Exploits of the Frictionless Man as it wanders around the world like some kind of slippery hydra. Music, words and pictures a speciality.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Yooo can leave your clothes on, oooh babee you can leave your clothes on. And that baaaaag.

What is the attraction of describing your own music as “Alternative” or “Experimental”? I do it myself and I can’t actually work out why I do. I suppose they are the least offensive labels that are available and which have a fair chance of being understood when wheeled out by way of explanation for what that "noise" is.

When people have the chance to listen to a piece of music they can describe it for themselves I suppose. Since most of my musical activity is done in situations where people can easily listen to something, why should I worry about describing it? They’re only tag lines to shift units, surely. And whilst I can see the reason behind it from a Unit Shifter’s perspective, I can’t see it from my own. And it causes me no end of headaches.

So I’m going to try and bite my tongue when it comes to the clever clever from now on. I play Pop plain and simple. It’s a tiny word, it take very little time to say and I will be able to waste as little thought on it as possible. If pressed I can say it is Pop spelt with a P. Surely anyone would be satisfied by that. No, that’s wrong. I play music that I wrote. That would satisfy anyone. If pressed I can say we play music that I wrote on instruments that we can play. What does it sound like? It sounds like nothing; its sound is the sound of songs I wrote played on instruments that we can play. Ha!

I wonder what the worth is in making everything easier for people to understand and why choices must be clearer. Is it not more rewarding and enjoyable to hear a piece of music, or read a book or view a picture without a pre-formed impression of what it is going to be like? What is the value of having endless compilation albums to be sad to, to relax to, to do the housework to? They sell records; they also pander to the vices of the listener in that they never have to make a choice. I’m stressed, so I’ll put my relaxation compilation on. The danger is that people find it difficult to engage with anything without a pre-formed label in which to understand it. And it is not necessary, it really is not. Yet we already find that it is the case. Labels hold more power than the things that they are labelling.

I have to blame an advert for this feeling of disquiet. There is a compilation album available for doing the housework to. I don’t understand the mind behind making one of those. Maybe it will flop horrifically. It should really.

1 comment:

Hughes the Booze said...

The underlying problem is that most people are fucking thick.

They need labels because without them they wouldn't know which way is 'up'.

"I like dance music" says Person A. "What type of music is this that we're listening to?" He asks.

"It is alternative music" you reply, glibly (taunting him by not explaining what it is an alternative to).

"In that case, I don't like it and I won't listen any more. There, my life can continue now without my intellectual boat being rocked one iota. I shall now go back to trying to father my sister's child".

See - in that dramatic reconstruction that ACTUALLY MAYBE MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED you can see that people are generally thick as pig shit (and often twice as smelly).