Food for musical thought. AKA brain-damages…

Hey everyone – let’s get serious!

The other night I got into a discussion with a couple of friends about musical tastes,
and I basically said that I think people listen to music for different reasons. I didn’t mean to imply it in the snobbish sense of, “I look into music more deeply than you,” but it probably came across this way.

Now, it may have come across that way for a few reasons:

(A) it’s true
(2) the truth hurts,
and (D) the one plowing minds with truth is a sexy lady-stealer.

And by using the term “sexy lady-stealer” I’m pulling a double-whammy
depicting how I both steal women who are sexually appealing and am myself a sexy incubus who steals the apple of ladies’ eyeballs. THIS IS JUST HOW OTHER PEOPLE DESCRIBE ME.

These varying concepts of why people listen to music are probably not foreign to those of us who are musicians and enthusiasts themselves, so I’m not going to detail too deeply the different reasons to like music, but I will say a few things about it.

You can often see on someone’s Winamp or iPod or cd mixes what sort of taste that person has. You can see the specific bands, but that’s too finite a definition of what people like about music, it does not tell us enough about their taste. What one is looking to understand about a person’s taste is subtle, it’s like the intents or “reasons” behind their musical taste. The connection between the music they like, which is actually just their ego or whatever. But we don’t all know what reason for musical taste we have, or at least don’t contemplate it enough to define it to others. Because it is a little less concrete than say, the exact genres of music we like. As a kid and teenager, it’s easier to define your taste by those less concrete categories. And, if you believe Tay Zonday, the record industries want to keep your musical tastes within narrow genres and categories so they can exploit you more easily. In other words, big music business wants to keep a vanilla-flavored reign– not chocolate. Chocolate reign — roflcopter!

There are various kinds of music and musicians who are really trying to do very different things. I have encountered and heard so many musicians who are simply technicians, players who do not have the divine improvisational spark of a melodic genius. Yet some of the things they are doing are intriguing and incredible in their own way — whether it’s technical or technological or whatever. So I think, in order to discover music successfully, one may wish to identify what connecting factor in music one is attracted to. This is rather important but sometimes people don’t give it much thought, although it does apply to everything in life, really.

There is usually a communication break-down when trying to describe verbally to another person what kind of music one likes. Genres or bands and musicians simply do not always do one justice to relaying one’s musical interests. This is unfortunate considering musical aspirations and desires are exceptionally important when playing in bands or choosing music for one’s peers or environment. I mean, you can’t just play any random metal album for people who like heavy metal and expect a positive reaction. You could die, especially if you played Dragonforce. Especially if you played Dragonforce.

So I propose a better dialogue for the communication of musical interests. Before discussing musical tastes with other people, one should consider why one listens to music and what the connection is between the various artists and pieces one is enthused by. There is so much damn music out there now that you really have to develop an ear for what music is bullshit. A music label mogul has a distinct ear for what he/she likes as well. They will generally skim a track for 20 seconds to see if it’s marketable. I’m not saying you should be so shallow as to define music on these standards and I definitely think looking for that in music is crappy. Still, when throwing things together or collecting music it has to fit a certain basis for recognition – something you can quickly identify as what you’re looking for in the music.

Many times in my life people have been like “oh I think you’ll really like this band” or “I want to know what you think of this band” or “you’ll hate this band” and sometimes I see something or nothing in the music that appeals to my own musical philosophy or what-have-you. But I think my musical philosophy, the things I like in music that define my taste, are also tied up in the kind of aspirations I have in general, as a person.

I was going to define exactly my connecting interest between the various musical things I like, but that would ruin the fun and mystery of why I’m such a jerk-ass and would only serve to alienate me from the people who like the same music for different reasons. Sorry if I bored you this time. I know you wanted some mp3s. Don’t worry, I’m going to write about some Native American music in a hot second. I also might post some of my own music soon, just to intimidate.

HAW HAW HAW! <—*indicates laughter like a wheezing fat slimeball smoking a cigar, so that the first laugh is also something of a choking cough*

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~ by chaosrexmachinae on August 3, 2007.

2 Responses to “Food for musical thought. AKA brain-damages…”

  1. This interview has some interesting thoughts on the matter. http://www.maximumfun.org/blog/2006/10/podcast-your-brain-on-music-with.html . Skip the Matmos interview, the second half of the show is where its at. Also, ignore the annoying host.

  2. http://www.maximumfun.org/blog/2006/10/podcast-your-brain-on-music-with.html . This is an interview with a guy who talks about the physical actions of the breain when listening to music. Skip the first part with Matmos, and bear with the annoying host.

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