Print Story Kill the lights and bring the music on down.
By technician (Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:37:51 PM EST) (all tags)
Everybody be quiet.

I don't disparage anyone for their taste in music. Music is too important for that sort of petty "I have better taste than you do" nonsense. There are times when I'll get trolled into a "Guns and Roses was better than Nirvana" argument, but really at the heart of it, the experience of music is too individual to belittle or assert priority over. The last thing I want to do is force someone into admitting that some emotional content in their life is less valid because the soundtrack was an Enya album. I will, however, express consternation at those unfortunate souls who lack a soundtrack, whose poetry is spoken only, or whispered lightly with no regard to rhythm.

Rhythm is sacred.

Some of the more primitive structures of speech and society are based entirely in rhythm and tone. Plugged into the very lowest level of our programming is the constant and inconsistent thrum of our heart, pulsing waves of blood through our corporeal being. Set aside any emotional attachment you may have to your life, and you at least have this constant metronome ticking away your hours and minutes.

Each moment, no matter the emotional content, is backed by this pulse. To then express that pulse through intonation and instrumented rhythm? It speaks not to the higher functions entirely, instead relies on this very low level programming, our source code wrought in 4/4 with a backbeat. Put me on a scope and my entire being sings with variegated fractals of rhythm and polyrhythm, with under- and over-tones. Harmonics. Systems in balance with some key chord.

Music is important. It is in church, it is church, it is the basest form of expression for sublingual emotion. Even if it is Miley Cyrus, even if what speaks to your heart at twelve years old or forty years old is the same Steely Dan song, rendered through a lens with a patina of time and pain and joy. Even if all you like is what can be played in the background softly while you pursue more conscious efforts at turning time into money, I'm with you.

A few of us make music, but I like to think that everyone makes music, with varying degrees of discipline which can either enhance or detract from the emotional content. An autotune corrected pitchless teen bop star can't be held responsible for the marketing machine that locks into their Lego parts; they are merely a conduit for an unspoken need on the part of their fans, fans who create and associate in ways as unique as what makes people cry.

When I'm in the right mood, the right song does things to me that external chemistry cannot. No amount of narcotic deliriant can affect me at the level the Right Song can. Likewise, when I'm locked into a particular piece that I'm playing...and this happened far more with viola than it has since with guitar and various other instruments, including my voice...I can be so completely removed from reality that I re-enter without a sense of time or place; I take at least a few seconds to remember who and where I am.

Perfectly tuned into a piece like that, you're more in it than playing it, more part of it than spectating. I've always had a very hard time with meditation, with clearing my head of things that are not now, but when I'm deep into a piece that I am familiar with, I am entirely outside of the vagaries of being human, and am entirely filled with nothing outside of the previous measure, the next measure, the accents and fluidity of each partial note, the subtones and the overtones.

I miss that. When I see people in an ecstasy brought on by religion, or an expressionless joy brought on by surviving some terrible thing, I see what I felt in those moments, what I do sometimes still get in small, tiny pieces of in the day when just the right set of notes hits, when just the right rhythm fills in sympathetic vibration with the biological and emotional processes that define me. Watering eyes, voice caught in the back of the throat, heart filled, mind clear of things that are not that rhythmic moment, it disappears vaporous on realization, cannot withstand examination, but instead stands as a distinct marker echoing primal emotion too simple for this complex time.

Even if it's a bad German techno take on a William Blake poem, even if it's just the opening strains of some song that played in the backseat of a sun-baked vinyl interior on the edge of an evening in the desert, even if it's a simple lone voice with God alone holding court, even pop or rap or metal or whatever, if it evokes that moment? It is Good.

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Kill the lights and bring the music on down. | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 hidden)
+1 Steely Dan by atreides (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 12:40:08 PM EST
Oh, and you're not wrong about any of that other stuff, either.

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

But ... by FlightTest (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:48:11 PM EST
What if they like Taylor Swift? 

It's perfectly OK. by technician (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:29:34 PM EST
Especially if they confuse her for Hitler.

[ Parent ]
Not a fan of her per se by dev trash (4.00 / 2) #5 Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:00:45 PM EST
But she writes her own stuff and I've always been a fan of that.

[ Parent ]
GnR was better. by dev trash (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:00:10 PM EST
For songs that had a message like say Civil War.
But Nirvana was better because they were not typical mainstream music.

In other words, you are correct.


There is no bad German techno. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #6 Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:24:59 PM EST
No, sir.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Well, by technician (2.00 / 0) #7 Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 12:11:42 PM EST
Make it stop by anonimouse (4.00 / 1) #8 Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 03:06:57 PM EST
I believe I have the antidote here

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
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I prefer no crappy spoken word in my techno by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #9 Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 09:29:25 PM EST
German, or otherwise, thanks.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Thanks to the Legend soundtrack TD can do no wrong by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #10 Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 09:31:44 PM EST
Thank you.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
What the christ by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #11 Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 03:29:17 AM EST
That was a quality troll in a world of post-modern trolling. If that qualifies as techno I'm not sure what doesn't. Maybe jazz. This is bad German Techno, and by bad I mean amazing as in not particularly good musically but makes me want to dance.

"Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no libertarians in financial crises." -Krugman

[ Parent ]
OK, wait, by technician (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 06:11:35 PM EST
Techno according to wikipedia has only existed since 1988.

So, I guess I'm used to classifying all electronic music generically as Techno, sort of the same blanket people use on Rock, which also means nothing.


[ Parent ]
early 80s for techno by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #17 Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 10:16:08 PM EST
that sort of stuff spawns some of the dumber wastes of text on the internet though.

By about 2000 rock was incorporating electronic music pretty heavily, even some of the structure. Radiohead - Kid A is the big example. Snark aside genre labels are meaningless as you said.

"Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no libertarians in financial crises." -Krugman

[ Parent ]
What thee ever-loving fuck does Wikipedia know? by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #18 Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 12:36:43 AM EST
December 1986. Track entitled "Techno Pop" on the album "Electric Cafe" by Kraftwerk. In fact, the term is used in the single "Musique Non-stop," released 2 months prior -- October, 1986.


"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #19 Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 09:47:57 AM EST
were around in the 70's.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Yes, they were by technician (2.00 / 0) #20 Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 11:11:55 AM EST
but they apparently weren't techno. They were "electronic music."

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Opening bars of Layla by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #13 Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 05:50:34 PM EST
Still put the hairs on the back of my neck up.  That Q&A section in the solo of ST's It's going down, the cadence in Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel's Don't give up...
I could be here all night listing these.

Moments, by technician (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 06:08:07 PM EST
there are pieces that have moments that mean more to me than the whole piece. The piano break in the live version of Layla that was used in Goodfellas, for instance, yeah. War Pigs has this bit in the middle where it's just the high hat and Ozzie, about four and a half minutes in.

The opening of just about any Zeppelin song.

The very, very end of Tangerine Dream's Cyclone album (the second side is one song, but this bit carries weight for me.

And odd sound areas, like TOOL's "Right In Two" has this Tabula solo that ends with a crunchy guitar bit, then the guitar comes in loud after a microsecond of Adam screaming into the hear this human voice, then the pickup goes "clang" and shit gets serious. Or in Satellite by the Kills, that odd mechanic skipping guitar noise, coupled with the drop-D-ish bassline? Damn.

Yeah, there's tons of it.

[ Parent ]
Heh! by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #16 Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 06:31:30 PM EST
The guitar / harmonica bit where the singing kicks in on Quireboys' Seven O'clock, the return to the opening riff in Crazy Train, that note in Mr Scary where is sounds like the guitar is a wild beast that Lynch has by the neck and it's got its teeth into him.

Twin guitar interplay on Down's Stone the Crow, a lot of Maiden / Priest / Queensryche /

The clouds dispersing as the breaks of the solo on Ozric Tentacle's Dissolution, anticipation of the next note on pretty much anything of Gilmour's work; ah the list goes on!

I am stopping here before we're here all night! :)

[ Parent ]
The part by riceowlguy (4.00 / 1) #21 Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 01:30:23 PM EST
in the fourth movement of Pines of Rome where the trumpets come in, if that doesn't make you want to climb mountains or conquer nations...

[ Parent ]
Kill the lights and bring the music on down. | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 hidden)