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19 minutes ago, kuniklo said:

It seems like learning notation is considered inherently pretentious somehow in this thread. 

Learning notation isn't pretentious, in fact I highly encourage anyone who makes music to do it. What's pretentious is saying "I taught myself how to read and write sheet music" lol and the other cringey things he's said on the subject. 

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Man, that art looks awfully close to a dude in a wheelchair...

7 am. rimsky-korsakov's flight of the bumblebee wakes me up. i put the kettle on and brush my teeth. the man in the mirror looks deeply troubled. i then take a poop. my mind wanders in the utopian wor

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i've listened to the album a few times on youtube, it's not that bad actually. that's not to say i particularly enjoyed it but compared to what he usually does, it's ok imo. he should continue on this path imo. 

anyway i noticed right away that the album relied heavily on a limited set of moves, and i started roughly analyzing the tunes for fun and ended up writing down the tonality and key changes of each tune.

quick disclaimer: don't expect super accuracy or exhaustiveness. i didn't bother trying to analyze when i wasn't sure and i only skipped through the tunes, so my analysis might be wrong, as i might have missed a few things that contradict my conclusions. also, keep in mind i'm not that good at music theory, so there might be a few mistakes. anyway here's my rough analysis of the tonalities and key changes on the album - which might as well be titled "i've just discovered the dorian mode and i don't like key changes all that much":

1 (1st tune) - C3/4# dorian (C3/4# means the quarter tone between C# and D - this isn't the official notation for microtones but i can't be bothered using it) - no key change 

2 - Eb dorian - no key change

3 - Bb minor - no key change 

4 - this one is trickier - A minor/C major (depending on how you analyze it) - then G minor - Bb minor/Db major - G# minor - Eb major - G# minor 

5 - C3/4# dorian - no key change 

6 - C3/4# dorian again - same thing 

7 - F# minor - same 

8 - this one i had fun analyzing - C# altered - F# dorian - F locrian/G# dorian (depending on how you analyze it) - E locrian/G dorian - F major 

9 - D dorian - no key change 

10 - A dorian at the beginning - C minor for the rest of the tune 

11 - A1/2# minor(quarter tone between A and A#) - no key change 

12 - E1/2b (between E and Eb) - not sure about this one, all i can say is it's a pedal point (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedal_point

13 - C# minor - a few brief modulations i couldn't be bothered analyzing - F# minor 

14 - the tune with the most complex harmony on the album - no clear tonal center during the 1st half as it modulates constantly - some pedal point on C - C minor at the end

15 - C minor - no key change

16 - C minor - same 

as you may have noticed by now, heavy use of dorian (and minor to a lesser extent), many tunes with 0 modulation. the tunes i like the most are those that modulate the most (unsurprisingly), except for tune 5, whose 1st half is my favourite thing on the album (hate the 2nd half though).

i might come back to this at some point to correct the mistakes i may have made, or to complete missing info. 

 

 

 

 

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That’s very interesting- did notice a difference to his older releases like body riddle or empty  the bones of you in terms of harmonic structure?

 

Could you do this song by song key analysis  with said records? 

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(Don’t want to bother but the is one of the most interesting takes on this topic as it’s finally adding some meat to the discussion and makes me wonder if it’s the synthesis that changed or if he did something on the harmonic side in comparison to older releases) 

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@o00o- off topic but 3-4 years ago you messaged me about an album you were putting the final touches on. I was hoping to hear it 😞

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8 minutes ago, Hugh Mughnus said:

@o00o- off topic but 3-4 years ago you messaged me about an album you were putting the final touches on. I was hoping to hear it 😞

pm send ❤️

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1 hour ago, o00o said:

(Don’t want to bother but the is one of the most interesting takes on this topic as it’s finally adding some meat to the discussion and makes me wonder if it’s the synthesis that changed or if he did something on the harmonic side in comparison to older releases) 

Short answer no. "Dorian" just sounds fancy, but it's really common.  I wonder if Clark "taught himself" what dorian is lol.  Anyway, I can't cross-check Brian on this one because it would mean having to listen to the album again, so take his word for it I guess lol  

Edited by toaoaoad
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On 4/6/2021 at 6:36 PM, yekker said:

 

Wait, this is the same guy ? :emotawesomepm9:

Used to really love this album but for whatever reason I find it aged really badly to my ears. I find the vocals really cringy for some reason. But overall the album is really well executed

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4 hours ago, Bubba69 said:

Used to really love this album but for whatever reason I find it aged really badly to my ears. I find the vocals really cringy for some reason. But overall the album is really well executed

I like this album but this song reminds me of The Mighty Boosh

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10 hours ago, o00o said:

Could you do this song by song key analysis with said records? 

yeah sure, some other day. i like doing this, it's lots of fun.

 

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12 hours ago, toaoaoad said:

Short answer no. "Dorian" just sounds fancy, but it's really common.  

oh yeah btw, to those who aren't familiar with music theory: the dorian mode/scale is a slight variation of the minor scale (it's basically the minor scale with a raised 6th). it sounds less grim/more optimistic than minor, it has a somehow resilient sound to it imo, if that makes sense.

but at the end of the day, it's unmistakably a minor sound (it has the signature minor 3rd interval). which means this album consists mainly of minor sounds (whether it's dorian or aeolian - aeolian is the other name for minor btw, the minor scale is the aeolian mode). how original and ambitious lol. although to be fair, at least he tried a few different things in some of the tunes, like changing keys, changing modes, add a bit of tonal ambiguity and dissonance, etc. so props to him for that.

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The thing I don't get in all of this is that he seemed to have a perfectly good grasp of harmony all along. There's nothing new harmonically here. I guess what he means with the "taught myself" bit is that he just learned how to represent the notes on the page. But it sells as some kind of advancement to the music itself, which it doesn't seem to be at all.

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2 minutes ago, toaoaoad said:

The thing I don't get in all of this is that he seemed to have a perfectly good grasp of harmony all along. There's nothing new harmonically here. I guess what he means with the "taught myself" bit is that he just learned how to represent the notes on the page. But it sells as some kind of advancement to the music itself, which it doesn't seem to be at all.

did he mention teaching himself music theory or harmony in interviews? i can't remember

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So whats technically different to Body Riddle - for me its synthesis mostly and quality control. The new releases sound like his attention span and restraint to keep something is much lower. It sounds like he just jams something quickly and does not wait how tracks feel over time but just puts it out as is. 

I wonder how much time a body riddle track took him vs the current output

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venetian snares had the same issue getting tired of his formula and started churning out releases and you could totally hear it 

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7 minutes ago, brian trageskin said:

did he mention teaching himself music theory or harmony in interviews? i can't remember

I think it was just "reading and writing 'sheet music'". So I'm assuming the string parts on this album were actually scored. Good for him, but to me it doesn't sound like any kind of actual significant advancement compositionally, and I don't think he has learned anything about orchestration. What is most confusing about it all is that he's already had string parts on previous albums, I'm thinking as far back as Body Riddle (unless those were just patches?) The whole thing is a bit confusing to me and I think misleading overall.  

 

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15 hours ago, brian trageskin said:

i've listened to the album a few times on youtube, it's not that bad actually. that's not to say i particularly enjoyed it but compared to what he usually does, it's ok imo. he should continue on this path imo. 

anyway i noticed right away that the album relied heavily on a limited set of moves, and i started roughly analyzing the tunes for fun and ended up writing down the tonality and key changes of each tune.

quick disclaimer: don't expect super accuracy or exhaustiveness. i didn't bother trying to analyze when i wasn't sure and i only skipped through the tunes, so my analysis might be wrong, as i might have missed a few things that contradict my conclusions. also, keep in mind i'm not that good at music theory, so there might be a few mistakes. anyway here's my rough analysis of the tonalities and key changes on the album - which might as well be titled "i've just discovered the dorian mode and i don't like key changes all that much":

1 (1st tune) - C3/4# dorian (C3/4# means the quarter tone between C# and D - this isn't the official notation for microtones but i can't be bothered using it) - no key change 

2 - Eb dorian - no key change

3 - Bb minor - no key change 

4 - this one is trickier - A minor/C major (depending on how you analyze it) - then G minor - Bb minor/Db major - G# minor - Eb major - G# minor 

5 - C3/4# dorian - no key change 

6 - C3/4# dorian again - same thing 

7 - F# minor - same 

8 - this one i had fun analyzing - C# altered - F# dorian - F locrian/G# dorian (depending on how you analyze it) - E locrian/G dorian - F major 

9 - D dorian - no key change 

10 - A dorian at the beginning - C minor for the rest of the tune 

11 - A1/2# minor(quarter tone between A and A#) - no key change 

12 - E1/2b (between E and Eb) - not sure about this one, all i can say is it's a pedal point (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedal_point

13 - C# minor - a few brief modulations i couldn't be bothered analyzing - F# minor 

14 - the tune with the most complex harmony on the album - no clear tonal center during the 1st half as it modulates constantly - some pedal point on C - C minor at the end

15 - C minor - no key change

16 - C minor - same 

as you may have noticed by now, heavy use of dorian (and minor to a lesser extent), many tunes with 0 modulation. the tunes i like the most are those that modulate the most (unsurprisingly), except for tune 5, whose 1st half is my favourite thing on the album (hate the 2nd half though).

i might come back to this at some point to correct the mistakes i may have made, or to complete missing info. 

 

 

 

 

Philip Glass created a five-hour opera with far fewer harmonic/melodic elements than this (and it was quite good)

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Kudos to Brian for his commitment to this kind of thing, but yeah... it's a lot of text, but you realize this could be done with any album and it would look like a lot is going on. Theory analysis is just words, and can make things sound a lot fancier than they are, especially if you don't know what the words mean lol. You could do this with Autechre too but we already know they don't look at music that way. I believe most electronic artists don't (many don't even know what the black keys are for lol). I'd be really hesitant to compare what Clark is doing to Philip Glass lol (got a source for that btw?) not that I'm a Philip Glass fan, just think it's not an appropriate comparison. 

Can't believe I'm a "top poster in this topic" lol :catsuicide:

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Just now, Dragon said:

Philip Glass created a five-hour opera with far fewer harmonic/melodic elements than this (and it was quite good)

yeah sure, but philip glass's pieces have way more ambitious structures than clark's (from what i've heard anyway - i'm thinking music in 12 parts, einstein on the beach). it's not about which scale you use anyway, it's how you use it and what you say using it. and clark's simply not saying anything new or particularly interesting, as toad pointed out.

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On 4/10/2021 at 9:52 PM, toaoaoad said:

I had to ask myself why it bothered me so much, and the reason is I just really hate pretension. Tons of artists are pretentious of course, but it bothers me more I guess when it's an artist I originally liked, who showed a lot of promise but has made a series of choices that don't resonate with me (to put it politely). So it's that combo of... not only is he making terrible music but he's also inflating himself as this sort of genius about it. If that was any shit artist I wouldn't care because it happens all the time, but it's disappointing that it's Clark. I guess his music has always come across as a bit pretentious tho. But it just keeps getting worse and worse. 

i think you're confusing his earnestness for pretentiousness. if you don't understand something/someone it doesn't make it/them pretentious. i wish people would stop using the term as a criticism.

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27 minutes ago, QQQ said:

i think you're confusing his earnestness for pretentiousness. if you don't understand something/someone it doesn't make it/them pretentious. i wish people would stop using the term as a criticism.

I'm not sure what you mean... has it come across at all that I don't understand something?  It's my personal opinion that saying "I taught myself" is pretentious; it leads people to think "wow this guy is so smart, he taught himself!" when really it's something quite unremarkable, and teaching yourself actually more likely means that you've learned something somewhat incorrectly (or at least incompletely) and have blind spots. It's misleading and a bit self-aggrandizing. So I'm calling him out for that. In the following post I admitted that I didn't have a concrete basis for my overall impression that he's pretentious. We're all entitled to our opinions, but naturally fans on a fan site are going to resist the negative ones lol

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1 minute ago, toaoaoad said:

it's a lot of text, but you realize this could be done with any album and it would look like a lot is going on. Theory analysis is just words, and can make things sound a lot fancier than they are.

you're absolutely right. don't be fooled people, it's a lot of words but that doesn't mean the music is complex or i'm some kind of genius lol. and it's not even like i analyzed the tunes in terms of functional relationships or anything, what i did is quite easy and quick to do with basic knowledge of theory, and it doesn't say a thing about how these tunes actually work, other than "here's the key, here's the mode".

and i'm not doing this to impress anybody, i just have way too much time on my hands and i love music theory. but yeah, the words can sound super fancy and next level when really, the information is much simpler than it looks lol.

i guess the interesting info you can get from this is if you use the same scales and key changes, chances are you're gonna get a very similar sound, if that's your thing. which is what interests me the most about theory btw, the fact that it gives you the ability to reproduce specific sounds and moves without much difficulty.

 

31 minutes ago, toaoaoad said:

many don't even know what the black keys are for lol

lol

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5 hours ago, brian trageskin said:

yeah sure, some other day. i like doing this, it's lots of fun.

 

 cool looking forward to - I sometimes do this with melodyne as well but I wish I could guess scales just by listening 

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19 minutes ago, toaoaoad said:

teaching yourself actually more likely means that you've learned something somewhat incorrectly (or at least incompletely) and have blind spots. It's misleading and a bit self-aggrandizing. 

completely agree, i should know lol

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Btw there's nothing inherently wrong with being self-taught, either. Loads of musicians are self-taught, I mean just look at rock music, punk etc. never mind all the electronic musicians out there. The difference is in bragging about it; most would be quicker to admit their knowledge is incomplete, rather than saying in interviews "look how brilliant I am, and now this album is going to inspire people to listen to classical music" lmao. Tell me how that's not pretentious. 

Anyway, I feel like I went way too deep into this. Normally I'm careful to pick my battles but somehow I fell into this one and kept digging lol. Just yesterday Gaskarth Cyrk Dedication came on and I was grooving to it. There's a lot of material Clark has put out that I really love. I just don't subscribe to this trip he's on right now. 

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