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Cold, sterile, inhuman music


hoggy
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I've been wondering what is the appeal of very cold, sterile, unemotional music - music that is automatic, jagged, random, indifferent, brash, harsh, anti-musical...

 

 

What is your favourite music of this kind - how does it make you feel, or does it just make you think, does it inspire you, does it change how you think, do you enjoy the impenetrability?

 

 

How does it speak to you? How does it make you feel? Can you share examples of your favourite music that might belong here?

 

 

Is there always something intelligible to you in the music that you like, and the coldness is only a first impression, or do you enjoy hearing music that you can't understand and can't relate to?

 

 

Thanks!

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i think in the end it all has feeling, its just that some feelings are boring and stupid.

 

the only one i could think of that i like that is cold and sterile is meshuggah, but they just seem that way at first, then you realize they're trying to describe the feelings of lovecraftian-type monsters

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It's probably just expanding the idea of evocation through sound. I don't know really. The only difference between listening to James Brown and Ligeti is I shouldn't really play Ligeti at a staff party.

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I just think it can be music that explores the subconscious.

 

Also, there is something to be said for music that experiments with sounds and styles you've never heard before, that is the main draw for me. But I don't listen to that much experimental music anymore. But occasionally it can have a very mediative effect.

 

We are talking about the IDUMZ, right?

Edited by Ceerial
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Love a bit of early The New Blockaders.

It's like noise music made to piss off/troll/frustrate noise fans.

 

I always imagine the first album as Edwardian/Victorian robots made of wood and brass hinges becoming sentient in a disused shed somewhere.

 

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I've been wondering what is the appeal of very cold, sterile, unemotional music - music that is automatic, jagged, random, indifferent, brash, harsh, anti-musical...

 

 

What is your favourite music of this kind - how does it make you feel, or does it just make you think, does it inspire you, does it change how you think, do you enjoy the impenetrability?

 

 

How does it speak to you? How does it make you feel? Can you share examples of your favourite music that might belong here?

 

 

Is there always something intelligible to you in the music that you like, and the coldness is only a first impression, or do you enjoy hearing music that you can't understand and can't relate to?

 

 

Thanks!

 

Do you have any examples of what you're referring to? I'm assuming "music" that is super avant grade.

 

I always wonder what people find of value in stuff like this:

 

 

 

 

So there are maybe some cool sounds in there. Beyond being example of potentially cool sound design, I don't know why I'd want to listen to any of that.

 

I suppose the most austere music I listen to would be certain Thomas Koner and Biosphere, and then someone like Jana Winderen who is working exclusively with field recordings:

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9WB1qFw6oY

 

While not very melodic, these still have a lot of atmosphere and feeling. They trigger my imagination; they make me think of places, scenarios. I can't say the same for the former videos I posted.

Edited by Deion Sanders
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I always wonder what people find of value in stuff like this:

 

 

 

 

 

So there are maybe some cool sounds in there. Beyond being example of potentially cool sound design, I don't know why I'd want to listen to any of that.

 

I love listening to this type of stuff, not all the time obviously and mostly just by myself. I think weird sound design, especially the kind that sounds very foreign and unusual to our ears can have the same effect as seeing something in real life you've never seen before that leaves an impression. I feel like it serves a very different purpose than listening to experimental or ambient soundscape type music that has a distinct or maybe even 'familiar' atmosphere, where as that type of music is in some ways comforting, this type of music for the most part is not. It's like the aural equivalent of getting water splashed in the face vs being covered in a nice warm blanket.

Mot people want to experience familiar pleasure when listening to music or even 'experimental' music, but sometimes I prefer just being assaulted by the unfamiliar. I think in a large part this is what's missing from a lot of popular noise and experimental music after those scenes got popularized by places like Pitchfork and stuff. Throbbing Gristle, especially some of the live stuff is a good example of a band that played on the idea of making jarring and shocking sounds intentionally trying to make the audience uncomfortable, even some Whitehouse classifies as this. .

Edited by John Ehrlichman
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Guest RadarJammer

after you take a shower and you turn the water off your body starts dripping water onto the bathtub surface and making a thousand paterns in a bunch of different time signatures and if you listen you can find locked patterns, fluid patterns and morphing patterns you can hear cold sterile paterns and breathing jiggery ones. its all human

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Good cold and emotionless music is not actually cold and emotionless, in a sense. It's music that richly portrays cold emotionlessness emptiness. It is an expression of the depressing, vapid, or even dead parts of life. Wolfgang Voigt's Kafkatrax comes to mind.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SpQKmTlU8w

 

Actually, that's my favorite thing about a lot of "vaporwave". It's totally sterile in a capitalist nightmare kind of way:

 

(skip to 34:37)

 

So the music isn't actually emotionless. It's music that bears the aesthetic of emotionlessness. Actually emotionless music is just poorly made (although I guess one can interpret it to represent true emotionlessness, kind of like vaporwave does).

 

I'm really digging that permafrost thing btw.

Edited by gmanyo
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I love listening to this type of stuff, not all the time obviously and mostly just by myself. I think weird sound design, especially the kind that sounds very foreign and unusual to our ears can have the same effect as seeing something in real life you've never seen before that leaves an impression. I feel like it serves a very different purpose than listening to experimental or ambient soundscape type music that has a distinct or maybe even 'familiar' atmosphere, where as that type of music is in some ways comforting, this type of music for the most part is not. It's like the aural equivalent of getting water splashed in the face vs being covered in a nice warm blanket.

Mot people want to experience familiar pleasure when listening to music or even 'experimental' music, but sometimes I prefer just being assaulted by the unfamiliar. I think in a large part this is what's missing from a lot of popular noise and experimental music after those scenes got popularized by places like Pitchfork and stuff. Throbbing Gristle, especially some of the live stuff is a good example of a band that played on the idea of making jarring and shocking sounds intentionally trying to make the audience uncomfortable, even some Whitehouse classifies as this.

 

Thanks for the response. I do get what you're saying about familiarity, and wanting something more unknown at times. I guess I haven't really found anything that's "challenging" that I enjoy yet. That may never happen. The deliberate nature of trying to be shocking I find off-putting as well.

 

One of the main reasons I loathe this kind of stuff is the randomness of the effects and percussive sounds; it's like free jazz electronics or something. I feel like that's a loss, and that the unfamiliar feeling could still be conveyed while being rhymthic, less harsh, whatever. With a lot of these modular synth guys, it seems like they're just hitting record, and then triggering a bunch of noise blasts and fart sounds (Don't know if all the diarrhea sound effects are an inside joke with these dudes or not). You have this great piece of hardware with endless possibilities, why settle for that? Music can be more organized and still be unfamiliar, challenging, whatever. Maybe I'm missing the point.

Edited by Deion Sanders
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Good cold and emotionless music is not actually cold and emotionless, in a sense. It's music that richly portrays cold emotionlessness emptiness. It is an expression of the depressing, vapid, or even dead parts of life. Wolfgang Voigt's Kafkatrax comes to mind.

 

So the music isn't actually emotionless. It's music that bears the aesthetic of emotionlessness. Actually emotionless music is just poorly made (although I guess one can interpret it to represent true emotionlessness, kind of like vaporwave does).

 

I'm really digging that permafrost thing btw.

 

This.

 

A perfect example for me is El Camino Real by Basinki. One of the most cold and depressing tracks ever, but at the same time it is one of the most beautiful tracks I've ever heard.

 

Edited by Ceerial
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i think in the end it all has feeling, its just that some feelings are boring and stupid.

I don't agree that it all has feeling

 

It's probably just expanding the idea of evocation through sound. I don't know really. The only difference between listening to James Brown and Ligeti is I shouldn't really play Ligeti at a staff party.

Expanding the idea of evocation though sound - you mean, seeing what it is possible to evoke? As in, experimentation - but shouldn't experiments reach some conclusion or at some point be interpreted?

 

Ligeti is definately not inhuman - it feels like discomforting infinite primordial malevolent spookiness from the few bits I've heard - it sounds very musical to me (not something I'd want to listen to, unless I wanted to feel ill)

 

Arpanet is a great example - I really REALLY do NOT get this AT ALL

 

I just think it can be music that explores the subconscious.

 

Also, there is something to be said for music that experiments with sounds and styles you've never heard before, that is the main draw for me. But I don't listen to that much experimental music anymore. But occasionally it can have a very mediative effect.

 

We are talking about the IDUMZ, right?

I don't think it explores the subconscious if it's random

 

Again, experiments in terms of science, have a purpose - I think the task after experimental music is to find new ideas and figure out what works musically and what doesn't, I don't really listen to music as a form of 'study'

 

IDM among other stuff - and not all of it by any means, a lot of it is warm, passionate, evocative, emotional, humorous - very human, particularly Aphex if you want to include him in IDM

 

Love a bit of early The New Blockaders.

It's like noise music made to piss off/troll/frustrate noise fans.

 

I always imagine the first album as Edwardian/Victorian robots made of wood and brass hinges becoming sentient in a disused shed somewhere.

 

http://youtu.be/ZdNS0HrmLPc

How the hell can you piss off/troll/frustrate noise fans? Don't a lot of them want that anyway? Aren't you just giving them what they want in that case?

 

Actually that track sounds pretty nice to me - I like sounds with physical textures and vocal qualities like that - it stirs my imagination. It depends though, some noise can be very VERY boring, if it has no character.. Oh man! Listening now to the squeaky hinge sounds - that's so pretty! I love it. For me, these sounds bring memories back to me, like the coal bunker at my old house, the tunnels I walked down, the attic... they sound joyous to me. Not music I'd want to play on my speakers, my housemates might think I was trying to annoy them.

 

[gonna read through the other posts now...]

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Do you have any examples of what you're referring to? I'm assuming "music" that is super avant grade.

 

I always wonder what people find of value in stuff like this:

 

 

 

 

So there are maybe some cool sounds in there. Beyond being example of potentially cool sound design, I don't know why I'd want to listen to any of that.

 

I suppose the most austere music I listen to would be certain Thomas Koner and Biosphere, and then someone like Jana Winderen who is working exclusively with field recordings:

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9WB1qFw6oY

 

While not very melodic, these still have a lot of atmosphere and feeling. They trigger my imagination; they make me think of places, scenarios. I can't say the same for the former videos I posted.

The first three that baffle you are good examples, because I like and don't like them at the same time - for some reason, I get the sense that they are a little too intellectual (even though I have often liked the squerbliness of Hecker), which really puts me off - people who think they are clever are such a drag (and I don't exclude myself from that) especially when they are trying to make 'points' all the time (again, me, I know) - if music sounds like it comes from a sense of being clever more than the a desire to evoke feeling I just can't enjoy it - I'm not interested in how clever you are, tell me how you feel or make me feel something.

 

For me, the second three are not the kind of thing I mean really, because they really tap into your senses directly and evoke memories and sensations like you said.

 

I love listening to this type of stuff, not all the time obviously and mostly just by myself. I think weird sound design, especially the kind that sounds very foreign and unusual to our ears can have the same effect as seeing something in real life you've never seen before that leaves an impression. I feel like it serves a very different purpose than listening to experimental or ambient soundscape type music that has a distinct or maybe even 'familiar' atmosphere, where as that type of music is in some ways comforting, this type of music for the most part is not. It's like the aural equivalent of getting water splashed in the face vs being covered in a nice warm blanket.

Mot people want to experience familiar pleasure when listening to music or even 'experimental' music, but sometimes I prefer just being assaulted by the unfamiliar. I think in a large part this is what's missing from a lot of popular noise and experimental music after those scenes got popularized by places like Pitchfork and stuff. Throbbing Gristle, especially some of the live stuff is a good example of a band that played on the idea of making jarring and shocking sounds intentionally trying to make the audience uncomfortable, even some Whitehouse classifies as this.

You listen to this stuff by yourself - me too. So you enjoy novelty and the unexpected? For me, I am always half listening to what's behind the music and what is expressed unconsciously through it - so even if the sounds are novel to me, I am thinking 'yeah yeah, very clever, a bunch of surprising sounds' - however, Throbbing Gristle while often surprising were certainly not random - their music is so full of meaning and non-meaning. When they have surprised me, it's something more uncanny and mysterious about what the sounds evoke, and the (I almost want to say impersonal) driving force behind them.

 

Music can be more organized and still be unfamiliar, challenging, whatever. Maybe I'm missing the point.

Maybe we don't get music that is quite random because we don't want to make the effort, we don't want to believe in it - or maybe it just sucks?

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ThatSpanishGuy, on 04 Dec 2013 - 10:23 PM, said:

I listen to this kind of music when I don't really want to listen to music but I want to hear something, if that makes sense. It's pleasant as background noise. It allows me to zone out. It's also interesting. I dunno

Fair enough - I find that to zone out I need something to occupy my mind too

 

Capsaicin, on 05 Dec 2013 - 01:05 AM, said:

Ryoji Ikeda would probably float your boat

Uh, yeah this is another great example like Arpanet that I really do not understand. There's nothing there, just pure empty electronic sounds. There are faint suggestions of musicality, feedback almost sounding like a musical note, stuttering almost like a breakbeat - but nothing ever becoming music. The almost musical qualities make me think he couldn't quite cope with the pointlessness of the excersize and wanted to prove that you can find music in the digital landscape (so he forced it in there superficially). Do you enjoy this? What does it do for you? Be honest

 

RadarJammer, on 05 Dec 2013 - 01:35 AM, said:

after you take a shower and you turn the water off your body starts dripping water onto the bathtub surface and making a thousand paterns in a bunch of different time signatures and if you listen you can find locked patterns, fluid patterns and morphing patterns you can hear cold sterile paterns and breathing jiggery ones. its all human

Or just a bunch of (sort of) random dripping sounds you're reading things into?
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Jesus gmanyo those two were awful - do you enjoy that kind of thing? How does it make you feel, what do you think when you listen to it?

 

Ceerial, ugh ugh ugggghhhhh!!!!! What IS that track? Uuuuugggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it's like Ketamine on a rainy day with a bunch of people you don't know

 

Anyway, the idea of music that evokes cold blankness is a little bit different from what I mean, but not much if it just IS cold and blank, rather than EXPRESSING it

Edited by hoggy
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Jesus gmanyo those two were awful - do you enjoy that kind of thing? How does it make you feel, what do you think when you listen to it?

 

Ceerial, ugh ugh ugggghhhhh!!!!! What IS that track? Uuuuugggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it's like Ketamine on a rainy day with a bunch of people you don't know

 

Anyway, the idea of music that evokes cold blankness is a little bit different from what I mean, but not much if it just IS cold and blank, rather than EXPRESSING it

Good thing I read this post before actually spending the time it would take to type out a serious reply to this thread.

 

So thank you, I guess.

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Pretty weird post indeed. Why did you make this thread to begin with, if you don't want people to use examples?

And it's just William Basinski, a quite well respected ambient artist, I think most people on this site likes his music. Of course I can understand if you are not into it, but it's not like I posted Merzbow or Russell Haswell or anything weird like that.

 

Bit of an overreaction if you ask me.

Edited by Ceerial
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Pretty weird post indeed. Why did you make this thread to begin with, if you don't want people to use examples?

 

And it's just William Basinski, a quite well respected ambient artist, I think most people on this site likes his music. Of course I can understand if you are not into it, but it's not like I posted Merzbow or Russell Haswell or anything crazy like that.

I apologise, honestly meant no offence (as unbelievable as that seems I know)

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