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Topics - aquarius

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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.

Metal / Ildjarn-Nidhogg - Hardangervidda
« on: June 27, 2012, 06:32:04 AM »
It's been almost a decade now since this was released and I'm curious to hear some opinions as I think it's a very worthy album that rarely gets a mention. But for pure ambient synth music evolving out of the second wave of black metal, I would view this almost as a definitive statement, epitomizing the isolated, naturalistic aspect of the genre distilled from its fury.


Interzone / Listen up all you primitive screwheads
« on: June 03, 2012, 02:20:38 AM »
On the one hand it's 2013, or so it would seem, and the world is getting more and more off track.

On the other hand I get glimpses of a beauty to be found in the earth that seems to transcend (the) time (of this world).

On the one hand it's good to be natural and spontaneous, and strive to achieve results within a timeframe, lest it becomes too late.

On the other hand one should take the time to make a result last forever.

Metal / Biases and music appreciation
« on: May 28, 2012, 03:57:23 AM »
To what extent are you biased in what music you decide to enjoy and furthermore what you even decide to listen to at all. Myself I don't see a problem with it so long as one admits that that is what it is. In terms of recommendations I must say I probably would be open to something that most members here praise and wouldn't bother with something they condemn (or any further Burzum albums regardless) but during the listening process itself I am usually trying to keep my mind free from external or pre-conceived ideas, and just go with whether or not it conjures those deep feelings that first set me on this journey.

In my earlier days I was certainly more naive towards deciding what to listen to, which in a world of populist rabble is not good as I tended to collect a bit of everything, but it makes me glad to think that even back then not just everything was truly enjoyed.

Metal / Buying CDs
« on: May 03, 2012, 02:18:59 PM »
Do you feel somewhat obliged to buy an original copy if you enjoy the preliminary cdr of leaked files enough? I generally do, even if I think the music is of primary importance, it is more a matter of screening for quality in an age of decline for metal music. Is that the same as believing you owe the artist money for it?

Interzone / Purge of mind and soul
« on: March 26, 2012, 01:38:06 PM »
The more I learn to see the world as a stream of repetitious or cyclical motion, the clearer it seems to become. And occasionally when I see things clearly enough I decide to have some effect on what I can. Starting with the self, it seems best to live as close to necessity as possible and if there's any rotting flesh, to cut it off.

Interzone / Anders Breivik insane?
« on: March 10, 2012, 02:14:23 AM »

Interesting news, maybe even predictable. By labelling him insane the powers that be can wholly disregard every element of the reason why. I'm not supporting him, but see the occurence as cause and effect. His was an extreme reaction to an increasingly dysfunctional society.

Metal / Source of inspiration
« on: February 29, 2012, 10:44:08 PM »
There's a popular myth that regards The Velvet Underground as being the band that never sold many records, but that everyone who bought one was inspired to write music of their own. I found this interesting, not that I personally find their music all that inspiring. But I can think of other music that fits the example either as compositionally dynamic or in having an abundance of simple creative energy, giving rise to many potential variations. In this way it's often the lesser material that inspires the truly great. Just think of what came out of the black/death/thrash prototype genre of the late 80s.

And the real question: Are there any recent metal or ambient records of note that might apply to this idea?

Metal / Romanticism naturally prevails
« on: February 11, 2012, 12:54:35 PM »
I came across an interesting couple of paragraphs in an old music history book I'm currently reading (link) which resonates with something I've felt for a while now, if not longer on a purely subconscious level. Any thoughts?
The wave of stark realism that swept over Europe's music in recent years was a natural phenomenon, with an undoubted origin in primitive sounds such as can be found in "The Ring of the Nibelungs"; and, to illustrate this statement, I would mention in particular the scene in "Gotterdammerung" where the Gibichung vassals assemble for the wedding of Siegfried with Gutrune. Here the din of the cowhorns, interspersed with the fierce shouts of the vassals, belongs to a type of music utterly inhuman and barbaric: savage, lustful, and repellent. From such music to Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du Printemps" is not a far cry. In this unique work the composer abandons himself to the most amazing concatenation of instrumental forces, all intended to convey the impression of a pagan festival in springtime. Nothing is left to the imagination, for the virtuosity of the orchestral technique is masterly in the extreme. We stand aghast at Stravinsky's expressed abhorrence of everything for which music had stood these many centuries. He makes us feel that the very essence of civilization, all beauty and romance, all human endeavour and progress are being ruthlessly swept aside to make room for hideous sounds primitive in origin and atavistic expression. At such a pass do we find the world of orchestral music som twenty tears ago.

But virtuosity of this kind must come to an end once it has been driven to such extremes. And so it speaks volumes for the common sense of the composer that few have attempted to follow permanently in the footsteps of Stravinsky, despite a certain craze when this composer's poularity was at its height. Had there been any such general desire, music by now might have been in bedlam. From this fate it was saved by the composer's interest in the living world around him and by that spirit of romance from which there is no escape once he is immersed in the creation of orchestral music. Other Stravinskys may come and go, but the results will always be the same. Stark realism must surrender in the end to rational romanticism. Future composers will, I fancy, emulate those of the present day who are content to write for the medium-sized modern orchestra. Atavism in music has had its fling and been found wanting. Cerebral music, too, is on the wane, for it can only succeed in pleasing its own generation and displeasing the next. But if anything can survive in an age of non-classical music it will be music of the romantic kind, for that comes nearest the hearts of men. It may have its weaknesses, and become in its worst moments, lush and unbearable. Still, in the hands of men like Strauss, Elgar, Bax, Delius and Debussy, it says something that holds the interest and stirs the emotions by its oft-expressed beauty. And the further the noise of the great war of 1914-18 recedes into the distance, the nearer will the composer approach music in that spirit of patience without which the great masterpieces of the past could never have been written. Will he, with all his accumulated knowledge of the beauty of instrumental tones evoke in time a new golden age of classical music, in which design and colour will no longer contend for mastery ? I wonder. Limitation of instruments may come before limitation of armaments.

Metal / Good heavy metal film clips
« on: February 05, 2012, 02:37:53 PM »
By good I mean something that tries to capture the essence of the music in visual form without being too random or cheesy or resorting to stupid storylines and the like. I included a few old favourites in the links which I hope aren't too sentimental. I think the Burzum video in particular shows promise but isn't well enough executed to be a thorough success.





Metal / Mozart
« on: January 27, 2012, 05:43:48 AM »
256 years today since the birth of this great musical genius. What are some of your favourite works by this composer?

Metal / Metal without drums
« on: December 30, 2011, 01:35:07 PM »
It is certainly an interesting concept that metal with its increased understanding and use of ambient structure could in time propel itself solely by the use of melody/counterpoint/harmony. As I see it, the main advantage of doing away with continuous drumming would be that you remove the idea of melody developing within such strict rhythmic containers, thus giving it more freedom while also requiring that greater attention be put into the initial design. i.e. melody would have to carry its own rhythmic tension and devices to achieve that would have to be utilized. It would also be possible to vary tempo within a melodic phrase, and perhaps even the art of percussion could be sparingly utilized when necessary.

Metal / Sibelius
« on: December 05, 2011, 02:24:11 AM »
What are your thoughts on this famous Finnish composer? Admittedly, I haven't heard all of his output and I'm a bit divided on what I have heard. Some of his symphonies strike me as pretentious, they're simple but made to sound complex and are commonly rounded off with this big pompous anthemic finale. The violin concerto escapes this and seems to flow more naturally, partly due to it's chaotic unrefined construction. Finlandia is just overrated.

Metal / Revisiting Soulside Journey
« on: November 10, 2011, 03:50:33 AM »
Whenever I come back to the first Darkthrone I'm struck by what a truly awesome and somewhat underappreciated gem it is. And I can't help but think what it might have led to if the band didn't disown it and release a spate of genre re-defining albums in its wake.

What is unique/cool about it:

- It's not overly structural like most death metal before it, allowing for some interesting compositional choices.
- It carries the dark emotionality of nascent black metal within the twisted, cerebral process of death metal.
- It breathes well i.e. it's consistent throughout yet with contrast. A precursor to the epic.
- Contains possibly some of the best Darkthrone lyrics.


Is there anything that comes close to this?
How might Goatlord have turned out if the band didn't jump the tracks with A blaze in the northern sky?
Was the album purely a product of its time period made by insightful musicians or the seeds of some great potential than never eventuated.

Interzone / Any news about new Kraftwerk?
« on: October 28, 2011, 07:12:00 AM »
Florian Schneider, one of the founding members left in 2008, then there was supposedly new material in the pipeline for 2010. I must say there is probably no other group I look forward to more as pretty much everything they've ever made has been genius, and with years of thought behind it. How they manage to keep a level head a not loose the vision after all these years is astounding. If only metal could be this mature.

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