Several other reviewers within this establishment, this circle of individuals casting critical eyes at the artistic productions of a society connected to the computer, have been putting forth their conceptions of what music is and is not. While garnering their discourse into the subjects of genre, and expositions of particular genres, they illustrate clearly their own motivations in their analysis. I feel it is time to bring forth my own internal observations.
I see music as inherently artistic. I’m not looking for something to rock. I’m not looking for something with beats, particular genre, flavor, fad, or style. And I’m not here to quibble about the definitions of those things, either. I simply see art as art, and music is art, and writing is art. None of these forms compete against each other, but exist in this vast network of being as an attempt to bring us closer to what is and not just what we see.
I tend to like it when musical artists build a persona, or a world that exists separate from others. Often these personas take on indications of perhaps archetypal nature – some, the truly exceptional, define and introduce archetypes in the collective unconscious. This involves a culmination of all art forms as well as a sense of self that evolves from the compositions themselves. So, when I go to review a song I’m taking everything in, from presentation (name of the artist/group, artwork, literary insight, lyrics, musical language, etc) as well as brining my own particular backgrounds into play. As a self-defined music critic within the context of this site, I put my analysis most heavily towards the musicality of the piece, as independent from all else – though the other facts still can influence me greatly.
Electronic music is and has been a frontier of innovation – and it will not stop. I don’t enjoy most so-called dance music. I don’t listen to drum n’ bass. But when I hear a song, however labeled to any genre as it is (which is the hierarchal system that we operate on in the mp3.com plane) I hear it as a song. I may enjoy it, I may not. It is also competing against, in some way, what I have on my headphones for the day.
I see no inherent faults in any particular genre of music. Or any instrument used to create it. (this includes computer programs) – I feel that any device (be it human made or not) that can create a noise is valid as a production tool. How one uses these tools provide the human element. I will say this: if there is nothing innovative about how you use these tools, or the structures in which you present these then I see little to no worth. If you make a song and it is just rockin’ but does not (to my vision) provide me with a sense of wholeness, or a cosmic recognition of the secrets of the universe, then I am likely to not enjoy it much.
It is for these reasons that while I listen to music I am always searching for that special otherness. And usually, I can find (if even for a fleeting moment) beauty in everything that I listen to. Sometimes that moment of beauty can be accidental, sometimes planned, sometimes it is destined.
Being a writer for a long time, I come to music with a different vocabulary. My own music reflects this, I think. But I have been listening to music all my life – all different kinds, and offspring of all kinds. I don’t always know what I like or what I am going to like. But I do know what I don’t like. I try to like everything. I also have a good deal of so-called musical education, most of which I have jettisoned in order to allow my other influences to infect the medium. The bottom line of all this is: music must NOT remain stagnant. Music must constantly be renewed.
There are still endless possibilities in the future of music, but the more that people aim towards audiences; the more that genres define how you produce music, the further away from that spectral magic you become. Mp3.com and the entire Internet offer us a new method to have our music heard, as well as all of artistic endeavors. Never let that spirit die, or take it for granted. The time has come.