Music you pretended to like

Leo

Well-known member
I think trout mask sounds very freeing- not via a breaking the rules, intellectual understanding of freedom, but liberatory in the way any standard rock song might sound. thats the emotional core of the album, its yeaning and bombastic and celebratory with an interesting texture pattern and as mvuent already pointed out, very good melodies

I agree, and appreciate those qualities. I don't think it's bad or overrated, I just never really want to listen to it.
 

mvuent

Void Dweller
it's a blues record, but then what is the point of the experimentation? what does it communicate to you?
a big part of what made the album first "click" for me was noticing how at various moments, often within the same song, the level of dissonance and rhythmic clutter perceptibly shifts, rising or falling. hence the impression of forms shattering and rebuilding. and for me that strengthened the sense that the musical "off-ness" was expressive, not a mere novelty.

to make a very sweeping generalization, i think in western music greater discordance tends to be associated with a) both madness and b) a kind of rugged, freewheeling spirit. and both of those associations seem very relevant here. there's a rym review or something that describes this album as "if howlin wolf got stuck in a hall of mirrors for a hundred years" —which perfectly conveys how the blues is distorted into "mad" forms on the album. but it doesn't quite capture the positive flip side: the fun of it all, how the album's bursting with melodies and imagery and energy. at different points, one side or the other is foregrounded, but both are essential and ever-present in the album's overall sound.

so to me tmr feels like some rollicking 40s serial adventure story—if the protagonist (a hobo, probably ancient) wasn't just crazy within genre constraints but crazy in a way that made him truly free. getting in the mind of such a character and following his adventures would, you'd imagine, be both deeply unsettling and (as patrick bateman might put it) a real laugh riot.

"my spirit's made up of the ocean, and the sky, and the sun, and the moon, and all i can see"

tl;dr what linebaugh said
 
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mvuent

Void Dweller
of course. but after i got into trout mask replica in particular when i was 16, i had the revelation that i shouldn't dismiss any art on the grounds that it was "too weird" ever again. so you could say that i have a fondness for it because of the incredibly detrimental effect it had on my social life.
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
of course. but after i got into trout mask replica in particular when i was 16, i had the revelation that i shouldn't dismiss any art on the grounds that it was "too weird" ever again. so you could say that i have a fondness for it because of the incredibly detrimental effect it had on my social life.

People who dismiss Trout Mask out of hand (there was someone who did this on the Guardian, notoriously, I seem to recall) obviously reveal themselves as philistines.

But I think there is a thing where (I've tried to get at this with the Event versus Sessionable distinction) you can recognise the rule-breaking, convention-upturning eminence of something - its daring, its stubbornness, its refusal, its absolute monomaniacal determination to go its own way and to hell with anyone else - but also admit to yourself (and perhaps others), that practically speaking you don't have much use for it after than initiating exposure. The point has been made, you've got the point.

Perhaps it's something to do with a feeling (not with Trout Mask but other 'extreme' statements) that it is a monologue, solipsistic.

I feel this often with improv or very very free kinds of music, or total noise - that the freedom it offers is more to do with what it does for the players, rather than for the people on the receiving end, if indeed there are any.
 

mvuent

Void Dweller
yeah it's certainly not an album that's going to appeal to everyone, no matter how open minded they are. having said that, i'm sure i recognized that it was intentionally weird and rule-breaking on first listen... but i wouldn't say i "got" it then. i think when someone who really "gets" this album listens to it, they're probably not going "ah, i'm willing to put up with this unpleasant work because i commend the robust iconoclastic philosophical position it stakes out" so much as "hahahaha" and "wooooooo!" i don't appreciate it because it's technically unusual, i appreciate it because the unusualness allows me to go on a crazy adventure. imo art can't be radical just because it breaks the rules. it's only radical when it breaks the rules in a way that makes you think going outside the walls might be more fun that staying within them.

i do think you and entertainment are probably right about it being solipsistic or asocial in a way, but surely that charge could be leveled at a lot of great stuff?

in the case of tmr i guess it was the other way around? physical imprisonment of the players to achieve a work conveying freedom of spirit.
 
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subvert47

I don't fight, I run away
But I think there is a thing where you can recognise the rule-breaking, convention-upturning eminence of something - its daring, its stubbornness, its refusal, its absolute monomaniacal determination to go its own way and to hell with anyone else - but also admit to yourself (and perhaps others), that practically speaking you don't have much use for it after than initiating exposure. The point has been made, you've got the point.

Using "you" as general not personal...

I'd suggest that you haven't got the point. The music, the art, itself is the point, not all the rest. Someone has gone on this journey to find something, create something – with monomaniacal determination maybe – and it's up to you, participating now as audience, to make the effort to see what that's about. If you want to.

That may involve recognizing that, beyond just initial exposure, the music is worth the effort, worth coming back to again and again, with new ears, possibly over a long period of time. Some music you're not ready to listen to. But when you are, it can be transformative. I certainly didn't get Trout Mask straight away.

Another example: it took me two or three decades to appreciate John Coltrane - A Love Supreme, trying it again every few years, since it's my mate's favourite record.

I feel this often with improv or very very free kinds of music, or total noise - that the freedom it offers is more to do with what it does for the players, rather than for the people on the receiving end

Yes, it's for the players. It's a way of working. A non-method method. So then it's about whether you're with them for the ride – and, afterwards, whether the journey was worth it. A lot of free music isn't really very good. Or indeed very free, since "free" music quickly develops its own conventions.

if indeed there are any.

Ah, the no audience underground. Yes indeed 😉
 
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subvert47

I don't fight, I run away
yeah it's certainly not an album that's going to appeal to everyone, no matter how open minded they are. having said that, i'm sure i recognized that it was intentionally weird and rule-breaking on first listen... but i wouldn't say i "got" it then. i think when someone who really "gets" this album listens to it, they're probably not going "ah, i'm willing to put up with this unpleasant work because i commend the robust iconoclastic philosophical position it stakes out" so much as "hahahaha" and "wooooooo!" i don't appreciate it because it's technically unusual, i appreciate it because the unusualness allows me to go on a crazy adventure. imo art can't be radical just because it breaks the rules. it's only radical when it breaks the rules in a way that makes you think going outside the walls might be more fun that staying within them.

yes :)
 

rubberdingyrapids

Well-known member
I think I've pretended to myself when theres something apparently unassailably classic like a love supreme or very cool like panda bear to see if i can get it, or thought i need to figure out why its so liked or rated or respected. Sometimes you do develop an appreciation. Other times you end up thinking the canon is its own world that should be ignored.
 
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Leo

Well-known member
I think I've pretended to myself when theres something apparently unassailably classic like a love supreme or very cool like panda bear to see if i can get it, or thought i need to figure out why its so liked or rated or respected. Sometimes you do develop an appreciation. Other times you end up thinking the canon is its own world that should be ignored.

Yup...also sometimes you make the effort to appreciate the work, but eventually just decide that while you get it and understand why it's acclaimed, you also admit that it's not something you're into. That's the way I feel about most of the "Neon Dreams" stuff and drill. I get why Barty and others are so enthralled, there's definitely something there. It's just not a something that connects with me.
 
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rubberdingyrapids

Well-known member
the canon (especially in film) is also too focused on 'firsts' and 'importance' or being 'challenging' rather than 'best' (obv by best i just mean most enjoyable, fun etc).
 

version

Warehouse Operative
the canon (especially in film) is also too focused on 'firsts' and 'importance' or being 'challenging' rather than 'best' (obv by best i just mean most enjoyable, fun etc).

On box office performance too. There are plenty of films that 'flopped' financially that people now recognise as great.
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
Is the canon focused on financial performance? Titanic isn't in the canon. (Unless perhaps we're talking Empire magazine's canon.)

I'd argue that there is a place for firsts or most challengings in a canon, on account of them helping you to appreciate the evolution of and scope of an artform. (Although you'd hope they're also excellent.)

It does mean that you don't get Master and Commander in the canon, but that's not what the canon is for in my understanding of it. (Which is not particularly developed, admittedly.)
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
Which are you thinking of (I'm not denying it I'm just curious)?

Citizen Kane and Vertigo, which routinely come top of the sight and sound 100 (a good enough example of a canon I'd think) were both box office flops.

Interesting looking into the box office/crtitical reception for a lot of these films cos quite a few didn't do well on either respect at first.

"Renoir said that of all his films, The Rules of the Game was the biggest failure at the time of its release. He also said its failure "so depressed me that I resolved to either give up the cinema or to leave France"
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
I'm sure there are plenty of counterexamples of course but my impression has previously been that critical canons are replete with examples of films that flopped and were then rediscovered. A canon being something retrospective and historical and always evolving. So it's interesting for me to read that canons are too focused on commercial success. You're probably right but it just didn't chime with what I think of when I think of canons.
 
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