"Music Evolves" Common CR Forum Quote


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J-Smack
07-01-2010, 02:38 AM
I've heard this a lot. Newer UGers put down rap and present day music in this forum, and the more mature members generally have the typical "music evolves" speech. I've agreed with this pretty much entirely, but I've also begun to see a side of music's "evolution" that I don't like at all.

Generally I never listen to any mainstream stuff, but my friend put a channel on the other day counting down the Top 40. Very possibly about 35 of the songs fall under the genre of techno combined with r&b or rap. Now, I really don't ever say that any genre sucks; everyone has different tastes. However, it bothers me that this type of music requires virtually NO instrumentalists, and it is almost the only genre found in the Top 40. All that is required is some tech savvy producers who try to find a new cool sound through drum machines and synthesizers, along with a vocalist, who doesn't necessarily need singing talent.

This leads me to believe that music certainly IS evolving...evolving to a point where musicians will be completely unnecessary in the future. What really disturbs me is that since this is the Top 40, it means MOST people are listening to this, making this seem like a trend that will continue to grow. As a musician, it is sort of depressing thinking of this.

Any thoughts? As I said before, this is a response to a subject that commonly comes up in the Classic Rock Forum.

Jack Off Jill
07-01-2010, 05:33 AM
A synthesizer is an instrument. So a drum machine. Unless you're implying that the robots are taking over. I've always had my suspicions about Gaga.

...It's time to take action! Throw out your toasters!

Jazz Funeral
07-01-2010, 11:51 AM
While I'm not worried about "skinjobs" wresting control out of our hands, I do know what you mean. Partly, you have to ask, whether or not it truly is evolution - because a strong arguement could be made for de-evolution, and the decay of what it is to be human and passionate altogether. Programming music produces a largely sterile result, devoid of the organic nuances of texture and dynamics that musicians employ with their instruments.

The way I understand it, or at least the joke I like to make about it (thanks to Bill Hicks), is that there is an awful lot of babysitting money being spent on a lot of this pop crap. It's little girl music. Bill Hicks cited Debbie Gibson and Tiffany as references when making his statement, but I think the same can be said today for Lady Gaga or ______ (insert pop star here). The market pushes acts as the new big thing, and a lot of teenagers and even mothers now that grew up with the Debbies and Tiffanys continue to take this marketing thing seriously, they take the bait and get into the new big thing; it seems to satiate a desire to be modern and current. In my eyes, it's an ugly little serpent that's eating its own Top 40 tail, and to continue with the serpent analogy, it is its own little seperate entity that doesn't tie in at all with what a lot of people (like us) are listening to. The same marketing people that have been pushing the "new big thing" bait that is so readily consumed, are presumably the same people that are handing out Grammy's and American Music Awards. It's a soulless, self-perpetuating ball of vomit laden shit with glitter on it. Or, maybe even a circle jerk of the grossest proportions.

Either way, TS, I can tell that you too are on the outside of this vile little ball of shit. Thank you, to you and the millions of others that don't subscribe to all of this "Ron Jeremy going down on himself" style of marketing. All we can do is keep playing our instruments and teach our children the value of work and the difference between real and fake.

master
07-03-2010, 04:00 PM
Top forty has always sucked. "How much is that doggie in the window??" And the 70's charts were dominated by Disco, where all the songs had the exact same tempo. There has always and will always be music and music business, which are entirely different.

The same goes with movies. Ask a film student or someone passionate about films what they think of the box office's biggest hits.

duncang
07-03-2010, 04:04 PM
What really disturbs me is that since this is the Top 40, it means MOST people are listening to this

Most people that are legally purchasing singles =/= most people that listen to music



Either way, TS, I can tell that you too are on the outside of this vile little ball of shit. Thank you, to you and the millions of others that don't subscribe to all of this "Ron Jeremy going down on himself" style of marketing. All we can do is keep playing our instruments and teach our children the value of work and the difference between real and fake.

I think you need to calm yourself a little. Far as I'm concerned, if it makes you feel something then it doesn't matter if it was written by a musician, a producer or a dog falling down a flight of stairs.

Who are you to say that the composition of an instrumentalist is worth more than the composition of a producer?

EDIT:

Also just realised this is in the Classic Rock forum...makes sense.

stonegolem13
07-03-2010, 05:39 PM
I think it's high time we brought back Bach :p:

Jazz Funeral
07-04-2010, 12:40 PM
I think you need to calm yourself a little. Far as I'm concerned, if it makes you feel something then it doesn't matter if it was written by a musician, a producer or a dog falling down a flight of stairs.

Who are you to say that the composition of an instrumentalist is worth more than the composition of a producer?

EDIT:

Also just realised this is in the Classic Rock forum...makes sense.
Actually, I was quite calm when I wrote that. I'm pretty passionate about my distaste for Top 40 radio, in any format. There is so much more to listen to than what the radio provides, and (IMHO, of course) a lot of much better music to be found if you're willing to look for yourself instead of just taking what they hand you.

If you're refering to the nasty imagery (vomit laden ball of shit with glitter on it) I felt that that was a poignant description of what I see as the Billboard/Clear Channel/Popstar "continuum".

If by "instrumentalilst" you mean musician, I'm willing to bet that most producers are musicians themselves. It's quite often that I see, in liner notes, additional musician credits applied to the individual(s) that produce these works. Producers are often involved with song writing and composition, Tom Dowd was a towering example of this.

Also, I used to listen to Hip-Hop and Gangsta Rap almost exclusively. In that sense, I know that the producer was commonly the guy that programmed the drum beat on the classic 808 drum machine. The producer could also be the guy spinning, mixing, and scratching records. Or, the producer could perform both of those duties; as was the case with Ali Shaheed Muhammed of A Tribe Called Quest, and especially DJ Premier of Gang Starr who also performed that same duty for Jeru The Damaja, Group Home, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, KRS-One, etc... This was commonly sample fueled, but, these were samples taken from recordings of Jazz, R&B, Soul, Funk, and even Blues records. The end result still had the organic and very human element of bonafide musicianship. That was more east coast Hip-Hop, now, the Gangsta Rap that was coming out of the west coast provided much of the same type of organic result, though with a much different flavor. Dj Quik used more and more live instrumentation as he grew (or evolved), Too $hort also had a guy called Shorty B who played guitar, drums, and bass for much of the material that he recorded throughout the 90's while Ant Banks ran the soundboard and drum machine and for all intents and purposes, produced.

Now, strictly programming (programmed music in and of it's own self) is what produces the largely sterile result that I was talking about. When a musical passage is repeated via programming, you get the exact same result every single time. The nuances of passion and dynamics are now absent. I know that Frank Zappa loved his synclavier for the perfect result that he could achieve when composing, this is the Frank Zappa material that I don't care for too much - brilliant composition, however, the same sterile result.

That's all I really have to say about that for the moment. I was pretty sure that it was understood outright that I was expressing an opinion earlier. Perhaps I should type "IMHO" more often. As for any qualifications to judge whether or not something is "good music", I'm no more qualified than anyone else. Yes, it is purely subjective. However, I guarantee that I can provide a more thorough and insightful analysis of any piece of music than at least 85 to 90 percent of the people you will ever meet. I have no degree in musicology, what I do have is a very hungry ear, and I'm 30 years in to a lifetime of personal study and enjoyment of most musical genres and an insatiable passion for the whole damn thing.

jcasey77
07-05-2010, 01:42 AM
I completely agree. I don't even like programming midi passages, I prefer to learn a part and actually play it when I'm recording. Popular music today is created as more of an assembly line product than a unique and carefully constructed work of art.

ripoffhitman
07-06-2010, 09:41 PM
Music has always had a center on vocalists and not guitar/bass players. Motown wouldn't even put the names of musicians who played on the albums, it would just say the name of the vocalist, (for example, Marvin Gaye records, even though James Jamerson was an amazing bass player).

Music evolves, but just focus on the parts you enjoy. I like Wolfmother, Black Crowes, White Stripes, Black Keys, Cage the Elephant, and The Answer, to show a couple of modern bands. They all depend on instrumental power, and all but the last three have sold atleast a million records.

J-Smack
07-19-2010, 02:44 AM
Top forty has always sucked. "How much is that doggie in the window??" And the 70's charts were dominated by Disco, where all the songs had the exact same tempo. There has always and will always be music and music business, which are entirely different.

The same goes with movies. Ask a film student or someone passionate about films what they think of the box office's biggest hits.


Man, can't believe I didn't realize that. I actually looked at (about a month ago) the history of #1's from the 60's until now, and a lot of them were pretty lame compared to the music I knew of the time. I suppose mainstream just isn't my taste, along with many others people's.

Thanks, ha, I think I just had a revelation because of you.

Hopefully, however, it continues to not have an outstanding impact on other musicians who do not strive to be mainstream. That's less of a concern to me now than it was beofre, though.