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  #121  
Old 04-05-2011, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

I think that their are two sides to this argument; both with very valid points. As much as one side may feel that their arguments have fallen of deaf ears, I think the other side feels the same way. You can't stifle creativity by saying that this or that sound or music is invalid. But you can call it as it is when you say that a lot of this music has little or no artistic merit and it's made by people with little or no artistic ability, as well intentioned and passionate as they may be.


I actually like Pearl Forums. When you teach a lot of beginners with their crappy sets you're happy when one actually has something that sounds okay.
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  #122  
Old 04-05-2011, 07:32 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
So what?

Hasn't this always been the case? Is it not true that Orchestral music rarely uses a drum set? Or is it just a specific dislike of synthesised sound? I don't understand what the issue is. When the drum set was first developed, the idea was to generate rhythm through a collection of organised sound. Now, technology is just doing exactly the same thing and the software has been developed for exactly the same reason. Just because a person isn't always playing it doesn't mean that skill hasn't gone into its creation.

Sure, there are cliches and there is the rabid overuse of tools and textures - like the hand clap. But I could say exactly the same thing about a lot of the 'Rock' back catalogue. Pentatonic guitar riffs, poodle-haired (no offence to Al, Bermuda!) singers screaming about their 'wohman!' or someone elses' 'wohman!', fat backbeats and heavy bass-drum sounds. The simple fact is that 'Rock' music is largely dying at the expense of the newer forms of music because it really hasn't moved on since about 1983 and yet I STILL hear bands like Wolfmother playing out the same tired cliches, thirty years after those cliches were in vogue.

And you know what? I don't even like the kind of music you're referring to. I just think your argument is hollow. It's like a security blanket that covers you because you don't want to move out from under the rock (pun intended) that you found some thirty years ago. If you don't like it, why don't you do something about it and try to create something that is truly beautiful and artistic rather than ranting on a forum.

No tool is inherently bad, no sound is inherently 'false' and nothing is inherently 'unartistic'.

DrumEatDrum - I use cassette tapes sometimes. So many memories!
In theory I understand what you are trying to say, but I'll have to respectfully disagree.. In high school my best friend was a top notch musician and trumpet player - this was before I even played drums. My world at the time was mostly heavy rock n roll. My friend opened my eyes to other genres of music, and looking back I'm forever grateful to him. We went to see the symphony in NYC, Buddy Rich twice, and I went to see him play many times in Drum Corp. He used to make me mixed tapes of jazz and classical music, which I still have today. I just went back and downloaded a lot of this old music to my iPod so I can listen on the road or at the gym.

I have an appreciation for a wide array of music, and play in two bands that specialize in significantly different types of music. So I don't need to be lectured that I'm close minded when it comes to today's pop. With a few exceptions, most of this type of music does not:

1) cause me to contemplate the relevance of my existence or spirituality
2) sooth my soul
3) get me pumped up at the gym or in the car
4) allow me to relax
5) rebel against authority, such as with a cause or purpose
6) help enhance a romantic moment
7) inspire me to try and reproduce the music when I play drums

Sorry, but I say that it is not my argument that is hollow, it is this music that is hollow. And I'm not going to feel guilty for not liking it. John Lennon said give peace a chance. It doesn't mean I'm going to like all peace movements or people.
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  #123  
Old 04-05-2011, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Originally Posted by inneedofgrace
1) cause me to contemplate the relevance of my existence or spirituality
2) sooth my soul
3) get me pumped up at the gym or in the car
4) allow me to relax
5) rebel against authority, such as with a cause or purpose
6) help enhance a romantic moment
7) inspire me to try and reproduce the music when I play drums
Yes, but you are generalising and making it seem like that is the be all for everyone by directly contradicting yourself when you say that 'the music is hollow'. Hollow to you, perhaps, but then again 70's Arena Rock is horribly hollow to me, whereas Japanese Onkyokei is incredibly rich.

Do you not see the inherent hypocrisy of your argument?
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  #124  
Old 04-05-2011, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

Are you really going to pull out the relativism trump card?

By that account, John Cage created a symphony in has later life that was a recording of noises on a street corner in four movements. By you reasoning that is equal to anything Beethoven ever wrote. there only one Beethoven. any one could have recorded Cage's piece. He was being extreme, somewhat absurd, and he knew he was.
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  #125  
Old 04-05-2011, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Are you really going to pull out the relativism trump card?
Me? Not at all.

That would be pointless. We all know there's a lot of total crap out there and much of what inneedofgrace is describing is inherent in a lot of really terrible music - music that's objectively terrible. On the other hand, making sweeping generalisations about the nature of synthesised sound has nothing to do with whether or not the music is good or bad - Bermuda got it spot on. It's music - it's good or bad, but that's not because of the sounds that go into it necessarily, there's a lot more to it than that.

Do you really think I'd play the 'well, that's just your opinion, man card? Christ, you know me better than that.

Cage was saying something though, wasn't he? And it wasn't necessarily in the content of the piece, but existed outside of it. Cage was a theorist as much as anything else - so is Alvin Lucier and even Merzbow. Music isn't always about the sonic content. Cage has gravitas because of what he was saying about the state of music - Beethoven was creating music for the sake of music. You should know all about the opposing schools of thought on this and that's been covered by far more qualified people.
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  #126  
Old 04-05-2011, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Yes, but you are generalising and making it seem like that is the be all for everyone by directly contradicting yourself when you say that 'the music is hollow'. Hollow to you, perhaps, but then again 70's Arena Rock is horribly hollow to me, whereas Japanese Onkyokei is incredibly rich.

Do you not see the inherent hypocrisy of your argument?
Perhaps "hollow" is the wrong word. The fact is that today's pop music doesn't stir my soul, cause me to start singing or jump up and dance. Yes, this is a generalization. There are a handful of songs that I've heard recently that are somewhat catchy or innovative. The rest just seem to drone on or actually hurt my ears.

And no, I did not like all 70's arena rock or music from the 80's. I hated disco when it first came out, but have grown to appreciated some of it many years later.

But would I rather hear Journey's Separate Ways with Steve Smith playing drums, or Kanye West Gold Digger? The answer is pretty obvious.

It's not that I don't like pop music. I've loved many top 40 songs, from Three Dog Night to Hall and Oates to The Go Gos (first song I practiced drums to was My Lips Are Sealed) to The Spice Girls to even Britney Spears' early material. I enjoy acts like Kelly Clarkson and My Chemical Romance. But I just can't seem to connect with most of the other newer stuff.

It is what it is.
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  #127  
Old 04-05-2011, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Thank you Bermuda. You're far more diplomatic than I.
Yes, he is. Please try to keep comments about the subject rather than about one of your fellow members. Thanks.
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  #128  
Old 04-05-2011, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Me? Not at all.

That would be pointless. We all know there's a lot of total crap out there and much of what inneedofgrace is describing is inherent in a lot of really terrible music - music that's objectively terrible. On the other hand, making sweeping generalizations about the nature of synthesized sound has nothing to do with whether or not the music is good or bad -

.
And on that point I think that in the need of grace was spot on because a Kurzweil does not sound like an Steinway and a Roland TD 20 does not sound like a Sonor DeLite.

Several years ago in one of my classes, the student brought in the song Dance with My Father. I hate the beginning because it was a little electronic crap toy. But when I heard the whole song, I realized that it was symbolic of his childhood and it works from that perspective. So maybe it is supposed to sound like an electronic keyboard or an electronic drum sound and not a Steinway or Sonor De Lite. I don't think any one would have a problem with that or the use of electronic sounds except that many times it comes off sounding like that toy electronic tune and not really anything of interest to listen to.

Cage was wrong. Beethoven was deaf and that was the whole fascination with him during the 19th century, that his music was not environmental. It came from his inner imagination.
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  #129  
Old 04-05-2011, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Cassette tapes? Wow.... why?
Part of a large collection of demos, live gigs, outtakes, etc waiting to be digitized and archived before they melt. As a viable medium though, they're inconvenient and ephemeral. I thought for a time that MiniDiscs would take over where cassettes left off, but the .wav recorders seem to have trumped all.

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  #130  
Old 04-05-2011, 08:50 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Part of a large collection of demos, live gigs, outtakes, etc waiting to be digitized and archived before they melt. As a viable medium though, they're inconvenient and ephemeral. I thought for a time that MiniDiscs would take over where cassettes left off, but the .wav recorders seem to have trumped all.

Bermuda
I was in this store the other day and a BIG sign said We Sell Laser Discs. Thankfully I sold my laser discs before everyone realized they were a fad. But just a few months ago I threw away a lot of old cassettes of songs and live recordings. Now I'm sorry. I don't remember how some of those songs went.
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  #131  
Old 04-05-2011, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Originally Posted by Deltadrummer
Cage was wrong. Beethoven was deaf and that was the w3hole fascination with him during the 19th century. The music was no environmental. It came from his inner imagination.
But Cage wasn't necessarily talking about Beethoven. He was talking about three centuries of tradition, of which only a (fairly significant) part was Beethoven. Do you not think that modern composers that use environmental sounds like Barry Truax add something to the musical mix? Or are you really of the opinion that music has to somehow be artificially synthesised? In which case, I'd like to see your opinions on Messiaen's interpretation of birdsong.

You're coming at this from the opposite approach to me. I believe music is/should be influenced by the extramusical. The Classical (ergh, horrible word) tradition up until about 1900 disagrees with me, but I find it ironic that the proponents of the most academic of 19th Century music (eg. Schoenberg) started thinking extramusically.
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  #132  
Old 04-05-2011, 10:45 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

Wow, how smart this discussion is - brilliant - awesome - smart smart, very smart people around...

B.
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  #133  
Old 04-05-2011, 10:55 PM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

INOG, I get what you're saying but if the songs were well written, with good lyrical content, interesting arrangements, sung with expression and character etc I doubt you'd much care about the way the sound is generated. After all, people have played drum parts on lunch boxes and all sorts of things (albeit probably not Partridge Family lunch boxes) and they still sound "right".

The hollowness stems from the songs - seemingly less inspired by artists and the heart than by producers and profit. The formulas have long been there but they have increasingly been refined and polished in the same way as economic rationalism itself. The music reflects the times.

BTW Bermuda, your desk is a disgrace! Hang on ... my bad ... it's okay, a bit of desk is visible to the right of your Syndrum module :-P
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  #134  
Old 04-06-2011, 02:36 AM
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INOG, I get what you're saying but if the songs were well written, with good lyrical content, interesting arrangements, sung with expression and character etc I doubt you'd much care about the way the sound is generated. After all, people have played drum parts on lunch boxes and all sorts of things (albeit probably not Partridge Family lunch boxes) and they still sound "right".
Agreed. I think most recent pop songs are not well written or arranged, or sung with character. Combine that with no real instruments and it is a double whammy.
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  #135  
Old 04-06-2011, 04:13 AM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

Thought I might chime in on this thread and give everyone another thing to think about.

What do you think folks of the early 1900's thought when they heard things like The Rolling Stones, The Talking Heads, and Jimi Hendrix? In sum, Rock n' Roll. They had been listening to blues, country, swing, big band, and things along those lines. Not too intense. Sure big band and swing are pretty upbeat, but those emphasize on horns, not loud guitar and yelling vocals. Loud guitar solos, yelling vocals, strange wacky performances, blazing fast drums, shirtless young men: These were all fairly new concepts to them. Just as "fake" sounds, drum loops, auto-tune, and music computer programming are fairly new concepts to us. Many of the 1900 generation didn't accept the changes, just as we don't accept modern pop. And likewise, in both occurrences, the young generation (1940-1950/1990-2000) was very much into the new concepts. The two are very much related.

With this information, we can determine an outcome for our current music scene, based on what happened after rock n' roll. Look at all the brilliant styles that branched from rock: Funk, Metal, Progressive, Modern Jazz, Latin Rock, Punk. The list goes on.

We don't have to be appreciative of this new modern pop, however we can anticipate that with these new ideas, though they may be bad, we may see new ideas and even new genre's emerging, that may not be as shallow as modern pop.
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  #136  
Old 04-06-2011, 05:00 AM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

Quote:
Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
But Cage wasn't necessarily talking about Beethoven. He was talking about three centuries of tradition, of which only a (fairly significant) part was Beethoven. Do you not think that modern composers that use environmental sounds like Barry Truax add something to the musical mix? Or are you really of the opinion that music has to somehow be artificially synthesised? In which case, I'd like to see your opinions on Messiaen's interpretation of birdsong.

You're coming at this from the opposite approach to me. I believe music is/should be influenced by the extramusical. The Classical (ergh, horrible word) tradition up until about 1900 disagrees with me, but I find it ironic that the proponents of the most academic of 19th Century music (eg. Schoenberg) started thinking extramusically.
Sorry for the typos . .my typing sucks at times and I was getting ready to go out for lessons so I didn't proofread. The interesting thing about this discussion is that there are two sides that really don't disagree with each other. I think there is a mis-reading between the two sides of the discussion.

The way I see Cage is that he is trying to subvert hundreds of years of entrenched musical aesthetics but also bourgeois notions of musical thought. I think he was very successful, and now we are moving towards the other side, a move back to traditionalism, which is replete with its own problems. They are finally educating undergrads about jazz fifty years after it is no longer a leading commercial art form. And of course they still look down on rock, which is slowly becoming the same. So they are training kids for jobs again that don't exist.

(Here's a wonderful lecture on education if you are interested. Do Schools Kill Creativity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY But I digress.)

At points, Cage's notion do become more aligned with the notion of the absurd than a sincere look at the history of aesthetics. I think one of his concerns was the democratization of music, ie. if all you have to do pick up a tape recorder and make a piece, everyone is a composer. He was very aware of that subversion context of that realization. Now we have the possibility for everyone to make music from their bedroom. The onus is on the individual to create his or her own musical satisfaction and not rely on the nickelodeon, the radio or youtube. That is a significant historical change. One need not play an instrument to be a musician, one need not learn how to compose to be a composer. As Ian stated, deejays in today's world are seen as musicians, at more so they are seen as composers. There are some that argue that they are the great composers of their time. It is often musicians, traditional musicians?, who find this notion most troubling and think it is no surprise that they are most alienated by it. Musicians in the modern world will need to subvert that idea to be successful. The way the modern drummers meld the distinction between programmed and acoustic drums is a good example of that. In the 1990s bands started to have deejays. I always loved The Beastie Boys, "Fight for Your Right to Party" video where the guy holds out an lp when asked what his instrument is.

As you can see, my concern is basically looking realistically about how the modern world fosters the culture of making music. But the idea of what can and should be used in the creation of music is easily answered, anything. Who would have thought that Stockhausen would have the affect on The Beatles and Pink Floyd that he had? Electronic music has affected everything. Most of the music we listen to is electronic. Therefore, your neighbor should be happy that you pound away at your drums for five hours and give them the raw and unique experience of hearing acoustic music at no charge.

Your readings of musical history may be creating problems that are not there. There is an objectivity in 20th century music that the romantics tried to steer clear of, maybe to their own detriment. Romantics were not clear of objective notions. They wrote a lot of referential music. Beethoven invented the notion of the programmatic symphony. I like your Barry Traux example. The use of objective representation in music, of course, goes back even further than Beethoven. Mozart and Vivaldi used it and you hear it in Renaissance song as well. Messiaen's fascination with bird songs may be a different matter all together though. :) As absolute as baroque music may seem, it was influenced by Rococo ideas of architecture with its ornamental design.

I think an interesting question is can Barry Truax be popular? Can non vocal or instrumental music be popular? I can think of a few tunes off the top of my head, Take Five, the perennial favorite Taste of Honey, Popcorn, Theme from A Summer Place, Rock It, Classical Gas, and Song Bird. Most of those songs don't have drums, so don't be surprised on a drum forum when drummers get a little cantankerous about the growing trend in the business not to use live musicians, esp drummers.:)
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  #137  
Old 04-06-2011, 05:18 AM
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Default Re: My rant on today's pop music

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Can non vocal or instrumental music be popular? I can think of a few tunes off the top of my head, Take Five, the perennial favorite Taste of Honey, Popcorn, Theme from A Summer Place, Rock It, Classical Gas, and Song Bird. Most of those songs don't have drums, so don't be surprised on a drum forum when drummers get a little cantankerous about the growing trend in the business not to use live musicians, esp drummers.:)
The Miami Vice Theme comes to mind.

*ducks*



Ok, to make it relevant to drums again, here is Tony Williams playing the Miami Vice Theme song in concert:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJpIQ3dituE
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  #138  
Old 04-06-2011, 06:01 AM
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...poodle-haired singers screaming about their 'wohman!' or someone elses' 'wohman!'...
That seriously made me LOL.
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  #139  
Old 04-06-2011, 06:04 AM
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Thought I might chime in on this thread and give everyone another thing to think about.

What do you think folks of the early 1900's thought when they heard things like The Rolling Stones, The Talking Heads, and Jimi Hendrix? In sum, Rock n' Roll. They had been listening to blues, country, swing, big band, and things along those lines. Not too intense. Sure big band and swing are pretty upbeat, but those emphasize on horns, not loud guitar and yelling vocals. Loud guitar solos, yelling vocals, strange wacky performances, blazing fast drums, shirtless young men: These were all fairly new concepts to them. Just as "fake" sounds, drum loops, auto-tune, and music computer programming are fairly new concepts to us. Many of the 1900 generation didn't accept the changes, just as we don't accept modern pop. And likewise, in both occurrences, the young generation (1940-1950/1990-2000) was very much into the new concepts. The two are very much related.

With this information, we can determine an outcome for our current music scene, based on what happened after rock n' roll. Look at all the brilliant styles that branched from rock: Funk, Metal, Progressive, Modern Jazz, Latin Rock, Punk. The list goes on.

We don't have to be appreciative of this new modern pop, however we can anticipate that with these new ideas, though they may be bad, we may see new ideas and even new genre's emerging, that may not be as shallow as modern pop.
I know it's bad form to quote oneself but this side of things was acknowledged a while ago:

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
What I've wondered about is how there can be passion for music so lacking in depth. I admit to old fartism. That classic distorted brass sound you hear in lots of techno drives me as batty as distorted electric guitars drove my father's generation. The relentless of the doofs, whose low frequencies drive their way though any number of walls ... ugh!

I thought I'd become one of those "cool" old people who'd remain open to the music of the next generation. But I hate doof doof techno, abrasive machine gun metal and most rap. Well done, Gens Y and Z. Ya got me. Touché :)
People are changing so the music is changing. Music of the information age is, not surprisingly, being increasingly driven by data.

Ken, interesting stuff, as usual. As for Cage's democratisation of music - there seems to be a constant push/pull with this. Rock'n'roll, punk and rap were all designed to democratise music so that playing music would be within reach of the unwashed. Marx probably would have had something to say about it!
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  #140  
Old 04-06-2011, 06:35 AM
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No real drums in sight, but this guy has mad skills nonetheless. Not a traditional drummer, but definitely a musician, imo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXRnbS6o64U
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  #141  
Old 04-06-2011, 10:18 AM
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Deltadrummer, I think we're on the same page now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deltadrummer
It is often musicians, traditional musicians?, who find this notion most troubling and think it is no surprise that they are most alienated by it. Musicians in the modern world will need to subvert that idea to be successful. The way the modern drummers meld the distinction between programmed and acoustic drums is a good example of that. In the 1990s bands started to have deejays. I always loved The Beastie Boys, "Fight for Your Right to Party" video where the guy holds out an lp when asked what his instrument is.
I think it's a luddite reaction, I really do. Why that's the case, I'm not sure. It's a threat instinct, perhaps? Or is it that these ideas are naturally antagonistic. I'm sure Cage laughed at the feathers he ruffled, as the Dadaists did. I was actually reading 'The Art of Noises' by Russolo the other day and was amused with just how seriously they were taking themselves, but I suppose that is a naturally inverted threat reaction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deltadrummer
I think an interesting question is can Barry Truax be popular? Can non vocal or instrumental music be popular?
Sure it can, although the examples seem to be less numerous that 'vocal' music (although that term is starting to loosen!). Just for the record, I'm not actually an advocate of environmental recordings in 'electroacoustic' (argh, I'd wish we had some better genre descriptions) music - particularly current music. That's why I compose in computer errors and noise. The reasoning there is that it's been done to death for the sake of it. I met Barry Truax a couple of years back after he delivered a guest lecture at University. Interesting guy, pleasant chap. The issue I have there though is that he hasn't actually really moved on from the Vancouver Sound Project or the similar work he did in the early 70's. The development of granular synthesis is a big deal, but that was twenty-five years ago still.

Moving on is what's important to me. Not because 'new is better' but because I have a very short attention span and a low threshold for boredom. Nothing frustrates me more than current music that sounds the same as older music - not because there's usually anything wrong with older music, with the exception of screaming about 'Wohmen!' (thank you, Boomstick), but because I think it's important to stretch your own boundaries. That can be done in the past too - I love a lot of Renaissance music - but we also have to look forward and that's where I get concerned about the attitudes of some of the arguments I've seen on this thread. The same arguments that go back to the invention of the Piano.

Don't get me wrong, I think a lot of the music being ranted about here is genuinely terrible, I certainly wouldn't listen to it out of choice and I'd probably only hear it after about eight pints in the back end of some Godawful night club, but that's just the current trend - terrible though it may be. Pop charts move slowly, but in a couple of years it will be something different. The democratisation of recording is going to make a bigger splash in the next couple of years and the idea of something genuinely new excites me.
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Old 04-06-2011, 02:15 PM
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The more I think about it, my band is the complete opposite of today's pop. We are a blues-based rock band, with lots of improvisation and guitar/keyboard solos. We also delve into to some southern and classic rock, and play a few pop favorites as well. With a set list like this, it could be very difficult to connect with under 20 crowd, but that's not really our target audience:

Sunshine of Your Love
You Can't Always Get What You Want
Learning to Fly
Bad Moon Rising
Rockin' In The Free World
Spooky
Keep You Hands To Yourself
Crossroads
Gimme Three Steps
Can't You See
Tore Down
One After 909
Friends in Low Places
Take Me To The River

Interestingly I just saw a new beer commercial last night on TV, and they used Can't You See as the theme song.
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Old 04-06-2011, 02:34 PM
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INOG, we play Sunshine and Spooky too (admittedly, a bit quirkily) and as a chillout band we sure as hell aren't too keen on playing to young audiences any more than the young groups want to play to oldies.

After all, if we oldies don't play music for other oldies, who will?
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:17 PM
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INOG, we play Sunshine and Spooky too (admittedly, a bit quirkily) and as a chillout band we sure as hell aren't too keen on playing to young audiences any more than the young groups want to play to oldies.

After all, if we oldies don't play music for other oldies, who will?
ha ha - how true! :)
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:31 PM
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I think the thread has wandered more into the old debate about live musicians versus electronic programmed music, rather than the failures of the pop music machine that it kind of started off as.

I see no problem with either electronic or programmed music as long as it is the intended method of music creation by the artist. The key is artist, and not producer. My main beef is with music producers that use it as a cheap and poorly executed means to crank out low cost pop music today. Simplistic beats with cartoonish sounds, accompanied by three note riffs played over and over again seem to be the standard of the day on pop radio anymore. I think the audience is just getting tired of this cheap garbage they are passing off as music, and it is showing in this malaise and indifference that people are showing towards music and musicians today. I am sure the self proclaimed experts that run the industry will disagree, but I think they are the reason the industry is in shambles today.
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:39 PM
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ha ha - how true! :)
I don't mind youth culture being pushed so heavily in the media ... more into music, pocket money to spend, pass on the torch etc. Still, while most of the contemporary western commercial scene is dominated by kids' stuff, occasionally oldies will creak their way out of their arm chairs, shine up the ole walking frame and venture out in search of food, wine and music.

That's when bands like ours POUNCE! At that point it feels like all the budding-breasted little boppers with their autotunes and drum machines are a million miles away ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoE5kGMUpcg :)
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Old 04-06-2011, 05:12 PM
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.



I think it's a luddite reaction, I really do. Why that's the case, I'm not sure.


Sure it can, although the examples seem to be less numerous that 'vocal' music (although that term is starting to loosen!).


Don't get me wrong, I think a lot of the music being ranted about here is genuinely terrible, I certainly wouldn't listen to it out of choice and I'd probably only hear it after about eight pints in the back end of some Godawful night club, but that's just the current trend - terrible though it may be. Pop charts move slowly, but in a couple of years it will be something different. The democratisation of recording is going to make a bigger splash in the next couple of years and the idea of something genuinely new excites me.
It's a Luddite reaction but one that is not without merit. If the hypocrisy on the side of those who argue against the mechnization of pop music is that they are limiting the sounds they are hearing and deeming some genres not fit for aesthetic enjoyment, certainly the hypocrisy on the other end is talking about the development of instrumental or aesthetic culture in a world where there is no audience being cultivated for it. Will those Justin Beiber fans someday go to an electronic music concert? There are fifty somethings that still go see David Cassidy. I've been around long enough to know that in today's world it isn't the "art music" snobs who are the least open to change; but it is those who diet relies most heavily on a daily intake of pop music, those forty or fifty somethings who still listen exclusively to classic rock. They talk about how great music was back then and how everything today is crap. You know those people. :P So it is easy to say instrumental or experimental music can be popular, and more difficult to make that a reality in a culture where people tastes have not been cultivated to enjoy it or value it. Instrumental was more so in the 1970s with fusion and jam bands. Music was so great back in the day.

English culture is a bit different as well because it has rarely had a strong experimental or instrumental music culture; but it has always had a strong popular music culture, perhaps because it has a strong theater culture. Where as Italy, Austria and Germany esp and even France and Russia have had stronger experimental and instrumental musical cultures. In America there has always been a source of contention between the two. The Northeast has always had a strong experimental and instrumental culture and the rural south and midwest have a strong popular music culture.

Pol, NY punk definitely has a connection to Cage and the NY avant-garde. the idea of noise as political protest is directly related to performance art and goes back to Dada. You probably see that more with the Sex Pistols or The Clash, i.e London punk than with NY punk of the mid-1970s. You also see it as well in hip-hop culture of the later 1980s and early 1990s with bands like NWA, Public Enemy and Ice T. I don't think that Cage's thinking it has much to do with Marx. But the folk music explosion of the 1950s and 60s is directly related to leftist politics and this idea of the democratization of music. That was definitely a result of Beatlemania, and I am thinking we can make a connection between the decrease of the use of traditional instruments in pop music today and the decrease in musical instrument sales.

Don't forget the Orchestrion.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7361542n
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:19 PM
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English culture is a bit different as well because it has rarely had a strong experimental or instrumental music culture; but it has always had a strong popular music culture, perhaps because it has a strong theater culture. Where as Italy, Austria and Germany esp and even France and Russia have had stronger experimental and instrumental musical cultures. In America there has always been a source of contention between the two. The Northeast has always had a strong experimental and instrumental culture and the rural south and midwest have a strong popular music culture.
Yes
Pink Floyd
Emerson Lake and Palmer
Allan Parson Project
Manfred Mann
Jethro Tull
King Crimson
early Genesis
early Supertramp
early Queen
ELO
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:53 PM
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Yes
Pink Floyd
Emerson Lake and Palmer
Allan Parson Project
Manfred Mann
Jethro Tull
King Crimson
early Genesis
early Supertramp
early Queen
ELO
I hate to be the one to break it to you. But this music is not experimental or groundbreaking. Many people would classify it as pop. But in any event, I am speaking of five hundred years of musical history, of which whatever happened in that ten year period may or may not be of any consequence in the big picture. I like a lot of those bands. But I am still no going to compare it to Bach or Beethoven, or American composers like Copland and Ives, or Gershwin and Richard Rodgers. I am sorry, I'm just not, and maybe that is part of the problem that MFB speaks about.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:07 PM
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I think King Crimson are about as experimental as Rock will ever get.

If you're wanting contemporary, actually experimental composers, then you're talking Sachiko M., Masami Akita, Christian Marclay some Truax (although that's not even experimental anymore) Antti Saario, Mark Wastell, Tetuzi Akiyama and a whole host of other names it's unlikely you've heard of. I would actually say that the big 'experimental' hub of the last fifteen years is Japan. Real experimentalism is largely non-existent here, although I like to think that I do a share of that sort of work myself.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:36 PM
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I hate to be the one to break it to you. But this music is not experimental or groundbreaking. Many people would classify it as pop. But in any event, I am speaking of five hundred years of musical history, of which whatever happened in that ten year period may or may not be of any consequence in the big picture. I like a lot of those bands. But I am still no going to compare it to Bach or Beethoven, or American composers like Copland and Ives, or Gershwin and Richard Rodgers. I am sorry, I'm just not, and maybe that is part of the problem that MFB speaks about.
Well, this IS a thread about pop music. :-P

Bach or Beethoven, not much room for a drum set in those compositions.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:45 PM
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Well, this IS a thread about pop music. :-P

Bach or Beethoven, not much room for a drum set in those compositions.
Well, not until the 60s and The Toys, lol (only a few oldtimers besides me will remember when this was in the pop charts) ;o}

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGDZc9bdUZM (The bust of JB at the beginning is a dead giveaway clue)


Bach's Minuet in G Major is where that song came from:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw8pPRpaMgY

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Old 04-06-2011, 09:54 PM
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Is today's pop music even played with real(acoustic) drums anymore? most of it is drum machine no soul crap.

Bonzolead
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:03 PM
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Is today's pop music even played with real(acoustic) drums anymore? most of it is drum machine no soul crap.

Bonzolead
Agreed. Here is a typical recent pop standard. The only part that has a groove is the human part - the vocals. The synthesizer is ridiculously simple, and the drums must have been programmed by a friggin clown, because they are a comedy of lifeless automation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_RqWocthcc

I wonder if the whole composition wasn't written a capella, and the producer just slapped the musical crap together in a few hours by himself.

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Old 04-06-2011, 10:11 PM
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Well, this IS a thread about pop music. :-P

Bach or Beethoven, not much room for a drum set in those compositions.
Not playing the drums is a perfectly valid compositional choice...
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Old 04-06-2011, 11:10 PM
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I hate to be the one to break it to you. But this music is not experimental or groundbreaking. Many people would classify it as pop. But in any event, I am speaking of five hundred years of musical history, of which whatever happened in that ten year period may or may not be of any consequence in the big picture. I like a lot of those bands. But I am still no going to compare it to Bach or Beethoven, or American composers like Copland and Ives, or Gershwin and Richard Rodgers. I am sorry, I'm just not, and maybe that is part of the problem that MFB speaks about.
I'm sorry Ken, I'm not buying it.

They certainly thought they were being experimental, at least with in the context of Rock-N-Roll. Much like those in free jazz thinks it's experimental, but they still confine it to umbrella of jazz.

And really, in terms of the last 500 years, you could argue

1) All music with a drum set is pop because it's a recent popular invention.

Or

2) All music with a drum set is clearly experimental because it's a recent invention that human kind is still experimenting just what a human can do with it. And that the fact it might become obsolete in favor of computers shows just how much of an experiment it is.

Of course, both arguments are rubbish and not worth a hill of beans.

But you can't sit here and argue one can't determine what is crap pop music based on criteria A, B, and C, but then turn around and say you CAN determine what is or is not experimental music based on similar criteria. Sorry, that is getting into hypocritical territory.

I could easily say, well, in the context of the last 3000 years of music, Beethoveen is just a pop artist too. In the context of the last 50,000 years of sound, anything human made is just pop. In terms of the last 20 million years, human kind is just natures version of pop art. It's just silly and non-sense if you draw out far enough.

In the end, it's all relative.
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Old 04-06-2011, 11:26 PM
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Agreed. Here is a typical recent pop standard. The only part that has a groove is the human part - the vocals. The synthesizer is ridiculously simple, and the drums must have been programmed by a friggin clown, because they are a comedy of lifeless automation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_RqWocthcc

I wonder if the whole composition wasn't written a capella, and the producer just slapped the musical crap together in a few hours by himself.
Not my cup of tea, but there are much worse pop songs played on the radio these days.
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Old 04-06-2011, 11:44 PM
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I'm sorry Ken, I'm not buying it.

They certainly thought they were being experimental, at least with in the context of Rock-N-Roll. Much like those in free jazz thinks it's experimental, but they still confine it to umbrella of jazz.

And really, in terms of the last 500 years, you could argue...

Snip!

In the end, it's all relative.
One definition of 'experimental' is the precedent. Is there a precedent for what you're hearing? If so, how ingrained is that precedent?

Let's take Beethoven as an example. I will argue that Beethoven - in his time - was largely experimental. He follows a level of tradition, but Beethoven's style of composition is actually radically different to anything before it. The differences are subtle to modern tastes, but they are profound and kickstarted the Romantic movement.

One thing that is drilled into you at an academic compositional level is precedent awareness. Can you talk about previous composers that have influenced you? Or concepts that have inspired you - and in doing so, can you differentiate yourself sufficiently and distinctly? Then there is the question of the naive. Are you naive? Can you not find a precedent? Can your music be approached naively?

All music at some point is experimental to a degree - but there are levels of importance within that. If we take a band like The Beatles whose later catalogue is experimental for the time, you can then look at that and trace roots of what they were doing to more avant-garde composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen (whether they were aware of it or not) and you finally arrive at somebody who was 'ahead of their time', i.e. with a less traceable precedent. Then you're usually in the grounds of the experimental proper.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:30 AM
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One definition of 'experimental' is the precedent. Is there a precedent for what you're hearing? If so, how ingrained is that precedent?

Let's take Beethoven as an example. I will argue that Beethoven - in his time - was largely experimental. He follows a level of tradition, but Beethoven's style of composition is actually radically different to anything before it. The differences are subtle to modern tastes, but they are profound and kickstarted the Romantic movement.

One thing that is drilled into you at an academic compositional level is precedent awareness. Can you talk about previous composers that have influenced you? Or concepts that have inspired you - and in doing so, can you differentiate yourself sufficiently and distinctly? Then there is the question of the naive. Are you naive? Can you not find a precedent? Can your music be approached naively?

All music at some point is experimental to a degree - but there are levels of importance within that. If we take a band like The Beatles whose later catalogue is experimental for the time, you can then look at that and trace roots of what they were doing to more avant-garde composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen (whether they were aware of it or not) and you finally arrive at somebody who was 'ahead of their time', i.e. with a less traceable precedent. Then you're usually in the grounds of the experimental proper.
And I can buy that.

But at the same time, you're making my point exactly.

It was experimental, with in a defined context. After all, there are only 12 notes in Western Music. Near endless combinations of said notes, but still, (nearly) everyone in our culture from the dark ages to Rebecca Black are using the same 12 notes to create, be it "new" or "recycled" musical ideas.

Unless you're pulling sounds out of thin air, everything has some level of precedent. As you pointed out, how much precedent determines level of experimentation. But at the same, precedent IS STILL there.

As you very well explained (thank you for that), it is the level of precedent, which automatically makes it relative. And because it is relative, there is no clear line in the sand. You can draw one, but it's still a relative line.

Pink Floyd had a relative level of experimentation. You can argue it was NOT the same level of experimentation as Beethoven, due to different levels of precedent, but you can't just say this is and this is not, when it is a relative measurement to be determined based on context. And different context gives you different results.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:37 AM
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It's a continuum, then. But I'll still argue that the bands listed above aren't truly experimental. Why? Because the concepts and ideas were far from new then and because what they were doing was very easily traceable. The experimentalism is partly down to the naiveity of the listener, but I think the 'real' measure is a far more objective referentialism. And by that I mean the number/significance/relationship of other work, which is actually fairly easy to objectively ascertain.

Most of the 'experimentalism' I'm talking about doesn't use 12 notes. The stuff I'm really talking about barely uses any. The last piece I made had about six and only one of them was a traditionally definable 'scale' note and I'm not that close to the top of the real avant.
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