15 December 2006


There are things I know make me more likely to enjoy music--although they don't necessarily make it better; just techniques for which I have a soft spot.

First: Vocal harmony (Kings of Convenience, say, Gold In the Air of Summer). Maybe this comes from listening to classical music and medieval antiphonal chants as a kid, but I am a dead sucker for vocal harmony.

Second: Strings in electronica (Her Space Holiday - Tech Romance). Putting strings in an electronica context just seems to make the timbre of both that much clearer, more distinct, sweeter; and since electronica is usually safe from being saccharine, it keeps the strings from going over that line, too.

Third: Cyclical instrumentation (The Low-lows-Dear Flies, Love, Spider; anything by Tool). This, I just like: it's power that doesn't need to shout to make itself compelling. It's the easiest of the three to make into a cheap trick, I think.

None of them necessarily make the music creative, but it does generally make it something I want to listen to; and it's interesting to try and think about techniques that I enjoy as separate from the quality of the music. It's sort of the opposite of Cassandra Wilson--I approve of her wholeheartedly, she's very cool: I just don't enjoy her music; these techniques are enjoyable, but alone, they don't make the music in which they feature anything other than enjoyable.

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