Today on Blogcritics
Home » Music » The Friday Morning Listen: Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother

The Friday Morning Listen: Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

In a move that might strike some people as bizarre, Pink Floyd got the courts involved because it did not want its record label, EMI, to sell individual Floyd tracks on iTunes. Amazingly enough, the band won. I say 'amazing' because it always seems like when individuals are pitted against business concerns, the individuals come out on the short end of the deal. Oh wait, this is England we're talking about. Never mind. After seeing the details of the contract, it does appear that EMI stepped outside legal bounds.

Now back to the 'bizarre' thing — I can't find fault with the artists. They conceived of (most of) their recordings as suites of tunes, spent a lot of time on the execution and recording of the music, and labored over the sequencing before releasing the final collection. If they want to keep the albums in tact, ensuring a complete listening experience, that's well within' their rights. I have to credit them for sticking to their principles. It's hard for me to believe that they would have pulled in a ton of cash from digital singles sales. I dunno, maybe they were throwing away a bunch of money. Can there really be that much pent-up demand for copies of "Money" and "Another Brick In The Wall, Pt II"?

EMI was of course trying to protect their own business interests, though their ham-handed approach was surprising. Their contention that the contract referred to vinyl albums only was just plain silly if you ask me. Apparently, the judge thought so too. On the other hand, maybe I shouldn't have been surprised, given the insanity on display during the recent OK Go fiasco. Who exactly is sitting behind the desk at these companies anyway? Have they been sharing the lead paint chip jar with Glenn Beck?

Don't take any of this as a screed against sales of singles. Though I'm not a big fan, I can see why people like them. They're just not for me. As much as a great song is a great song all by itself, my tendency is to want to hear what else the artist can do, putting the song into its original context. I've also heard the argument that it's better to pay 99 cents for one good track, while avoiding the 14 other tracks of filler. I've never fallen prey to the RestOfTheCdSucks phenomenon, but I do appreciate the listener's point.

A recent article on Blogcritics heaped praises on the importance of the album. I do have to agree. The album was in its heyday while my inner music freak was forming, so it will always be with me. Still, there's no reason that these two worlds (singles vs. albums) can't easily co-exist. As long as the band has a say in the matter, I'm perfectly fine with it.

Powered by

About Mark Saleski

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “Their contention that the contract referred to vinyl albums only was just plain silly if you ask me.”

    It is odd that they thought they could get away with it but Hollywood contracts have worked on a similar model. Producers try to stiff everyone when porting material to new distribution modes like home video and Internet, so they have to renegotiate contracts or strike like the writers recently did.

    Music rights are another huge issue, which is why WKRP and other music-based show get ruined when the rights aren’t relicensed for home video. Or never released a la Wonder Years

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Funny line about the lead paint chip jar Mark. I mean this is Floyd were talking about, right?

    -Glen

  • Tom Johnson

    I think it’s great. Other bands stood up to their labels and Itunes and the only solutions “fine, no Itunes for you!” Eventually they gave in. Pink Floyd didn’t.

    I don’t understand why this had to go to court. If they wanted each album to be seen as a single work of art, then so be it. If the labels didn’t get something in writing when they made up their contracts, tough.

    No where else do we see art fractured like this. You don’t see movies sold as 5 minute segments, or paintings being shown in bits and pieces. It’s only music where it’s acceptable to chop up what an artist may consider to be a full statement into more commercially viable mini-products. Everyone loves music and yet music is seemingly univerally disrespected as an artform.

    I would bet that new contracts being signed from here on out will ensure that things like this never happen again, for those few new artists who continue to create albums, that is.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “Eventually they gave in. Pink Floyd didn’t.”

    They probably didn’t have PF’s FU money, which is why Gilmour won’t tour with Waters.

    “No where else do we see art fractured like this.”

    That’s because the business started with singles. Artists weren’t releasing complete albums on player-piano and phonograph cylinders. And the singles have always been a mainstay of the business from radio, TV appearances, juke boxes, music videos.

    Universal disrespect seems a bit of an exaggeration. What do you put on mixtapes for friends and girls you are trying to impress: songs or albums?

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    there’s a big difference bicho, from somebody putting together a mixtape and a recording company carving up a work of art for profit.

    hmmm…trying to think if i ever put any Pink Floyd on a mixtape. probably “Money” (which honestly, i never thought fit in on Dark Side) and “Careful With That Axe Eugene”.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    I think Mr. Gilmour & Co. were probably also thinking of their fan base when they didn’t cave in. PF fans love each album as a whole and usually enjoy them in a high quality format because they actually recorded their material with high end equipment and great engineers. (I’ve used “The Division Bell” as reference material)

    So, who gives a fuck about the money lost by not selling those shitty sounding mp3s only to destroy the PF experience. I think Pink Floyd should do with their discography what Peter Gabriel is doing with his new works… Release digital full album downloads but in 96Khz / 24Bit. Someone needs to knock that useless iTunes crap on its ass and I think these two artists/bands can do it!!

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    sadly, i think only about 1 percent of the listening public cares about sound quality. it’s probably always been that way tho…

  • zingzing

    pink floyd is kinda stinky. just thought i’d throw that in there.

    this whole thing is pretty stupid. pink floyd should let their fans experience pink floyd however the fuck they want to experience pink floyd. besides, where was this self righteous anger when they were releasing best of’s and singles discs?

    can you fucking download “echoes: the best of pink floyd” as separate tracks, or does this malarkey extend to everything they’ve done?

    ridiculous.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “there’s a big difference bicho, from somebody putting together a mixtape and a recording company carving up a work of art for profit.”

    Which is what? Both are carving up works of art, are they not? One is not more noble because there’s no money involved.

    “besides, where was this self righteous anger when they were releasing best of’s and singles discs?”

    Why should the fan’s desire override the artist’s? That makes no sense. Their record contracts likely dealt with best-of’s and singles. It made no mention of digital downloads, and obviously now the band is in a much stronger position

  • zingzing

    “Why should the fan’s desire override the artist’s?”

    and why should an artist decide how you experience their work? how can they? it’s ridiculous to even attempt it, and it just makes them look pompous when they try. miserable emo bastards.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “and why should an artist decide how you experience their work?”

    because it’s their work

  • zingzing

    too bad?

    it’s impossible to control. if pink floyd wants everyone to sit down and listen to their albums front to back, they had better have a lot of time and guns. people will listen to them how they want to listen to them, regardless of what pink floyd demands.

  • zingzing

    plus, if anyone ever forced me to listen to all eight thousand minutes of the fucking wall ever again, i’d say “just shoot me now, because if you don’t, i will.” of course, by the end of that album, even the most positive person in the world would want to die.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    All we are is just another brick in the wall…:)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Tom Petty sticks up for his art too, I admire that! The worst day of my life was hearing anticipation while watching Ketchup slowly pouring out of a bottle. I knew they would eventually try to sell all of our memories.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “it’s impossible to control.”

    Let me take this a little out of context. You say offering singles on iTunes would give the fan more access and less control. I say BULLSHIT! You have to install Apple’s software and use Apple’s system to download music from iTunes and on top of that, if I wanted the whole album, I’m paying almost as much money for an inferior product. Where’s the freedom in that? Just because you foolishly bought into the Apple experience by accepting their terms(EULA) doesn’t mean all the artists should offer their music for your convenience?

    “pink floyd is kinda stinky”

    Yea, sure… You need to grow some ears buddy. Even though I don’t like all the songs off of the album, “The Wall” was fucking brilliant!

  • zingzing

    “You say offering singles on iTunes would give the fan more access and less control.”

    no i didn’t.

    “Just because you foolishly bought into the Apple experience…”

    i’ve never bought anything off of itunes.

    “You need to grow some ears buddy.”

    got as many as i can reasonably handle.

    “”The Wall” was fucking brilliant!”

    when you were 15…

  • zingzing

    “on top of that, if I wanted the whole album, I’m paying almost as much money for an inferior product.”

    hey, hey, pink floyd fan, get raped by your favorite band!

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    you can’t control it. certainly not after the thing is in hands of the buyer, but that wasn’t Pink Floyd’s point.

    let’s exit the music world and use an example in the visual arts. let’s say an artist is displaying his stuff at a website, a site where prints are available for sale. the artist finishes a new triptych and hands it over to the site….and the company decides that they’re going to bust it up and make each of the panels available as separate prints.

    the artist objects. again, i side with the artist.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Zing… “You” in the general sense of the word. I wasn’t talking about you.

    “hey, hey, pink floyd fan, get raped by your favorite band!”

    Huh?? Explain that one to me,please, because I was referring to the current popular format for digital downloads It is a fact that Mp3 is inferior to CD(.wav/pcm 44Khz/16bit) whether or not I’m a Pink Floyd fan.

    But why should I discuss these things with someone who believes that Music education is irrelevant, Hi-Fi audio equipment is a waste of money and spends their time defending shitty electronic music?

    “got as many as i can reasonably handle.”

    Yup, I figured you wear deaf in one ear and can’t hear out the other…

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    and spends their time defending shitty electronic music?

    if you’re going to bring personal tastes into the matter then you’re wasting time. he could just as easily say “and spends their time defending shitty metal music” and i’d have the same reaction.

    now if you’ll excuse me, i have to go listen to some shitty 20th century orchestral music.

  • zingzing

    “But why should I discuss these things with someone who believes that Music education is irrelevant, Hi-Fi audio equipment is a waste of money and spends their time defending shitty electronic music?”

    jesus, brian, grow up a little. i never said musical education was irrelevant. i said that it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be a better, or even a good musician. it, in fact, could kill your creativity.

    i also never said that hi-fi audio equipment is a waste of money. i like that stuff as much as the next guy. if i defend one thing, i’m not automatically against another.

    i like some electronic music. i also like a lot of other things, but you seem to think that you’re insulting me by pointing out one of the many, many types of music that i like. i’m hurt? you happy? you like metal. you also like limp ass new age music. so what?

    you’re pretty notorious around here for being a hotheaded, stubborn know-it-all when it comes to music, so don’t add being a dickhead to that list.

  • zingzing

    mark: “you can’t control it. certainly not after the thing is in hands of the buyer, but that wasn’t Pink Floyd’s point.”

    then what is pink floyd’s point?

    the example you point out HAS to take it out of the context of music. because historically, music has always been about songs. but if you’re going to go that route, you’re right in a sense. but now i have the image of pink floyd as great, snooty painterly types with a feather in their cap and pantaloons, etc, etc.

    but it’s just too bad. because it doesn’t matter in the end. totally useless exercise.

  • zingzing

    my god. we have autoplay ads on this site now? and has anyone else noticed that the site will be horrifically slow, or will load a certain amount of the page, or will refuse to load altogether sometimes? it seems to be worse on safari, but it even happens with high frequency over on firefox as well.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    re #24: i’m using chrome. not sure what it is or isn’t doing, but the ads just seem to sit there.

  • zingzing

    yeah, well, yesterday there was some ad playing, but i couldn’t find it before it ended, and i’m pretty sure i had at least one or two bc pages open. then today, i’ve only got this page open and some man is talking to me about some “plot against the earth” or something like that. maybe i scrolled over it and didn’t notice, or maybe it was just a glitch, but it makes me want to run an adblocker on the site, which, of course, is bad for business.

    i haven’t tried out chrome yet. the early reviews of it weren’t that grand, but maybe they’ve turned it around. that’s the microsoft one, right? all i know is that i’m getting pretty sick of safari and i don’t like some of the stuff that firefox thinks is necessary, so… i’m on the market for a better browser.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    no, chrome is a google thing, and i’m not sure if they’ve finished the native version for the mac yet.

    all i know is that it’s the fastest thing out there (that i’ve used…haven’t tried opera in a while) and has some nice features, all of which are under the hood and don’t get in your way.

  • zingzing

    ah, yeah, i meant google. microsoft has internet explorer, and won’t give up that ghost yet. i believe it’s done for mac. maybe i’ll check it out.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    chrome ain’t working today. FF is OK thus far. Haven’t tried it on Safari or the Opera yet. I sure don’t want to be forced to use the Explorer.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    roger, i’ve seen your comment about chrome on other threads. what’s the actual problem? i’m using it and see no problems at all.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It was about an hour ago. Let me check it again.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The BC pages still don’t load up fast enough or at all.

    I happen to think it’s the browser problem because other sites are also either too slow or inaccessible.

    FF and Opera are fine. Let me try Safari.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Safari works OK too. Now I have three browsers operational (except from Chrome).

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “you’re pretty notorious around here for being a hotheaded, stubborn know-it-all when it comes to music”

    it’s a big club around here

  • zingzing

    well, the “stubborn” and “know-it-all” bits aren’t quite unique to the big guppy, that’s for sure. he is one to get all worked up and upset and start throwing insults around though… sigh… metal fans.

    heh. just kidding on that last one.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “i said that it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be a better, or even a good musician. it, in fact, could kill your creativity.”

    So… That would make it irrelevant.

    Ya know, zing, you seem to think it is okay to throw your verbal weight around without any consequences and everyone should just roll with the punches(for the record, you started the whole personal taste issue on this thread so I have no idea why Mark is coming down on me)so, calling me a dickhead doesn’t really carry any water. I’m pretty sure most people would question a person’s credibility when they say,”Pink Floyd is kinda stinky”… For fucks sake, man, grow some fucking ears, get some music education and right back when you have a clue.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    *Oops* write

  • zingzing

    heh. oh my.

    alright, sorry about the “dickhead” comment, but you did take it from a relatively easy-going conversation into personal insult time, so… whatever.

    and no, what i said doesn’t make musical “education,” by which i take it you mean theory courses and performance classes, etc, etc, doesn’t make it “irrelevant.” i said what i said, in that it’s no guarantee to make you a more interesting musician. and it’s not a prerequisite. you can make great music without having taken any instruction or knowing theory. sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

    “I’m pretty sure most people would question a person’s credibility when they say,”Pink Floyd is kinda stinky.””

    meh. they aren’t to my taste. has nothing to do with my “credibility.” maybe in your book it does. your dismissal of all things electronic (although i doubt you mean to say it that way,) shows your limitations. we have different taste, for sure, but that doesn’t mean yours is any better than mine.

    and what do you know of my musical education? i’m pretty good with the history and the ideas at play. i’ll admit i’ve never played an instrument (well, that’s not true either,) with any degree of professional skill. but that doesn’t mean i can’t appreciate or have any knowledge of music. instrumental virtuosity is pretty far down my personal totem pole, but ideas are very high up there. and there are plenty of unschooled musicians coming up with mind-blowing ideas. not even you can deny that.

    (and when i “started the whole personal taste issue,” it was clearly tongue in cheek.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Trying to catch bits and pieces here, Brian wasn’t exactly Mr. Clean either. So perhaps the dickhead term wasn’t totally undeserved.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Blah,Blah,Blah… I’ve heard it all before zing, and as much as you wanna make it sound like I’m just starting shit, you’re the one who boiled down one of the greatest recorded albums in the history of Rock N Roll down to a fairly ignorant moment in life. You can rattle on about how a lack of education doesn’t impede the creative process,but, I still say if you don’t have a very well marked map you’re not going to get too far… And, no, I don’t just mean theory & books. I mean a lot of time spent practicing and pushing yourself as a musician to learn new styles & tricks and then tightening up those newfound skills.

    I guess I would have to equate it to the written & verbal languages. People who know more than one language can go farther in life and experience more things. But, what the fuck do I know,right? I mean I have only played the drums for 25 years and know the limitations because I had the same mentality that you have right now. Music has been my life,not just some hobby that a lot of talentless hacks think they can take on because they saw The fucking White Stripes pull a popular album out their ass!

    FYI – I’m not just a Metal Fan. It may have been what I started out loving & playing but I have progressed. I listen to quite a bit of music and if you think Michael Manring is limp ass “New Age” then you’re really showing your ignorance.

  • zingzing

    and i say there’s far more ways to show musical creativity than just instrumental skills. you place far too much emphasis on it. sloppy is just as capable of being great as tight is. i like tight, but i’m more interested in band interplay, rather than individual displays of skill. there’s just nothing in that for me.

    “I still say if you don’t have a very well marked map you’re not going to get too far”

    show me the map to originality. it’s a straight line between where you’re at and where no one else has gone.

    “you’re the one who boiled down one of the greatest recorded albums in the history of Rock N Roll down to a fairly ignorant moment in life.”

    i dunno where you see that. i just think it (like a lot of pink floyd) is pompous and depressing. depressing albums, i can take, but pompous i can rarely stomach, and when you put the two of them together… it’s just poison to my mind.

    “I mean I have only played the drums for 25 years and know the limitations because I had the same mentality that you have right now.”

    and yet there are thousands of songs written by rank amateurs that are works of genius. figure that one out.

    and i never called out michael manring specifically as “limp ass new age.” manring is a bass-poppin’, harmonics abusin’, ponytailed bore slut. it’s virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity, which is just not my cup of tea. if you like it, by all means, have at it. i won’t call you stupid for liking it, because that’s your thing. i don’t know why you insist that those who disagree with you must be “ignorant,” and i bet because of that you find a lot of ignorant people in your life.

  • Tom Johnson

    Wow, I made a mistake not checking back after I dropped my initial comment on Friday.

    Anyway, I got to thinking about it some more and became troubled by one aspect of this issue. It’s one thing to want to sell your albums as albums, but they also pushed particular songs as singles. Maybe they should be offering the albums as-is plus the ability to buy whatever singles were available. Or maybe bands that want to sell albums should consider never pushing singles because the album is to be considered a singular work of art. Sure, Dark Side works best in one listen, but that didn’t stop them from sending out Money, Us And Them, and Time to radio. I know, I know, that’s how music is sold, but that’s also the point – those songs were chosen to be broken out, so maybe those songs in particular should be allowed to be purchased by themselves.

    I guess I’m backpedalling on my initial reaction – hooray for the Floyd, but does this really benefit anyone? Itunes will still sell single songs at ridiculous prices and albums at better prices (whether at once or via the “complete my album” deal) than buying songs one-by-one, so they kind of are encouraging people to buy albums, in a way. I would bet they’ll sell album-only albums at higher prices. Bands opting for the “album as art” route will sell fewer of anything because fewer people will take a chance on full-albums these days. They can’t even dip a toe in with a single going this route, as meaningless as this would be for a band like Pink Floyd. It’s daunting for unadventurous mainstream listeners, and that’s who ultimately made Pink Floyd very, very rich.

    Someone asked about selling the compilation Echoes’ tracks separately. I don’t know how they could work separately as they segue from one to the next. It’s kind of a concept-compilation.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “People who know more than one language can go farther in life and experience more things.”

    Explain that to me, Brian, if you can – beyond the obvious. Of course you have a point, but then again, there are limitations. Unless you’re an expert, like a scholar in Medieval English or in biblical languages. If you mean to press your analogy this far, than I cannot disagree with you, but I doubt that’s your intent.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    eh, well we’ve had this conversation a zillion times before. my take on it hasn’t changed and neither has anybody else’s. for my ears, something resonates and i want to hear it again. the why is difficult to pin down because there isn’t always an identifying theme running through it.

    the music’s complexity, the musician’s talent (technical prowess being only a fraction of that), etc….none of that matters.

    which is why i can enjoy a multi-layered Jeff Beck tune right alongside Eno’s Music for Airports next to Jack White runnin’ the spirit of Bukka White through a tube amp about ready to melt down. i don’t know what i like that stuff, but the actual construction of it…the harmonic/melodic content…it just never occurs to me. ever.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    @41,

    you place far too much emphasis on it.”

    Yup, because the music that sticks around for decades is the stuff made with instrumental musicianship. [Ex. Buddy Rich]

    @43,
    “Explain that to me, Brian, if you can – beyond the obvious.”

    Really Roger?! An expert in Medieval English?! You got to be fucking kidding,right?

    @44,

    “i don’t know what i like that stuff, but the actual construction of it…the harmonic/melodic content…it just never occurs to me. ever.”

    Hmmm… Well, then I guess your appreciation is severely limited.

    BUT, yes, we’ve down this road a million times and I guess I’m in the wrong company.

    Ciao:)

  • zingzing

    “I guess I’m in the wrong company.”

    that’s what people find out when they think they’re better than everyone else.

    “the music that sticks around for decades is the stuff made with instrumental musicianship. [Ex. Buddy Rich]”

    that is profoundly limited.

    you trick yourself into believing you’ve got it all figured out. the fact is that you’ve damaged yourself. you search for technical perfection, which anyone can see, thinking you’ve found some holy grail that’s special to you. it’s the wrong goal.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    Hmmm… Well, then I guess your appreciation is severely limited

    that would be a sad and pathetic statement if it wasn’t so gut-bustingly funny.

  • zingzing

    i think guppy and i (and probably several more of us around here) have been having this same argument for a few years now. but it’s always entertaining to watch people digging a hole.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    @46,

    Wow…nice try at psycho analyzing somebody zing,but, it’s not gonna work here. I’m perfectly happy with the realization that not all bands / artists are going for technical perfection. If I recall correctly, I never said that you had to be technically perfect to create enjoyable music (technical proficiency always helps). What my point is is that if you don’t acknowledge music education as being an intrical part of the journey, whether it listening or playing,then you are severly limiting yourself.

    “that’s what people find out when they think they’re better than everyone else.”

    Naw…I’m just better than you.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    @ 47,

    Don’t hurt yourself Mark, though I wonder, How does someone consider themselves a critic of Jazz if they don’t bother to technically analyze the music? Jazz is “Musician’s Music”, right??

  • zingzing

    “Naw…I’m just better than you.”

    for what reason? and at what? being smug?

    “What my point is is that if you don’t acknowledge music education as being an intrical part of the journey, whether it listening or playing,then you are severly limiting yourself.”

    then what constitutes “music education” in listening? because on that level, i’m pretty damn well “educated.” and my education tells me that history proves you wrong. so many musicians have lost their creativity while becoming more technically proficient. it’s just undeniable.

    my mind is open to just about everything in music. yours, from what you say, is pretty closed. i’ve got my hangups, certainly, but you seem to dismiss a very large chunk of music because it doesn’t fit your technical standards.

    here’s some news for you: if every musician had to be as “knowledgeable” as you, with your 25 years behind a drum kit, we’d have a bunch of 40 year old people making overwrought, boring music.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    How does someone consider themselves a critic of Jazz if they don’t bother to technically analyze the music? Jazz is “Musician’s Music”, right??

    easy, because the technical aspects of music, at least in the western sense, came after the music actually existed. they are a way of describing music: but not the only way.

    to take a simple example, if i had to stick to the technical aspects of say, a blues song. i would have to discuss the number of bars and how the tonic, sub-dominant and dominant seventh chords were spread out over that span…plus use of alterations of the 3rd and 7th notes of the scale, with the occasional altered 5th thrown in…and maybe the flatted 5th chord used as a substitution for the II chord.

    and it would be just so boring, even expanded out into the larger technical palette of jazz.

  • zingzing

    guppy would have you diagramming every sentence of the great gatsby.

  • zingzing

    …the technical aspects of music certainly are what make it exist, but they aren’t what make it interesting. focusing solely on the technical side of music reduces it to a science, and neglects its art.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    i honestly don’t think that you either can’t or shouldn’t think about music that way, i just don’t happen to do it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That was no response, Brian.

    It not all that evident that knowledge of multiple language makes one a better thinker than one who commands the mastery of one.

    And if you meant to provide an analogy for thorough familiarity with different schools of music (or art), then the analogy is unnecessary for I doubt anyone would dispute you.

  • Tom Johnson

    Any art that can only be truly appreciated by those who know the intricacies behind it is a general failure. That you need some kind of special training to appreciate something that is supposed to be enjoyable is pure bullshit.

    Calling out jazz as “musician’s music” is completely wrong. Musicians listen to it, yes, but so do plenty of non-musicians. In its heyday, jazz certainly was not “musician’s music,” it was just music – and dance music at that. The majority of the people listening and enjoying it were doing so because it grabbed them in a particular way. They didn’t give a crap about what technically amazing things the musicians were doing.

    I’d say it’s the opposite, actually. Those who don’t know a thing about music and don’t care, it is THEY who really know and love music the right way because they don’t feel any need to delve into the mechanics of what makes the music the way it is. They love it purely for what it is – something to be enjoyed – and they leave all the technical crap to the musicians to worry about. They don’t get caught up in all this junk about whether this guy can solo better than that guy, whatever. It’s just whether it moves them and grabs them and means something to them. I can’t think of much that’s more pure than that.

  • zingzing

    technically, james cameron is one of the greatest filmmakers ever.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    In my opinion, he’s way overrated.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Roger,

    When is your article going to be ready?

    :)nite, I thought I’d say it in person…

  • zingzing

    the point is that he’s awful. technically, very impressive, sure. but who gives a shit? (actually, a lot of people do…)

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    I get that you may not like his films, but awful filmmakers don’t make billions of dollars.

  • http://www.themidnightcafe.org Mat Brewster

    Michael Bay might disagree with you Bicho.

  • zingzing

    alright, well. he’s a good filmmaker, but he makes terrible films? i actually enjoyed minutes 20-60 of avatar. engrossing. the world he created was wonderful. but then his stupid ass story had to ruin the place he had made. the last hour of that movie is just a cliche piled on a mountain of cliche, perched on a cliche, dangling a cliche from its lip, saying “cliche.”

    and yes, awful filmmakers do make lots of money. all the time. it’s because people are stupid.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    @52,
    “to take a simple example, if i had to stick to the technical aspects of say, a blues song….”

    You don’t have to write about it in the technical sense, but, you’d understand the intricacies of the music and how a certain phrasing works in a song that you’re reviewing. Along with a knowledge of what brand of instruments sound better to you,ultimately, you might start to clear up the mystery of why you like one song better than the other.

    @57,

    Tom, that’s great that you feel passionate about the enjoyable aspects of music,but, you really need to open a book or two before you respond. I don’t have the time to explain all that is naive & wrong with your comment. If non-musicians didn’t care about the technical aspects of music then a lot of instrument technology & education wouldn’t exist.

    @56,

    You want a proper response roger, but, you say that my intent couldn’t have possibly been about the mastery of many languages. I couldn’t possibly have been talking about Music being a univeral language and that the more you learn about expression & presentation, the farther you can go with creativity & improvisation never mind the amount of work you could do with a written song. Now multiply that knowledge times the amount of people in a project or band….

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    you might start to clear up the mystery of why you like one song better than the other.

    you know, that might actually apply to some people but definitely not to me. the reasons i like (or don’t) a song never have to do with the technical aspects of its construction.

    it’s not like the idea lacks merit or anything, it just doesn’t line up with the way i think.

  • Tom Johnson

    I explained myself perfectly well in my previous comment about why regular, ordinary people don’t care about the technical aspects of music, but I think it’s amazing that you have to throw in an insult (“naive”) and then neglect to address anything I even said in the first place while putting it down. You still don’t get it. You’re so focused (overly focused, I’d say) on the creation of music that you don’t understand that the great, overwhelming majority a people simple enjoy listening to music, period. You look for signs of the craft while everyone else enjoys the end product, the whole. Nothing wrong with that except that you have gone on a seemingly endless warpath to prove that if the craft isn’t of some ridiculously high standard you have, it’s all useless junk, and I think it’s pretty obvious that is WRONG. Maybe it’s what gets you off, but it’s not what appeals to most people, and it never has been. People have always, always, always loved simple little songs, and there are hymns going back ages to prove it. There is nothing wrong with “difficult” music but what is wrong is coming down on people for listening to non-difficult music. The amazing thing is that many of those having to argue with you listen to difficult music on a regular basis (you just may not approve of it, however)!

  • zingzing

    alex chilton died.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Well, Tom, the word “naive” isn’t an insult, kinda like the word “ignorant”. I really don’t have the time to educate people who make comments such as yours. It really does show a lack of experience, judgment, or information.

    The only overtly, over focused thing has been my argument in this thread that you cannot deny. That people like Mark have gone from commenting that my idea is irrelevant to a stance of merit. I think music education and technical craftsmanship is very important,but, that isn’t how I always approach music(listening or playing -Honestly, there are parts of music theory that teaches you how to hear all the parts & instrumentation in a song, so, once you’ve learned those things, it is hard to turn it off). Though, I still feel that a musically sound piece of work translates better over time and lasts longer. I think too many people confuse technical & difficult.

    Ultimately, music has many aspects(technical being one) and I never denied the enjoyable aspect of music.

  • zingzing

    sigh. brian, no one ever said it was irrelevant. nobody ever denied it existed. it’s your focus on it (which you seem to be softening here), and the attitude you’ve shown to those who disagree with that focus, that have been such a big turnoff.

    “I still feel that a musically sound piece of work translates better over time.”

    that’s a meaningless statement. or at least you can define “musically sound” any way that suits you. and even if you take it in the way that you mean it, it still doesn’t add up. there’s just far too many examples of sloppy, uncontrolled and technically inferior songs that are absolute classics. it’s one of the things that some listeners treasure the most.

  • zingzing

    besides, i don’t see how you can despise electronic music so much if you love the technical side of things. at it’s most austere, it’s all technical. sometimes, that can make it come out lifeless and alien, but if that’s what someone is aiming for, it can still be dazzling.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Ultimately, zing,Instruments make the music. There is no other way that you can listen to music without hearing the sounds that an instrument or combination of instruments make. No matter how “sloppy, uncontrolled and technically inferior” an album,song,experiment is, at its very core it is technical & those people,computers & possibly aliens had to learn how to play, whatever instrument it is, to make that “music”. So, as much as enjoyment is a huge part of the listening process, if people didn’t make the technical aspect a priority or the main focus, then no one would ever progress or experiment.

    “and the attitude you’ve shown to those who disagree with that focus, that have been such a big turnoff.”

    Or is it when the people here dismiss my opinion as fascist or narrow minded, that’s when I reply with a strong argument that turns people off.

    “manring is a bass-poppin’, harmonics abusin’, ponytailed bore slut. it’s virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity…”

    Did you think I was going to let that one slide?! Michael Manring is one of the most important musicians to come out of the 20th century. Let alone his Jazz & Fusion experience with some of the all-time greats, he helped invent a new type of guitar (Hyper Bass) which lead to him furthering the Bass as a solo instrument.

    Even if I didn’t like this guy, to not acknowledge such a huge advancement in music just reeks of ignorance & a pompous attitude. That would be like spitting on the technology that Les Paul created!!

    “that’s a meaningless statement. or at least you can define “musically sound” any way that suits you.”

    Really?? What music have you created or what examples can you give that would make my statement so subjective & meaningless??

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    re #72. i think what he’s saying is that “musically sound” it totally subjective. i agree with that.

  • zingzing

    brian, you say that “if people didn’t make the technical aspect a priority or the main focus, then no one would ever progress or experiment,” and yet they have. sometimes, it boils down to just having an idea, and having no idea how to make it happen, but making it happen anyway. or willfully destroying their own technical ability in order to get to the meat of the music. (see beat happening, one of my favorite bands. on their first album, they’d swap instruments on every song, sometimes playing to their weaknesses in order to get a naive and wonderful sound. or see alex chilton, who, for a time, would introduce as much chaos as he could into a song, destroying grooves and riffs if they threatened to become technically “correct.”)

    “Did you think I was going to let that one slide?”

    no, but i was surprised you did for so long.

    “he helped invent a new type of guitar (Hyper Bass) which lead to him furthering the Bass as a solo instrument.”

    i did not know that. that’s nice. i’m still not convinced the world needs a bass solo, but you have to admit the guy is doing his own thing.

    “what music have you created or what examples can you give that would make my statement so subjective & meaningless??”

    i’ve made lots of music. but you missed my point, and mark got it. “musically sound” can mean anything.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “i think what he’s saying is that “musically sound” it totally subjective. i agree with that.”

    Can we say the same thing of a literary work?

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    that’s an interesting question roger. and there are some parallels there, like ‘out’ music vs. conceptual writing…take somebody like david foster wallace, who certainly knew what he was doing and yet i find him nearly unreadable.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Both are forms of composition and certain preliminary rules apply (as well as freedom to violate the rules).

    In a sense, the whole idea of canon (whether in literature or in music) may be regarded as “subjective,” and yet . . .

    We do build upon former schools.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Great Point Roger…

    Still, it takes a certain command of the native language in use to know just how your breaking the rules so it may be perceived as creative & experimental or done on purpose. See Dissonant Chords

    sometimes, it boils down to just having an idea, and having no idea how to make it happen, but making it happen anyway. or willfully destroying their own technical ability in order to get to the meat of the music

    [Just listened to Beat Happeneing] Sometimes there are musicians trying to challenge the perceived notion of structured music or even work out their ideas (possibly on an album) to reach possible uncovered ground that is stuck in their mind and hasn’t become audible yet. As for Beat Happening, it sounds pretty retarded and not really pushing any sonic boundaries. You can say all you want about virtuosic wankery but that shit is at the other end of the scale [greenhorn blabbering?) and should have never seen the light of day.

    So, let’s take The Beat Happening… For 1982,again, it sounds rather childish. I don’t hear anything in their music that would speak to creativity or experimenting. If they did switch instruments, maybe it helped them learn another instrument but that’s about it! Nothing special…

    Now, if you were to say,maybe, Frank Zappa, then I would have to bow down gracefully because there is quite a bit of his work that pushes the envelope and needs a critical mind to understand. But, The Beat Happening…yea, right. *smirk*

  • zingzing

    i didn’t expect you to like them, as they have a charm that clearly isn’t for you. they’re also wonderfully hypnotic. and yes, they are child-like. listen to the man’s voice… it’s got absolutely no inflection, yet he can cut right to the center of an emotion with it. but the childishness, the “retarded” (nice one) sound, the general simplicity was the point. i also get the feeling that even if you did like them, you’d never admit to it. kinda like that pop song you heard on the radio last week that you can’t get out of your head.

    if i had said frank zappa, even though he certainly denied his virtuosity at times, then that would be to miss the point. the man is famous for writing stuff that is nearly impossible for humans to actually play. some of that stuff is interesting, but it’s not like that hadn’t been done before either. i do like the first 10 or so zappa/mothers albums, after which he descended into smut, novelty, genre exercises, jokes… actually he wasn’t that bad, but he was never as good as he early stuff again. (except for “you are what you is.”)

    trying to make my point with zappa would have been totally ridiculous. i’m not sure you even know what my point is if that’s the answer you come up with… and if you thought that i don’t like zappa, you’re missing the point as well. i like plenty of difficult, boundary-pushing music. but the boundaries of music are pushed in many, many ways, not just how fast the bass player can make a run or that the root chords were changed throughout the song to spell “gabba gabba” or some such suchness.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Zing, you keep saying I always miss your point but I’ve addressed your point even if you don’t like my choice of words OR you can’t understand my answers OR maybe your not making any valid points whatsoever. So, I’ll take a page out of your book of psychoanalysis. Ultimately, you think you are more enlightened to hear things that supposedly take an open mind where there really are no things to hear and when you could possibly be wrong you hide behind the veil of subjectivity. You make no claims yet claim everything because there are no boundaries yet you think you’ve experienced them being pushed. But, I’m sure you will come up with some sort of witty, popular & easy to accept defense. I’ve tried to see your point of view and I have entertained your ideas long enough on this thread.

    And,no, I don’t hide the supposed shameful tunes that I do like because of a fear of what people might think,BUT, as much as the “elevator Prozac” that is popular today is enjoyable & fantastic, it can only hold my attention for a few seconds then I have to move on.
    I also get the same joy out of 8bit music but anybody with a brain knows there are limits.

  • zingzing

    when i bring up the fact that you don’t need to be a virtuoso in order to make interesting, boundary-pushing music, and you bring up frank zappa, a virtuoso, you’ve missed the point.

    “Ultimately, you think you are more enlightened to hear things that supposedly take an open mind where there really are no things to hear.”

    you’re not hearing them, i am. that’s not my fault. you are completely closed off this whole side of music. i’m not closed off to virtuosity, i just realize that there’s a whole lot of more interesting things happening in other areas.

    brian eno, not himself a virtuoso, but certainly someone who understands music as well as anyone, has said that “ignorance is just as easily responsible for breakthroughs as virtuosity is, and there is a lot more ignorance in the world than there is virtuosity.” it’s simple mathematics.

    “You make no claims yet claim everything because there are no boundaries yet you think you’ve experienced them being pushed.”

    that’s completely false.

    “I’ve tried to see your point of view and I have entertained your ideas long enough on this thread.”

    then i get last word. thanks. see you next time.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “ignorance is just as easily responsible for breakthroughs as virtuosity is, and there is a lot more ignorance in the world than there is virtuosity.”

    But it’s got to be the right kind of ignorance, zing, predicated on knowledge of the canon.

    Miro’s paintings are childlike, but they’re no work of a child.

  • zingzing

    sigh. it’s not like people making music never listen to music. of course they’re fans of music, and know something about it from some angle or another. i don’t think there’s too many 6-year-olds making musical breakthroughs.

    “knowledge of the canon” is taking it a bit far. just because it sounds like a phrase out of some music conservatory. how many people, do you think, heard the beatles and said “i can do that,” and then did it? how many more people saw the sex pistols and, seeing that they didn’t care if they could play or not, thought, “that looks like fun.” and how many great musical artists have emerged from that point of view? notice how the musical (well, at least rock) world split open after punk, how new genres were popping up every day?

    “virtuosity” is the dinosaur that needed killing off before musical possibilities could really open up. the dinosaur survived, of course, but the idea that you had to be an adept, virtuoso musician in order to have ideas or be worthy of being listened to was thrown out the door.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Virtuosity has to do more with performance than anything else.

    Perhaps you ought to look to literature as a model to think about music.

    Compare Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” with Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh.”

    The same theme, more or less, totally different treatments.

  • zingzing

    i don’t think you can really compare literature and music in terms of how they are created. a great piece of music can be made in the time it takes to hear it. it all depends upon inspiration. you can see that inspiration through in a matter of minutes. in literature, the inspiration is just as easy, but realizing that inspiration is much more difficult.

    “Virtuosity has to do more with performance than anything else.”

    i don’t think we’re really talking about performance. we’re talking about how you generate ideas and put them into play. i say that virtuosity is a snake eating itself. when your goal is to be the best player you can be, that’s all you ever are. if all you have is a good idea and no understanding of how you make it work, you can find ingeniously creative ways of making it happen.

  • zingzing

    well, you can compare them of course, but it’s not so useful in this instance. at least not for your argument. besides, in almost any art form, you can see what i’m talking about. painters who’ve never taken a class in their life creating stunning works. filmmakers with nothing but ambition and a little startup money making better films than james cameron. writers who come out of nowhere with new ideas rejecting the rules everyone else constrained themselves with. people who are just plain inspired but haven’t spent years studying their craft surprise us with stunning regularity.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    As regards the degree of difficulty, I don’t think it’s much of a distinction. I can cite you a sentence, single sentence, from Jane Austen, and it’ll move you as nothing else can.

    I also agree with your comments about creativity in general. Understanding how it works more often than not eludes the artist.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Let me city you from Francine Prose – it’s not about content, it’s all about expression.

    Or as Hemingway (or Gertrude Stein) has once said, it’s all about a perfect sentence.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A perfect phrase, in musical idiom.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    But it’s got to be the right kind of ignorance, zing, predicated on knowledge of the canon.

    disagree. there are a lot of things like process music and music contrete, much of which came about independent of ‘the canon’.

    of course, the last time zing brought any of it up, brian when all medieval on us, saying that it was all shit.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Independent of the canon has still got to take canon into account in order serve as avant garde.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    re: #91

    how so? what if somebody wants to write something based on the melodic content of the spoken word? say, people reading addresses from the phone book.

    what’s that got to do with the canon?

  • zingzing

    i think he’s saying that in order to ignore the canon, one must know what to ignore. which is a point, although it’s a point that’s been ignored before. a lot of work in 20th century classical, or “new music,” a silly name, but one that divorces itself from the classical canon, comes from people who have more in common with ideas that developed outside of western classical music, such as indian traditional music and technology.

    a lot of this stuff completely ignores musical input as the canon would describe it, and takes its inspiration from extra-musical sources to create musical products. there’s an incredible amount of music being made out there that utilizes no musical instruments, but concentrates on manipulated tape, speakers/microphones, metal objects, wires, brain waves, acoustic space, broadcast refuse, hell, even helicopters.

    the canon, as it is, is actively being ignored and, at times, purposefully destroyed, especially by those who probably know it.

    outside of classical, a lot of great music is made by people who know next to nothing of “the canon.” they just know they like music, they get their hands on an instrument, or, these days, a recording program, and they go wild.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Whatever the case, zing, and whatever the standard, Indian or Western, to proceed otherwise is like trying to re-invent the wheel.

    I’m all for innovation, but it goes beyond starting from scratch.

  • zingzing

    it’s true, roger, that there’s nothing new under the sun, but one doesn’t have to be aware of the sun in order to try and create something, and that something may be new. you’re taking the point beyond where it was made, but you can’t deny that people who aren’t exactly conservatory-trained have made significant innovations in music. in fact, it’s far easier to count up the times stumbling around in the dark has produced innovations than it is that someone scaled the mountain of knowledge and planted a new flag up there.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What I mean, zing, is I think something more than this. I mean that without Aristotle and Plato, I am nothing, and that I only stand on the shoulders of giants, that’s the only contribution I can make.

    Same with music. To ignore Bach and Beethoven and Mozart, and Mahler and Bruckner and Wagner, and Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Schumann, and Bartok, Schoenberg and Berg, shall I go on? is pure insanity and display of philistinism at its finest.

    Again, we all stand on the shoulders of giants, and anyone who is of the mind to deny that is a fool. Sorry if I have no tolerance for home-grown talent, the idiot savants as it were, although I don’t deny the possibility.

    They’re too few far & between to constitute an exception rather than a rule.

    I just happen to think that your position here is more affected by your maverick, anti-theoretical, anti-academic stance than anything else.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’ll take your response off the air, tomorrow morning, God willing.

    Have a good one!

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Finally, thank you Roger. I,too, don’t deny the home-grown talent theory because I am one(Not an ego trip, mind you) but if you never pursue the knowledge route (NO, I don’t mean Berklee) then I feel that that talent gets stale. Ultimately, in my opinion, a great technical ability allows you to see,accurately, whether or not what you are creating is really pushing any boundaries. You need that giant’s shoulders to stand on to get a better view.

    “of course, the last time zing brought any of it up, Brian when all medieval on us, saying that it was all shit.”

    Well, because, you can have something that makes you react like art(Helicopters?!) or you can have a stunning & timeless piece of MUSIC that will move you emotionally and mentally. Usually, making music in the name of art doesn’t hold up for very long. It’s not like I haven’t listened to that kind of stuff before.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thanks, Brian. So you did go “medieval on our ass”? (Pulp Fiction) I like that.

    There are still some issues to resolve, like Mark’s #92. Perhaps we should demystify the idea of canon – but the notion of old and proven works still stands. Also, I use “avant garde” or “experimental” in honorific senses, not just to denote something novel or new simply because it’s novel and new.

    As to zing, I believe he would agree with the general drift as regards literature. The reason why, I suspect, he holds a different view as regards music is because he’d like to approach the subject of music in a more cavalierly fashion.

    Also, the medium of music is more direct and more immediate perhaps, requiring less training on the part of the receiver. Hence the illusion that the process of composition is also more immediate and subject to less stringent criteria.

    Sorry, zing, for “psychoanalyzing” you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “the technical aspects of music, at least in the western sense, came after the music actually existed” #52

    Interesting point. Comparable perhaps to the rules of grammar being embedded in the language we speak. So Aristotle’s work on syllogistic logic was just the uncovering the rules we do in fact use as we speak a language or make our arguments.

    Of course, once the rules are “uncovered,” they can then be used for the purpose of formal description (such as parsing a sentence, for example).

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    Usually, making music in the name of art doesn’t hold up for very long.

    in your opinion.

    and this is why we always end up going around in circles on this.

    i don’t deny that have a high degree of musical knowledge and technical proficiency can lead to stunning music. it can and it does.

    in formal logic there’s this basic notion what is necessary vs. what is sufficient. and in music making, that high degree of knowledge is a sufficient condition, not a necessary one.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Usually, making music in the name of art doesn’t hold up for very long.”

    Actually, I fail to understand the meaning.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Art, as I understand the term, is supposed to be a by-product of the composition, a consequence, not it’s direct or express purpose.

    No one sits down before a sheet of paper and says to themselves, “I’m going to create a work of art.” They just do what they do.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Art, as I understand the term, is supposed to be a by-product of the composition, a consequence, not it’s direct or express purpose.

    No one sits down before a sheet of paper and says to themselves, “I’m going to create a work of art.” They just do what they do.

  • zingzing

    roger: “To ignore Bach and Beethoven and Mozart, and Mahler and Bruckner and Wagner, and Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Schumann, and Bartok, Schoenberg and Berg, shall I go on? is pure insanity and display of philistinism at its finest.”

    and yet it’s done almost all the time. and horseshit on the philistinism. it’s a gross display of historical ignorance that shows one simply doesn’t understand the way music is made anymore. if you think about it, who listens to or bases their music on those people? who? half the world hasn’t even heard of those people, yet they are making music. if you think the other half is breaking down their musical contributions to the world before setting off to write their own stuff… well, that’s a nice fantasy, but it’s just not true.

    did you know that all the “Bach and Beethoven and Mozart” you’ve ever heard in your life sounds much different from what those three ever heard of their own music? their shoulders are a slippery slope.

    “I only stand on the shoulders of giants, that’s the only contribution I can make.”

    yes, yes, but that’s not the point. you don’t have to know they’re there. i don’t see music as always building upwards. it builds in many different directions at once, with new breakthroughs in one area leading to breakthroughs in almost totally unrelated areas.

    guppy: “Well, because, you can have something that makes you react like art(Helicopters?!) or you can have a stunning & timeless piece of MUSIC that will move you emotionally and mentally. Usually, making music in the name of art doesn’t hold up for very long.”

    your mind is closed. the aims of this kind of music is the same as any other kind of music. and it’s held up for a long time already. longer than any metal music. you really need to open yourself to different types of music and stop dismissing things out of hand.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I wasn’t suggesting any upward movement, necessarily. Where did you get that idea?

    I’ll still say, zing, you’re applying different standard to musical compositions than you do as regards literature, possibly for the very reasons I stated earlier.

  • zingzing

    sorry, roger… i kinda saw your point after i had written out my bigfuckoffspittake thing there. again, you’re taking the point beyond where it needs to be made. we walk the trails blazed by those people if we know it or not, yes, yes… but brian’s saying you have to study the trail and i say you could also just keep on moving ahead. if you sit and study the trail for too long, it might be all you end up doing.

  • zingzing

    i’m not quite sure what you said up there. it wasn’t very clear… about literature, etc.

  • zingzing

    the “upward movement” thing comes from the idea that we all stand on the shoulders of those that came before us. that leads to unidirectional movement. which, of course, is not how music actually develops.

    and yes, i apply different standards to how different artforms are created. everybody does. and music is the most democratic of all art forms. and its most basic, it only takes the human body to create and it exists only in the time in which it is created. no other artform comes close to the immediacy of music.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    zing, why don’t you take Truman Capote’s advice about writing and writing and writing. And reading and reading and reading.

    Yes, there’s got to be a native talent, but mostly work, work and work. (Mozart may have been an exception, if Amadeus is even half-way right.)

    You just happen to think that music is an easier art form than writing is – perhaps because it comes “more naturally” – as in humming or singing in the shower, as well as when it comes to the act of listening.
    (Here, you should distinguish between “listening” and “hearing,” as we do between “seeing” and “looking”: the former set of terms denote active engagement and yes, work; the latter not necessarily so.)

    So for these reasons I argue (hypothetically of course) that you tend to approach music in a more cavalierly fashion than you do literature.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No – that’s a false implication.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It implies linear development, and you and I both know it’s not the case. More often than not, we experience paradigm-shifts (just as in science). But there’s got to be an old paradigm to discard in order for another one to take its place.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “no other artform (sic) comes close to the immediacy of music.”

    Precisely. But because of that, perhaps, you somehow think it’s “easier.” And if you do, then we disagree.

  • zingzing

    oooh. you sic me, i’ll sic you. don’t start that ball rolling, roger.

    i’ve never said it’s easier. you said i said it was. but i never said that.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I knew it would get your attention.

    As to your “substantive remark,” I’m only preparing the ground so you might express yourself “more clearly.” It’s a bait.

    Again, note the scare quotes.

    I hope we’re OK.

  • zingzing

    well, i think you’re arguing something i’m not. the original point was that brian said that one must have a substantial musical education in order to create interesting music. i said that’s false, not for any philosophical reason, but simply because that little theory has been disproved thousands of times.

    as mark said earlier “in music making, that high degree of knowledge is a sufficient condition, not a necessary one.”

    just what it is that you’re trying to argue isn’t quite clear to me yet, and i think you’re playing a little bit of a devil’s advocate.

    and yeah, we’re fine. but i’m gonna sic you next chance i get. next time you reach for a bottle of whiskey, i’ll be waiting… ready to pounce! like a wee kitten.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I always play that part – the Socratic method.

    But seriously, I am not arguing for “ease.” Still, it’s up to you to say what follows from music being most immediate art form.

    Why should that affect the strictures as regards composition? And if so, then how?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Like your spirit, zing. And you know I won’t mind.

    (I buy the necessary-sufficient distinction, I suppose.)

    Though I still think that literature offers a workable model about how to think here. Why do you resist the analogy? You haven’t made it yet quite clear.

  • zingzing

    well, alright… i’ll just throw this out there and see if it makes things more difficult for you…

    two of my favorite groups going right now, wolf eyes and excepter, are pretty much electronic improv groups. both play music that has very little use for notes or keys or anything you could notate. it deals almost exclusively with timbre and a basic sense of rhythm. group interplay is also very important, but unlike jazz, there’s no soloing or returning to root structures or any of that.

    there’s just nothing like that in literature. if you can find a common link, let me know, but i think it’s just one of the many ways in which musical composition cannot be related to any other working method.

    there’s plenty of this to be seen in music, as music can be made up on the spot, and there’s no going back and editing it, and your audience is looking directly over your shoulder during the act of creation.

    of course, not all music is created this way, but a whole lot of it is. in this case there are no “strictures as regards composition.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Gotta think. Got some links?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I located both groups, zing.

  • zingzing

    definitely check out wolf eye’s “dead hills” on youtube. and excepter’s stuff that exemplifies what i’m talking about would be early stuff or live. other than their last two albums, most of the videos you find are their more composed mid-period stuff. (although that is improvised, it’s also edited and more pop-minded, while the earlier stuff contains almost no edits.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    excepter’s stuff is more acceptable to me. A food for thought, though – to what extent could this music survive without the video.

    Isn’t it more a case of “mixed media”? And of course . . . only in America.

    I wander if Andy Warhol’s work isn’t similar in kind. Just a thought.

  • zingzing

    i got into both through their music, not the videos… so, quite well. excepter’s videos are notoriously bad, but it’s an aesthetic choice, so, whatever. they aren’t that important. one of their albums, sunbomber, is actually something they created within 40 minutes of meeting each other for the first time after a major lineup change.

    wolf eyes is certainly difficult. really almost too dark for my taste, but they have a way about them that’s quite unique. a lot of this stuff comes off really dark… then again, a lot of free jazz comes off that way as well.

    “I wander (sic) if Andy Warhol’s work isn’t similar in kind.”

    that didn’t take long. i’m actually on the hunt for a warhol movie that features music by the velvet underground. it was made a year before their debut came out, but i’m having no luck. can’t recall the name right now… i found out about in some film history textbook that i stupidly lent out.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Now you sic(ed) me: we’re even.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “you really need to open yourself to different types of music and stop dismissing things out of hand.”

    Really,zing?! Does such a stupid comment even rate a reply. See, I have already delved into the land of electronics & experimenting not only from a listener’s standpoint but as a musician. So, you tell me what crucial material I might have missed that John Zorn hasn’t already covered {FYI – I almost landed a drumming gig with Kayo Dot about 5+ years ago,but, I wasn’t really interested in playing almost nothing]. The fact that I like Metal seems to astound most people when they realize that I truly dig shit all the way from The Electromagnets, Fragile, George Winston, Vlatko Stefanovski & Miroslav Tadic, John Zorn to Napalm Death, Manes, Lamb,Bloodbath,etc… I guess the difference between you & me is that I learned real quickly that most of the crap that you think is innovative & anarchistic at the same time is just that…Useless Crap!! So, I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything that you could submit to me that I haven’t already heard or maybe even played(the latter might be a stretch)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Meaning, “it’s not really/easily playable”?

    This could be a mark of distinction, I suppose, if it could be listened to.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It still leaves open the question: Why wasn’t Andy Warhol’s art crap?

    Perhaps the notion of an idea (musical/literary/whatever) may be of help (of course, there being an idea implies the possibility of execution.)

    An analogy from chess may come handy. It takes many many games played, and perhaps studying some of the great games, to eventually come to a point of having “an idea.”

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “It takes many many games played, and perhaps studying some of the great games, to eventually come to a point of having “an idea.”

    An idea with a value beyond mere enjoyment that could & would further the possibilities of how music will be made. Great Analogy!

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Listening to the greats & other musicians with a proficient technical ability mixed with soul can be an education that is priceless.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    re: #126 – you call zing’s comment stupid and then go on to label a bunch of music “useless crap”

    and then go on to..

    oh geezus, forget it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Since we’re on the subject, Brian, Mark, you might want to look at the following article:

    “The Expression Theory of Art” by O.K. Bouwsma.

    I read it long time ago, but since you’ve whetted my appetite, I will re-read it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    PS: Look at the table of contents and then click on the article.

  • zingzing

    thought you were done here, brian… but we’ll proceed: “So, you tell me what crucial material I might have missed that John Zorn hasn’t already covered.”

    are you saying that john zorn covers everything you need to know? i’ll admit he’s had a very diverse career…

    “I guess the difference between you & me is that I learned real quickly that most of the crap that you think is innovative & anarchistic at the same time is just that…Useless Crap!!”

    really? you like your music orderly? all the time? or it’s just useless? that’s a good way to limit your musical appetite.

    “So, I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything that you could submit to me that I haven’t already heard or maybe even played(the latter might be a stretch)”

    come on, you can’t tell me that you’ve heard everything. that’s impossible.

    “Great Analogy!”

    except it doesn’t ring necessarily true in practice. ideas come from a lot of places.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Zing, don’t be a kill sport. This is a heckuva discussion and we should try to go the limits. Just let’s do it civilly.

    Of course ideas come from a lot of places. That wasn’t my meaning. A musical idea is a musical idea (and I can’t think in such terms; am not proficient enough). But I do understand on analogy with a “chess idea,” for example – because I am at a master level. And also in terms of a “literary idea,” because of having read a lot (not enough, I’m afraid) and plenty of writing – including two novels.

    It’s not like you give a classroom an assignment to write a short story in English 101 (although there may be some who are naturally talented enough to come up with one.

    But generally speaking, to understand what a “literary idea” is, and more importantly perhaps, to come up with one, usually lots of preparatory work is required (and that’s in spite of the fact that “story telling,” just like music, is also – contrary to what you argued earlier – kind of immediate and natural in human experience.

    So let the games begin, I say.

  • zingzing

    i was being civil, roger. i’m not the one calling people stupid. just not my style.

    and yes, a literary idea can be immediate and natural. it’s execution, however, takes more prolonged effort. a musical idea and its execution can happen within minutes.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Then I fail to see why. (BTW, should be “spoil sport,” so thanks for not sic(ing) me.

    Anyway, Brian doesn’t strike me as being particularly purist or eclectic; you, on the other hand, seem to gravitate to the other extreme – lauding something simply for being novel and new. There’s got to be some meeting ground.

    I understand it’s a difficult question because it does involve a certain element of “subjectivity,” because because it’s difficult doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to tackle it.

    Generally speaking, is there room to speak of judgment here (as opposed to mere taste); or conversely, does the former necessarily reduces to the latter?

    Consider this a leading question.

  • zingzing

    “you, on the other hand, seem to gravitate to the other extreme – lauding something simply for being novel and new.”

    i do like new ideas, yes.

    “There’s got to be some meeting ground.”

    i’m sure there is. and i’m sure that brian likes new ideas as well. it’s just that he puts a arbitrary limit on where those new ideas can come from, while i don’t.

    and subjective judgment reveals taste. and taste creates that subjectivity. they’re intertwined.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “i was being civil, roger. i’m not the one calling people stupid. just not my style.”

    With all the music I have listened to and mentioned on this here website in however long it has been, Did you you think you were giving me great advice?!

    “thought you were done here, brian… but we’ll proceed:”

    Naw…just done with you(unfortunately)

  • zingzing

    i’ll sic myself on “a(n) arbitrary.” and you forgot to close the parentheses up there. so i’ll sic you on your thanking me for not sicing you earlier. “sicing?” meh.

  • zingzing

    brian, what you’ve written on this website is all i have to go on, and obviously i think you need to broaden your horizons. so, i guess i do think it’s good advice, yes. we’ve had this same argument before, and i always come away with the idea that you’ll dismiss things for no reason other than that they don’t meet your rather stringent demands on the technical end of music.

    “Naw…just done with you(unfortunately)”

    unfortunately? we’re still talking, aren’t we? don’t get all mad. what do you come here for? a pat on the back?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sure they’re intertwined, zing, but not necessarily to the extent you may be suggesting – as though we couldn’t make a workable distinction.

    Judgment does imply certain criteria, standard, etc. I realize it sounds stuffy, but it just does. To reduce matters of judgment to mere taste – not just in music but in any area of human endeavor or reasoning – is total and unabashed relativism, anything goes. There may be a difference of opinion as to the applicable criteria – pragmatic, aesthetic, etc – I don’t want to go too far afield, but judgment implies employment of certain criteria, for better or worst, mere taste does not.

    Think of Aristotle’s Poetics, for example, as to spelling some of those out in dramatic arts. We may not altogether agree, and many of the Aristotle’s “rules” have been violated, and with success, by modern playwrights – Beckett, for instance. But this isn’t to say that Poetics is a bunch of crap and of no use. You can only violate a good rule once you’re aware of it and see beyond.

    [Of course, Beckett was a literary genius, but felt he couldn't match Joyce - so he went "minimalist." He suffered from "the anxiety of influence" (Harold Bloom).]

  • zingzing

    i’m not saying they are the same thing. there’s plenty of stuff i can begrudgingly respect, but just not like all that much. to use beckett as an example, i feel like he went too far down the minimalist road (and i love minimalism) and his later work became far less enjoyable. impressive, sure. a perfect execution of his intent. but just not for me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Have you seen it performed?

  • zingzing

    i’ve seen a few on video, but it was years ago.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’ve got an assignment for you. Got to leave now. Be back in an hour.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “what you’ve written on this website is all i have to go on, and obviously i think you need to broaden your horizons.”

    Again, I ask you,”…you tell me what crucial material I might have missed that John Zorn hasn’t already covered?” and I should clarify by including not only his works but the many artists that he has done projects with.

    “that you’ll dismiss things for no reason other than that they don’t meet your rather stringent demands on the technical end of music.”

    Well, then let me clarify again in that I don’t find “non-technical” or experimental music not worthy of enjoyment, I just don’t hear too many “non-technical” or experimental projects or bands that can elaborate on an idea very well possibly due to their lack of technical prowess[?].An idea can be schizophrenic but there has to be a realization of harmony & melody somewhere in the mess. I like to hear the fusing of styles & ideas that makes me think and keeps my attention.

  • zingzing

    “Again, I ask you,”…you tell me what crucial material I might have missed that John Zorn hasn’t already covered?” and I should clarify by including not only his works but the many artists that he has done projects with.”

    i’m not sure what exactly you mean. you seem to be saying that john zorn (in all his various musical guises) has covered all the bases… is that what you mean to say?

    “I just don’t hear too many “non-technical” or experimental projects or bands that can elaborate on an idea very well possibly due to their lack of technical prowess.”

    that’s all well and good, but reveling in technical prowess is also a dead end. it doesn’t take a whole lot of technical prowess in order to get a musical idea across.

    “An idea can be schizophrenic but there has to be a realization of harmony & melody somewhere in the mess.”

    that’s not absolutely true, as there is plenty of music that doesn’t even bother with harmonic development or melodic interest. but i do see what you’re getting at, to a degree.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Alright, zing, to move from particular to the general, let me refer you to one “theory” re works of art. It’s simply a matter of one artist’s response (or reaction, if you like) to his/her predecessors. Viewed in this way, a poem by Shelley is a response to another poem by Keats, Beckett’s latter work, a response to Joyce’s Ulysses, Freud (yes, believe it or not) to Shakespeare, and so on and so forth. That’s how paradigm shifts come to be, or new “schools” evolve – from the visual arts, to music, to literature. Bloom calls it “anxiety of influence,” the idea of being rendered almost paralyzed by your predecessor’s greatness, don’t think you can possibly match it, and so you’re almost forced to invent a new paradigm if you’re intent on pursuing your “artistic instinct.” It’s all in “The Anxiety of Influence” by Harold Bloom, and perhaps you should take a look at that little book.

    The moral of course is that in order to be able to experience the required kind of anxiety, you must be thoroughly versed in the old paradigm, to the point perhaps that you realize it has reached certain limits that you personally don’t believe you can top. And hence the “neurotic/artistic motivation.”

  • zingzing

    true, but there are so many paradigms. if, as you say earlier, ignoring the musical canon is insanity, then how insane were the bluesmen and the country folk who never even heard of mozart? how insane was elvis? he certainly wasn’t scared of his musical predecessors, he was just having a good time. making a record for his mother to hear.

    the blues and country come from long lines of music with almost no connection to the place where classical came from, and certainly no connection to what we consider canonical. they weren’t decided by studying the past, they were decided by necessity. blues came from rhythm, but then they dropped the drums, sang acapella, then found a guitar. rock n roll is a case of genre-fucking, and the tangent wasn’t decided by fear or anxiety, but by its very primal newness.

    there are just too many was in which a theory like that can break down. i can see the validity of the theory, and it certainly works in a lot of cases, literary, musical or otherwise. but it doesn’t hold up in a lot of cases.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “how insane was elvis?”

    But, after gaining experience in the arena of making hits, his knowledge grew as a musician to a point, where as great as he was, he began to idolize Mario Lanza and incorporated that influence into his music(and came out with my all-time favorite of his “Indescribably Blue”)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Come on, zing. Elvis was raised on blues and gospel/black music. The influences are undeniable.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And as you yourself say, “blues came from rhythm.”

    There’s always got to be a start somewhere. Otherwise, we’ll keep on re-inventing the wheel.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    There’s always got to be a start somewhere. Otherwise, we’ll keep on re-inventing the wheel

    again, i will disagree with this. there are many examples from areas such as process music which build on nothing.

    it’s not really valid to say that you have do have the cannon, so as to ignore it, because you can’t prove a) somebody ignored something and b) that they where even aware of it in the first place.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But in that case, we’re talking about another art form, no?

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    no.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    To wit, photography isn’t exactly another school of painting, although one may argue, painting provided the impetus.

    Similarly with cinema as being only a kind of extension of theater – but a different art form, really.

    I might want to consult Walter Benjamin for the full exposition.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    On the other hand, we’ve got to distinguish music from noise. What counts as one and what counts as the other?

    I believe Brian was trying to get at this distinction.

    Is music just any sound that emanates from one’s vocal cords or any mechanical reproduction?

    If music and sound are equivalent, than what sense does it make to speak of music.

    Just wonder.

  • zingzing

    brian: “But, after gaining experience in the arena of making hits, his knowledge grew as a musician to a point…”

    but he also lost some of his youthful creativity. i do like some of his late-50s/early 60s stuff (and a smattering of later songs), but there’s no denying his best stuff was pre-army.

    roger: “Come on, zing. Elvis was raised on blues and gospel/black music. The influences are undeniable.”

    i didn’t say he wasn’t. (in fact, the point was made that he came from blues and country.) but he’s not connected to the classical canon in any real way. (that’s what i was saying.)

    “There’s always got to be a start somewhere. Otherwise, we’ll keep on re-inventing the wheel.”

    my point is that they don’t come from the same place. not that they came from nothing. although there are many examples of music with only the barest thread of any connection to the past.

    “But in that case, we’re talking about another art form, no?”

    you ever heard any process music?

    “On the other hand, we’ve got to distinguish music from noise. What counts as one and what counts as the other?”

    there’s purposeful organization to music. of course, there are ways to organize sound that have nothing to do with music. although john cage would argue with that.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I never claimed that “classical” has got to be “the beginning.” But I should think that if I want to do “drama,” that’s I’d want to look at Aeschylus, Sophocles and Shakespeare. And then, Oscar Wilde perhaps and George Bernard Shaw.

    In a way, I admire your “democratic” instinct, but perhaps you’re trying too hard.

  • zingzing

    ahem. no, classical is not the beginning. you claimed, however, that one would be “insane” not to study the classical canon. then you named names. i was saying that that’s not true. the music that most informed rock had little to do with classical and developed on its own.

    perhaps it’s you that’s trying too hard in a way… you keep on saying i said things i never said… or you take the words i write too far. maybe it’s my fault. i don’t find anything i’ve written terribly unclear, but it’s hard to tell what others will do with it sometimes…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    On its own, of its own?

    Nothing happens that way.

    Even given the innate capacity for language we all have, babies still need adults in order to learn how to talk.

    It’s your denying the need for roots, any kind of roots, that makes no sense, and it’s that idea, precisely, that I’m combating.

    Never mind, for now, the idea of comparing rock to classical, which is a wholly different issue.

    And as regards the latter, yes, you’re way too “democratic” to regard anything and everything an art form.

    It is an honorific term, as I use it, a matter of accomplishment. Yet, you seem to denigrate the idea of art and the artist. Anyone is an artist according to your view of things.

    Well, I disagree. That’s why I spoke of philistinism earlier on. Perhaps your regarding yourself as lacking in talent which is the root cause of your “democratic” views. I couldn’t possibly comment on this, only you can say how you feel about yourself. But in my mind, such an attitude would go a long way to explain why you tend to reduce all works to the same level – the lowest common denominator, I’d say.

    And as to democracy, it’s got its proper time and place, I’ll be the first to admit it. But it’s got nothing to do with human achievement. So perhaps it is here that we part company.

  • zingzing

    “On its own, of its own?”

    separately. not without any precedent… but separately.

    “It’s your denying the need for roots, any kind of roots, that makes no sense…”

    ayeyaiyai. i was only saying both developed separately of classical music. you seem to forget that in the time before recorded music, not all things were accessible to everyone. various musics around the world evolved separately from each other. they had no idea the others existed.

    “And as regards the latter, yes, you’re way too “democratic” to regard anything and everything an art form.”

    never said that.

    “Yet, you seem to denigrate the idea of art and the artist. Anyone is an artist according to your view of things.”

    certainly not. anyone CAN be an artist, of course. your view of my view of things is getting wildly off-kilter, you understand. i’m not sure how that happened. it’s just plain to my ear that the great unwashed have produced as much, if not more, brilliant music as the conservatory crowd.

    “Perhaps your regarding yourself as lacking in talent which is the root cause of your “democratic” views.”

    definitely not. not meaning to toot my own horn here… but i’ve had music that i’ve written and produced utilized in several contexts (theatrical, dance, installations, records). and talent is the thing i prize above all others. way off base here, roger.

    “I couldn’t possibly comment on this, only you can say how you feel about yourself.”

    your psychological credentials are lacking… i know that unschooled, unbridled creativity is responsible for a great many things, musical or otherwise. i know it from my own experience, and from what my ears tell me of others.

    “But in my mind, such an attitude would go a long way to explain why you tend to reduce all works to the same level – the lowest common denominator, I’d say.”

    but you’d be wrong. i just don’t use the same base you do to decide how that fraction is figured. you seem to be taking all artistic endeavours as the product of the high brow. it’s just not so.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Not necessarily how brow, zing, but certainly au courant.

    I’ll repeat it again, artistic response is a response to a predecessor’s work. It doesn’t originate in a vacuum. And it grows out of the appreciation of the predecessor’s work, not out of ignorance.

    But then again, I use arts in a honorific sense – perhaps I’m wrong here – as opposed to other endeavors, such as artisanship (a derivation, mind you), ornamentation (as in architecture), but I think you get my meaning.

    In short, I regard art as a kind of transcendent form from producing what’s merely functional and for public/everyday use – like making vases, pots, etcetera.

    And in being transcendent, it therefore aims at an aesthetic quality. Consequently, not every human activity, not everything we do, is “art.”

    Again, take a look at the American pop culture and what drives it, and then tell me how much of it is generated by what, and what what exact motive.

    This alone makes me more suspect of much that passes nowadays for “cultural achievement.”

    But as I said, you’re way too democratic in these matters than I.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “high brow,” before I get sic(ed).

  • zingzing

    there isn’t much i’d disagree with above.

    “I’ll repeat it again, artistic response is a response to a predecessor’s work. It doesn’t originate in a vacuum. And it grows out of the appreciation of the predecessor’s work, not out of ignorance.”

    i don’t disagree at all. my point is one doesn’t have to study its inner workings. all one must do is appreciate.

    “In short, I regard art as a kind of transcendent form from producing what’s merely functional and for public/everyday use – like making vases, pots, etcetera.”

    although i don’t particularly care for pottery-making on an artistic level, it CAN be art. just depends.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    I’ll repeat it again, artistic response is a response to a predecessor’s work. It doesn’t originate in a vacuum. And it grows out of the appreciation of the predecessor’s work, not out of ignorance.

    again, i’ll have to disagree with that. i mean, how far back do you take it? has nobody, ever in the history of time, come up with something completely new?

    and again, i’ll bring up things like process music, which while thought of a “non-musical” by many people (that’s their choice), has produced all sorts of interesting sounds.

    and going back to a comment i saw earlier, we have the (fun!) can of worms named “what is music?” most definitions say something about “organized sound”, but i like Frank Zappa’s idea, which is that something is musical if you perceive it as musical.

    (honestly, i’m not trying to get brian to say we’re full of crap, i’m really not).

  • zingzing

    heh. i got an album not to long ago called “automatic writing” by robert ashley. it pretty much features some guy babbling in his sleep (or a trance or something,) some woman speaking in french, a distant organ (might be a moog actually,) and r&b records playing through a wall (so all you can hear is bass). it was one of the most hypnotic musical experiences i’ve had in a while.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The functional-artistic distinction is well taken. In all probability, art evolved from practical endeavors, through stages, ornamentation (like on vases), until a vase became the object of art (no longer for use).

    But to cut to the chase, this is an argument about values, plain and simple, except to argue for aesthetic values is so much more difficult than when it comes to, say, moral values. At least, when it comes to the latter, there is a pragmatic kind of appeal you can resort to, sort of, and only to a point. But even so, try to convince Archie, and some other die-hards here, about such values as universal justice, for all women and men, not just Americans. You appreciate, I hope, the difficulty involved.

    Well, to argue about aesthetic values is even more difficult, because they are not as relevant in so far as everyday life is concerned; in contrast, moral values are much more pertinent to everyday life, the kind of people we are, how we treat and relate to others, things of that sort. One could almost argue here on pragmatic ground, though I wouldn’t.

    The field of aesthetics is not as pertinent to everyday life, and the argument about values is not as relevant to everyday concerns.

    Perhaps that’s one reason why we’re running here into a far greater difficulty.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “how far back do you take it? has nobody, ever in the history of time, come up with something completely new?”

    That’s a bogus argument. It’s like trying to saddle me with a view that we were given the language (as spoken) from the get-go, by act of God, as opposed to having an innate language faculty.

    Of course, the idea of development is implicit, from making gestures and all forms of “body language,” to eventually developing a full-blown symbolic means of communication, “our” language.

    So yes, speaking and humming and drumming (the latter, a form of warning) – all developed incrementally, in stages. Some stages were more significant; others less so.

    As to art, I provided a sort of mini-theory how it may have evolved from originally functional pursuits, simply because functional pursuits were no longer deemed most important or absolutely necessary. Consequently, out of mere artisan, there developed an artist.

    Use your imagination. I can’t fill all the gaps.

  • zingzing

    in general, roger, you’re correct. too bad the world is full of specifics.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    hey zing, is this the film you were looking for?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Specifics only add spice to life, zing.

    But consider this. The notion of justice, as applicable to moral values, is a much more readily comprehensible concept than that of beauty (or the sublime) in the field of aesthetics.

    We haven’t resolved anything, but I think we made some headway.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    That’s a bogus argument. It’s like trying to saddle me with a view that we were given the language (as spoken) from the get-go, by act of God, as opposed to having an innate language faculty.

    i’m not trying to make an argument at all there. my point is just to provide counter to yours, which is that (musically) everything is always based on an existing thing…a notion i don’t accept.

    that’s all.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I should think that my last comment kind of ameliorated and provided a certain context to my remark.

    But even so, assuming now that you’re correct as to your last remark, which is to say that a musical composition evolved out of thin air so to speak, rather than as a response to previous work or works, fine, I say. You may be correct as to the factual content of the statement. But the larger point I think is, the odds are, I wouldn’t think much of it. So yes, you may have proven the eventuality [although I don't see why anyone would want to compose music under such circumstances - perhaps you can enlighten me because it doesn't make any sense); you still have to argue for the merit.]

    Of course I can always be surprised and proven wrong.

  • zingzing

    mark, no, that’s not it, but that’s fucking rad anyway. i will watch when i have a minute or 22. ubuweb is a gem, is it not?

    roger, odds are that if someone creates something blindingly new, you might not know what to think of it. such is the case with things like that. i’ve got some john cage stuff where the audience is torn between marveling at his originality and booing the shit out of him because they simply don’t understand or have any context, so they automatically deem it bullshit. in one case, the division in the audience gets audibly violent.

  • zingzing

    the film i was looking for is called “up tight.”

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    I don’t see why anyone would want to compose music under such circumstances

    both zing and myself have mentioned process music. are you familiar with it? it doesn’t encompass all of what i was thinking of, but it does fit squarely into the idea of that kind of ‘composition’.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    but he also lost some of his youthful creativity. i do like some of his late-50s/early 60s stuff (and a smattering of later songs), but there’s no denying his best stuff was pre-army.”

    Personally, I think he only got better until the drugs took out his mind before he died. In fact, he had progressed from a gospel fused bubblegum / rockabilly style to the Gospel fused Operatic vocal brilliance that emanated from his overwhelming love for the operatic range.
    Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that as he learned more about singing(through whatever method)he tweaked & pioneered a skill that has been revered & never matched. Elvis is such a great example of redefining the wheel.

    It’s obvious that zing & Roger can wax philosophic far better than I can and actually proves my point that being well educated on a topic allows you the ability to see things that others might not get.

    Imho, to keep yourself disconnected from all avenues of knowledge because you feel they are not necessary to create an original & innovative piece only means that you might be traveling down a path that has already been taken.

    [sorry, I wish I could elaborate a little more but I actually have to get to work...ha, me & work in the same sentence.I would also like to apologize for my brutish behavior earlier. I guess my lack of education in the English language in order to get my point across sometimes pisses me off]

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Shoot, Brian, I would never have suspected you have any trouble.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No, Mark, I haven’t heard of process music. I will look it up.