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Author Topic: LITURGY is fixing heavy metal, and there's nothing you can do to stop them  (Read 40461 times)

JD

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what the fuck does liturgy mean anyway
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i mean "look at this american guy from brooklyn who spoke about his music in public at a symposium in academic terms" is basically the gist of it and you can probably guess the top three reasons at least that i'm uncomfortable with that being a problem with a musician
Like I never brought up the fact that this guy was from Brooklyn, or an American? Neither of those things really matter. Dovey brought up Brooklyn and so did Tommy, but I didn't. I'm pretty taken aback by your lack of reading comprehension here.

And no, really, come on, I fuckin' refuse to believe that you are totally oblivious to why I might find this guy extremely pompous. Listen to what he says from here, where he says "we're taking black metal as seriously as possible", like people who play black metal don't take it seriously and the genre's just been waiting for a real musician like him to come and make it real. I don't even like black metal! But I know that the people who love it take it very seriously, and to imply that the genre is somehow not serious is pretty fucking insulting to them, and I think he talks like an absolute dickhole there, and in many other places.

But ultimately, I'm not so interested in defending anything I have to say. I only like to be judged on whether it's interesting or not. I'm an American, I have read books.
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JimmyJazz

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what the fuck does liturgy mean anyway

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tommydski

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I understand what both of you are saying but I think I lean more towards John's attitude simply because the notion of Pitchfork hyping a Brooklyn based Black Metal band is deeply amusing. Black Metal was largely a European based genre of music and the imagery and theatrics of the scene are essentially an integral part of the movement. Regardless of what you think about it, there is existing heritage to consider and the fact that this is a bunch of Hipster types who have roundly jettisoned most of the elements but claim to have near enough literally transcended the genre they are quite blatantly aping. In reality, their music is unremarkable compared to the many, many existing Black Metal bands you can already find in North America, let alone Europe.

The only reason we're hearing about them is they're not wearing corpse paint, they live in a Hipster Mecca and thus, Pitchfork takes them seriously.
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The thing I really love about this is that it seems, from the stuff the guy is saying, that he really isn't keeping up on what's been going on in black metal in the last decade. Legions of black and post-black metal bands have been doing everything he says (even with regards to the America thing, look at the cascadian scene). I mean gods, USBM has been around almost as long as Norwegian BM.

With regards to what black metal is, I'd say that the idea that black metal is ideology is false. Black metal is about atmosphere; it's almost more of a mode than a genre, a texture that can be added to other things quite freely. There are many indicators that build into it; certain guitar tones, certain riffing patterns, a particular quality of vocals or of production, none of which have to be present.

Also, what exactly makes the metal scene exclusionary? The fact that its supporters insist on clearly defining what metal is? The fact that you are expected to have some sort of basic knowledge before you start shooting your mouth off? How does this make it different to any music scene, except for the fact that metal is an enormously broad church. You'll find someone who'll scoff at anything, but an overarching genre that can pull in material ranging from Saint Vitus to Finntroll, Aborym to Moonspell, Mekong Delta to Gnaw Their Tongues, Orange Goblin to Vlad Tepes is hardly the most exclusionary going. If the term metal can be stretched to mean anything, then it is a meaningless term; to make the term meaningless denies its deeply meaningful connections with the international metal community, with the people who sustain it. The reason the 'metal hipster' (a sterotype made flesh in this guy) is reviled is because he is a cultural appropriator; he takes things from the metal community and doesn't give in return. He destroys the meaning we hold dear.  
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David_Dovey

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i mean "look at this american guy from brooklyn who spoke about his music in public at a symposium in academic terms" is basically the gist of it and you can probably guess the top three reasons at least that i'm uncomfortable with that being a problem with a musician
Like I never brought up the fact that this guy was from Brooklyn, or an American? Neither of those things really matter. Dovey brought up Brooklyn and so did Tommy, but I didn't. I'm pretty taken aback by your lack of reading comprehension here.

And I was definitely very conscious of the can of worms I was potentially opening by even mentioning Brooklyn in the parenthetical but I stand by it based on the context in which it was brought up, namely that;

-Liturgy is one band of many from the area that are engaging in the appropriation of black metal tropes while blatantly (or iconoclastically, if you listen to what Hunter Hunt-Hendrix has to say) refusing to engage with the genre's less obvious but arguably more important signifiers, as well as the site of a fucking symposium in black metal
- Brooklyn seems to specialise in this sort of thing, and it's not like black metal is the only style that gets this treatment from Brooklyn-types. It's probably more embarrassing when you've got private-school educated white kids donning Native American head-dresses or doing chopped-and-screwed minstrel shows, but not by much.
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sean

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oh geez i havent read this whole thead (im kinda drunk) but i skimmed the beginning posts and feel i have things to say, sorry if this has been covered.

first off, the dude who fronts this band is fucking retarded. i watched a video of the dude who fronts this band talking the other day (sam posted it on fb) and holy fuck he is goddamn retarded. he was talking about his "band manifesto" and how he feels his music is analogous to "orchestral string music" due to tremolo picking, which is enough to convince me this dude has no fucking clue about what he is talking about. i mean, the point of white metal i noticed was made (pussy black metal, black metal implies certain themes+whatnot) which i totally agree with. i dont necessarily agree the core themes need to be honored (nihilism, anti-christianity, whatever) but i feel, as is with the punk rock community, there is a certain degree of respect of yr own personal ideologies and knowing about them and not sounding like a fucktard if you choose to express those ideas, which the guy who fronts this band is incapable of doing. really when he talks about his "band manifesto" he sounds like a fucking idiot. WHO HAS A FUCKING BAND MANIFEST REALLY ARE YOU TRYING TO SOUND LIKE A COMPLETE DOUCHE BAG. i just have a lot of issue with the guy who fronts this band because he has terrible opinions about ideas and his music and oh god it just irritates me to no end. AND THE STRING ORCHESTRA THING OH GOD. can bands please stop comparing their music to classical composers jesus fucking shit this irritates me to no fucking end. im sorry yr band doesnt sound like bethoveen or wagner or whoever, fuck the hell off. yr in a band with guitars, not a full symphony, and yr not using the same harmonic language as whoever composer yr trying to imitate is so fuck off. (sorry, bands that say this really piss me off). plus romantics suck, dont try to be like them they are terrible.

I'm sorry if any/all of these points have been made/refuted, i saw this thread and felt a need to speak my mind. i just fucking hate this band.
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tommydski

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The Vampire Weekend of Black Metal.
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David_Dovey

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With regards to what black metal is, I'd say that the idea that black metal is ideology is false. Black metal is about atmosphere; it's almost more of a mode than a genre, a texture that can be added to other things quite freely. There are many indicators that build into it; certain guitar tones, certain riffing patterns, a particular quality of vocals or of production, none of which have to be present.

I kind of cringed a little every time I found myself using the term "ideology" in this thread because it's definitely a loaded term but on the other hand I wanted to shy away from leaning too heavily on something like "atmosphere" too because it's inexact and such a hard thing to quantify.

And I think that the basis of black metal as commonly constituted is ideological, although probably not in the way most people would assume (i.e; something to do with Nazis or burning churches or Asatru). I mean more in the way that black metal was very consciously a response to the direction of other prominent metal sub-genres. What's the line? "No fun, no mosh, no 'core"? Something like that? The way that black metal interacts with the wider metal/heavy music world in general in itself is very much an ideology, and it very much informed a lot of the other things that we now consider to be indispensable characteristics of the style, both aural and otherwise.
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KharBevNor

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No Mosh, No Core, No Trends, No Fun is the term, (Comes from old Deathlike Silence promo material iirc) but isn't even a consistent idea in the second wave. 'No Fun' hardly describes the music or sensibilities of Darkthrone, Immortal or Carpathian Forest. There is a degree to which the second wave was a reaction against the commercialisation of death metal, true. Black metal has undeniable connections to punk; there's an element of deliberate obtuseness, of sensationalism. But you can't find one consistent ideological attitude that bridges everything that is undeniably black metal. I mean, just look at the heterodoxity of the bands that formed Black Metals primary influences, both in terms of ideology, artistic approach and sound: Venom, Mercyful Fate, Sarcofago, Death SS, Hellhammer, etc.

No, I think to come to some definition of black metal you have to find something aesthetic, because that's after all what black metal is. It might be something about evil and the sublime; I'll get back to you once I've though about it more.
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[22:25] Dovey: i don't get sigquoted much
[22:26] Dovey: like, maybe, 4 or 5 times that i know of?
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Lummer

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The funny thing for me is this:

The band came through Denmark some months ago, and played two shows in two cities; Aalborg and Copenhagen.

My best friend Mads lives in Aalborg and saw them there. He then texted me that it was an awesome show, even though they looked like a bunch of hipsters, what with HHH in a purple v-neck sweater and whatnot, but they played their asses off. What strikes me as funny now though, is the fact that he said "It sounds just like old Ulver!" which made it an easy sell for me in any case. Little did I know then, that this pretentious little twat thinks he's reinventing the genre completely by sounding like two albums that came out 16 years ago.
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Lummer

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Though, in all fairness, they DID play their asses off and I liked the show, and I like the album too, but revolutionary this AIN'T.

Deathspell Omega, though...
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tommydski

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That's kind of my issue. They are an acceptable metal band but they're not doing anything particularly new. There are scores of extreme metal bands in their country, let alone in Europe and the rest of the world. They are like two to three decades after the fact. It seems sort of arrogant to exploit the naivety of your audience by making out that what you're doing is revolutionary when in actuality it's a clear continuation of an existing genre of music.
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Lummer

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Norwegians With Attitude - "Straight Outta Blashyrkh"
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Vuk

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Oh man, I watched their Scion 2011 interview, and they all look/sound like the biggest douchebags ever. Usually I'm not one to avoid listening to a band because its members suck, but this is just too much.

Haha, I just read the article KvP posted. I don't think it's possible for this guy to embarrass himself any more than he has.
« Last Edit: 07 Apr 2011, 11:36 by Vuk »
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KvP

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Guys, Aesthetica is out today! Say goodbye to the so-called "metal" of the past, for soon you will not remember it.
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StaedlerMars

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I may be seeing this band tonight? They are opening for Merzbow? I dunno.
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Lummer

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They are good live. At least the singer shuts up, usually. And their drummer is fucking intense.
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BIG FAN OF ROMANTICISM

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And if you played too hard it'd flop out and dangle around by the wire and that is just super ugly

KvP

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BIG FAN OF ROMANTICISMTRANSCEDENCE

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ftfy
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David_Dovey

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He's a fan of both John, although to be fair, his Stravinsky phase was a long time ago.
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BIG FAN OF ROMANTICISM

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that's maybe why i'm so unfazed about the idea that his music might actually just sound fairly boilerplate. it's not like wordsworth straight up invented either blank verse or writing about nature/memory
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Zingoleb

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ftfy

okay what does ftfy mean? it took forever for me to figure out 'fyp' wasn't 'fixed your post' but I keep seeing ftfy as 'fuck that, fuck you'.
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David_Dovey

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similarly, "ftfy" stands for "fixed that for you", i.e; taking the douchelevel of "fyp" and cranking it round til the dial snaps off
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I always read fyp as Fuck Your Post and qft as Quit Fucking Talking.

I think this probably says a lot about me.
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it took forever for me to figure out 'fyp' wasn't 'fixed your post'

It isn't?!
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Chad K.

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Let me preface this by saying that I read the interviews and watched the video and found them to be pretty pretentious. I'm also not crazy about the music.  But, I think that these guys are being saddled with things they aren't actually saying.  I didn't see anything about "fixing" black metal or "transcending" black metal.  They're pretty consistent in talking about a transcendent "in the moment" experience.

It reminds me of interviews and books from the bop and free jazz era in the 50's following the big band era.  If you've ever tried playing free jazz or improv music, you play whatever seems like it will work in the moment with minimal structure or forethought.  The strange thing is, you will start to find that the musicians you are playing with will anticipate or have the same thoughts at the same time in terms of when to change, fills, dynamics, etc.  It's a hard experience to explain, but it is pretty amazing when it works.   The 50's beat writers talked about that experience as transcendence.  In fact, the word "beat," though often thought to refer to rhythm, is rumored to have been coined by Jack Kerouac as a shortened form of "beatific," which is a communion with god.  Kerouac was a french Catholic, which has a tradition of "beatific visions."  He applied that idea to the Jazz music of his day, i.e. the musicians are having an experience that transcends the music.

I believe this band is saying the same thing.  Essentially, they seem to be saying that black metal, like big band, is good music, but has a lot of structure and emphasis on technicality that can obscure some of the emotion.  They are just stripping away some of the song structure aside from chord changes, as a means of getting a more emotional "in the moment" response.  But instead of saying "We like to keep it loose because it's fun and it's cool when we're all on the same page" they said "Like, I wrote a manifesto, like."
« Last Edit: 14 Apr 2011, 09:17 by Chad K. »
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Chad K.

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Which is why I'm not crazy about it.  It's funny, because they cite to Ornette Coleman as an influence, but I don't think they have any understanding of the principles behind what Coleman or other improv and freeform musicians are trying to accomplish.  It's not the pretension, it's the lack of execution which is made worse by the pretension.
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David_Dovey

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Yeah I'm pretty sure this thread collectively arrived at that point like, twice already? I mean, it's not like people her have no time for insane overboard pontificating about music-type stuff (see: this thread, see also: every other thread). It's the contrast between the high-mindedness of the rhetoric and the utter mediocrity of the songwriting.

Not to mention that aside from HHH not really having anything but a cursory understanding of what motivates and makes Ornette Coleman special, he also lacks similar understanding of literally everything else he namedrops too.
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SWOON! at My Gravitas

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I remember him name-dropping Ildjarn in an interview, was all "really man, there is nobody that you are fooling"
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I'm mildly intrigued if this guy realises to what extent black metal exists as an evolving, ever-changing global genre.

Also, I thought about it more and I was thinking that maybe the major theme of black metal is the dissolution of the self or the dissolution of the self of others, either via death, submission or sublimation into a greater whole.
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[22:25] Dovey: i don't get sigquoted much
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Not to mention that aside from HHH not really having anything but a cursory understanding of what motivates and makes Ornette Coleman special, he also lacks similar understanding of literally everything else he namedrops too.

I'm kind of embarrassed that none of us thought to post this on the first page really.
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Damnable Fiend

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there seem to be a few people in here who are taking it for granted that black metal has an ideology of racism/homophobia and burning churches.  That hasn't ever been true.  While those things have been a part of black metal, I don't think they've ever been what defines it.  I think it's more about alienation, the sublime in nature, and getting back to one's roots (which admittedly sometimes can be a cover for racism).

see: Bathory, Agalloch, Summoning, Darkspace etc.

also I misread what kvp was posting, and assumed that "fify" meant "fuck it, fuck you".  maybe I'm a bad person

really, though, I can't help thinking of this guy as just another American hipster douche who thinks metalheads all listen to KISS and that he's above the rest of us for having discovered a few underground bands.

edit: sorry, I didn't read the entire thread before posting.  umm, basically what khar said, better than I did.
« Last Edit: 16 Apr 2011, 14:31 by Damnable Fiend »
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I was at my local record store for RSD and some guy next to me held up a copy of Aesthetica to his friend and said "Do you like black metal?  These guys are like, cutting-edge."  I was so close to bursting out laughing.

Edit: Could have been their first record actually, all I saw was 'Liturgy' on the front, but still
« Last Edit: 16 Apr 2011, 14:37 by kwami42 »
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'Glass Earth' might just be the most irritating track I have ever heard
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Tom

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Black Metal seems to owe something to gothic Romanticism, doesn't it.

I was at my local record store for RSD and some guy next to me held up a copy of Aesthetica to his friend and said "Do you like black metal?  These guys are like, cutting-edge."  I was so close to bursting out laughing.

You're a better person than me. I laughed at a middle aged lady as she was eagerly exploring a copy of The Fountainhead in Borders.
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The RSD day thing was a split single with 90's glitch dude Oval. I laughed when I saw it too.
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Black Metal seems to owe something to gothic Romanticism, doesn't it.

Some more than others. The Cyber Black and Space Black sub-subgenres don't really have anything to do with the gothic or romantic, for example.
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[22:25] Dovey: i don't get sigquoted much
[22:26] Dovey: like, maybe, 4 or 5 times that i know of?
[22:26] Dovey: and at least one of those was a blatant ploy at getting sigquoted

http://panzerdivisio

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there seem to be a few people in here who are taking it for granted that black metal has an ideology of racism/homophobia and burning churches.

I understand the assumption but I think this is actually the first time any of this has been mentioned.
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David_Dovey

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Except for when I mentioned it specifically to negate it
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Akima

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i mean "look at this american guy from brooklyn who spoke about his music in public at a symposium in academic terms" is basically the gist of it and you can probably guess the top three reasons at least that i'm uncomfortable with that being a problem with a musician
I hope I'm not factoring in nationalism or snobbery about Brooklyn in my judgement of this guy, but I'm suspicious of artists who aren't prepared just to let their art speak for them. Does good art need turgid academic prose to validate it or something? Why does he feel we need to be told what the music is about? Shouldn't the music do that?
« Last Edit: 17 Apr 2011, 17:50 by Akima »
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"I would rather have questions that can't be answered, than answers that can't be questioned." Richard Feynman

Johnny C

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you don't have to listen to them then! but i'm always fascinated by artists talking about their art i usually find it insightful or interesting, and it often gives me a perspective that i think is an important one to consider. i'd rather artists did think about what their art says. the good ones always seem to.
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i'm actually deliberately not because i still haven't sat down and listened to a liturgy song. i just find the whole "the author is dead the art is the only thing that can and should speak" to be like horribly reactionary + rooted in weird 60s revolutionary art ideology that like fifty years later i think it seems weird to be stuck on.

and so what if someone like pollock knows what he wanted to do with splashes of paint? why is there a problem with that? why is the artist's perspective somehow bad as opposed to, say, if you saw it in person and turned to a friend and said "there's a lot of [x emotion] that i get out of this"? said friend would start to think about it in those terms. when i'm that friend, i usually appreciate that. it's why i read record and film reviews and criticism. i find that stuff interesting.

it's totally fine if you don't find it interesting! but those things don't necessarily devalue the art, nahmean?
« Last Edit: 17 Apr 2011, 18:49 by Johnny C »
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Akima

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i'd rather artists did think about what their art says.
Oh absolutely yes! I just feel that it is the art-work that should express it, not the liner-notes.
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Johnny C

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that's fine! i think it's mainly a matter of preference. i'm okay with artists explicating what they mean to do, and in fact i actually usually like it, but that's probably because i come from like an academic background in western literature, where that's kind of the norm, partially because of tradition and partially because the people drawn to creating western lit can't shut up (case in point, this post).
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tommydski

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Since all art is subjective, the usefulness of explanation or description is basically defined by the audience. If you like the art, you might be glad that it exists. If not, it doesn't really matter.
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Johnny C

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i dunno about that, necessarily! there's a lot i've been convinced to re-evaluate after hearing people talk about it.
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Koremora

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Gonna have to agree with Johnny there. My enjoyment of a lot of bands has been framed by my understanding of them, and my understanding of a lot of bands has been influenced by reading what they or others think about their work or the meaning of their work.

I think context is extremely important for music and I don't think it is pretentious for an artist or musician to attempt to give their work the context that it was intended to have.
« Last Edit: 17 Apr 2011, 22:12 by Koremora »
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While I also agree context is important, I think it's unfair how certain people feel entitled to a thorough and/or academic discussion on the art by the artist. If an musician wants to spend time disclosing their views on their art to the public, then they should! As avid music lover I'll be interested in what they have to say as well the effect it will have on my listening experience. But if they want to let the music speak for itself, then the audience doesn't have a right to demand an explanation. As Martin Scorcese said when asked to describe the point of Taxi Driver; "If I could articulate it, I wouldn't have made the picture."
« Last Edit: 17 Apr 2011, 23:18 by JimmyJazz »
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