Mike Oldfield: The Thing That's Wrong With Today's Music

"It's like you’ve taken all the food that was ever consumed in the world and condensed it into this porridge that everybody eats."

logo
Ultimate Guitar
Mike Oldfield: The Thing That's Wrong With Today's Music
20

Mike Oldfield talked about the current state of music, telling Music Radar:

"When all the synths and sequencers started coming out in the '80s, it was all very exciting and I thought it would lead somewhere.

"Where it's led is that we've now got artificial intelligence music - you're simply pushing a combination of buttons.

"You can create perfect music, but it all sounds the same. I can tell when a computer has made something perfect and it really turns me off.

"The music we have now, it's good, but it's like you’ve taken all the food that was ever consumed in the world and condensed it into this porridge that everybody eats.

"There's nothing special about it.

"There's nothing wrong with it, but things have got to have flaws. That's why I left a lot of the imperfections in [new record] 'Return to Ommadawn.' There's bits where I missed a note, or it's a bit out of time or tune. It doesn't matter. What's important is that the music has power, soul and spirit. It's alive."

During the rest of the chat, Oldfield talked about his 26th album 'Return to Ommadawn,' released this June, explaining how the unexpected death of his son Dougal - who collapsed and died at work in London at age 33 back in 2015 - impacted his work, saying:

"It's the age-old story. Out of suffering comes beauty.

"It seems that somebody who's content with life isn't able to produce enough emotional power. It has to be something that really makes your hair stand on end."

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    bobafettacheese
    With that picture and the title of the article it looks as if he's about to say "Today's music lacks a certain je ne sais quoi!"
    petter_6666
    Right, you created music with sequencers and that's ok, but today's music is artificial and wrong...what a load of sh**
    Sakke
    Using synthesizers or drum machines to do something humans simply can't can make music go into an interesting direction that it hasn't before. Although in modern days, doing something completely new is pretty much impossible. In my honest opinion, music could use anything, but it should be a pursuit to create something creative and authentic. Music should express emotion and the person(s) behind said music should let their passion come through in their songs. Which is why using synthesizers, sequencers and samples to replace something that could be original could make the music lack emotion. Aligning every instrument to a beat and the beat to the click makes music lack feel. Moving a vocal to the perfect pitch of any given note makes music lack authenticity and the right to have flaws. 
    balta
    I was arguing with our drummer, who refuses to record with a click. I tell him we're  not aiming to clock-like precision, that's not the case. It's more like the click track is like the outline of a drawing on a colouring book: it's ok if you colour out of the line to a degree, but you need that outline for reference. Right? RIGHT?!
    Sakke
    Exactly, I wasn't trying to state that click is useless. And tell him that he should record and in future practice to a click. Staying in tempo is crucial, which does not mean that you can't go off here and there, try some experimental fills or rhythms that feel like they drag just a tad down behind the beat.
    jacobm3412
    Whats interesting is electronic musicians and people who are making AI drums etc know this and are studying the psychology behind flaws and what flaws we like and are trying to implement them into these artificial instruments (like drum (snare) sounds that don't hit perfectly on the beat) - this article talks about it: https://mic.com/articles/113504/science-shows-w... It is an older article and it ultimately concludes that human patterns in music vary too much for computers to every match/predict in a pleasing way.  I personally think it will get there eventually with more understanding and more complex algorithms (how long that will take? - who knows but there is some pretty impressive shit out there  like that robot that can improv and right now I think computers can fool a decent amount of non-discerning listeners) Ultimately though, I think computers won't be able to innovate (create new genres, create new instruments, create new ways of playing/technique - although I may be wrong).
    SWIFTERS
    "There's bits where I missed a note, or it's a bit out of time or tune. It doesn't matter." Er yes Mike, it does but because no one buys cds anymore so then why bother to make corrections?  
    XEKoND
    There's nothing wrong with it, but things have got to have flaws.
    So is it flawless or not?
    angiash
    Don't forget, although this man has written some amazing music, he has written the same Tubular Bells at least 6 times.