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Musical Philosophy ala Kiefo

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Matt Till, Dec 17, 2005.


  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Didn't want to derail the thread of my robot brother, but he was discussing people's ability to like music being related to if they can "feel" it... causing for the debate of odd timed beats to be the downfall of a "pop" song, because most people wouldn't get it...

    I give you... Tool. A majority of the band Tool's music is odd timed, but in the realm of rock, they are the poppest band since Metallica. (Lets remeber folks, pop means popular... not Dance music). I was listening to Tool the other day (I'm trying to get into them so I can have something to talk about with my friends... that's all they talk about, a band that has put out 4 albums....) but what I've noticed in my listening, when something becomes complex... something or usually everything else simplifies. It's quite rare in a Tool song that more than two or more people are doing anything complex really. More often than not, the drums are the only thing overly technical.

    So to cut to the chase, I think it's density that causes people to dislike something. AC/DC is the biggest crossover rock act ever, they appeal to basically everyone.. and I struggle to think of a simpler tighter band. Not only is it very monophonic, but the tracks are a bit more sparce in terms of production, everything is nice and clean and has it's own space. Lets check the other end of the rock spectrum. Lets take an extreme death metal band like Cryptopsy or Nile or someone of that nature... so much going on, the music is in a constant state of activity. It's all about creating this uneasy feeling of jumping out of your skin, odd timed disjointed whatever. (Ignoring the Death metal vocals, because people always point to the vocals for causing death metals lack of mainstream popularity, I think that's scratching the surface).

    My thoughts on the subject are clearly unorganized, I'll try to summarize by saying, people like simple/sparce music. I'm not sure why, people don't like a lot of activity in their music (people meaning the average moron ;) ). But strangly enough, minimalist ambient music isn't popular either. It's non abrasive and nobody would complain if you put a Brian Eno cd on as background music, but people don't rush out and buy his stuff.

    I just think that it's interesting, the perfect pop music is somewhere between brutal technical thrash death metal and someone holding down a "d" on a keyboard.
     
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    There's lots to think about. You should hear some of the conversations I have with my roommate.
     
  3. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I'm afraid of those conversations... you guys would be all Aug6 and I'd be like, "See you clowns later!" I only talk music in the B.S. sense. ;)
     
  4. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    what's happening on august 6th?
     
  5. i think what makes pop music good is the flow...people can dance to a song with a flow. when your songs are in 23/8 and all that crazy stuff, its hard to headband or dance to, which is what i believe makes a song marketable, aka pop.
     
  6. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002

    A cohesive song that has a flow or pulse to it is definitely important for pop music, but really, the thing that defines pop music is the hook. Catchy hook= marketable. See: tool, their popular songs all have immensely strong hooks. Even where the flow or pulse of the song is inconsistent.

    There are tons of musics all around the world with ample flow and cohesion and grooviness, but they aren't hook/riff based, they aren't easily digested by the general populace.

    I was surfing through someone's music collection the other day and I was surprised to see a very diverse list of genres, rock, hip hop, jazz, classical, techno, country even. But as I clicked on them, there would consistently be one or two artists and only their 'hits' or 'popular' songs.

    This is a complete non-musician's iTunes playlist. I came to a realization then, but I'm not quite sure exactly what it was. It's funny though, how the non-musician seems to be the most likely to absorb the most styles of music based purely off how they sound.

    Musicians seem to be the ones that get caught up in other bull****.
     
  7. so there are other ways to like a song other than how it sounds?
     
  8. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Of course their are! There are all the marketing tie ins. Because everyone knows it's not good music unless there is a video. And a product line of some kind. Can the 'artist' have a fragrance line? Those are very big this week. How many days since the artist was on EntertainmentThis Minute?




    Sorry I had to run away and barf. I really ought to stretch before working my sarcasm muscles that hard.

    I just read your post and thought how in a reasonable world it would be a very rational and proper statement. But in our world we have BritneyJessicaChristinaAshlee and all the other essentially fake celebrities posing as musicians. I probably shouldn't lump Christina in there with the others. At least she actually has pipes.
     
  9. :D i like that show :)


    but as far as i understand, it seems like those are examples of the entertainment business telling you that you like that sound.


    ...but now i just remembered my cousin buying the first few Britney spears cds because of the CD case jacket...d'oh

    granted he has never yet to have listen to the cds...
     
  10. You're probably right about music's simplicity being closely related to its mass appeal. These days almost all pop music is a prominent but basic drum beat, occasionally with some simple harmony over it. What I find interesting is that at one time popular music wasn't simple at all. Back in the day (way back in the day) popular music was complex and contrapuntal. I wonder what brought about the change. Was it the shift from musicians to marketing folks controlling what people get to hear?
     
  11. i think that change occurred way back in the day when people started liking lyrics more than the instrumentation outside of a guitar solo once in a while...and that would have to be around the forties i would guess, when jazz was the big thing.
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Actually, I don't think it's a case of complexity or simplicity. Look how big bands like Yes, Jethro Tull and ELP were in the 70's. And System Of A Down does pretty complex music and has hits now. I think it's more a function of having a melody you can hum. For all their complexity, SOAD has melodies you can hum.
     
  13. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    you'd be surprised. I have met people that honestly can't truly like something until they understand it. Until they intellectualize it, it doesn't become 'worth it' or enjoyable. It might seems weird, but such people do exist. Musicians and nonmusicians alike.

    Lots of 20th century classical, avant garde, process music...etc. The enjoyment, for some, comes almost solely from thinking about it. Thinking about how inventive or unique or interesting the processes are, even if the end result is an atonal, arrhythmic mess.
     
  14. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA


    Erm... hmm. I can honestly say that's the first time I've seen Yes, Jethro Tull and ELP in the same thought as System of a Down. But that's another thing, progessive bands did have "hits" but they were always the most simple songs the bands did... Roundabout, Aqualung, and Lucky man are good songs, but by no means the most impressive display of talent those great bands were capable of. On the other hand I've never heard a System of a Down song and though, that's complex... :meh:
     
  15. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    And here in lies the artier-than-thou mentality that runs around in the art circles. Who can own the most noise rock albums? I'll admit, I've download some noise rock, I've gone to some noise shows. With that, my only justification (it's small) is inside that wall of noise, the individual pieces of this overall mess move inside the wall. It's like looking at a painting of dense splattered paints, and the paints move, or create the illusion of movement. But I find that no reason to worship noise rock bands. But a lot of the art kids around here listen to noise rock, stroke their beards and give the look of "wow this is so deep."

    So another reason someone likes something, it's cool to like it. In whatever circle you run, this applies... you don't have to conform. Most genres have a big name that you aren't suppose to dislike and/or should worship.

    Metal - Slayer
    Jazz - Miles Davis
    Funk - James Brown
    Rock - Led Zeppelin

    You aren't suppose to crap on any of these bands/artists because of the revolutionary blah blah blah. Slayer... is stupid for the most part. Miles Davis tone drove me nuts and made me think I hated the trumpet. James Brown... is pretty good, but his lifestyle makes me feel... not good. Led Zeppelin is the most overrated band in Rock.... tight rhythm section... but other than that... who cares?

    I'm just saying, some people like music because it's forced upon them. It's shoved down your throat... wanna be a metal kid? Better go out and buy Reign in Blood. Genres as a lifestyle are a stupid competition.
     
  16. like the song 4'33"?
    ;)
     
  17. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002

    It can get fairly snooty. But I think there is a valid point to be made with it. Some arts have multiple levels on enjoyment in them, you can love escher because his works are incredibly detailed and intricate and there is a lot for your eyes to take in, you can also love him for the mathematical approach he took, or any combination of reasons.

    I think the snobbish outlook comes more from "you can ONLY enjoy such in such in so and so manner" This applies to anyone who would say such a thing.

    I was hanging out with some composers at calarts once and they were bagging on some other student composer and one of them said, and I quote "that guy, he just composes with his ears, I mean, it's kinda cool stuff, but he doesn't REALLY know what he's doing, his stuff is all ear-composed" :oops:
     
  18. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I feel as long as you are open to all things, you are a good musician. Even if you are not at a technical point in your life when you can get all your ideas out, as long as you aren't shutting out something just because it's rock, jazz, funk, easy listening, ska, country, pop, christian, rap... whatever, you have what it takes to be a great musician.

    But I'm one of those people who think listening comes before playing... and I'm an ear composer.
     
  19. The only one of the bands you mentioned that I'm familiar with is SOAD, but judging by the one song I have now and what I remember of the other tunes by them I've heard, they're anything but complex.
     
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sure they are. Lots of complex unison bass lines, time changes, feel changes, strange vocal harmonies.