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Author Topic: Where to start?  (Read 75877 times)

Koremora

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Where to start?
« on: 12 Jan 2010, 19:31 »

It seems a common problem for people wanting to get into a new band/musician/composer with a large back catalogue and many reisssues: where does one start? I figured it would be good to have a thread where people can ask this question. I'll start.

I've been meaning to get into Steve Reich for a long time, but the massive body of work the man has coupled with the multiple reissues has left me a bit lost. I've heard that Music for 18 Musicians is the best starting point, but what recording is the "best"? Is the Phases box set worth it?
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Zingoleb

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #1 on: 12 Jan 2010, 19:47 »

Also, is someone's "best" work the best to listen to first? Then it sort of seems like such a disappointment to their other ones thereafter.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #2 on: 12 Jan 2010, 20:18 »

if you were a real music nerd you'd go chronologically
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #3 on: 12 Jan 2010, 20:21 »

Sometimes that seems like a good idea, except it encourages a really bad habit I have of getting an artist's first two albums and liking them a lot and never moving beyond them. And on the other hand, some bands with shitty first albums get way better.

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #4 on: 12 Jan 2010, 21:17 »

music for 18 is what you should spin first. after that listen to different trains, its a string quartet with a pretty badass use of vocal samples.

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #5 on: 12 Jan 2010, 21:27 »

Okay, but which recording? EMC or Nonesuch?
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #6 on: 13 Jan 2010, 07:59 »

if you were a real music nerd you'd go chronologically

If I started listening to Pink Floyd with Syd I'd probably never get into them, period. Seriously, fuck Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #7 on: 13 Jan 2010, 11:53 »

Where to start query two: Where do I start if I wanna listen to this The Fall all the kids these days are going on about?
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #8 on: 13 Jan 2010, 11:56 »

Where should I start with The Wire?
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #9 on: 13 Jan 2010, 12:22 »

Okay, but which recording? EMC or Nonesuch?

im pretty sure my copies are nonesuch at least for different trains. i couldn't tell you what my recording of music for 18 musicians is though. it doesn't matter that much though im sure one is better.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #10 on: 13 Jan 2010, 12:22 »

Where to start query two: Where do I start if I wanna listen to this The Fall all the kids these days are going on about?

I am no expert on the Fall, but I think the two albums most commonly cited as major touchstones are Hex Enduction Hour (1982) and This Nation's Saving Grace (1985). Personally, I think the Fall is a band best discovered chronologically. I started by listening to Live at the Witch Trials and Dragnet, which were both released in 1979. Dragnet is one of my personal favourites. Basically everything from 1979-1986 is unfuckwithable, after that I am a bit hazy. If you want to check out what they are up to these days, their most recent album Imperial Wax Solvent is pretty solid.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #11 on: 13 Jan 2010, 14:02 »

Unlike the Machine, Tommy IS a Fall expert. He knows his shit.

My small contribution, as far as the Fall goes, is that I actually fell in love with the band after I heard their two tracks on Short Circuit: Live at the Electric Circus. Seriously, "Stepping Out" and "Last Orders" are fucking ace and made me want to grab more by The Fall immediately.

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #12 on: 13 Jan 2010, 14:14 »

i can say this about The Fall:

if you ever decide to listen to all of John Peel's Festive 50 countdowns, and you thought you were a Fall fan, prepare to get utterly fucking sick of them very quickly.

i would recommend one of their most underrated/forgotten 90s albums, "i am kurious oranj", for their later stuff.  otherwise stick to their 80s albums, unless you really want to hear a lot of forgettable aimless/tuneless songs with mark e. smith vaguely rambling over them as if he couldn't be bothered to actually "sing" in any kind of relation to the music.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #13 on: 14 Jan 2010, 01:53 »

i would recommend one of their most underrated/forgotten 90s albums, "i am kurious oranj", for their later stuff.

That's actually from '88. And it's not that forgotten for a Fall album, even inspiring and providing the theme for The Curious Orange on Lee and Herring's short lived but fondly remembered This Morning With Richard Not Judy (Stewart Lee is an enormous Fall fan).
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #14 on: 14 Jan 2010, 02:02 »

Seriously, fuck Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #15 on: 14 Jan 2010, 02:27 »

Piper at the Gates is cool and all but it's certainly not the first Floyd record you should hear (or second, third, fourth, etc)
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #16 on: 14 Jan 2010, 09:17 »

Astronomy Domine is the only good song on there. Bike is  funny and enjoyable because it's horribly goofy.

I used to be obsessed with Floyd, but by the time I was starting to get into the Syd-era my interest was waning.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #17 on: 14 Jan 2010, 15:30 »

If I started listening to Pink Floyd with Syd I'd probably never get into them, period. Seriously, fuck Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

"Interstellar Overdrive" is so fucking good what are you talking about
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #18 on: 14 Jan 2010, 15:39 »

That's actually from '88. And it's not that forgotten for a Fall album, even inspiring and providing the theme for The Curious Orange on Lee and Herring's short lived but fondly remembered This Morning With Richard Not Judy (Stewart Lee is an enormous Fall fan).

ah, for some reason i could have sworn it was from '92 or so.  and i say "forgotten" because i've never really seen anyone talk much about it.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #19 on: 14 Jan 2010, 16:03 »

If I started listening to Pink Floyd with Syd I'd probably never get into them, period. Seriously, fuck Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

"Interstellar Overdrive" is so fucking good what are you talking about

What are you talking about? (I have no idea which song that was, I listened through to the album twice and only picked up the names of the two I enjoyed)
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #20 on: 14 Jan 2010, 20:35 »

I don't think you can "get into" music. You may want to listen to a band and see if you like them. You can't mean to like them. You will or you won't. You can't force it.

That being said, follow the suggestions of others that have posted here...but don't make yourself like a band just because you want to get into them because they are critically acclaimed and respected.
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BeoPuppy

Re: Where to start?
« Reply #21 on: 15 Jan 2010, 01:53 »

Based on your posts so far ... are you just an excellent typer blind, fast and/or otherwise?
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #22 on: 15 Jan 2010, 02:36 »

Huge walls of texts seemingly typed extremely fast. Just wondering.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #23 on: 15 Jan 2010, 02:37 »

If I were to guess (and I would) in all likelihood the hows and whys of music fandom are things that Tommy thinks about hard and often. Enthusiasts are good for nothing if not generating a lot of analysis quickly. Given the chance I could hammer out a page of stream-of-consciousness ramblings about RPG game design in a flat minute, since it's something that I immerse myself in on more or less a daily basis. Every nerd's got a thing.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #24 on: 15 Jan 2010, 18:59 »

fff whatever dude you basically just articulated my aesthetic in a way I never could, you jerk
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #25 on: 16 Jan 2010, 17:35 »

Kenickie this, Kenickie that

Your post, despite being a highly intriguing read, did not dispute my original statement. You cannot choose to "get into" a band/artist prior to hearing them. You may not have liked this Kenickie band at first, probably because you didn't want to like it (the exact opposite of trying to get into a band). While it's all well and good that you like Kenickie despite your feelings towards the sub-genre of music it is supposedly classified as, in no way does your tale run contrary to my statement that you cannot just decide to "get into" a band. If someone says this, it means that they have probably heard from music critics or music geeks or someone they admire or wherever that the music is "good". However, what music is "good" is entirely subjective based on one's own opinions. This is why when you question different demographics, there is a good chance all of them will have a different favourite band. You cannot decide you like something before you hear it, unless you entirely irrational and would rather let other people tell you music is good or bad instead of deciding on your own.

"Casual listeners" vs. "Music Hobbyists", Coffee, Instant gratification, something something something

I am not sure where to even start with your post. First, I have to wonder if you even like yourself or if you have merely worked hard to construct your likes to appear "sophisticated", "eccentric", or "cool". I wonder where you draw the line between alleged music hobbyists and casual listeners. Are casual listeners people who listen to Top 40 radio or a band that is hugely popular, like the Dave Matthews Band? What makes you so much better than a person who likes music that is popular amongst others? People like what they like; it does not make them bad people. It seems you have a spent a lot of time listening to music; good for you. People who may not listen to these bands likely have other interests, such as athletics, or automobiles, or fashion, etc.; they would likely find YOU and your music obsession uninteresting. It works both ways. Just because someone don't like obscure music does not make them any less interesting, or any more interesting.

I also don't see how you think you are better at listening to music than the "casual listener" because you have to listen to albums and bands you hate at first multiple times before you like them. Repetition breeds content. The more you listen to crap, the more you will like it (not to necessarily say that you listen to crap, but who knows). This is evident with many of the songs on the Top 40 radio station. Many are not good, yet if you hear them every hour, eventually you may find them sticking in your head (at least until the next "new" sound comes around).


In Conclusion:
I think you and Jeans misconstrued my original post - I was merely saying that you can't decide prior to hearing something that you are going to like it, just because it is said to be good. Sure, with bands that have massive catalogs, it is often helpful to find a good place to start your listening. BUT you should go in with an open mind. "I am interested in hearing what such-and-such sounds like. What is a good place to start?" is a much better question than "I've been meaning to get into...".
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #26 on: 16 Jan 2010, 23:33 »

What are you talking about? (I have no idea which song that was, I listened through to the album twice and only picked up the names of the two I enjoyed)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2wud_RqEaM
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #27 on: 17 Jan 2010, 02:12 »

Kieron Gillen/Jamie Mackelvie's Phonogram

I'm sorry but I have to point this out. Gillen and Mackelvie's Phonogram 2: The Singles Club is one of the best graphic novels/limited series you will probably ever read if not, then certainly the best of last year. The last issue is sure to come out this month so the trade, through Image, is just around the corner. A quick google will tell you all you need.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #28 on: 17 Jan 2010, 06:20 »

Okay, but which recording? EMC or Nonesuch?

I'd say ECM, and also second listening to Different Trains next.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #29 on: 17 Jan 2010, 07:13 »

You cannot choose to "get into" a band/artist prior to hearing them...If someone says this, it means that they have probably heard from music critics or music geeks or someone they admire or wherever that the music is "good". However, what music is "good" is entirely subjective based on one's own opinions.

Why isn't it a good idea to try listening to something that has been recommended to you by a source you are favorably inclined towards? It may still end up being something you like. Yes, it's probably not good for you if you just force yourself to listen to things because you think it will make you cool, but it's reasonable to try something from, say, a person who you've already found to have tastes overlapping with yours.

Also, there's the fact that it's nice to share experiences. Thus, I think it makes sense to 'try' to like something that your friends like.

Anyways, I'm not sure if others will agree, but for me personally, sometimes I like to listen to music solely because I know there is someone I like/respect who listens to it; in other words, the reason why I like it is the associative value. This only comes into play in certain situations, but I thought it was worth pointing out that circumstances can cause you to like music the same way it can cause you to like anything else. For example the music my brother listens to is really dumb and terrible but sometimes I actually want to hear it now that he lives in another city.

Finally, I think when people in this thread have been saying they "mean to get into" a group/artist, they are not implying that liking the music is a foregone conclusion. Sometimes it just doesn't stick, and I imagine people accept that.

Quote
I am not sure where to even start with your post. First, I have to wonder if you even like yourself or if you have merely worked hard to construct your likes to appear "sophisticated", "eccentric", or "cool". I wonder where you draw the line between alleged music hobbyists and casual listeners. Are casual listeners people who listen to Top 40 radio or a band that is hugely popular, like the Dave Matthews Band? What makes you so much better than a person who likes music that is popular amongst others? People like what they like; it does not make them bad people. It seems you have a spent a lot of time listening to music; good for you. People who may not listen to these bands likely have other interests, such as athletics, or automobiles, or fashion, etc.; they would likely find YOU and your music obsession uninteresting. It works both ways. Just because someone don't like obscure music does not make them any less interesting, or any more interesting.

I don't think he was putting down casual listeners at all, and I don't think he would disagree with your assertion that they are not bad people, that they likely have other interests, etc. However, that doesn't rule out the legitimacy of his experience or the likelihood that other people may find themselves in the same boat.

Quote
I also don't see how you think you are better at listening to music than the "casual listener" because you have to listen to albums and bands you hate at first multiple times before you like them. Repetition breeds content. The more you listen to crap, the more you will like it (not to necessarily say that you listen to crap, but who knows). This is evident with many of the songs on the Top 40 radio station. Many are not good, yet if you hear them every hour, eventually you may find them sticking in your head (at least until the next "new" sound comes around).

He didn't say it was just repetition. Yes, he referred to the process as requiring a period of time, but I think -- and I don't know if this is indeed what he meant, but in any case it's what I believe -- that the key ingredient is intentionality. Repetition will make things stick in your head, but you might not like it. I get Top 40 songs stuck in my head because sometimes that's all I get to listen to when I'm at work, but that hasn't helped me enjoy that kind of music more.

On the other hand, I can imagine listening to these songs in the future if I want to be reminded of this time in my life.

So, your earlier question was probably rhetorical, but I'm going to give my answer anyway:

Quote
Are casual listeners people who listen to Top 40 radio or a band that is hugely popular, like the Dave Matthews Band?

Ultimately I don't think it's what a person listens to, but how. I had a friend who listens to bands that I see talked about here relatively frequently (my vagueness betrays my ignorance), but she generally just has her music playing on shuffle in the background. I could be wrong, because obviously I don't see what she's doing all the time, but my impression based on how she listens to music when I see her and the way she talks about the music she listens to is that she's a 'casual listener,' someone who just kinda likes the mood it sets when it's playing in the background of whatever she's doing. In other words, she's not really paying attention. And that's fine!
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tricia kidd

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #30 on: 17 Jan 2010, 11:26 »

Are casual listeners people who listen to Top 40 radio or a band that is hugely popular, like the Dave Matthews Band? What makes you so much better than a person who likes music that is popular amongst others? People like what they like; it does not make them bad people. It seems you have a spent a lot of time listening to music; good for you. People who may not listen to these bands likely have other interests, such as athletics, or automobiles, or fashion, etc.; they would likely find YOU and your music obsession uninteresting. It works both ways. Just because someone don't like obscure music does not make them any less interesting, or any more interesting.

plenty of people listen to "obscure" bands casually.  plenty of "music hobbyists" only listen to mainstream rock and pop.
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Zingoleb

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #31 on: 17 Jan 2010, 17:21 »


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2wud_RqEaM

I don't remember this song but I kind of like it.

Also, Syd Barrett looks like he belongs in Green Day.


Also also, I must say that tricia kidd is right, here.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #32 on: 17 Jan 2010, 18:34 »

Um, fuck it.

Yes, a "music hobbyist" might not be intrinsically better as a person than a "casual listener", but if I wanted to find something out about music or cop a recommendation, I know who I'd be going to.

It's like, who am I going to ask for a detailed analysis of the root causes of World War II, someone who has spent a lot of time thinking, researching and analysing the conflict, or a dude who saw Inglorious Basterds twice?
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #33 on: 18 Jan 2010, 00:22 »

Where do I start with Coil?
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #34 on: 18 Jan 2010, 00:32 »

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #35 on: 18 Jan 2010, 04:26 »

Where to start with New Order?
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #36 on: 18 Jan 2010, 06:24 »

Do the chronological thing
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #37 on: 18 Jan 2010, 07:16 »

Where to start with New Order?

Substance.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #38 on: 18 Jan 2010, 08:46 »

I dunno, I think Singles gives a better overall career trajectory, you even get the few decent tunes from their latter-day era.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #39 on: 18 Jan 2010, 08:57 »

I prefer Substance, it has the better versions of most tracks.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #40 on: 18 Jan 2010, 12:13 »

i like early New Order but at the same time i feel like the only songs you really need to hear by them are "Temptation", "Blue Monday" and "Bizarre Love Triangle".
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #41 on: 18 Jan 2010, 12:38 »

Plus Substance has the b-side disc which is pretty ace.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #42 on: 18 Jan 2010, 17:22 »

Where to start with Gang of Four?
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #43 on: 18 Jan 2010, 17:26 »

Entertainment!
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #44 on: 18 Jan 2010, 17:43 »

And maybe Solanki and Bilge Pump after that, if you'd like to hear the way other Leeds bands continued to owe a debt to Gang Of Four.
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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #45 on: 18 Jan 2010, 18:05 »

Entertainment! and Solid Gold are the only two really great albums. They fell off pretty dramatically after that.

Entertainment! is the most essential, but if you like them, you probably want Another Day/Another Dollar as well, if for nothing other than the song "To Hell With Poverty." The Peel Sessions are good, too. The material on them is all from the first few records.

michaelicious

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #46 on: 18 Jan 2010, 18:40 »

The Peel Sessions are not just good. They are essential listening.
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Cernunnos

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #47 on: 18 Jan 2010, 18:56 »

Yep. They are really good.

Also, I keep hearing about Pere Ubu. A cursory glance at wikipedia tells me that this might be a challenge considering the scope of their discography (they are also from my hometown!). But if anyone can tell me where to start, I'd really appreciate it.
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De_El

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #48 on: 18 Jan 2010, 21:05 »

Granted, Gang of Four's Peel Sessions are amazing.

Aww man, Pere Ubu is one of those bands I punked out on. I love the first three albums, but after I heard those my interests shifted and I've yet to hear The Art of Walking or The Tenement Year. You could start chronologically like I did.  The Modern Dance is really, really excellent.

Retrospectre

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #49 on: 18 Jan 2010, 21:25 »

Is that Scott Walker cat worth a listen?

I keep seeing his name tossed around.
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