inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #76 of 169: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Mon 2 Apr 12 17:14
    
Generally, I discover new music in two ways. Firstly, word of mouth
through a circle of music-loving friends. We all delight in turning
each other on to great new stuff. Secondly, through attending live
performances, whether serendipitous or in a festival setting like
WOMAD.

I still buy and play CDs, but nowhere near as many as in the past.
That is not because I download, it is because I am an old fart with
more than enough to satisfy my listening needs. I like giving CDs as
presents.

Additionally, cheap recording technology is a lot of fun for an
amateur musician such as me. 
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #77 of 169: Chris Florkowski (chrys) Mon 2 Apr 12 17:25
    
Another aspect of this is the role of venues - and the affect of the
changes in the industry on venues. It is interesting to me to see how
house concerts have blossomed - yet smaller venues have trouble staying
afloat.  

I have been watching the Little Fox in Redwood City (now Club Fox)
which is managing (barely) largely with cover bands. Long ago I talked
to the fellow who does bookings there. He tried hard to put a lot of
original acts on the stage but they don't fill the seats like
cover-bands. 

I wonder if it is just harder to find and advertise to the various
target audiences. 
      
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #78 of 169: J. Eric Townsend (jet) Mon 2 Apr 12 18:51
    
> I wonder if it is just harder to find and advertise to the various

Or it's harder to get there in the first place.  Pittsburgh is not on
a major Interestate, so some of my favorite bands play in dives that
wouldn't last a week here, those dive are in Cleveland or other nearby
towns on the Interstate.

Meanwhile we have a enough great venues with open/free nites that
local bands have plenty of chances to perform in a much better venue
than they'd see in other cities.

Most of the new/different music I discover is online, streaming
stations from the genre specific (dubstep, idm, ambient, bluegrass) to
the experimental, something like Limbik Frequency or Fail's Audio
Workshop.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #79 of 169: Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Tue 3 Apr 12 07:19
    
And right here on the Well I've picked up some excellent musical tips, from
<rik>'s Vasen to <jet>'s Glitch Mob.

I agree that this mostly comes down to one's trusted social circle. I'm FB 
friends with some people who are great folks with have careers in music 
criticism, and I find that I simply do not like what they like.

It's so pronounced in three cases that I can almost guarantee anything 
they like -- usually shoegazer or lo-fi twee retro garage or very serious 
beared indie bands with two guitarists -- I won't.

But I DJ once a month with a crew of three and believe me, we just hang 
out by the turntables and pore over each others' records all night long. 
Sometime I'll be getting a beer up at the bar and I'll abandon that plan 
to duck back over to the dj area and find out what one of my pals just 
threw down.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #80 of 169: David Wilson (dlwilson) Tue 3 Apr 12 08:18
    
reminds me of being 14 years old, hanging out with my friends in
someone's room or basement, each brought some records with them, and
then talking about the music while listening.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #81 of 169: Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Tue 3 Apr 12 08:39
    
It is like that, with a twist: we are all trying to out-do each other, and
there's a whole bunch of people watching the competition. 

All in good fun, of course!
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #82 of 169: David Wilson (dlwilson) Tue 3 Apr 12 09:31
    
we were into that twist back then.  The name of the game was "gotcha!"
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #83 of 169: those Andropovian bongs (rik) Tue 3 Apr 12 12:53
    
Chrys writes:   "I have been watching the Little Fox in Redwood City (now 
Club Fox) which is managing (barely) largely with cover bands. Long ago I 
talked to the fellow who does bookings there. He tried hard to put a lot 
of original acts on the stage but they don't fill the seats like
cover-bands."

I've been chewing on this problem for a couple of years now.   I'm in a 
boomer band that plays mostly originals.  We're pretty good.  I mean, 
we've been getting encores despite the fact that most of our audiences 
(Amnesia, Parkside, Makeout Room, Riptide) are in the 20-35 year old 
range, and except for the 36 year-old drummer the rest of the band are in 
their 40s and 50s.  I'm the old man at 66.   We have a small boomer 
contingent that prefers to come out and see us and the other late 
30s-early 50s bands in our scene rather than stay home and watch TV.  
Unlike the kids, they're primarily there for the music, and not looking to 
hookup with someone.   We can't get the boomers out of their living rooms.  
The people our age who can are in the tribute bands.  

It all came together for me after reading two of the books <esau> 
mentioned in his intro.  "This Is Your Brain On Music", by Daniel 
Levitin is a popularization of his academic work on how music affects us 
physiologically and phsychologically.  His career, prior to going 
academic, was as a recording engineer in the 70s, and he's worked with 
some of the finest artists of the era, among them,  Joni Mitchell,  
Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Santana and the Grateful Dead; and 
producing tracks for Blue Oyster Cult, and the soundtrack to Repo Man.  
He's worth reading up on in wikipedia.

Levitin has identified the reasons that every generation thinks their 
music is better than that of their parents, and why they think the music 
of the generation following theirs sucks.   T'was ever thus.  We even have 
writings of Plato bitching about the crudeness of the music of the youth 
of Athens.

Put simply, you bond with the music you listen to between the ages of 12 
and 25, when your body is awash in hormones and your main concern is 
mating.   These preferences stay with you for your entire life, and it's 
rare for people to actively seek out new music after their in they're in 
their 30s. Levitin has numbers to back up his conclusions.  You might want 
to read up on his background before you argue with them.

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Levitin>

I'll get to the second book after I do some work around here.    
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #84 of 169: Chris Florkowski (chrys) Tue 3 Apr 12 12:56
    
<We can't get the boomers out of their living rooms.>

Sad, but largely true.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #85 of 169: Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Tue 3 Apr 12 13:01
    
My problem with Levitan's thesis: Why do I feel so strongly about music I've
discovered late in life?
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #86 of 169: David Gans (tnf) Tue 3 Apr 12 13:29
    
Nothing is true for every single person, except for a few basics of living.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #87 of 169: Gary Greenberg (gberg) Tue 3 Apr 12 14:21
    
I try to fight against the Levitin effect, but not very successfully.
My kid (14 y.o.) is no help. His musical tastes began to take shape
under the tutelage of a girl who started working for us as a
sitter/mother's helper when he was about 11. Her tastes run to the kind
of stuff Seabrook was writing about--overprocessed, underplayed, and
autotuned to distraction. I've tried to find the redemption in but
honestly when Bruno Mars sings "i wanna be a billionaire so fucking
bad," I have a hard time relating. It would be easier if anything--the
other lyrics, the musical setting, the playing--indicated irony or some
other kind of depth, but it's all surfaces to me. (Although there was
a nice moment there where Joel said, "Who's Oprah"? [responding to the
lyric about wanting to eat dinner with Oprah and the Queen] and I
thought, at least we've done smoething right.) And true to form, he's
got no patience with the music I listen to and play, not even the
Beatles. Who doesn't like the beatles?

So I've settled for, "I guess your job is to like this music, and mine
is to really not like it, and we're both doing our jobs well."
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #88 of 169: Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Tue 3 Apr 12 14:26
    
Would it be fair to say Levitan's thesis applies to most people, but not
diehard music lovers?

I feel like the music lovers in the music conf and in my social circle are
constantly looking for interesting music. Are we all outliers?

For example, right now I'm really interested in raga, a form I know almost 
nothing about. Does Levitan separate my intense interest from the love of 
music I heard when I was 13? That would make sense, except I no longer 
listen to much of the music I did when I was 13. 

I dunno, it all just feels really rather pat to me.

And while I agree with post 86, it would seem to be a problem for someone 
like Levitan and his whole book selling enterprise.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #89 of 169: Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Tue 3 Apr 12 14:50
    
Slipped by <gberg>.

I can find a lot to love in modern pop music (along with lots to 
grouse about).

Bruno Mars is quite talented and while he is likely in it for the money 
(he has confessed to deliberately writing songs that he thinks his younger 
sisters would relate to) he's got some good stuff -- although the line you 
cite is a real dog.

This one is so catchy I figured it out on the piano when it was big last 
year:

Nothin' On You [feat. Bruno Mars] 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PTDv_szmL0

Sure, the lyrics are absurd, but check the melody and that great keyboard 
figure. Tasty guitar work, too. (I could do without the B.O.B. rap 
though).
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #90 of 169: Eric Rawlins (woodman) Tue 3 Apr 12 14:53
    
Seems to me if Levitin's theory is all there is, then we should all be
wearing the clothes we liked when we were 20, eating the food we ate
when we were 20, and saying all movies made since we were 20 are crap.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #91 of 169: Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Tue 3 Apr 12 14:59
    

He's got some neuroscience-y numbers or something that relate to music, but
I'll confess at this point that I tried to read the book and found it
condescending opinion dressed up with some research.

I do not think we understand either music or the brain well enough to make 
generalizations about either, and nothing in the first 4-5 chapters 
convinced me Levitan has special insight that I don't.

With that off my chest, I sort of figure I'm wrong here because thinkers I 
respect liked the book greatly. But that was my honest reaction: too 
simple, too pat.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #92 of 169: Peter Meuleners (pjm) Tue 3 Apr 12 15:01
    
Different parts of the brain, but also, look around.  More people
actually fulfill the terms of your post than would like to admit it.

slipped
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #93 of 169: Chris Florkowski (chrys) Tue 3 Apr 12 15:19
    
Eric, is that the fine Well tradition of critiquing a book you haven't
read?

Here's a 7-minute interview with Levitin. (And by coincidence, <zimby>
is doing the interview. Unfortunately, he doesn't address the
generational aspect much.)

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9348246



He did a Google talk, but I am posting without having watched it in
its entirety, so I don't know what is covered.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn45Z9X-vgg 


slips....
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #94 of 169: those Andropovian bongs (rik) Tue 3 Apr 12 15:24
    
Levitin would not equate any of those with music, which goes directly to 
your emotions before it engages your logical facilities.  

I have a problem here in that y'all are arguing with what I took away from 
a 300 page book that backed its points up by describing the research from 
which he drew them.  And I'm not interested in arguing them with people 
who haven't read the book.  What I can do is suggest to you that I'm 
fairly intelligent, fairly well educated about music, and as sceptical as 
the rest of you, and came away from two readings of it absolutely certain 
that he's uncovered some very important information about how music 
affects us at various stages in biological and psychological growth.  

I'd also suggest that you read, rather than skim, the bio I pointered 
above to get a clearer picture of the guy whose ideas and work you're 
dismissing based on a simple paragraph that I posted about one of the 
points I took away from the book.

And yes, Adam.  You, and any of your other friends who are practicing 
musicians, are outliers.

In order to complete my point, I have to spend some time discussing Wald's 
book, and I'm still up to my eyeballs in work and had only dropped by to 
check in between lessons.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #95 of 169: those Andropovian bongs (rik) Tue 3 Apr 12 15:25
    
3 slips....
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #96 of 169: those Andropovian bongs (rik) Tue 3 Apr 12 15:42
    
Oh, let me add one more thing.  The two books I'm referencing both 
impressed me because they changed my mind.  They did damage to my 
pre-conceived views about how things are.   Which is also why I re-read 
them.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #97 of 169: damage my pre-conceived views (chrys) Tue 3 Apr 12 15:47
    
I'll take that pseudonym.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #98 of 169: David Gans (tnf) Tue 3 Apr 12 16:47
    
Thanks, Rik.

In other news, today I received a check for a little over a hundred bucks
from soundexchange.com for varous forms of satellite, internet and other
broadcasts over various time spans.

The system works!  This is way the hell more than I've ever gotten from BMI.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #99 of 169: Scott Underwood (esau) Tue 3 Apr 12 18:50
    
I'll post my own theory about Levitin's work, which is the suspicion that
his books are largely a reaction against a single sentence of the eminent
evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker, in his book "How the Mind Works":

        music is auditory cheesecake, an exquisite confection crafted
        to tickle the sensitive spots of at least six of our mental
        faculties

Pinker feels that music is an unimportant side-effect of language, largely
ignorable and certainly not worthy of extended scientific attention. In
contrast, Levitin feels music is central to the development of our brain
("This Is Your Brain on Music") and our social relationships ("The World
in Six Songs").

This sort of speculative neuropsychology *is* largely opinion, but if
you've been reading about the last few decades of emergent brain research,
it's pretty compelling to understand that, say, our sense of rhythm is
engaged by the same neural network that controls walking. Music seems
as hardwired in our brain as language, and Levitin carefully presents
his suspicions that language grew fromaout desire to create music,
rather than vice-versa.

And to answer Adam's earlier rhetorical question: I think most
discussions about music are conducted by us outliers, and much of it
is about the great middle, the people who like music wthout giving it
a lot of thought. My ex-wife loved Eddie Money, but didn't like the
Beatles. When I tried to explain how this was, well, *impossible*, my
cogent arguments ("I guarantee you that Eddie Money loves the Beatles")
were met with indifference. Some people like what they like, and their
opinion isn't changed by intellectual reasoning.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #100 of 169: David Gans (tnf) Tue 3 Apr 12 18:55
    

BTW, Dan Levitin was interviewed here about "Six Songs": <inkwell.vue.338>

<http://www.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/topics/338/Daniel-Levitin-The-World-In-
Six-page01.html>
  

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