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Jazz and the essence of metal

Jazz and the essence of metal
October 19, 2007, 04:23:13 AM
I've been thinking lately about what it is that makes (good) metal superior to most music (i.e, rock, hip-hop). What I've come up with, with the help of discussion, listening, playing music and research on the ANUS site and forums, is that essentially, disregarding aesthetic, the difference between metal and rock, and likewise between good and bad music in general is a focus on melody. To create beautiful melodies is the foundation of quality music. I don't mean to oversimplify the musical process, as the instrumentation surrounding the melody is what brings it out, but this is different than having a set chord progression (i.e, I-IV-V) and forming whatever melody conveniently fits (i.e, pentatonic wankery).

This mentality (melody being number one) which I have recently discovered within myself explains why I like the music I do; artists such as: Emperor, Sacramentum, Stargazer, Morbid Angel, Metallica, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, and many, many others. What I've noticed is the elitist closed-mindedness of metalheads causes many quality works outside of the "pure" art forms of extreme metal and classical to be ignored or insulted. My goal with this thread is to attempt to distribute what I consider quality works in the Jazz genre upholding the ideals that I value in metal (i.e, melody, motivic/phrasal composition) and not the ideals that I am indifferent to (racial issues, BR\/74L1T113!! kvltness). I invite anyone to criticize or add to any of my thoughts and I wonder what other hessians think of quality jazz and what the essence of powerful music is.

Below I've included some examples of jazz the fits my bill. Creative, competent, and beautiful music. I admit I have a bias for music with organ/piano/harpsichord/keyboard (just not cheesy keyboard) as I teach and play piano as my life's goal and passion.


Dave Brubeck - Take Five
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZaEOXZubz0

Michel Camile - Crazy fucking Latin influenced jam
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EcxC5AgnPU

Thelonius Monk - Epistrophy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2s6LZUdYaU

Herman Szobel - (not sure what song) no video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNWNad3xGW4

shadowmystic

Re: Jazz and the essence of metal
October 19, 2007, 06:32:13 AM
I always thought it was composition that put metal above most modern music, Legion is a great album and I can't say I hear alot of melody there.  The focus on structure allows metal to progress and fully articulate an idea rather than just cycling and going nowhere like jazz and rock do.

Re: Jazz and the essence of metal
October 19, 2007, 08:04:42 AM
I too could never understand how some metal heads could uphold the artistry of metal yet reject other genres that also hold artistic value just because it is a different form to what they like. Is Picasso's artwork any less art just because it differs in form and message from that of Leonardo's or Rubens'?

I am just beginning to explore the depth of Jazz music, to me it has much more scope and artistic merit than that the limited field of Death and/or Black Metal (but don't mistake me here, I still love them both). So Jazz has less structure than Classical or Black Metal, this does not mean it is any less "worthy" than those genres, it still contains a chord structure and an overall vision for the song. Music, that is, music without lyrics, is always a communication of abstract ideas. In other words, emotions, and I think Jazz reigns almost supreme (second only to the best Classical music) in this regard. This is because Jazz music is improvisational, and the sheer skill these musicians have in communicating those emotions through their instruments, to me, is amazing. Show me one Metal band that can improvise, let alone create music as beautiful as a decent Jazz musician can, on the spot.

As for Jazz that I enjoy, I am still finding my way through artists and styles, but so far I am listening to: Pat Metheny, his skill at guitar is sublime; Miles Davis, music so complex I am only just only beginning explore why it sounds so good; and Duke Ellington. All really big names, I still have to a lot to discover and learn about this genre so any guidance and suggestions would be appreciated. :)

Re: Jazz and the essence of metal
October 19, 2007, 09:57:43 AM
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Is Picasso's artwork any less art just because it differs in form and message from that of Leonardo's or Rubens'?


If something differs in form and "message" (content), then clearly it can be differentiated and judged on the merits of the content.

It seems like we go over the same arguments ad nauseum re: Jazz on this forum - see this recent thread.

Re: Jazz and the essence of metal
October 19, 2007, 10:05:55 AM
Quote
My goal with this thread is to attempt to distribute what I consider quality works in the Jazz genre upholding the ideals that I value in metal (i.e, melody, motivic/phrasal composition) and not the ideals that I am indifferent to (racial issues, BR\/74L1T113!! kvltness).


So you are on a crusade.

Re: Jazz and the essence of metal
October 19, 2007, 10:58:48 AM
Metal, Jazz and Classical are my favorite genres of music because they show either a lot of musicianship or verve and vivacity, and sometimes both. I always thought the people of ANUS were forgetting jazz.


Re: Jazz and the essence of metal
October 19, 2007, 09:19:45 PM
Quote
I've been thinking lately about what it is that makes (good) metal superior to most music (i.e, rock, hip-hop). What I've come up with, with the help of discussion, listening, playing music and research on the ANUS site and forums, is that essentially, disregarding aesthetic, the difference between metal and rock, and likewise between good and bad music in general is a focus on melody. To create beautiful melodies is the foundation of quality music. I don't mean to oversimplify the musical process, as the instrumentation surrounding the melody is what brings it out, but this is different than having a set chord progression (i.e, I-IV-V) and forming whatever melody conveniently fits (i.e, pentatonic wankery).

What about harmony?

Re: Jazz and the essence of metal
October 20, 2007, 01:52:26 AM
Quote
Is Picasso's artwork any less art just because it differs in form and message from that of Leonardo's or Rubens'?


Everyone is talking.

They're all just using collections of words.

Some words mean something that is more true than other collections of words.

This is why we might say Hemingway is a better writer than Roth.

But it depends on who you are, how intelligent you are, how experienced you are, and how honest you are.

Jazz is randomness that pretends to be profound. The sooner you outgrow it, the sooner you are on a journey toward art.

What makes good art powerful is its poetic narrative, its sense of having something to say, its distance from the human karmic drama. Jazz, rock, blues, hip-hop, and punk are heading away from that direction.

Just like we hate moron metal here, we hate slovenly art forms that pretend to be profound, but are really designed to amuse the inexperienced.

I too once liked jazz. Then I learned to think like a philosopher. Now to me it is litter by the side of the freeway, a rusted car in the parking lot of an abandoned factory, the speech of a politician in wartime.

Save these words, because in five years they'll mean more than they do now. Unless you're a moron. In which case, die.

Re: Jazz and the essence of metal
October 20, 2007, 05:18:24 AM
Quote
Metal, Jazz and Classical are my favorite genres of music because they show either a lot of musicianship or verve and vivacity, and sometimes both. I always thought the people of ANUS were forgetting jazz.


I agree completely.

Quote
I too once liked jazz. Then I learned to think like a philosopher. Now to me it is litter by the side of the freeway, a rusted car in the parking lot of an abandoned factory, the speech of a politician in wartime. .



Jazz is momentary, but also communicative through imagination, and that differs it from disposable entertainment.

It's trascende lies on it's spontaneous ephemerality. You would have to live it as musician rather that thinking it like a philosopher.

Re: Jazz and the essence of metal
October 20, 2007, 07:06:15 AM
Quote

If something differs in form and "message" (content), then clearly it can be differentiated and judged on the merits of the content.


I should have clarified what I mean by form and message. Form is what shape the artwork takes itself, to use my example: say a guitar and a woman named Lisa and how these things are presented to the viewer. Message is what idea the artist is trying to communicate: Picasso (in his Cubism phase) accepted the fact that a canvas was 2D and instead tried to represent an object from many different view points by breaking it into it's most basic forms, cubes and the like, to make the viewer question how they viewed reality. Leonardo, on the other hand, wanted to create the illusion that the canvas was not there, that the viewer was simply looking through a window into another world, in the Mona Lisa he used this realism to represent the nuances of human emotion. I do agree with what you are saying though, but just because Jazz differs in both these elements, why must it be somehow considered inferior to Classical or Black Metal? Is it just because it is not "vengeance of chaos against the propagation of administrative and technological models for human existence, ideas which demand allegiance to rules and "morality," or the wisdom of mercy and social compromise as seen by Judeo-Christian technocratic society."?

Born_For_Banning, you seem to be missing that point too. Jazz is not trying to be philosophical, it is trying to be something different. If these musicians wanted to create philosophical music, they would have just written classical music. But Ill stop on this tangent now, as Vorago said it much better than I ever could.

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Jazz is randomness that pretends to be profound.

Jazz is far from randomness. It has complex, thought out chord structures that have a lot of theory behind them. If it truely was random as you say, then it would sound a mess. The soloist would have no idea what chord the rhythm section is playing and therefore be unable to harmonize with them. Even the "random" notes he is improvising are not just wherever his finger happens to land on a key or fret, they are thought through as so to give the best possible sound (as in theory, not just the aesthetic of the note) and to give voice to what he wants to express at that time. How is that random?

Re: Jazz and the essence of metal
October 20, 2007, 10:57:52 AM
Quote
I should have clarified what I mean by form and message. Form is what shape the artwork takes itself, to use my example: say a guitar and a woman named Lisa and how these things are presented to the viewer. Message is what idea the artist is trying to communicate: Picasso (in his Cubism phase) accepted the fact that a canvas was 2D and instead tried to represent an object from many different view points by breaking it into it's most basic forms, cubes and the like, to make the viewer question how they viewed reality. Leonardo, on the other hand, wanted to create the illusion that the canvas was not there, that the viewer was simply looking through a window into another world, in the Mona Lisa he used this realism to represent the nuances of human emotion. I do agree with what you are saying though, but just because Jazz differs in both these elements, why must it be somehow considered inferior to Classical or Black Metal? Is it just because it is not "vengeance of chaos against the propagation of administrative and technological models for human existence, ideas which demand allegiance to rules and "morality," or the wisdom of mercy and social compromise as seen by Judeo-Christian technocratic society."?

Born_For_Banning, you seem to be missing that point too. Jazz is not trying to be philosophical, it is trying to be something different. If these musicians wanted to create philosophical music, they would have just written classical music. But Ill stop on this tangent now, as Vorago said it much better than I ever could.


I think it was pretty clear what you meant by form and message, which you've restated here as if these basic terms weren't understood.

"Message is what idea the artist is trying to communicate"

What if what they are trying to communicate is irrelevant?  Pointless?  Self-referential?  Mundane?

All art doesn't get a free pass simply because it is "art."

Re: Jazz and the essence of metal
October 20, 2007, 11:34:29 AM
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Born_For_Banning, you seem to be missing that point too. Jazz is not trying to be philosophical, it is trying to be something different. If these musicians wanted to create philosophical music, they would have just written classical music. But Ill stop on this tangent now, as Vorago said it much better than I ever could.


No, I'm not missing the point. I've played music for a number of years and know what I'm saying.

Jazz is randomness because without an agenda to the song, it becomes a task of playing along in key. Structured music is the opposite in that it doesn't restrain you to a key, but requires you to keep a narrative going. Jazz has no narrative.

Hipsters like jazz because underneath all the vaunted technicality and cool, it's basically very simple music. I've moved on. Maybe someday you will too. Until then, you're behaving like an idiot hipster.

shadowmystic

Re: Jazz and the essence of metal
October 20, 2007, 12:30:53 PM
I see no one bothered to respond to Vorago...it seems to me that where jazz fails is not in its expression, but in its lack of structure.  Jazz is a random sequence of emotions, and while these may be beatiful in themselves, the fact that they are part of a random sequence means they have no contextual meaning.  In metal emotions are put in context of a logical, structured narrative allowing them to contribute to a whole that is more than the sum of its parts.  Jazz has alot of cool 'parts' but no unifying whole which would allow it to fully articulate an idea.

Re: Jazz and the essence of metal
October 20, 2007, 02:21:03 PM