Thursday, February 26, 2004

A musical interlude

How about a little break from all of the technical mumbo jumbo that I talk about all of the time? How about music? I was talking about music with a friend tonight on the train home. We were talking about what we were each listening to, and what we liked or didn't like about each band or artist. Then we got on the subject of music that we didn't like.

Interesting enough for me, it is music that is over produced. Music that feels like it has been overcrafted by the A and R man at the record company. For example any song where the band or artist has their name in the song more then two times, definitely out. If all of the human qualities are carefully edited out of the track, thah is another one that is out. The other thing that I don't like is the band in their songs, or interviews telling me that they are hip and that I should listen to them. That's not how It works, they get to play the music and we as fans get to tell them if they are hip. Of if they shouldn't quit their day jobs.

I listen to a fairly wide variety of music. Techno to Jazz, Singer Song writer to Big Band. And some of my favor music has little mistakes in it. It makes it human. When the singer stands back to take a breath and you hear it. The sounds of the guitars fretting the strings as he moves his hands up the neck of the guitar. The drummer slowing down just enough to notice at the end of a long set. I like these things in a recording. I think that some people have gotten away from the true meaning of a album or a recording. It to me was to represent the live peformance, that you were either present at, or wished you were. Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying that all bands should peform each song exactly as it is on the album. I mean almost the opposite. The albums should have a flow, and a freedom that a live concert has. The freedom leave those little mistakes in.

So when I got home, I was in the mood to listen to some Jazz. So I grabbed my copy of Blue Miles, Miles Davis. This is an amazing album. I forgot how good it really is. This album isn't the kind of Jazz that has musical runs for the sake of the musicians. Nothing like that, you can tell, that Miles felt that each note was valuable and that runs like that was wasting a commodite of music. Each song is a master piece in Jazz. The best way I can describe it is, the he plays these very logically musical phrases, and them builds on them, and lets them build on themselves. Each note feels handcrafted. When he plays it, you completely expect it to be there. Which is simply stunning. Think about the songs that you add an extra note to, or leave one off when you hum or sing. That is because something about that note didn't make sent to you. Your mind says this should be added or this should be removed. There isn't any of that with this album. Every note needs to be exactly where it is. It is quite amazing.

Something about music that I have always loved is that it can be completely logical and completely emotional all at the same time. That the music has this structure yet in our minds we link a song to a time, place, feelings, people. There is something so strong in that.

So what is your favorite thing about music?

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