistines. It's useful for some things, but there is almost always a tradeoff. As an example, it can be useful to lay down the basis tracks of a piece with a click-track - this allows for some cool shit later on, like syncing a delay to the beat, running a sequenced line or samples over it. I still do that once in a blue moon, but for the most part I'm jaded by it. Almost every new possibility MIDI brings with it is tempered by a new limitation. I find lately that I want to work without MIDI at all (except to use soft synths via controller). If the end result is a bit scrappier around the edges, so be it, at least we can jam out a bit more without having to program and reprogram and slave ourselves to the MIDI along with the instruments and effects.

I can pick up a [...] and hook them all up via MIDI. In some cases, I can control one with another. In other cases, I can have 30 different CC/Sysex parameters changing a sound occurring at once.

And that's all well and good. Keep in mind that my rant comes out of a personal frustration and no more - I felt like I'd hit a wall with MIDI. Noodling around with sysex parameters and having slaves synced to each other got boring, and it became much more satisfying to just play a single handrolled patch live through a couple of effects with the tape rolling. I've abandoned MIDI almost entirely for this more 'human' approach, if you will - programming is something I want to do in school and for a living, with languages like C and Java, it's not something I want to bother with anymore when all I want to do is express myself and make some music.

The 303 and 808 are not at fault, it's the synth programmers who are too lazy or two scene-oriented to come up with good sounds using them.

I agree completely. But that is what I was really railing against, not so much the 303 itself. Clearly the sky is the limit if you use simple boxes like that creatively, but so few people do. I get a laugh out of clueless people who think Daft Punk has a fresh new trailblazing sound because he runs his generic electro sounds through sweeping mids.

now it's time to place the 303 back in its proper position... as one of many tools a good electronic musician might use to create good music.

Again, I agree. I'll use just about anything to make music, be it a tin can, a guitar, a 303, an antique organ, a random television sample, whatever. Limitations are great inspiration, and I often work under self-imposed limitations. But MIDI was beginning to feel like a treadmill and I had to get off.


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
Intelligent and stupid music (3.50 / 2) (#55)
by exa on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 07:06:49 PM EST

I'm doing industrial/modern rock with my band. We don't like to specify a genre, but that is merely a reference to the kind of instruments we use.

Your arguments about modern music do not seem to be well informed.

In electronic music, I can clearly distinguish two kinds of music: intelligent and stupid. IDM is included in the intelligent side :) Chemical Brothers, Fat Boy Slim, Future Sound of London, Prodigy, etc. So are a lot of industrial and trip hop bands...

On the stupid side we have things like house music. As a reader called, that is "bland" music. And you seem to be listening to "trance and house". Eh. Much of that *hit is totally vacuous without heavy drug use. Guess what: music should not depend on continuous consumption of chemical drugs, that limits it to a very small culture.

You say that you're playing guitar. Today, there are a lot of innovative and exciting rock bands contrary to what you think. I am not here to suggest you some, go and learn. While you sit there and try to write about music, rock music is evolving. Rock is not the same as it used to be 10 or 20 years ago. It's no more about guitar, either.

Your criticism about rock, that it concentrates on melody is technically wrong. Plain wrong. We are no more in the 80's when Bon Jovi defined rock. Today's bands work a lot on rhythm and harmony, and there's great variety in sound too (with synth use, effects, sampling, etc.)

In fact, good music does not subscribe to a particular genre. A musician creates its own style.

Many bands combine elements from different styles and cultures today, and they of course add their own.

People play guitars, drum and bass, because they sound pretty cool. Those instruments are also what you hear on live drum&bass, jazz, etc. Surprise: those are not only used in rock. Today we've got a lot of other instruments with great sounds and we use them, too. It all depends on your musical idea. You use guitars in one song, and do only synths in another. Vocals in some pieces, and nothing human in another.

Example: I don't think you could classify NIN as purely electronic, rock or industrial, but still Trent rules. The latest album is absolutely fascinating. That's quality "non-genre music" as somebody has posted.

If you're writing anything, you should have difficulty in describing your music. When I try to tell what we're doing I say it may be similar to Fear Factory, Faith No More, White Zombie, Ministry, NIN, KMFDM, David Bowie, Pitchshifter,... and a lot of other unheard people, but not quite like any of them. Those are your influences, but you can't be _exactly_ like any of the people you listen to.

And as someone else said, if you're looking for more innovation look at what Jazz people are doing. There are incredible works. The same goes for contemporary classical music.

The "tonal exploration" that you talk so fondly of does not by itself resolve the basic elements of music.

A successful music piece still needs rhythm, harmony and melody.
__
exa a.k.a Eray Ozkural
There is no perfect circle.

Reply (none / 0) (#58)
by Version5 on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 08:19:29 PM EST

> On the stupid side we have things like house music... and you seem to be listening to "trance and house"
Its interesting how you start by assuming I am your intellectual and artistic inferior.

You seem to be painting with a pretty broad brush and you are jumping to pretty big conclusions with regards to my taste in music, and by saying that all House is necessarily stupid. I freely admitted in the article that some dance music suffers from stupidity. [Paraphrase]Today, there are a lot of innovative and exciting house acts contrary to what you think. I am not here to suggest you some, go and learn.

[ Parent ]

Not really. (none / 0) (#61)
by exa on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 01:46:11 AM EST

Nobody is inferior here. I just said some of the stuff you listen to is very difficult to praise the way you do. And that there are some grave mistakes in the criticism you direct.
__
exa a.k.a Eray Ozkural
There is no perfect circle.

[ Parent ]
My, how open-minded you are! (none / 0) (#69)
by spiralx on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 05:03:18 AM EST

On the stupid side we have things like house music. As a reader called, that is "bland" music. And you seem to be listening to "trance and house". Eh. Much of that *hit is totally vacuous without heavy drug use. Guess what: music should not depend on continuous consumption of chemical drugs, that limits it to a very small culture.

So? I could say industrial/modern rock is completely stupid and bland unless you're completely pissed, would that make my statement true as well? Well, probably if you're only hearing what's being played in the charts, but basing your opinion on that would be pretty ignorant wouldn't it?

In fact, good music does not subscribe to a particular genre. A musician creates its own style.

Now compare that to the earlier paragraph I quoted and spot the inconsistency. Unless of course you define music as "stuff I like".

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

I surely have some bias, but there's difference (none / 0) (#82)
by exa on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 02:56:08 PM EST

I'm saying that house music does not make much sense outside a certain sub-culture. Without the physical activity that it endorses, house is just background muzax.

IMHO, industrial isn't like that. It's about trying to broaden our means of performance. You can listen to industrial just for the sake of listening.

There may be a lot of "negative" emotions conveyed in some industrial music, but that is not generally the case and it isn't simply based on "anger" and "hate".

And if those pieces can really express anger, that's a musical success.

Well, I'm biased of course. But I don't think there's a lot to find in house.
__
exa a.k.a Eray Ozkural
There is no perfect circle.

[ Parent ]
I surely have some bias, but there's difference (none / 0) (#83)
by exa on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 02:57:29 PM EST

I'm saying that house music does not make much sense outside a certain sub-culture. Without the physical activity that it endorses, house is just background muzax.

IMHO, industrial isn't like that. It's about trying to broaden our means of performance. You can listen to industrial just for the sake of listening.

There may be a lot of "negative" emotions conveyed in some industrial music, but that is not generally the case and it isn't simply based on "anger" and "hate".

And if those pieces can really express anger, that's a musical success.

Well, I'm biased of course. But I don't think there's a lot to find in house.
__
exa a.k.a Eray Ozkural
There is no perfect circle.

[ Parent ]
*sigh* (none / 0) (#92)
by spiralx on Tue Aug 14, 2001 at 04:28:29 AM EST

I'm saying that house music does not make much sense outside a certain sub-culture. Without the physical activity that it endorses, house is just background muzax.

In your opinion. Again, I can equally say industrial does not make sense outside of its particular sub-culture.

IMHO, industrial isn't like that. It's about trying to broaden our means of performance. You can listen to industrial just for the sake of listening.

Exactly, "IMHO". Who are you to say house isn't exactly the same? After all, unless you're into the genre you only ever get to hear the stuff played on the radio or MTV, which is usually the lowest common denominator stuff rather than showing where the boundaries are, where new stuff is being developed. When was the last time you heard any tech-house or deep house on any of these? I've certainly never.

And yes, I can listen to house just for the sake of listening to it when the mood takes me.

There may be a lot of "negative" emotions conveyed in some industrial music, but that is not generally the case and it isn't simply based on "anger" and "hate".

I never said it was...

Well, I'm biased of course. But I don't think there's a lot to find in house.

That's because you're narrow-minded. The problem is not that you don't like house (nobody expects that) but that you write it off as a genre because of that dislike. Claiming only genres you like are worthwhile is ignorant.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Re: lyrics (4.66 / 3) (#56)
by Rainy on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 07:23:20 PM EST

Didn't you forget them? You said there's 3 parts to music, but lyrics *are* the fourth part! Later on you dismiss them because (paraphrasing): "while most people find it pleasing if the song tells them about broken heart of happiness, serious listeners will spend the necessary effort to get into the music itself". In my opinion, lyrics add another dimension to the music. The best music seems to have lyrics that possess poetic beauty, and I won't be far off mark if I say that, for instance, Bob Dylan's lyrics are comparable to the best poems ever written.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
Don't Forget Jim Morrison (none / 0) (#116)
by PowerPimp on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 01:50:24 AM EST

Jim Morrison was quite the poet as well, In fact I might venture to say that he was a better poet than Dylan. P.S. In case you don't know, Jim Morrison was the lead singer for the Doors.
You'd better take care of me God; otherwise, you'll have me on your hands...
[ Parent ]
Certainly. (none / 0) (#118)
by Rainy on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 11:14:02 PM EST

Jim was very good.. I wouldn't say as good as Dylan, though. The way I see it, Dylan is up there, absolutely incomparable. Then you have a lot of songwriters who were also very good, like jim, barrett, waters (of pink floyd), gabriel, whoever wrote lyrics for rolling stones, lennon, the kinks. Actually, it was pretty much a standard for good old bands to have meaningful, poetic lyrics. This all changed with the advent of new age, and it's only gotten worse since. This has an interesting connection to the music is getting quieter story - I wish I'd think of that and post side by side some lyrics from Jim or Bob or even from some good beatles song... and then lyrics from BSB or N'sync. Oh well, I hope this topic cames up again.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Rock is Dead. (none / 0) (#57)
by Rainy on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 07:49:00 PM EST

I think rock, in the sense of the word that is understood universally, is dead. I happen to prefer rock music to any other style, so hopefully I won't get responses that go "you just don't get rock". By rock being dead I mean that music that comes out now is sometimes both Original and Pleasant and Rock, but never at the same time: parts that are Rock are not Original, parts that are Original are not Pleasant and the ones that are Pleasant are usually neither Original nor Rock. I'm sorry for the fancy-pants sentence, but I do really think so. So, how can I like something that is dead? I don't know, I just do. I buy a cd, or download an mp3, listen to it, and I like it. I'd prefer it if there was great rock music coming out each year, but that's just not happening. At the same time, I don't see why I'd listen music that I don't like simply because the genre is alive.. I also think that Rock is better than Electronica or metal or rap - but not than classical or jazz. I don't enjoy listening most of music that belongs to these styles, but in case of classical and jazz it's different: I feel that I don't get it, that there is something there that may be very good but just goes over my head. With electronica or metal or rap, I feel that I *do* get it, but I still don't like it. Also, what about drugs? Electronica in general and trance in particular sound much nicer on E, and I know that for some, truly great (eternal, the real deal) music has to sound good while sober, but I'm not so sure of that. What do you think? By the way, don't take any of this personally: I used to like electronic music (mainly Dubtribe, the Orb, Orbital, oakenfold, some acid jazz like amon tobin, and others), and the thing was that I just never heard rock music I could like. I mean, I heard one song from rolling stones, one song by doors, some beatles, some fleetwood mac, but not enough to represent the genre, and many notable bands I haven't heard at all, e.g. King crimson, early genesis, the kinks, family, etc. I liked pink floyd, though, and that was my only connection to rock music for a while there.. So, the point is, I certainly changed my tastes before and it may happen again.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
Drugs (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by Version5 on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 08:35:01 PM EST

There's nothing special about dance music that makes it sound better while on E. All music would probably sound better. Dance music is best experienced on the dance floor.

I don't think you have any kind of obligation to like electronic music, I'm pointing out that there are very good and valid reasons that those genres can be something other than "disco shit" and that people who enjoy them are not stupid meatheads.

[ Parent ]

agreed (none / 0) (#85)
by botono9 on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 05:05:35 PM EST

Yeah, I think even the sound of someone grinding their teeth would sound better on E.

"Guns are real. Blue uniforms are real. Cops are social fiction."
--Robert Anton Wilson
[ Parent ]

Yes, but.. (none / 0) (#87)
by Rainy on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 08:16:22 PM EST

Everything sounds better, but some things sound *much* better, so in comparison, other styles don't sound as moving.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
House doesn't cut it (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by exa on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 02:14:19 AM EST

House music just doesn't cut it. Sorry. Don't compare house to rock. The size matters and so does complexity. No need to pretend that house is a genre of great musical variety and "meaning". If people can still make a "top-notch" house piece in 2 minutes with a tracker there's gotta be something fishy.

Though I cannot generalize these arguments to dance music in general. On the contrary, a lot of new music, even hard music that I'm more interested in, is more "danceable" now and I do appreciate the people who brought in the concept. I can't say the same for the onslaught of imitators though. Especially about house, I think that r&b, or today's polished n/y style "sexy" pop-rap is musically more challenging than that.

It's a bit of a culture thing, and I know that. Some old obscure Die Krupps track, even though not very bright would be interesting to me. I've a lot of stuff I listen to only because of its historical importance. So when I listen to Front 242 perhaps I can't set some of the relations right, but you can. Hmmm. Which brings me to thinking how beneficial it is to listen to a wide spectrum of music because a music-maker can't afford to remain confined to a single musical culture.

I will say what I think. You see, you go to clubs and do clubbing and do acid, and then become a dj and do your mixes and the house is big then. A lot of friends around are like that. Same goes for the typical rock guy, you hit bars and drink to death, play guitars or something and perhaps as part of a local band. *Wow*, that's big.

What I mean is that has nothing to do with music. Even doing records and getting rich with it does not have anything to do with it. Music is a very dense activity. It consumes much thought and feeling. I honestly think that a musician should not remain bound to a particular genre or culture.

As I said, have a look at contemporary classical music and jazz. That is the cutting edge in music. :) Saying that house surpasses these genres in some important aspect is to underestimate the wealth of music in these genres. In my profession, the equivalent of that would be to say that "Programming with Java and HTML is superior to AI research"

Of course if you take all electronic music, which is pretty large, you'll find that there is a lot of overlap between classical, jazz, and electronic. And there is always a constant cross-pollination going on. Rhythmic and sound-wise experimentation is done in these genres and also in rock. You were actually quite wrong in saying that "new" sounds are not used in rock music, I hear all kinds of synths in new releases.

Being able to put in a few bass lines, drum machines, filters delays and other misc. synths, effects and samples is not specific to a portion of electronic music. As a matter of fact, I hear the same sound in pop music, too. That's normal because it's not that difficult to add those "features".

And a little bit that I've just noticed. Electronic music in general is not just about dancing. As a matter of fact, electronic music did _not_ start off as dance music it was the academics (and rockers as you said) who first used electronic instruments. In today's electronic music, you'll still find a _lot_ of tunes that are not really dance-oriented.
__
exa a.k.a Eray Ozkural
There is no perfect circle.

On House (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by Version5 on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 06:39:27 PM EST

I don't want to fight with you on this House issue, but I'm concerned that you are selling the whole genre short by drawing from a small selection of what is admittedly bad. A few comments seem to be under the misapprehension that I am making some sort of claim that a certain genre is better, more experimental or some other superlative. Nonsense. I'm simply making the claim that electronic music isn't completely devoid of artistry or talent. I'm not asking for you to like it, or to even listen to it. Maybe you have noticed I haven't even included any recommendations in the article.

I agree with you on the 2 minute House track problem. It always disturbs me when I run into electronic "musicians" who feel they have no need for conventional music theory, thinking they can get by on sampling and DJ skills alone. More often then not, these DJs-turned-producers mark the success or failure of a track solely by how many bodies they can keep on the dance floor, as if it was up to some kind of vote! This is apparent in the lack of imagination in many dance tracks, but this sort of audience-pandering does not reside exclusively in the domain of dance, as I detailed in my criticism of MTV-style popular rock.

I feel that we are on the same page on almost everything, and I wonder if your familiarity with House may be limited to the more formulaic selections that are unfortunately the most common. The most I can say for that is that its fun to dance to, but lacking any real substance. However, there are some legitimate artists working in the genre, and while I have never claimed that it reaches any kind of profound experimental level, I do feel it can be, at the very least, moderately intelligent and innovative, and worthy of respect. I believe this is true for all the electronic sub-genres...

... except Hard House, which is crap ;).

[ Parent ]

Repressing my inner outrage... (4.62 / 8) (#78)
by Mad Hughagi on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 11:52:34 AM EST

As many other people, I find most talk of musical 'supremecy' to be a moot point. Music is subjective by it's very nature it and it is very evident, especially from the range of tastes displayed by k5 readers, that most of this discussion falls under subjective opinion.

As far as electronic music goes, the best source of information with regards to the history and evolution of the various sub-genres can be found in the video documentary Modulations. If you are interested in electronic music, or if you would like to see a well done historical documentation of the progression of this type of music in general, I highly recommend it.

Personally, if I may be so exhalted as to shout my opinion, every kind of human endeavor in the arts has it's shinning points, and as such I believe that by narrowing ones point of view or possibility to exposure to just a particular genre one is missing out on a lot of different experiences.

Electronic music was never meant to be different, it is just a logical continuation of musical assimiliation made possible by having new forms of recording media and sound generation equipment. And if you haven't found intelligent lyrics in electronic music then I would suggest you haven't been looking in the right place. Pick up some NinjaTune (something like the DJ Food vs DJ Krush double cd compilation) and I'm sure you'll find the lyrics in the songs both mentally and aesthetically pleasing.


HUGHAGI INDUSTRIES

We don't make the products you like, we make you like the products we make.

You can make a completely kick-ass new song... (2.00 / 1) (#89)
by Anonymous 6522 on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 10:39:00 PM EST

...without breaking any new musical ground whatsoever. Being innovative is not a required to be a good musician, the only thing that is need is creativity and a little talent. Funky synthesizers are not required.

Rock the House (4.71 / 7) (#91)
by Jacques Velour on Tue Aug 14, 2001 at 03:12:41 AM EST

A few comments:

1. On rock being dead. Sure, you can say rock is dead the same way painting is dead but the fact is, unless you are completely close minded there are still lots of great rock recordings coming out these days, the same way people are still making interesting paintings. I will certainly concede that traditional rock band configurations are not groudbreaking the way they used to be and that they are not revolutionary the way they were 30 years ago but people still make some great music and just because it's not technologically or structurally innovative, does not mean that it does not have anything new to offer. Using the same arguments for rock being dead could be applied to blues, jazz, 80s electro, trance, IDM, drum'n'bass, industrial or house but nobody is running around calling them dead. They are just genre names and those names are also attached to time periods. Get over it and listen to some good music instead of wasting your time with ignorant semantic arguments.

2. On complexity and house music sucking. If you think house music sucks, that's fine but you don't get it. It's supposed to be simple. If you choose your music based on intellectual or tonal complexity then you should throw away the Radiohead EP and only listen to Serialist composers. They based all of their compositions on complex mathematical formulas that dictated the positioning of tone clusters. It's very interesting to read about but it's not (IMHO) much fun to listen to. If you've never been on a dance floor at 3 in the morning soaked in sweat and smiled at some beautiful dancer, then you don't get house. (I also believe that you need to have had sex to truly appreciate house but that's not so relevant). If that's not your bag then fine but don't insult it. Complexity does not make better music or even more interesting music. I like intellectual music but I also love intuitive music like a classic house tune or a soulful blues song or an opera solo. Just because you are smart does not mean that you have to listen to "smart" music.

3. If you judge music based on the difficulty of production, then you miss the point. John Lee Hooker did mind blowing blues songs with a few slack chords and stomping his foot on the floor. Bob Dylan enraptured millions with one mic, a harmonica and a few similar chords. Ever listen to "One Note Samba". DJ Shadow did his whole first album on a crappy 12 bit sampler but most people will tell you that it was an amazing album. At the same time, it takes a cast of hundreds to make a Britney Spears album with songwriters, marketing execs, studio engineers and multi-million dollar studios. A lot of crappy (IMHO) pop music is very well produced and very complex to put together, but I don't think it makes it any better. Sure lots of crappy house tunes are made in cheap home studios, but there are also some great tracks made in those studios. It has nothing to do with production value.

4. A few suggestions:
If you think rock is dead, check out Stereolab, Tortoise, Phoenix, Air or Trans Am.
If you think complex music is intellectually superior, pick up some old blues records like Big Bill Broonzy or John Fahey. They play solo guitar so well that it sounds like a delta orchestra sometimes.
If you think that high production value is superior, pick up the Pole album "LP 3". It was made with some simple synth lines, a few organ samples and a broken filter effect but it's lush, complex and very deep.
Finally, if you think house sucks, pick up a St. Germaine album or a mix by Mark Farina, get a fake ID if you have to, go to your local 'deep house' club night, have a few drinks, make yourself dance for at least 20 minutes, make eye contact with somebody that you find attractive, keep dancing until you seduce someone or the music stops because it's 7 AM. If you don't feel house music after a good night like that then you should check to see if your soul is missing.

Not so clear-cut, I think.. (none / 0) (#95)
by NovaHeat on Tue Aug 14, 2001 at 02:44:29 PM EST

Rock isn't dead... not by a long-shot. I suppose if you want to pidgeonhole rock as being Ben Folds Five, Blink 182, Limp Bizkit, or Hootie and the Blowfish, then perhaps your arguement would hold some water. However, it doesn't take much scratching away at the surface to find some truly amazing bands. Radiohead, I suppose, is a decent example, not the best, but a widely known one. Another is Godspeed You Black Emperor! who's clearly rock songs are all in the range of 20 minutes long, infused with various classical instruments, containing no lyrics, and arranged in movements. Recently, I discovered another band called Rachel's, which is along the same lines, but even more 'classical' sounding. Not that any of these bands have entirely new sounds, but that in and of itself isn't a particularly strong criticism.

The definitions of what "rock" really is are somewhat tough to begin with. Take a group like Einsturzende Neubauten. Most of their instruments were hand-built, or simply environmental objects such as a metal plate under a bridge, etc. Where do they fall in? Rock? Noise? What about Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails? Virtually all of the sounds produced by that band are either purely electronic, or electronic samples of live instruments. Where to put them? Rock? Electronic? Hard to say sometimes.

I also feel that many of your complaints about rock can be levelled at electronic music as well... Certainly, some electronic music is great... stuff that really affects you. Kruder and Dorfmeister, Amon Tobin, Peace Orchestra (a Peter Kruder Side Project), Brian Eno, Boards of Canada, DJ Logic, Aphex Twin, etc... That's incredibly good music, and to dismiss it because it's electronic would be pure stupidity. But how many times have we all heard "trance" music with a "boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom-boom-boom" bassline and some "epic" keyboard buildup? To use your own words: "They are happily repeating what they've heard from other musicians. They aren't innovating anymore, not even bothering to try, and when you stop moving forward, you and your genre will die." Give me Aphex Twin any day. He may be harder to listen to, but he knows how to program extremely interesting and complex rhythms, often without repeating himself ONE TIME during a song.

Still, though, no one can help but show the influence of other artists, or do something that's never ever been done before. Look at Peace Orchestra and DJ Logic. Both are electronic music that infuse alot of jazz into their sound. Does that mean they sound exactly alike? Not at all. Peace Orchestra has a more jazzy, relaxed feel to it while Logic works with actual jazz musicians such as Marc Ribot and Medeski, Martin, and Wood, and both groups come off sounding great! Sure, "techno-jazz" has been done before, and perhaps its been done better, but that doesn't diminish the fact that people are making excellent, provocative music within that genre. The same applies to rock.

Basically, what I'm saying is that you shouldn't dismiss rock as dead or un-innovative any more than you can do so for electronic music. The highest paid rock bands in the world are just as boring as the highest paid DJ's in the world, it's only when you scratch the surface a bit that you begin to see the real interesting stuff.

-----

Rose clouds of flies.

Maybe the problem is with the goals the music (5.00 / 3) (#98)
by voodoo1man on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 01:26:34 AM EST

A lot of the categories you mentioned (Breakbeat, House, Happy Hardcore) are unappealing to the casual listener because of their singular production goals: to be put on a playlist in clubs/raves/large dance environments. They do so by featuring rather simplistic lead arrangement (being a producer as well I think synths have the main effect of controlling crowd energy, therefore the need to have easy to process, regular tonal arrangements). The main point of the drums is to send the crowd a regular pulse to repeat their dance moves to (hence the 4/4 timing, something that's been used in dancing ceremonies probably since we were monkeys).



For most people, pop and rock aren't about dancing, but casual listening where the listener takes the time to examine the emotional and literal (if there are lyrics) message sent by the music. This is where the two grouping collide in terms of listener satisfaction.

What really irks me about North American electro music (I can tell you're from here just by reading the categories you've mentioned =]) is the absolute lack of variety in what's promoted; the listener has to go through some effort to obtain quality "alternative" electro from places like euro and japan (both have much smaller markets which could explain this very well - in relation to each other, the amount of crap music produced increases exponentially with the audience growth while good music barely grows algebraicaly). It is really no wonder joe doe hates electro when the only thing being shown to him is the same house/trance crap re-mixed.

Concerning rock, probably the best cross-over geanra between it and electro music right now is ebm/industrial/darkwave - producers like Haujobb and Wumpscut (who is amazing in that he sounds very much unlike either yet carries both the emotional component of rock and the dance of techno nearly flawlessly together). As for quality electro, artists like slavefriese (he is the only person who can take one string loop with 2 variations on for 8 minutes without ever making you notice that it repeats I've ever heard - check out the 1996 mindterrorists live set mp3 if you can find it), gabba front berlin, akira and nasenbluten have long been producing dance music that really doesn't feel like it.

And for some good hip-hop, check out Psycho Realm's War Story and certain Cypress Hill records (before Skulls and Bones); they are suprisingly well produced and feature much more tonal ingredients than your average gangsta rap disc.

Everyone needs to know about Wumpscut. (none / 0) (#102)
by misterluke on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 04:14:23 PM EST

He's that damn good. I forgot to mention him in my comment( d'oh ).

[ Parent ]
Terminology (none / 0) (#99)
by dbc001 on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 01:01:31 PM EST

Ok this is my first time posting on K5 so excuse me if I break a rule or something. Anyway it seems to me that without clear definitions of terms all of these posts are for the most part unrelated. Some people are using their own definitions of "Rock" and "electronic music" and others are using what they believe to be the more widely accepted definitons of those terms. It seems to me that especially with such loose terms, they need to be explicitly defined to be of any value to a discussion - ideally they should be defined in the original article. So what we seem to be reading here is a bunch of unrelated opinions about an enormous topic.

Early 20th Centry Electronic Music Composers (5.00 / 1) (#100)
by lb008d on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 03:52:16 PM EST

Reading "criticisms" of music on K5 is always entertaining - usually the author is spouting off about his or her "favorite" genre and how others don't stack up, all the while laying bare their own ignorance on the subject. Without making a mention of the following "Art music" (read: classical) composers and some of their masterpieces (such as the following) you can't make any claims about contemporary "electronic" music.

  • Iannis Xenakis : Concerto PH - 1958
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen : Studie I - 1951
  • Edgar Varese : Poeme Electronique - 1958
  • John Cage : Imaginary Landscape(s) #1-5

For a pretty good beginning list of early 20th century electronic music, click here. So do your listening homework, and then rant away about that "bastard child" electronic music.



Rhythmic variation in rock. (none / 0) (#101)
by misterluke on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 04:04:08 PM EST

Try listening to some underground metal. Most death/black/speed/grind metal spends way more time exploring different rhythms and timings than melodies. Try Cryptopsy for some truly insane innovation within an established style.

As for electronic music, I like a lot of it ( Hardfloor is a good example ), but I have one request. Could someone tell me about an electronic song written in something other than 4/4 time? I truly want to be happily surprised here.

ps - I try to be open minded, but I'm sorry; happy harcore must die, die, DIE!

6/8 time (none / 0) (#104)
by Version5 on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 05:32:18 PM EST

Leftfield - 6/8 War from Rhythm and Stealth

And Happy Hardcore is pretty bad :)

[ Parent ]

sweet (none / 0) (#105)
by misterluke on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 08:01:25 PM EST

I'll check it out. Thanks!

[ Parent ]
Heh... (none / 0) (#119)
by jt on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 12:11:06 PM EST

I just find it amusing that Leftfield was recommended as an alternative to 4/4, considering they have released some pretty slammin' house tracks =)

[ Parent ]
Death Metal (none / 0) (#107)
by unknownlamer on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 01:07:21 PM EST

Just about every death metal band (except for cannibal corpse...ever since corpsegrinder replaced barnes, they have gone back to their old crappy style...the bleeding and gallery of suicide are their best work IMHO). Cryptopsy rocks, the pure insanity kicks ass. So does Zao (really wierd..christian hardcore metal! i'm a little scared...). If you want original, try the dillinger escape plan (the the is part of their name). Even (i know i'll get flamed by this) Orgy had some nice original music (on Candyass). Most of the "metal" today isn't, and no one wants to go and look at the good stuff. Go to Metal Blade Records and Century Media for some really great bands. Oh, and I can't forget to mention Iced Earth (they rock!).
--
<vladl> I am reading the making of the atomic bong - modern science
[ Parent ]
Death metal (none / 0) (#110)
by spiralx on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 03:40:28 PM EST

The best death metal band is of course At The Gates, but yeah Cannibal Corpse in their Bleeding days were pretty damn fine. I also liked some of the Carcass stuff that came out, such as Symphonies of Sickness, for its sheer brutal guitar work :)

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Yes, yes and yes. (none / 0) (#111)
by misterluke on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 04:25:01 PM EST

I don't know if At the Gates is quite the best death metal band out there, but they probably have the best album with Slaughter of the Soul. Carcass has 3 albums almost as good as that one ( Symphonies, Heartwork and Necroticism ), and I like a band with consistency. Even most of Arch Enemy ( with an ex-Carcass guitarist as a member ) holds up pretty well. Corpse only really had 2 good albums as far as I'm concerned: The Bleeding and Vile.

Ah, death metal, where every member plays like they're the drummer, even the vocalist. Think I'm gonna go play my bass now >:).

[ Parent ]
Ah memories (none / 0) (#112)
by spiralx on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 05:37:21 PM EST

I've just put Symphonies on now - it's quite stupidly hard for a group with 3 members... :) And you've got to love an album where you need a degree in biology just to understand half the lyrics...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

An electronic song in 5/5(!): (none / 0) (#114)
by fokky on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 04:57:30 AM EST

Autechre: Cichli (from their 1997 album 'Chiastic Slide').

[ Parent ]
the lamest part of electonic music (none / 0) (#106)
by backplane on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 10:01:14 PM EST

I will never buy an album by DJ fuckface.


Phil Lesh (none / 0) (#117)
by birdsong on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 11:13:44 PM EST

While I don't know if any of you are fans of the Grateful Dead, I must tell you that their bassist for some thirty years, Phil Lesh, now tours with his own band, a quintet as Phil Lesh & Friends. They are truly a sight to behold. It consists of much Grateful Dead material with a lot of jamming; that is, it consists of long moments of completely improvisional playing that will blow your mind. What makes it truly amazing is that the band is as tight as an orchestra, yet it is extremely difficult to figure out what's going to happen next. Phil Lesh is a classically trained composer (when he joined the Grateful Dead he was working on a piece that required no less than two full orchestras to play it simultaneously). Now, since I know how many of you now want to hear his stuff, I graciously provide you with this link [http://www.thephilzone.com] where you will find links to downloads of soundboard recordings of some of his shows (compressed in a lossless format). To show his gratitude for his fans, roughly every month or so a new show is released completely free of charge. I really, really, sincerely urge you to check him out.

Rock and Electronic Music: Criticisms and Thoughts | 119 comments (112 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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