All Sound is not Music

I left the office pretty late tonight, so I figured I’d get away from the screen for a while and meetup with DJ Jimmy Tones to check out a few groups he found at The Warehouse (small, mimimalist venue–gutted restaurant?–on 7th st, near Gallery Pl/Chinatown that’s an extension of the similarly named café/theater two doors down).While I bailed before the main act got on stage, the hour that I was there was about as mind-opening as it could have been. I’ve heard electronic music, and I’ve seen musicians on stage with laptops many times before, this was different. They weren’t playing their own tracks or songs, but they were also doing a whole lot more than just DJ’ing. Here’s my best geeky analogy. Watching these guys on stage was like watching a novice use Photoshop to apply every single available filter and distortion there is to an image that s/he didn’t create. There’s no apparent rhyme or reason—just a desire to play with all the tools available to make something that felt cool and doesn’t necessarily take care to preserve any of the original elements of the image.We saw two artists. The first was a guy who added as much, well, noise as possible to an otherwise discernable and enjoyable downtempo beat. I would have been able to get into this music/noise fusion if he convinced me that he had some control over the noise (basically a loud distortion noise that you’d associate with the television “snow” when your TV and VCR are on the wrong channels). If this is the future of music, we need to find new ways of delivering it live. Watching people stare intently at their Powerbook screens and occassionally play with knobs on a mixer or effects board is about as exciting as it sounds. The better the actor/performer, the more facial expressions he would make during the song. There was certainly something sensual there for the guy on stage, but I wanted to see what he was doing behind the computer screen so I could better appreciate his skills and join in his excitement. As far as I know, he was just a good actor and did nothing more than hit play on his iTunes (no, i know he didn’t).Don’t get me wrong. I had a good time (esp for a Monday night). Glad I went. All that.Mainly, I’m just not convinced that some of what I heard was music. I realize that’s blasphemous in its own right. However, I think that maintaining some sort of consistent beat or rhythm is pretty critical to music, and it’s how most of us learn music. That doesn’t necessarily invalidate music that lacks this important repetition, but it does set music like tonight’s apart.

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6 thoughts on “All Sound is not Music

  1. hehe, nice write up, i honestly enjoyed the comments you made, true and honest and right on the f#$%ing money. hehe so cheers for the write up and just to be curious which one of us was the great actor? the little irish kid? or the big long haired itlaian kid? hehe this is great an look forward to hear more stuff like this. is it music? not sure, but its damn fun making it. dadaist’s and pureist or classical composer should not listen, because theory and form DO NOT follow. cheerios, and sometimes captian crunch./john

  2. ha! incredible that you found this post (or not, really, but still fascinating). i’m going to post something to the top about this in tomorrow i think because you blew me away here. anyway, you were both great actors, but i gotta hand it to the big long haired italian who was on teh left if you are facing the stage. which one are you. just found your mp3s – excellent – am listening now.

  3. Cowards die many times before their deaths: The valiant never taste of death but once. vinnie My salad days,When I was green in judgment.

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