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Messages - fenrir

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Audiofile / Guillaume de Machaut
« on: December 08, 2014, 06:04:12 AM »

Guillaume de Machaut -Motets (Mega)
performed by The Hilliard Ensemble.

Metal / Re: What bands are you listening to today?
« on: November 21, 2014, 05:12:16 PM »
Fenrir, I honestly don't know how you can listen to metal and classical back to back. I mean, it's great that you can and I can certainly appreciate the deeper link between various, seemingly contrasting forms of music, but my own experiences as a listener would find the abrupt jump from one 'sound texture' to the next a bit jarring.

It depends on mood, and as you say I listen to the whole WORKS back to back, not to songs. Now that would really be problematic. Also, I tend to transition when I feel there is a bridge.For instance, the flat, or even terraced, dynamics typical of first-album Immortal and Ancient and their consistent mood share these traits with baroque music such as Locatelli's. They provide different experiences through character but they share a certain common plain.
I don't feel a too-abrupt feeling then, also because I listen to the complete work, which gives me a closure's peace before the next thing starts. When this happens the contrasting effect also makes me much more aware of certain details in the next work. Say Haydn's String Quartet after Vader's The Ultimate Incantation. But this doesn't always feel right. I do so when I need progression. But it is never 10 minutes of one thing and then 10 of another. It usually is a matter of complete works, just like when you are listening to metal albums. In the case of short-lasting works such as EPs or short symphonies (such as some of Mozart's), I need to listen to more of the same together in order to not make an abrupt change, in order to satiate my craving for each "scenery". Maybe it has to do with particular feelings towards music.

These are the sort of observations you must draw to listen to a lot of Beethoven's music as well. His works are almost always tied together by something that makes it consistent, yet this element is not always the same. Sometimes his way of transitioning through keys is so intense that it is difficult to determine the MAIN key of a movement. Sometimes this movement doesn't even make use of a main key and the main key is determined by the whole work's other movements of which this singular quasi-keyless movement is part of.

Sometimes it is a motif, but some of his works don't have this sort of glue and instead its something else, he even foreshadows a typically French Romantic take on it where the coherence is provided not through motif, rhythm or even harmony but solely through mood and character, as in his Choral Fantasy, as far as I have read (though I cannot vouch for it in detail since I am not really acquainted with the score).

I'm sure there isn't anything like this in existence for several different reasons:

1) quotation/emulation is too common in music, so nobody cares about performing these checks. if this idea was born in your mind, it is ok if it resembles others' ideas.

2) the algorithm would be very complicated and a huge database of scores  in standarized format and algorithms to read and compare them would be necessary.

3) the market for this is very limited. the proportion of work to usefulness is very large.

Metal / Extreme music for extreme people? a paper by Michelle Phillipov
« on: October 01, 2014, 03:59:46 AM »


I sometimes get the impression that she still misses the point about underground metal. And regarding her full book, the comments about it seem to imply that the only defense she takes in pro of Death Metal is that "one can enjoy it" as if subjectivity is the only way to defend Death Metal. Now, I haven't read the book myself but I am quite interested.

Metal / Re: Eucharist
« on: June 29, 2014, 02:42:38 AM »
The word refined can refer to "developed or improved so as to be precise or subtle", but the definition I was going for was "elegant and cultured in appearance, manner, or taste". Going by the latter definition, I would say Eucharist's aesthetic is much more refined than AtG by virtue of their ornate melodies and overall atmosphere of stateliness.

What do you mean by "atmosphere of stateliness?

This makes sense to me. The overall style/aesthetic of the Eucharist album is certainly more orderly, stately, rigid, contained or whatever other word you want to use. At the Gates has a more frantic and and desperate vibe to it aesthetically but this is executed with a higher degree of technical/musical proficiency (as fenrir rightly pointed out). It is easily the more accomplished and matured album of the two and brings to mind works such as Obscura or Hvis lyset tar oss in that both spirit and technical prowess should coalesce to transcend the stylistic limitations of the genres they originate in.

Thanks for the clarification. I don't see how I did not understand what he meant with "stateliness"... :)
My argument remains the same, that that does not make it necessarily more refined, but rather safer-sounding, only.

Metal / Re: Eucharist
« on: June 27, 2014, 07:58:15 PM »

That's similar to what Immortal and Darkthrone did, except for them it was constant ambient drumming. This cut guitar free from drums, which enables more rhythmic variety.

The aim of Darkthrone is different. Eucharist is a Death Metal band, I don't think the solution for making the guitars and drums independent of each other is to relegate the drums to a machine-like function. I think that for simplicity, they are disconnected. Not because Eucharist is providing a clear refinement superior to At the Gates' use of percussion.

I've been practicing Kingdom Gone during this last month and I've noticed how effectively the drums are used in relation to the guitars to this effect. If anything, this album provides a template for freely flowing instruments that nonetheless coalesce to form a solid whole.

What happens in TRITSIO, and the reason why it is a step up from the demo, is that the drums take on a role as important as the guitars rather than a mere complement.  The guitars and drums are only tied in the sense that they must match beginnings and endings. Other than that, the drums are used effectively to bring dynamics to the music. Next time you guys listen to the album, try and make out how, when and WHY the drum patterns change in relation to the riffs. You'll notice that the patterns and changes in the drums take the front seat when the guitar riffs repeat or use more same-length notes, specially when at a slow speed. And the drum pattern will become flatter and less jumpy when you have guitar riffs that introduce more rhythmical variety. But the same exact feeling is never allowed to linger for long, thus you are never stagnant. At the same time the overall idea is preserved clearly and if you are paying attention closely you'll noticed it is never really broken into unrelated random riffs.The biggest divergence happens with transition riffs which are like taking in a breathe between two sections.

Right at the beginning of Kingdom Gone, for example, the same riff is repeated by the guitars 4 times, with one guitar strumming 2 chords as the other one repeating the first and main expression of the motif over each single chord. What happens in the drums is that for the first 2 instantiations of this riff, it plays a simple pattern on the toms, for the second pair, it plays a second pattern involving mid-paced double bass and the snare that makes this sound more crowded. When the 5th repetition arrives the guitar which was playing chords joins the one outlining the motif one time, on the 6th repetition the drums change again to a pattern that releases the tension of the previous pattern and one of the guitars plays the motif a fifth(interval) higher than the original pattern only to return to a unison for the 7th repetition of this riff.
This is only the beginning, this sort of patterns and non-conformity with the application of classical binary form with very smooth transitions is found throughout the whole song in different ways.
This first part I described is what I would call section A. They often use this "da capo aria" form ABA', where the A' is obviously an incarnation of the A section but also noticeably a variation of it, with At the Gates providing the variation by providing a different "tale".

Metal / Re: Eucharist
« on: June 27, 2014, 12:24:02 AM »
Once again the ambiguities of language are obfuscating what I am trying to say. The word refined can refer to "developed or improved so as to be precise or subtle", but the definition I was going for was "elegant and cultured in appearance, manner, or taste". Going by the latter definition, I would say Eucharist's aesthetic is much more refined than AtG by virtue of their ornate melodies and overall atmosphere of stateliness.

What do you mean by "atmosphere of stateliness?

Metal / Re: Eucharist
« on: June 26, 2014, 08:21:02 AM »

You're talking about impressions. I'm talking about composition.
Are not emotional/existential impressions the whole point of composition?

Structure and technique are only meaningful insofar as how they are put to use in communicating an experience, ideal, emotional revelation, etc. The form of a composition is subordinate to what it is trying to communicate.

No doubt there is a kind of 'mathematical' aspect to music appreciation, but if that's all you listen for, you're missing the forest for the trees.

Ah, don't jump from tree to tree.
We both agree on the immense expressive power of early At the Gates.

I mentioned the technical and nuanced aspect of The Red in the Sky is Ours only because you were trying to say that Eucharist is more "refined" (yes, you said it after my initial response, but an implication of the sort was there from the beginning).

If we will talk about refinement, we are talking about technical devices and how they work to express things, correct. Eucharist doesn't seem to me as powerful or as versatile as early At the Gates.
They do seem more accessible and plain, though. More innocent, in a way. That being said, their music is really enjoyable.

Metal / Re: Eucharist
« on: June 25, 2014, 02:52:44 AM »
Eucharist's debut filters melancholy emotions through a desire for something greater. It is more controlled and refined, which makes it a more palatable listen than AtG's debut.

This is where I completely disagree.
Palatable -> for some people, sure. Its harmony is more consonant.
More refined? no, not really. That is what I mean when I say metalheads do not understand the extent of the prowess of TRITSIO.  My above description and arguments were not philosophical or poetic, like what you said about it:

TRitSiO has an almost unhinged quality that is reminiscent of moments of clarity and beauty amid the fractured psyche of a someone driven to madness by the modern world; in a word, manic.

You're talking about impressions. I'm talking about composition.

Metal / Re: Eucharist
« on: June 24, 2014, 10:29:34 PM »
At the Gates' The Red in the Sky is Ours is much more superior as a whole to Eucharist's work.  And it has nothing to do with it being "closer to traditional death metal". It is about arrangement.
That album BREATHES. It transpires life. What I mean by this is that the stops, the pauses, the use of monophony, homophony and polyphony at selected places for specific effects, the changes in signature or alternation of sycopated with non-syncopated passages in a coherent manner was done to an effect greater than any of its peers. It is difficult to put it clearly without having to goal into excruciating detail, but it is not only about "proper" arrangement, it is about a certain inspiration that gives songs a certain life-like quality.

I don't know of any metal album that comes close to touching what TRitSiO did.  It is the closest Death Metal has come to assimilating classical music thinking into itself. It is not "classical interludes" or some "baroque patterns" or even the use of "strings". It's the kind of thinking in composition. The use of binary form in passages with some connecting sections that are not repeated. Repetition occurs, but not really in a pop way. Repetition of main parts occur in classical music as well. In this At the Gates album, there are no "choruses". 

As in good classical music, there is also no dominant aspect. Is the melodic aspect the most dominant? not really, it is ever-present, perhaps, but not the core. Is it the rhythmic aspect? no, it isn't but it's key to its success. Is it the wild yet rudimentary (by modern standards) drumming? no, but its efficiency and its not doing more than necessary is also important to the final goal. Also, the music is not dominated by any particular instrument section: by vocals, by guitars or by the drums. But each of them is absolutely essential in an almost equal way (alright, the vocals maybe a bit more peripheral).
This classical thinking at its core is what most metal fans (even the ones who worship this album) seem to be unable to grasp.

(...) when you make music everything has to be integrated, and that you are not able to detect the different elements. (...) Music is about integration. (...) all the different elements are connected. (...) there is no independent element. That tempo is not an independent element, that expression is not an independent element. That everything is constantly and permanently connected.
Daniel Barenboim

Metal / Re-casting Metal: Rhythm and Meter in the Music of Meshuggah
« on: June 24, 2014, 08:11:11 PM »
For those interested in a more technical analysis. Independently of if you like this band or not, this is educational material.
From the beginning of the article it is clear that the author himself thinks that the value of the band's music lies more in socio-cultural activities. The music has little value in itself.  Now, I think a lot of modern sociologists think this about all music... I say they don't understand music enough. As far as the people I've met are concerned, classical performance majors in general understand the inherent value and meaning of music far better than the the musicologists and other pure analysts. Most composition major students or professional composers nowadays tend to be technical wankers or stout utilitarians as well. I've been able to connect better with performers in terms of my views about music, maybe because in their case, they must live and channel the music through their "souls" and bodies.

I am interested in some of the author's last remarks:

individuality and originality are highly prized in this subgenre, and bands frequently develop idiosyncratic musical practices to assert individuality.

During interviews, fans consistently emphasize the technical aspects of the music as a source, if not the source, of attraction.

Meshuggah does not make music, it makes rhythmic exercises that attract "sophisticated" people because they "get it". Combined with the first statement this also tells me that this music is all about standing out in any way possible, it's essentially music for posturing.
Just like what the writer of the SMR says about Sotajumala and metalcore:
Itís like a politician who makes speeches about how he organizes files in his office.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/6375990/Re-casting-Metal-Rhythm-and-Meter-in-the-Music-of-Meshuggah]Re-casting Metal: Rhythm and Meter in the Music of Meshuggah

by Jonathan Pieslak

from the Music Theory Spectrum journal

Metal / Why is deathmetal.org important
« on: June 22, 2014, 08:14:32 PM »
Real art reception needs to be controlled and guided. An ignorant audience will not appreciate it. Welcome to the 20th century...

From Walter Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Under XII:
"Mechanical reproduction of art changes the reaction of the masses toward art (...) The progressive reaction is characterized by the direct, intimate fusion of visual and emotional enjoyment with the orientation of the expert. Such fusion is of great social significance. The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public. The conventional is uncritically enjoyed, and the truly new is criticized with aversion. With regard to the screen, the critical and the receptive attitudes of the public coincide. (...)
Although this circumstance in itself should not lead one to conclusions about the social role of painting, it does constitute a serious threat as soon as painting, under special conditions and, as it were, against its nature, is confronted directly by the masses."


Metal / Re: Why is metal retarded?
« on: May 15, 2014, 02:02:53 PM »
Intelligence is a bell curve, so if you're at the far right of the curve, everything else seems retarded. There is no reason to think that intelligence in metalheads is distributed differently than in the entire population.

What might be a difference is that nowadays nearly everybody in Western society a) knows more or less how to read and write, b) has access to the internet, whereas this wasn't the case 50 (a) or 10 (b) years ago.

On top of that, society encourages individual expression. The dictum is "everybody has the right to have an opinion", and "opinions" are considered to be just that: not related to the knowledge/understanding of facts. Opinions have become like "taste" - and de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum, so everybody feels safe to say their part, since people think "opinions" can't be refuted because the majority of people (that bell curve again) think they are merely subjective.

Society encourages this participation/expression in public debates, since public debates have become a market (Facebook, usercomments on various sites, etc.).

Nothing broke, it's just a side effect of educational and technological advancements: idiots (including the idiots in metal) have gotten a larger forum than the town square or the local bar.

This guy said it well. Here's your answer, DMBM.  Little more than can be added to this.
Cultivate values worth cultivating, as Tancred Hauteville said, influence whomever seems to have the brains to understand a little more, and move on past the large masses of idiots.

Metal / Re: What bands are you listening to today?
« on: May 06, 2014, 11:44:00 PM »
Started on a playlist that will probably end by tomorrow evening as I am able to listen throughout a great part of the day and evening.

Basically, it's Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelungs , with a classic Black Metal albums in between.
Started off with The Celtic Winter, and then into Das Rheingold.
The other Black Metal albums presiding the other three sections are Transilvanian Hunger, Det Frysende Nordariket and Dol Goldur.
To close the playlist I placed Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and Filosofem after Gotterdammerung.

It may be someone thinks this interrupts the feeling of the opera. But I think considering the fact that each of the sections is from 2 to 4 hours long, I am not sure this is a valid point. You 'd need to take breaks from it anyway. And I will, and while in the break submerge into the small window into spiritual worlds those Black Metal albums present us with.

Metal / Re: What bands are you listening to today?
« on: April 30, 2014, 10:55:30 AM »
Black Metalling early Ancient and Immortal...
Bach and Locatelli

I've found that I enjoy my listening more by alternating between well-composed music with these opposite characteristics. 
A very stable one versus a largely dissonant one.

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