Optimal listening conditions

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
Reading an article about Taylor Swift, how she evolved her sound to fit the arenas "she was now playing" - and wondering what that means, in practice (the abandonment of subtleties that a smaller crowd might pick up on, the simplification of melodic lines, the use of more sustained, capacious chords?)

Plus the discussion in the "2000s were the worst" thread about the regression in recording standards / loudness wars, as a response to people listening to music through their phones or w/ever

All this got me thinking about the influence of the "ideal" environment to hear music on the composition of music

And also about how the "corruption" of those ideal conditions might contribute to the way music evolves

E.G. (I'm pulling this out of my arse) - Did the cheap PS2 grime sound emerge in part because garage was being listened to outside of nightclubs? (Or was it just because kids had easier access to cheap software than expensive studio kit?)

I'd hazard a guess that the "optimal" condition for music exists less than ever now that everyone can listen to everything wherever they are. Or rather, the "minimum" requirement might have changed.

One obvious example of music that was made with a certain physical space in mind is dubstep – which ofc was also listened to on the radio and so on, but which loses a fuckofalot when you can't hear and ideally feel the sub-bass.

This is just a brain-shite atm, obvs, but the influence of our physical surroundings on music is one of those subjects I'm always interested in thinking about and discussing. (E.G. does music from hot countries sound different to music from cold countries? in what ways, and are those ways expressive of some environmental difference?)
 

thirdform

Well-known member
if so yes I agree because her melodies are revoltingly kitsch. But then white anglos love the kitsch and the bad taste. Comes from their colonising lineage, strict separation of aesthetics and ethics.
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
I've never heard Taylor Swift so it's not really about her, it's more about the idea that if you're playing huge arenas you might start adapting your music to suit them (and I assume the point being made is that the crowd/physical space is huge, rather than you now have to appeal to tens of thousands of mouthbreathers) – rare groove won't work in the Velodrome, right
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
Can't say I've ever been to an arena concert so not sure what difference it makes

The only act I've seen in a giant arena was Chris Rock doing standup at the O2. And it was fucking weird. This tiny guy, miles away on a stage, his voice echoing around this gigantic space.

And maybe he evolved his act to suit a bigger space cos he's obviously a very brash, loud comedian with preacher inflections.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
I've never heard Taylor Swift so it's not really about her, it's more about the idea that if you're playing huge arenas you might start adapting your music to suit them (and I assume the point being made is that the crowd/physical space is huge, rather than you now have to appeal to tens of thousands of mouthbreathers) – rare groove won't work in the Velodrome, right


yep. well this is the archetypical set for this in an electronic music context.
 

rubberdingyrapids

Well-known member
early 00s grime - on a mobile phone
00s dubstep - in a massive hall sitting on a bass speaker
taylor swift - with a lot of teenage girls
bros - with a lot of middle aged women
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
You bring up a good point - optimal conditions are often not just about space or sound quality/volume, but about being with other people, and possibly with particular people. (There's also intoxication to think about.)

You could even go as far as to say you must be a particular person, but that's taking it beyond the scope of usefulness.
 

rubberdingyrapids

Well-known member
something about seeing it through other peoples eyes/ears. like i remember hearing the lox at a westwood stage at carnival and seeing a group of young guys/teenagers sort of moshing and just going nuts to wile out (i think). changed how i thought of that song. also seeing certain songs with their 'home' audience in the states. very different to seeing them in london.
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
if so yes I agree because her melodies are revoltingly kitsch. But then white anglos love the kitsch and the bad taste. Comes from their colonising lineage, strict separation of aesthetics and ethics.
Im not sure I can think of anything more kitsch than mass media middle eastern culture
 

Simon silverdollarcircle

Well-known member
I often wonder about how cafe oto types envisage their music being listened to. Like if you're one of those really hardcore improv types, how do you want /expect people to listen to at home? Are we just meant to stare at the wall / at the record sleeve when it's playing?

I like doing really half arsed yoga to Anthony braxton records but I doubt thats what he had in mind
 

WashYourHands

Cat Malogen
Optimal listening conditions are an empty house (sorry brood), a playlist or record pile to indulge and a setting sun segueing into night

Speakers, headphones, doesn’t matter so much, there’s enough bass for the neighbours too
 

woops

is not like other people
I often wonder about how cafe oto types envisage their music being listened to. Like if you're one of those really hardcore improv types, how do you want /expect people to listen to at home? Are we just meant to stare at the wall / at the record sleeve when it's playing?

I like doing really half arsed yoga to Anthony braxton records but I doubt thats what he had in mind
arch-oto type derek bailey questioned this himself. "what do they do while the record's on? make cups of tea?" but he also released a shed load of records on his label so maybe he didn't respect his listeners very much?
 

thirdform

Well-known member
the only thing you need is drugs. best listening drug is probably acid i guess.

you're right, but lsd is not organically part of american culture they were johnny come latelies compared to the Swiss, so you know... don't call out Linebaugh and Gus. If anything American culture excelles in finding ever more novel ways to brand weed, even though it's the most capitalist drug - the perfect drug to take when you're unemployed to cope with the despair of joblessness...
 
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