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RE: What's wrong with loops

At 1:58 PM -0500 12/23/05, joe rut wrote:

>What this joke form points out to me is that music is only relevant 
>within a context.  Drugs (LSD and others in the case of the Dead, 
>and ecstasy/
>speed and others in the case of techno) were vital to creating the 
>context in which the music was created, and often appreciated.

"Often," but not exclusively.  I'd say acid was absolutely essential 
to the creation of the Dead's groupmind, and I'll confess that I was 
high on acid the first time I heard them play, but you don't have to 
be on acid to play that way and you don't have to be on acid to 
appreciate what they did.  (In the later years it helped if you had a 
tolerance for weak but heartfelt vocals and the patience to endure 
group improvisations that weren't truly interactive, but that's 
another conversation.)

>Other "contexts" that might guide what people like/dislike about 
>forms of music might include:
>A deeply ingrained feeling that all is right with the world.
>A deeply ingrained feeling that the world is a piece of shit.
>A belief, or lack thereof, in a kind, loving supreme being.
>Lots of coffee.
>People who don't use their turn signal.
>A fixation on "intellect".
>A fixation on "emotion".
>A belief that music is only meaningful with chord progressions.
>An aptitude for higher mathmatics.
>Hatred of numbers of any kind.
>Blah, Blah, Blah.  The list is infinite.

I love it.

>Maybe I would feel the same way about the particular loops to which 
>they listened (that something was missing).  But I always try to 
>explore *why* a piece of music works or does not work for me.  For 
>me, the answer is *never* something missing in the music.  The 
>answer is *always* something missing in the context.   OK.  Maybe 
>not *always*.  I forget how my brain works and shift into *objective 
>mode* sometimes (usually when discussing music over a pint of 
>Guiness).  But I try to stay aware that my feelings on anything are 
>the result of an interaction between the thing and myself.  I find I 
>can learn quite a bit by exploring what it is about my context that 
>makes a piece of music work or not work for me.  In becoming aware 
>of *why* something does not work for me, I begin to understand that 
>thing/myself better.  Somtimes that exploration leads me to even 
>change my mind about the thing.

I have a tendency to approach music (as other forms of art) on its 
own terms.  I know a few self-styled critics who love to tear 
something apart for not being what the critic would have created if 
only he'd had the time, blah blah blah - but to me it makes more 
sense to let the art define its own terms, and find out what it's 
trying to say.

(That's the best way to deal with the Grateful Dead, of course: they 
built a universe of their own and succeeded mightily in there, and 
the fact that so many found their music incomprehensible or worse 
made no difference to their ability to earn a handsome living doing 
it.  I know what's good about GD music and what's good about other 
music, and I don't confuse the two.)

>What did the music critic say after his preconceptions wore off?
>Hmmmmm.  That might be interesting.

Joe, you and I are both songwriters who also do loop work.  I think 
that means we live in (at least) two worlds at the same time, sorta.


David Gans - david@trufun.com or david@gdhour.com
Truth and Fun, Inc., 484 Lake Park Ave. #102, Oakland CA 94610-2730
Blog:  http://playback.trufun.com