A reader writes in with one of the big difficult questions:
For more than a year, I’ve been into heavy metal. Being an atheist i listened to bands that mocked religion. As i don’t have any knowledge of structure or how a riff is good or bad, I listened to anything that whose lyrics read well, but soon nihilism struck me and I started losing faith in people and the mainstream. I felt a sudden urge for good art as an outlet of my emotions, but then my idea of art was shattered.
So my question is: what is art?
In 1917 Duchamp took a urinal and turned it over, signed it ‘R. Mutt’ and submitted it to an art show! His ready-mades weren’t meant to be admired in an aesthetic sense and because of this he challenged the belief in art as something holy and placed on a high pedestal, art as something distant and divorced from life during the dada art period
later in 1692 neo dada art was emerging,Duchamp did not agree with the attitudes and direction taken by Pop Art and Neo-Dada
In a letter dated November 10, 1962 Marcel Duchamp wrote: “This Neo-Dada, which they call New Realism, Pop Art, Assemblages, etc., is an easy way out, and lives on what Dada did. When I discovered ready-mades I thought to discourage aesthetics. In Neo-Dada they have taken my ready-mades and found aesthetic beauty in them. I threw the bottle-rack and the urinal into their faces as a challenge and now they admire them for their aesthetic beauty.”
Why is one band better than other? How do I judge?
I’m badly confused which metal CDs I should buy; I also see that one thing you consider while judging a band is you learn the philosophy of the members and the environment they came from, but when the band is so underground the data of their members is not available, what is true metal?
1)one which is highly technical
2)or that maybe immature in technicality but have a strong…. philosophy…and what is more important or inspiring to you
c)or other things…
Is art just too overrated?
Let’s take them one at a time:
What is art?
Art is that which expresses a meaningful view of life; it is a communication from artist to appreciator (listener, reader, watcher, viewer). True cynics like myself view it as a dual natured beast, expressing both aesthetic enjoyment (showing that life has significance) and some form of philosophy, vision, emotional context or other worldview (the end goal that author found meaningful for that signficance). Art takes many forms, and there is no equality between forms or between artists or even between works; some express something that can be said through no other medium.
Which is the true metal band?
Technical, or philosophical? you ask. I respond with this concept: the band that is artistic, and exemplifies the spirit of metal (a Romantic yet warlike notion of transcendence through worship of power, not moral good) is good metallic art.
If the technicality is used in service to this goal, it’s great. But technicality for its own sake is boring, as 100,000 starving nu-jazz musicians in America can tell you.
Does the band need to have a philosophy? Not really — their music needs to show the presence of some organized thought (many would call that a philosophy) and to express it in a way that is artistic, and compelling. If it doesn’t do all of that, it may be art but I don’t want to listen to it.
Lyrics… I have forgotten about these, for many years. Some are inspiring. Most are stuff that rhymes and bounces in the right places with the right number of syllables. For me the archetype is Deicide: their lyrics “sound like” an occult vision of war in reality. Sometimes they’re incoherent. But they always sound awesome.
I don’t worry about trueness; that which is true turns out to be good, amazingly enough. So I pursue quality, because life is short and if you love metal, you want the best stuff.
I am probably an atheist; if God must be singular, anthropomorphic and moral, I am definitely an atheist and a blasphemer. (See my short monograph entitled, “If your human-like God can do anything, can He fuck Himself?”)
I am a nihilist. I believe in nothing but that which can be derived from observation and thought.
At the same time, I have seen more that I and science cannot explain than what it can… and my thoughts have led me to a kind of mysticism that is compatible with quantum physics, esoteric hermetic philosophy and even higher math. Others have found similar paths.
Unfortunately, this leads one to become a realist (in the vernacular, not philosophical, sense) or rather a consequentialist. Back to art above: life has significance. If so, we don’t want to screw it up. So we treat life as a laboratory, and keep the ideas that produce good results, and throw out the rest until we can test them.
This in turn should address your underlying question which seems to be: why care about what has quality over what does not? Why measure quality at all?
The answer is simply: if you love life, you want something that can complement it, and yourself, and that means you seek the authentic, the thrilling, the interesting, the beautiful and the amazing. And that is why, if you’re gonna listen to metal, throw out the shit and seek out the greats :)