More Music

Residency is at a slow-point right now, while the faculty decides who is going to work with whom (results of said discussion get posted at noon). So what better time to write a blog entry?

First: Uri has managed to post every day for the past week. Go read it. Also, both Adam and Chris have posted congratulations on me hitting 100 posts. I’m definitely grateful to have readers who seem to appreciate the effort. I’m also intruiged to see what happens in the NEXT hundred posts. I still say that this site is heuristic in nature, and as such will continue to evolve in content and form. I’m already feeling the desire to write more than just what’s happening in my life, and start incorporating more diverse writing.

What am I feeling like writing about right now, though? Massive Attack’s 100th Window. My journey through my music collection continues (I finally made it through my King Crimson collection), and it’s been playing for the past half hour or so.

Let me explain something: my tastes in music vary WILDLY. What it comes down to is that I like music that attempts to push things forward, music that serves as a form of genuine, original creative expression, and/or music that achieves a high level of technical excellence (exhibited by acquisition of desired mood as well as simple technical proficiency). It doesn’t matter what genre it is, if it satisfies any or all of those criteria, I’ll probably like it.

Antistar is currently playing… the last song on the album. It’s the only Massive Attack I actually own, though I have certainly heard my fair share of the band from friends. The album is what could be called “trip-hop.” The rhythm and harmony undulates hypnotically, creating an ethereal mood that fits snugly with my preferred personality. It is music to drive to late at night, darting through empty streets in a sleeping city. It is music to listen to on your iPod (or music listening method of choice), as you walk around in a rainy, grey day.

Trip-hop is often accused of being depressing, and in some ways I suppose it can be. In reality, though, I think it simply a mechanism to get into a particular mood that best fits a certain atmosphere (and in some ways helps to create that atmosphere in the first place), and when it is placed in juxtaposition to another, dichotomous mood, that is where that sense of it being depressing comes in.

My final t ake on 100th Window is still up in the air. I tend to “actively listen” to music, and I simply find that I can’t really do that with this album and still appreciate it in the same way. It is excellent in the background, though, something to listen to while I do other things, pulling nuances from it occasionally, but mostly just directing mood. Believe it or not, I think I actually prefer listening to it on my laptop speakers than I do on my hardcore stereo at home. Acoustically speaking, the music really doesn’t gain anything out of the better speakers, almost as if it was designed for lesser systems.

There are other bands that are considered trip-hop that I’m a big fan of, including Portishead. Portishead is a bit heavier in mood and tone than most of Massive Attack’s work (though they have in fact collaborated in the past, to GREAT effect), which really serves to show that it is possible to share the same genre in a musically diverse way. Tricky, also, is considered trip-hop, and can certainly be excellent. I only have his album, Blowback, which is entirely made up of collaborations, which I found a little disappointing compared to other Tricky I’ve heard. (Who is Tricky? In The Fifth Element, he played Zorg’s assistant, the one who gets blown up in the spaceport. As you can imagine, that gravelly voice adds a great deal of character to his singing.)

I don’t plan to turn this into a music blogging site, but I do suspect that I will continue writing about music that catches my ear. I’d really appreciate feedback as to whether you’d like me to continue to write about it (and whether you’d prefer more focused commentary, or if my esoteric rambling works for you).

3 thoughts on “More Music

  1. I certainly hope you keep writing about music. For one thing, I like just about everything I’ve ever heard you listen to: you’ve been my introduction to King Crimson and St. Germain, among others. For another thing, it’s nice to read writing about music that’s not a musical review, per se: it’s a rare treat to be able to read someone writing about how music affects them personally, or how and when they prefer a given CD, song, or artist. Especially if it’s someone who actually has taste, as opposed to the “I’m listening to Slipknot because I’m mad at the world today” variety of the personal music experience. So focused commentary that spirals nicely into esoteric rambling is my request :P

    I guess what I’m saying is, write about that funky music, white boy!

  2. I think that certainly makes sense. I’m inclined to agree with you, but at the same time I would appreciate further feedback from folks :).

    Thanks for the comment, man :)

  3. I never viewed trip-hop as depressing. I’ve always looked at it as very contemplative and/or thoughtful. It’s (to me) a music that dwells.
    I was very excited when 100th window came out- I’ve always though Massive Attack was incredible and after Tricky left (I’m pretty sure he was an original member…) they got incredibly polished.
    Sinead O’connor guests on this and some of the tracks she is on are my favorite. Track five, though, is my absolute favorite for the manner in which the vocals were treated- sounds like passing thoughts.

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