Archive for December 3rd, 2011

My favorite music genre

If you were to ask me which is my favorite contemporary music work (album) of all time I’d have a hard time answering. The first thing that would sprout to mind would either be Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, or Madonna’s “Madonna”. Surely enough these are classic pop albums, but I can’t say that they fill up my music sensibilities in this day and age.

The first thing I’m looking on a piece of music is atmosphere. I need it to make me feel a particular way, I care not about lyrics taking that role — in fact I’d like the human voice to be used as an blended or reverbed “instrument”, and only appear sparingly. Melody and harmony are important too, but not as much as the emotional imprint that the music is supposed to generate via its atmosphere. Finally, I really don’t care if the singer can actually sing, or if the band can play their instruments perfectly or not. As long as they can manage their way around, it’s good enough.

As for the actual kind of music I want to listen to, I don’t think it exists yet. I believe that musically we currently are in the early years of the genre I long for. And what’s that genre?

Think of Beethoven, Handel, Bach, Dvořák, Wagner, Verdi, and Mozart. Now mix in there some M83, Soft Moon, John Maus, Washed Out, Austra, Beat Connection, and Caribou. There you have it, “electro-classical”, or something like that.

What I envision is a gapless record, over 45 mins, starting with an ethereal atmosphere, then getting more intense, complex and poppy, then dark, heavy & gloomy, and ending by dialing back down to the ethereal mode. It would basically be a symphony with operatic elements, utilizing synthesizers (and classical instruments when needed), but within the scope of modern electronic music: edgy (listen to “Jamelia” below for a sample). Overall it should sound like an “epic” but twisted sci-fi movie soundtrack.

In the past 3-4 years we had new bands “retro-fying” the ’60s (surf-rock), ’70s (e.g. Blitzen Trapper), and ’80s (new wave/chillwave), but how about re-imagining the classical era in a more modern setting? How about we go further than these 3-minute songs that are usually pretty standard in construction, on a strict periodic rhythm? What if what we’re missing today is the EPIC-ness of it all? Is it a sign of our times that we aren’t dreaming big, or feeling big? Is this because of socio-political reasons, repressing us and making us feel “full” on a 3-minute “cute” pop song? We need to strive for more, to keep pushing the boundaries! I truly think it’s time for our music to reflect the progressive part of our generation. The people who want free healthcare. Who want no wars. Who do want to go to Mars and dream of becoming astronauts. Who instead are striving for the greatness of our species. This can only be mirrored by music via such a kind of genre that marries the Old Works with the new tools and ideas.

Stream the following tracks below, to feel what *I kind of* envision:
– Washed Out – “Feel it All Around
– M83 – “Moonchild
– M83 – “Fields, Shorelines & Hunters
– M83 – “*”
Caribou – “Jamelia” (M83 above & this probably come closest to my vision the most)
– Soft Moon – (everything on their catalog: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
– John Maus – “Keep Pushing On
– John Maus – “We can breakthrough
– Austra – “The Beat and the Pulse
– Beat Connection – “Theme from Yours Truly
– Washed Out – “New Theory

From all the current popular artists, I believe that the only ones who could achieve such a record are either M83, John Maus, or Caribou. M83 have practical experience by being close to the genre, while John Maus has the necessary academic & classical knowledge to achieve something like it, if he decides to go for a more involved production. Caribou on the other hand (PhD in Math), has already written a song that comes closest to my vision, the genius “Jamelia”. Or maybe they could all collaborate…