Wednesday, May the 18th, 2005

I’ve been meaning to bring up each of these at different times, but I decided to wait. You know, until I had something substantial to bitch about — and made time to experiment with varying ways of getting a point across.

» Listen up people, music albums have a reason for existence (other than making bands fabulously wealthy). I’m a (probably the only remaining) strong proponent of the theory that artistes have a vision when they make music albums. They choose to express themselves — tell a story if you will — through this media. The only way one can truly get all performers want said, is to hear the entire album, as a whole. Not just one catchy tune that’s played on TV, the whole thing. None of this freakin’ rip to (or “convenienly acquire” an) MP3 and create a “mixed play list” crap. You’re clearly missing out on the heart of so much if you’re one of these people.

If performers wanted you to hear a single, they’d release a freakin’ single.

What is probably more depressing about all of this, is that the blasphemy doesn’t stop with these people, driven by their tiny attention spans. Huge music stores today, (*cough* *Itunes* *cough*) not only recognize and allow, but actively encourage this sort of madness. They obtain music from bands and their representatives as albums, but break this down into a smaller units of sale — songs — before selling it to their customers.

I repeat, please don’t just pick and choose arbitrarily amongst these, people. You’re clearly missing out on the heart of so much if you do.

» I’m currently near-continuously-cycling one of my favorite albums, Led Zeppelin’s second album (oh so creatively called “Led Zeppelin II”). Now this album contains an awesome piece, called Moby Dick. What’s interesting about this, is that though Moby Dick starts off like your usual song, within a little bit it winds up becoming a drum solo, which goes on for some three minutes.

Where has this sort of thing gone? Why doesn’t anything I listen to today have any substantial solo pieces? Hell, I’m fairly certain that’s how recording is done anyway — as in each performer separately, piece by piece, and the best samples are carefully fitted together to make the final “masterpiece”. Why not just give me access to the individual sections as well? Are they afraid it’ll be apparent they aren’t particularly talented?

Why do I care?, I could be classified a musician[1], and have performed both as an instrumentalist and a vocalist. Even conveniently forgetting the reality that certain members of the band get all the glory (anyone know more “other members'” names in bands than they know lead singer’s names?), I am a consumer. I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I just want to listen to sections of the band perform. Clear of other cruft.

Besides, sometimes, (from the lesser band members point of view) you just need to have yourself heard. Maybe that’s why I am such a fan of live performances. Sure they aren’t as polished, but they give band members a chance to… express themselves, less constrained by the powerhouse media company that’s usually calling all the shots.

If you’ve not been paying attention, I want more chunks of solo pieces in songs. Band members need to be allowed to break away into long solos during songs. And, more importantly, the big wigs at the recording studios should realize that some fans want these in, and shouldn’t direct the magical studio post-processing people to edit those sections out — or worse, blend them all in together. Because, I’m sure they’re line of reasoning goes roughly like so — “THREE WHOLE MINUTES? Imagine your average ADD inflicted music listener today sitting through three minutes worth of a song, let alone just a lone drummer.”

» Which forcibly dovetails into my final peeve for the day. What is it with this whole manufactured sugar-pop garbage (literally, not the band Garbage) that’s being shoved down everyone’s throats these days? In order to be different (and avoid any odd copyright infringement nonsense), I decided to sing tiny sections of different versions of what is essentially the same song. You be the judge.

Sample 1 — A sample in my normal voice — covering a non-industry-sugarified version of Blind Melon’s No Rain
(Additional random modulation, like tiny “voice-shake” at the very end, is my idea of subtle improv.)
Sample 2 — A sample in super-nasal-heavy high pitch — covering an industry-sugarified version of Blind Melon’s No Rain
Sample 3 — The two samples just hastily put together. Yes, the two parent songs were of different tempos.
Sample 4 — The two samples put together with some tact, they’ve been somewhat synchronised[2].

In my mind anyway, the non-sugarified version is better, purely on the basis that it’s more… pure. If there is one thing cool about some bands (like the case in point, Blind Melon) they’re quite capable of “winging” an entire album and you can still be assured that the end result is going to be good. Better than good, it will be great, because it’s soulful. And then, on the other hand, you have your manufactured enhanced super smoothed and slickified mass produce that most people tend to consume.

You know, like any of the boy bands or hot teen chicks who’ve more than adequate assets distract you from the basic fact — they can’t sing, or play.

[1] I am a trained (about a dozen years, under a few talented teachers) Carnatic vocalist. My claims to fame include winning pretty much every music competition I’ve taken part in (my mom still holds on to the cups and trophies (hi mom!)), performing on stage multiple times, and on national radio. I also play, among other things, a couple of percussion instruments.
[2] These clips are small subsets of samples which were recorded, mixed and synchronized with the aid of the miracle that is Audacity.

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2 Responses to “Then, and now”

  1. pul| says:

    *chuckle* *cough* *cough* *chuckle*

  2. wahgnube says:

    Does someone have a sore throat?

8,708,901 people conned into wasting their bandwidth.