do you think electronic music is the most refined form?

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by deep, Mar 1, 2002.

  1. matty

    matty TRIBE Member

    you must be talking about trance ;)
  2. Plato

    Plato TRIBE Member

    those who feel classical is more refined shoudl listen to the following tracks and compare them

    aphex twin - icct hedral
    aphex twin & phillip glass - icct hedral

    as for those who argue that jazz is above and beyond electronic music, go listen to some red snapper and clifford gilberto.

    and of course the whole live element to music is lost with electronic music, but theres so many that do live shows, and pull it off. roni size even uses liveinstrumentation in live shows.
    perhaps the reason why its not done often is because not many producers out there are able to pull off a live show successfully (success being meassured to how on par a performance would be with a non electronic performance)

    i dont even know why this is being argued, who really cares which music is superior!?

    its all good :)

  3. PosTMOd

    PosTMOd Well-Known Member

    Electronic music, in its present iteration(s) has been around for about 10 years. I could argue, actually, that in one iteration, it's been only about 5 years.

    To think that it is only 4/4 beat, or some shit, is thinking so extremely narrowly that it is disturbing to me. The fields of electronic music haven't been harvested... nope, the seeds have just been planted, and the future promises strange and new (but never "mainstream" per se) sounds and combinations.

    The only thing that ultimately ties together classical music and electronic music is that we use our ears for both. (I was thinking of "refined" in a sense of possibilities, not in terms of better or worse... now I can see that each of us has extremely different definitions for what is meant by "refined" in this thread).

    Take this attitude to another sense: which is more refined-- a painting, or a movie? We use our eyes for both, yet why would we try to compare the two?

    Classical music is to electronic music as paintings are to films. Comparable... but, not really.
  4. zoo

    zoo TRIBE Member

    along with the ubiquitous integration of computers and technology into our daily lives which no one could have concieved possible hundreds of years ago ...

    music will obviously follow suit bringing analog and digital instruments together into orchestretic bliss

    eventually distinctions between electronic, analog, religion, race, and other boundaries our species has created for ourselves will dissapear

    kind of like a borg-like situation

    too much star trek, no?
  5. zoo

    zoo TRIBE Member

    more on topic with this thread ..

    electronic will become much more refined in the future as it integrates non electronic elements more often

    however, it is by far one of the least refined form of music available

    it's all about how long a style has had to develop

    and electronic hasn't had *near* enough time
  6. cdp

    cdp TRIBE Member

    I think the question mentioned the word "refined." Which is less subjective...

    It appears that several opf the people who are responding make music, and it's probably electronic.

    But take a guitar player, jazz or classical, and follow the listening of your best trance by his/her playing. The subtle control over every detail of the performance just seems, to me (of course), more refined. Of course, electronic can sound overwhelming when it's pumping out at 100 dbspl... put volume doesn't make a point.

    Mixing electronic with organic (like samples of orchestra, guitars, etc) doesn't allow the player to contribute throughout the song. Of course, little samples of organic performances here and there can be cool, and are an expected part of certain types of electronic. But, in that case, you lose something in the "refinement" category.

    What's best? Organic or electronic? That can't really be argued, but I've been listening to alot from both camps. Why does one have to better than the other?

    (very subjective)
  7. PosTMOd

    PosTMOd Well-Known Member

    Hey, pay attention:

    Comparing electronic music to other music is analagous to...

    ... comparing films with photographs.
  8. feisty boy

    feisty boy TRIBE Member

    yes, yes and yes

    the whole thing about electronic is that there's no limiting factor. a brilliant composer has a sound in his head, he doesn't need to limit it to what instruments are out there, he can produce that exact sound.
    and if he feels he needs the human element, perform it with a symphony - add a live vocalist - whatever. but the possibilities are basically infinite, which should make for better music (if exploited to its full potential)
  9. matty

    matty TRIBE Member

    I think that the incorperation of traditional insturmentation in an effort to 'refine' electronic music (EM) is a backwards step. Producers have to stop striving to replicate traditional insturmentation in EM and focus on the aspects of EM that seperate it from other music. Going back is not the way of the future. Moving ahead and embracing new technology while shedding the notion that traditional insturmentation is in some way shape or form 'better' or 'more musical', this is the direction we must take.
  10. PosTMOd

    PosTMOd Well-Known Member

    But, not necessarily.

    See "postmodernism", neoGenesis, chapter 1, verse 4.
  11. Jeffsus

    Jeffsus TRIBE Member

    In time, electronic and contemporary music will coalesce.

    Each has it's relative strengths and weaknesses. As it is right now, I believe electronic music has more weaknesses and less strengths.

    Electronic music enables perfect technique, but it is extremely difficult to allow variations in composition and playback. (ie. it is easy to program 144 bpm; it is extremely difficult to program "largo" or "majestoso")

    Contemporary music makes it difficult to have perfect technique, but has endlessly variable tweaking on composition and playback. Without effort, musicians modify the technicalities of any composition to match (their interpretation of) what the composer had in mind. This is extremely difficult to do when programming a computer (as anyone who experimented with the PLAY command in grade school knows) because more often than naught, a technical performance sounds flat, dead, and kinda boring. No offence, but to me, nearly all electronic music sounds this way. Flat. Contrived. Simple. Emotionless. Reminds me of a wesley willis sitting at a casio keyboard using the one-key chord feature.

    To that end, electronic music draws only from a small set of emotions, not surprisingly, ones that can also be enhanced or completely elicited by certain drugs. Again, I have never heard any electronic music that has even attempted to appeal to emotions like depression, melancholy, despair, pain, remorse, loss, or any other negative emotion. Electronic music fails utterly at expressing love, too. In my opinion, popular electronic music has only successfully tapped emotions similar to excitement, euphoria, anticipation. A big part of the emotions of the electronic experience I think are projected from something else; ie. lots of people will asccribe communal unifiying emotions to the music; these emotions are emergent of whats going on, and not the music per se (ie. one could get a similar response from a group of people praying or meditating or dancing without music).

    Back to the original point, I think it is too hard to say what 'refined' means to say that classical or electronic are more of it. I will content that most electronic music is quaint, trite, simple, uninspiring, but can powerfully evoke simple and trite emotions like excitement and euphoria -- so, it is extremely good at what it does, even though it doesn't really do very much.

    In the future, it will be possible to get electronic music that is every bit as refined or complex as classical. But because of the inherent difficulties required to put subjective qualities through a computer, and how easy it is to put them in by a human playing an intrsument, I wonder whether any artist will bother to take electronic music that far. But there is always at least one wacko who will.

  12. matty

    matty TRIBE Member

    And it is more refine in a sense. However in many other senses it isn't, the electronic recording will probably be much more refined in terms of the timbre of the sounds, the psyco-acoustic space created in the recording (creative use of reverbs, compression, flange, chorus, delay, distortion, stereo imaging, etc. to create an acoustic model that would be otherwise impossible to recreat in a natural setting). My point is that electronic muisc doesn't rely on traditional notions of virtuosity on an insturment as the be all and end all of musicality. In a genre of music built on the foundations of quantization the sublte control of performace deails takes a
    back seat to the production of the music. The producer is now the artist and not the musician!

    I'm 100% with you on the fact that neither one is better than the other, they're just different (films and paintings if you will..)
  13. PosTMOd

    PosTMOd Well-Known Member

    You obviously are working from a very, very, very narrow perspective.

    Or arrogant, perhaps... thinking that you have heard all that electronic music has to offer right now.

    Using an instrument OTHER THAN an electronic one imposes physical limitations, whereas with electronic synthesized sounds, there are NO LIMITS.

    Look at the constraints on photography... much can be done, yet there are actual limitations to what can be done. Compare that to film... much MORE can be done... now, compare that to a completely virtual world (Shrek?)... unlimited possibilities...
  14. matty

    matty TRIBE Member

    For some reason i think you're confusing rave music for electronic music. Rave is dead. Electronic music has existed since long before some idiot named oakenjoke started dropping acid house records at shoom. If you are looking for electronic music that doesn't play up to the emotions of the 'collective E' experience try checking out some Steve Reich, Brian Eno, Bjork, boards of canada, arovane, depeche mode, innerzone orchestra, or lali puna. You want depression, melancholy, despair, pain, remorse, loss i'll point you in the direction of electronic music that bares it's soul to any of those emoptions.

    It ain't all trance you know.
  15. deep

    deep TRIBE Member

    [devil's advocate]

    BUUUUUUUUUUUT...not impossible? Largo, majestoso, allegretto, etc. all have some characteristic attributes, otherwise they would not be distinguishable from one another. On top of that definitive layer there is a layer of personal (human) interpretation, what would qualify as the artist's particular style. Do you not think that these attributes could be modelled? I think what prevents their modelling is not their complexity but the fact that music is typically experienced rather than analyzed.

    [/devil's advocate]
  16. PosTMOd

    PosTMOd Well-Known Member

    Noooooo... my world is crumbling.... noooooooo... :(
  17. matty

    matty TRIBE Member

    Also, at an alarmingly fast pace new interfaces between the human and the machine are being developed. You've now got midi controllers that model guitars, flutes, saxes, harps, drums and pianos. Add to that new controllers that are unique to digital music like d-beams, thermins, body suits, hell even modified nintendo power gloves and the expession that is apparently lacking in electronic music is no longer an issue.
  18. I see it deriving itself from all walks of musical life. Depends on the genre. I see a lot of orchestral factors (such as a consitant building of the music, layering sound over sound over and over again) in trance music. With Led Zepplin's Cashmere, it strikes me as being similar in structure to techno music or any electronic music for that matter.

    All music takes from each other. Ideas get borrowed, either in theory, directly or even through sampling. They get used, rethunk, remade and put back out there in a recycled manner. "Groundbreaking" ideas, I see it, are just built on a foundation of ideas that have been there long before.

    From the Ministry of my take. Nice subject deep. :)

    Prime Minister Highsteppa
  19. deep

    deep TRIBE Member

    whaaaaaaa? Surely you jest! From such commentary however it would seem as though you're restricting your definition of electronic music to what might be heard in clubs. I think that the genre far extends beyond that - there are many so called downtempo or midtempo as dj choko is fond of calling it genres that appeal to more introspective or painful states. Furthermore what invokes emotional images of sadness or love for you will differ from me - while there is some base universality still isn't that what you argue to be the beauty of classical music? that slight variations or reinterpretations can have a totally different effect on an individual experiencing it?

    electronic manifestations of the emotions you call into question (for me, atleast, and just skimming the surface. we could go on for hours.)

    depression = portishead 'roads'

    the absolution of desperation = unkle 'lonely souls'

    the delicateness of intimacy = furry phreaks feat. terra
    deva 'soothe' [chicane cyanide dive remix]

    contentment and warmth = lamb 'gorecki'

    loss, emptiness = bola 'magnasushi'

    bittersweet loneliness = nine inch nails 'a warm place'

    dj shadow's 'stem long stem' very accurately has depicted my thoughts and emotions through many periods of my life.

    I like this conversation and as such would appreciate pieces that you think would constitute good classical examples of expressing the emotions you describe
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2002
  20. BigBadBaldy

    BigBadBaldy TRIBE Member

    You think so? I disagree. Maybe it's you who can't find the love in it? Just a thought. I find a lot of electronic music, like classical, can be emotionally inspiring but it's really an empty vessel we relate to from our own emotional base and project upon. IMO. I think electronic music can evoke the same range of emotions as any type, it's all about the individual expression.


    ..but why am I talking to you? You're the guy who doesn't understand national hockey pride. :p
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2002
  21. Jeffsus

    Jeffsus TRIBE Member

    This is very true, which is why ultimately it is impossible to objectively have this discussion...

    re: portishead
    Yeah I was considering them and some new age type counterexamples when I wrote the 'negative' emotions part. Somehow I don't consider those to be electronica (which I know, is stupid). I will listen to the selections and reevaluate my opinion. I suspect however that there is nothing inherent about the 'negative emotion' electronica that requires it to be electronic; ie. a suitably skilled musician could play these compositions sans computer. This would represent the point of convergence of electronica and contemporary that I mentioned above. In this case, I don't think it's fair to distinguish between electronic and contemporary; the discussion distills to one of pure music irrelevent of it's properties; much like a discussion of painting and sketching might dissolve into a discussion about visual art.


    but I will listen to the compositions before I say more.

  22. deep

    deep TRIBE Member

    Not necessarily stupid, but it is an example of the limitations people enforce upon electronic music that don't necessarily have to be. Although obviously you could say that all music becomes electronic at some point or another so it's not really a definitive categorizer. But the fusion of analog elements with electronic elements does not invalidate the electronickyness of the whole. ;)

    Possibly, but what's the point of having a human being reproduce that sound if it can be reproduced with far less skill/training/random chance on a machine? The point being that half the myth of certain artists is their ability to represent a group of variables in sound consistently, having a 'sound' or a 'style' that sets them apart. If these variables can be isolated and reproduced then what is the value of the artist anymore? Is it the romance that is the most important, or the sound itself?
  23. Jeffsus

    Jeffsus TRIBE Member

    my point was this:
    1. That it is (currently) extremely difficult to program subtle differences in musicality
    2. That is is extremely difficult to play an instrument with a computer's precision.

    In time, #1 will fade as tools become more advanced. At that point, you will have a union of electronic and contemporary skillsets, which will yield music that is overall more interesting than the sum of it's parts. Until that time, electronic music will be, IMO and MO only, musically inferior while contemporary will be technically inferior. That is all.

    No, not impossible. That's why eventually these subtleties can be worked in. But it is still very difficult, and time consuming, relative to just picking up an instrument. And there will always be some wacko who spends time at this doing it the hard way, just because it is the hard way. (mike oldfield comes to mind)

    This is a good idea. Some immediately pop to mind, but I will put together my compilation and post it.

    Well obviously. All emotion resulting from any composition is 100% subjectively associated with it and requires the listener to interpret the music in order for it to 'be' anything. It's not like Beethoven symphonies or van Buuren parties come with 2L of love in the ticket price. I guess I meant it to be implied that I do not interpret much love in electronic music. The same way I don't interpret pride in hockey games ;)

    (though ~100mg MDMA can be purchased for ~$25...)

  24. matty

    matty TRIBE Member

    as if. There is now way that you could sit down a bunch of stunning musicians and tell them to create a peice of music like Steve Reichs' Music for 18 musicians. It ain't possible. It's the computers and other production gear that make recirding like that possible. Fuck, you can't even sit Pink Floyd down and get them to recreate one of their albums in real time. Anyone who thinks that non-electronic musics recorded during the past 30 years like rock or pop and even some jazz (some miles davis spings to mind) is a representation and reproduction of actual performances and could be recreated in a live setting without electronic aids (digital or analogue) is sadly mistaken.

    The music deep referred to is ultimately tied back to the production process. Without that process the music wouldn't exist. Hence the emotions in it are dependent on computers or other electronic gear.
  25. the emotional intake and expression of a song I don't think lies so much in the artist, as it does lie in the listener. I've found some music with very down lyrical content, that I have found remarkably uplifting. Same goes for music that might be uplifting but I've found depressing. It's up to you to derive what emotional meaning you can get from the music. The artist can intend a mood or idea, but it depends on how the listener interprets it.

    Mood music electronicwise:

    Mezzanine - Massive Attack -> very dark, dreadful music. It's not a coincidence that their song Angel is used a lot lately in horror/suspense film trailers.

    Goldie - Timeless -> runs the gaunlet of feelings from sadness, despair to hope and hapiness. Saturns Return and Ring of Saturn struck me as something that Goldie should have forwarded to his psychiatrist, but his 60 minute song Mother, runs a LOT of feelings himself. It might be corny to some, but I see some genuine working out of issues in his life.

    From the Ministry of feeling that moment

    Prime Minister Highsteppa

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