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Topics - aquarius

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61
Metal / Conscious vs subconscious music appreciation
« on: December 14, 2012, 01:25:28 AM »
Sometimes an album takes me on a journey and I am happily lost within it. Other times I’m more aware of what is going on structurally in order to evoke that sense of journey. I imagine these two states could also be perceived simultaneously or that the listener might drift between the two.

62
Metal / DLA/Deathmetal.org publication
« on: December 05, 2012, 09:43:02 PM »
I’m not sure if this has come up before but it would be great if DLA/ Deathmetal.org ever publishes a book. All that really needs to be included are a few chapters on composition, genre-developments and the underlying philosophy as outlined on the site. The rest could be made up of reviews and therefore function partly as a reference book. It would certainly make for interesting reading (even to non-metal audiences) and be the first of its kind among other books about metal. Milking the fanatical love/hate reputation of ANUS could make it a best-seller.

63
Metal / First metal album
« on: December 03, 2012, 01:01:55 AM »
The first ‘real’ album for me was Darkthrone – A Blaze in the Northern Sky. Before that I had some Deicide and middle era Emperor which had only residual elements of what I was after. I remember thinking A Blaze was so raw and pure that it almost seemed like an ancient language (as it turns out Black Metal was chronologically younger than Death Metal). The riffs, the drumming, the production seemed like a big mess and yet it flowed so naturally. The energy was overwhelming.

Its allure was such that I didn’t listen to much else for the next month or so, as nothing even came close. Plus I now needed to work up some pocket money for more albums  :)


64
Interzone / Save the world
« on: November 22, 2012, 11:52:35 AM »
Cessation of government handouts

Abolish the prison system

Citizens to obtain ‘procreation licence’

Government to seize television networks

(this would be replaced with maybe 3-4 channels focussing on weather, gardening and practical skills, art history and urgent news articles)

Repossession of all iPhones, iPads, iDildos etc and snap them in half.

65
Metal / Question for Conservationist
« on: November 07, 2012, 06:18:43 AM »
Do you start with a vision of where a piece is going and flesh it out on the instrument or experiment with the instrument and later put the pieces in their place. I remember reading an interview with Paul Ledney where he stated he would hum the melody he wanted and the guitarist could turn it into a riff. Other metal bands seem to build this massive array of contrasting riffs that oddly enough are in perfect complement to one and other, suggesting their compositional process is more subconscious.

66
Interzone / Keeping your mind flexible
« on: November 07, 2012, 06:00:18 AM »
Learning new skills (that serve a purpose). Playing computer chess once a day. Honing your natural intuition. Identifying poison (own thoughts, other people). Realizing you could be wrong. Keeping your mind still.

67
Interzone / What matters?
« on: October 17, 2012, 03:11:24 AM »
It is not that a result is achieved in itself, but that a continual process endures from one’s efforts. One might also consider that the process itself works as a result. I struggled to find something this wouldn’t apply to.

68
Interzone / Enjoy the Violence?
« on: October 09, 2012, 11:29:41 PM »
Violence (suffering, brutality) will always occur naturally to varying extents and it is only in our reaction to it that a measure of dysfunction can be gauged.

As I see it, a fearful, neurotic reaction would attempt to overcome this by eliminating inequality as the perceived cause.

Rejecting this while becoming increasingly frustrated by an omnipresent world of decay, one might adopt the opposite point of view, thus becoming callous and insensitive.

I think both approaches are at odds with nature and therefore incur an even greater violence.

A balanced reaction would be that the person acknowledges violence as part of larger process without necessarily embracing it; thus to seek understanding of the various mechanisms which underpin our civilization. Perhaps if enough people could understand this, the conditions which give rise to violence would significantly diminish.

69
Interzone / What have you been reading lately?
« on: September 18, 2012, 11:35:28 PM »
I am reading The Sea of Fertility by Yukio Mishima and am currently into the second book of this tetrology.  It’s like philosophy converted to art and I am simply spellbound by it.

70
Metal / Albums you used to bother with
« on: September 06, 2012, 11:13:02 PM »
If art can function as communication, then one might receive it, use it and move on. If it can convey infinite perfection of the universe, then one might embody it. The best of metal has a bit of the latter, but is mostly the former, meaning it doesn’t take preference over the great composers in a desert island type scenario.  Understanding this, I then set off for the local CD recyclers to sell everything I used to bother with.

71
Metal / Essential J.S. Bach
« on: August 22, 2012, 12:47:48 AM »
I finally reached some weird evolutionary stage as a classical listener whereby all roads inevitably lead back to the great baroque masters. But I'm like a child to this. So far I discovered J.S Bach's best works are his 6 Brandenburg concertos, his fugal organ music and the St Matthew passion (still early days but I'm already thinking it might be the pinnacle of music full stop).

Feel free to make comment, correction or additions to that list.

72
Interzone / Emotional intelligence
« on: August 13, 2012, 12:51:08 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_quotient

Does it have any merit?

Once you establish an understanding of the value of a baseline level of intelligence, is emotional stability and functionality not the next thing that comes to mind?
This would exlude high IQ yet emotionally inept as well as over-emotional types.

73
Metal / Appreciating Euronymous
« on: July 29, 2012, 01:56:14 AM »
He was kind of like a genre-guardian. He set a very high standard and most of the other guys in that scene respected him for his ideas on how the music should be. When he died so did that expectation of high quality and intensity; thus the steady decline in the post 1993 genre of black metal.

74
Metal / Essential ambient/drone/vibration recordings
« on: July 19, 2012, 10:03:58 PM »
It's not something I can listen to all the time, but I have had some great ambient listening experiences from time to time and it would be good to get some input or further recommendations from other listeners here.

Fripp and Eno - Evening star - This could well be the perfect ambient album and I've realized what a long overlooked gem it has been in my collection for many years. The basic idea is to have a continual stream of audio from a live instrument (Fripp) fed through a tape-delay unit (Eno) with the two forces almost playing off of each other. This is further processed and rearranged into layers which phase in and out to form a droning repetitive structure with melody at its core. It's a better album than No Pussyfooting and probably the best project Brian Eno was ever involved in.

Maeror Tri - This group seems more droning and noisy with less emphasis on melodic development, but fairly enjoyable if the mood permits it. Mind you their catalogue is extensive and not so easily penetrable so it would be good if someone could identify a 'best work'.

Lustmord - Heresy - I found this interesting at first but don't find myself coming back to it all the often. It's basically just a 'sound-collage' of sampled audio pitched down and drenched in reverb. It's also kind of lacking in internal motion which is really what drives this type of music if nothing else. The place where black stars hang is better but still doesn't grab me in a big way.

Steve Roach - The magnificent Void - I find this hard to distinguish from The place where black stars hang but I think where this guy really shines is when he is mainly melody-focused. Structures from silence has a warmth and a stillness to it unmatched by any other recording while still retaining the necessary sense of movement or internal motion. While Midnight moon is on a different plain of existence altogether. Deep, dark intoxicating waves of spacious organic sound in seemingly endless repetition. I'm almost forced to slow my heart and mind down while appreciating this recording.

Klaus Schulze - To me he was the master of creating a sense of motion/movement/momentum within his music and shaping it furthermore with a genius tact for tension and release. This is best exemplified in early works such as Timewind and Irrlicht. I still like Moondawn but it's an obvious decline from there as everything starts to sound a bit glam-rock-ish in its choice of sounds/timbres and it's also a step away from ambient compositionally.

Tangerine Dream - People praise Phaedra and Rubycon and won't deny that they're brilliant but at this point I honestly find more longevity in their pre-breakthrough album Zeit. Perhaps it is that I listened to that other stuff a thousand too many times and that Zeit by its very nature is not as immediately accessible, but really I just love the heaviness and vastness of it. Of course they didn't yet make use of any sequencers thus the emphasis was more on creating layers of heavily oscillating sound. There is not so much a sense of movement or tension, but inversely, the lack of it as for over an hour it holds you fixated without doing anything. Interestingly the moog modular synth which comes in at the tail end of the first track is being played by Florian Fricke of the group Popol Vuh, he later sold that same synth to Klaus Schulze who was at one stage also a member of Tangerine Dream.

Popol Vuh - Their first two albums fall partly into ambient/noise and partly into world music, but are notable for the dense atmosphere of 'tone sounds' and interesting array of contrasts. In den Gärten Pharaos is particularly awe-inspiring at times in its ability to convey a merging of the senses; as though one were observing the audial form of the great european frescoes.

Eberhard Schoener - Meditations - Interesting, a good companion to the above mentioned but not overly enduring . This is about as close as Krautrock ever got to something purely droning and meditative, devoid of rock.

Biosphere - Substrata is a genius album but the rest of Jensen's catalogue is largely unremarkable. Why is this? Basically because he was transitional at the time and still retained something of the energy and directness of his roots in house/techno music. Thus he stumbled onto greatness with substrata but failed when the design became codified. The point is that ambient is not slow and quiet, it is pure force simplified to the point of being immaculate. There is no narrative structure but its design is something like a byproduct or afterglow of a narrative structure (and mostly it is that the artist has attempted both).

Time Machines by Coil could be considered the quintessential drone album but it doesn't go for atmosphere and it certainly doesn't acknowledge even the slightest hint of melody. Instead it functions more in the way that beautiful architecture does; revealing inner space rather than outer space. And in a conventional understanding of music appreciation it simply isn't music but it's awesome nonetheless. It's something close to what I think of when the average joe ask me what kind of music I like "well, I prefer noise to music".

Suuri Shamaani is like Time Machines worship but with an even more clinical or sterile approach (a trait oddly enough shared by fellow Finnish techno pioneers, Pan sonic). The project is labeled as 'ambient metamusic' and it is fairly faithful to that description, if you can imagine a picture composed of component parts but no obvious whole

75
Metal / Kraftwerk and Franz Schubert
« on: July 01, 2012, 02:20:53 PM »
I have often wondered what is behind the title of the concluding track from Kraftwerk's timeless classic Trans Europa Express. Was it that they borrowed one of Schubert’s melodies or were paying homage to his style, perhaps, though it wasn't overt and I'm inclined to believe everything in Kraftwerk has a reason. More likely I have found that they choose to align themselves with this composer much in the way that they choose to label themselves as Robots or Showroom Dummies. That is to say that they correctly identified a large amount of their art as sharing in the same essential qualities that exemplify Schubert's body of work.

Namely simplicity, not necessarily minimalism but the ability to build their music out of solid fundamental elements no matter how grand in scope it sets out to be. Thus they recognize their music as a language of ideals in the abstract and use no more of it than is necessary to communicate to the listener, lest it becomes ambiguous.

Looking at Schubert's symphonies, they were renowned for their simplicity in a time where the orchestra was rapidly expanding (following the innovations set out by Beethoven) yet he chose to work within the tried and tested forms established by Mozart. Even his most developed symphonies seem to flow so naturally and in such an uncomplicated manner, showing little hesitation of artistic inspiration. Likewise Kraftwerk have developed a profound sense of simplicity in their compositional language despite the vast potentials inherent in all the equipment they use.

To that end, both have a natural propensity for creating a rather joyous, lyrical type of melody and phrasing it with the most spontaneous sense of expression imaginable. The type of melodies that might just spring to mind while wandering through an open field or mountain range. This is coupled with a remarkable economy of compositional devices, resulting in the ability to build various themes of great contrast out of a few basic melodic variations. And on that note I find this quote most appropriate:

"If we can convey an idea with one or two notes, it is better than to play a hundred or so notes" - Ralf Hütter

Not least, both artists share a driving sense of the poetic. Schubert of course excelled primarily in the domain of the German art song or lied, writing almost 600 pieces of flawless musical poetry. But Kraftwerk's interests also lie in having some bearing on the domains of speech and poetry despite the fact that a lot of their music stands alone as purely instrumental, really it is a fusion of using the voice as an instrument and writing melodies that appear to speak, much like the perfect lied.

Above all of this there is a remarkable sense of positivism underlying the approach to their conceptual material. Both seem fixated on contemporary subjects and exalt the beauty to be found in the simplicity of everyday life or rather the essential elements of it as opposed to the often dysfunctional and over-complicated life that we might associate with criticism for the modern world. I find this particularly evident in the case of Kraftwerk with their simple, almost ironic lyrics about the humanity/technology duality and their unerring optimism for the future.

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