Music, Verbosity, and Anything Else

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I don't do much of anything when I get really depressed, and that seems to happen a lot. The only thing I have any solace in is playing music(and even that seems like an elaborate fraud)so it's all I've really accomplished lately. I don't touch my blog, I have trouble going out for reasons other than work and my whole being feels like complete caca.

So, Saturday night and...well, I guess I can tackle something.

When I talk about music "coming around again," I characterize it as having a social cycle. Social Cycle Theory posits a repeating of events and stages of society which nullifies the possibility of social progress. I have always thought the theory could accomodate various tenets of Multiverse Theory("Wiki" it- I'm always learning shit just browsing that darn site)by arguing as all events are relative to the observer and as we occupy vastly different dimensional aspects since the last iteration, so we hold one variable(and let's assume quantifiable)in common though our chronological basis differs. I may then state "Yes, history does repeat itself. However, the participants cannot be where(as in "when")they were on any event's last occurrence. There can ALWAYS be something new, and there is no need to celebrate defeat with Anti-Art(when it becomes average, we are all dead)when there is real æsthetic Terra Incognita remaining to be embarked upon."

Well, when's it coming around again?

The pendulum arcs are accelerating. Changes happen so quickly now that an insufficient time is given for any music to really sink its teeth into our DNA. As soon as acts are shuffled in, they are quickly shuffled out or they haul their one-trick-pony out thousands of times until they die in Vegas. In the past ten years, I've seen (c)Rap, Pop-Punk, Post-Punk, Metal Punk, Black Metal, Metal Metal, Teen Ingénue, Thiry-Something Ingénue, Male Teen Ingénue, Male Trailer Park Ingénue, Hip-Hop, Trip-Hop, House, Dance, Trance, Club, Drum and Bass, Crunk, Spunk, Funk, R&B(a FAR cry from Rhythm and Blues, sadly...),Gospel, Blues, Jazz, Lite-Sexy-Funk(most jazz is now this), A&R, EMI, BMI, ASCAP, NARAS, The Napster Effect, and shit, I could just go on and on. The point is, Music has never been bigger business than it is right now. Perhaps that is why it all suffers. Honestly, I just can't get into anything at all that is new. One might chalk it up to the depression, but Chopin, Herbie Hancock, Steely Dan and Zappa still do it for me. So, scratch that.

No, music just sucks today.

I feel like there is no ambition. There is just celebration, mostly of the self. Everything sounds too slick, all the time. Life in Listening to Music has become a Pro-Tools fantasy in which reality can be changed or erased at the whim of the Whim. Everything is loud, all the time. Hasn't anybody heard of Modal Interchange chords other that bVI or bVII?(Fucking Aeolian chords at that!) Voice leading? REAL Theme and Development? Keys other than Db for rock songs? More of the good things that people like Justin Timberlake and Pharell do instead of the posturing bullshit? REAL instruments behind rappers? REAL instruments, engineers and songwriters in the R&B thing? Jazz players that don't waste all their energy on volcanic chops-infested playing or pentatonic safety?(John Scofield, in particular...)

So, if music is such big business and as a result the music suffers, must the business fall for the music to succeed?

I think, yes. Musicians will need only each other at this point and they can get back to doing what they do best without corporate masters. I bet Rupert Murdoch's I-Pod playlist would be amusing.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Ah, the wonders of "On Demand"(trademark thingy here)cable programming! There is considerable contenet for music and musicians, though little of it is more than vanity pieces. The Celebrity Lessons portion featured some schmoes named "Dragonforce." I have heard their recordings and though, while technically impressive, was unlistenable- kind of like Super Nintendo's "Actraiser" audio track played at ten times speed. Their Celebrity Lesson was fucking laughable. The Asian guy plays a messy series of Amaj7 arpeggios in twelth position and, proclaiming "betcha can't play this!"(the new tagline of the young quasi-shredders that appear on this program), fawns over himself and the fact that it is NOT an A major arpeggio but something else...what's it called?...uhh...(messily plays sweep arpeggios of something like Amaj7)...ees gott eleventh frett, ees different...uhh...

I'd rather see some memorable riffs, good songs, and the permanent unemployment of Cookie Monster from the Vocalists' Guild than the continual sledgehammer assault compositionally, tonally, and production-wise. Oh, while I'm on that subject, check out this link concerning...

The Death Of Dynamic Range (My computer skills suck, so the following will not appear as a hyperlink, but I'm still a mean Wiffle Ball player.)

I'm amazed at how many young musicians are described as, in the breadth of some journalism concerning their haircut's effect on Kurdish politics, "classically trained." It seems like said adepts of the Church of the Twelve Tones are just finding more difficult ways to play the same lousy shit. The Department of Turd Polishing has become a huge network of graft in which billions of dollars(and precious minutes of my listening time)are lost.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


I have taken it upon myself to save the world from that devil in the airwaves, THE WORST CHORD PROGRESSION IN THE WORLD. If you are theory-illumined, you will come to revolt against the...

I - V - vi - IV

...progression. If you don't know what I mean, I will try to explain, following.

All western music is easily quantifiable thanks to what is known as "even temperament". Even temperament is the wavelength adjustments given that allow twelve even steps distributed within an octave. A piano is a good tool for visualization; start on any C and there are twelve keys(including that one itself)before the next occurrence of C which is described as "up one octave." However, a major scale skips keys in a specific pattern; these patterns are replicated no matter where one begins. The key of C is an easy place to begin because there are no black keys("accidentals")in C - all the notes that belong to the scale are white keys exclusively. For our purposes, they're all we need for now. As one ascends from C up to another C using only the white keys, let him/her say aloud:

C=1 D=2 E=3 F=4 G=5 A=6 B=7 C=1(start again, etc.)

These are the "diatonic"(tr. from Gr. meaning 'of the scale')notes. Diatonic chords contain ONLY these notes. For any major scale, the following order of major and minor triadic(1+3+5, 2+4+6, 3+5+7, etc.)chords is ALWAYS true...

1=Major(Cmajor) Another key:Bmajor
2=minor(Dminor) :C#minor
3=minor(Eminor) :D#minor
4=Major(Fmajor) :Emajor
5=Major(Gmajor) :F#major
6=minor(Aminor) :G#minor
7=diminished(Bdim) :A#diminished

No matter what key or major scale you use, the order is always the same. The chords are named the same way. The I chord is Cmaj, the IV chord is Fmaj, the vi chord(read "six minor")is Amin.

Now, let's look at the worst progression in the world.

I=Cmajor V=Gmajor vi=Aminor IV=Fmajor

I found myself auditioning for a really cock-rock-endorsed ensemble and a number of tunes by some sorry-ass-non-playing-white-motherfuckers(A term used by Miles Davis for Steve Miller which I heartily agree with and apply to those who deserve it)named "All-American Rejects" are on the docket. I had encountered them once or twice in the course of teaching suburban urban punks in Richtown, CT but having to actually learn the songs is a special kind of torture. Every last fucking song uses this fucking progression. 90% of the new non-metal rock tunes uses this fucking progression in some fucking other key or whatever. However, there are little nuances throughout the songs that actually make them worse but FORCE YOU TO LISTEN TO ENTIRE SONGS. The vocalists(both they and their lyrics)are beneath contempt with their lyrics about middle school infidelity and their non-vibrato-havin' nasal screeches that pass as singing. But I digress.

The progression is as ubiquitous now as its predecessor from every 50's song,...

I=Cmajor vi=Aminor IV=Fmajor V=Gmajor(Just sing "Earth Angel" and try every other 50's song lyric...)

My pitch...


Let the comments enlighten anyone interested in just which songs have the demoniac keystone in question.

Apparently, hyperlinks are easy to execute(though there should be a right-click access...)-

There...can I have that cookie now? And the tech-esque double entendré to boot...

Friday, September 01, 2006

The day after visiting O'Rourke's and posting the story, the fucking place burned down. Eighty years and I ate there on the last day of its existence. Lamb curry with goat cheese cakes and colcannon, $10.95. Coffee. A delicious butterscotch bread. All gone.

The place was an historical landmark. Antiprincess mentioned there being a website set up to take pledges(the building was apparently not insured)but in my limited internet gangsta I was unable to find it.

It's small wonder why Red Sox fans are so apt to believe in curses. I'll find myself saying things like "If I didn't turn the game on at that exact moment Damon wouldn't have hit that three-run triple" or "If I didn't write that quasi-Lieberman-smacking missive the place wouldn't have burned down."

I'm just sad it's not there for other people to find anymore.