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Sunday, January 24, 2010

About Tastes, Arguments and Judging - grrroOOOOOoowwwwl it OUT!!!

"And you should get more into growlers... just ignore the growling if you want, there's usually lots of dynamics in their music!"

This is a posting by "Blueprint", and has been agreed by "Ayreonaut" on the forum of Progpower Europe as a final comment to my ppe reviews. I want to memorize Lamneth's article Tribalism in Progressive Circles.

What I can say about the growling is that it is not my favorite art of expression. I am listening to growlers since a couple of years, and it will never be my preferred vocal technique. There are some I can enjoy pretty much, and some I cannot stand at all. I divide them in four categories:

1) The expressive ones - Used to create a sonic vision of something evil in a story to be told, such as Amaseffer use in their outstanding prog metal bible soundtrack epic trilogy. I love them one hundred percent.

2) The atmospheric ones - used alternatively to clean vocals for creating a dark or evil atmosphere in genres where guitar alone (or even with keyboards) cannot achieve it. Why not? If it turns out any good...

3) The "for-the-sake-of-it" growlings - In the beginning there was the growling, the came the lyrics. All music gets written around it so the growling has a base to float over. I dont' have any sense for it, there is no beauty in the music for my music analyzing neuronal patterns.

4) The production enhancing growls - Now we have produced a very strong album, but what can we do to improve sales results? We should bring some growling in, that will attract the other half of the metal fans as well. I call them - like they are meant to be - evil. Evil commerce.

So, what happens if those cookies come along when I'm tuned in to progulus radio? I get tears in my eyes (1), just let the music play and wonder if and how it will please me (2), press the mute button because the music bothers me (3) or consider the band being lost to the deeps of capitalism (4).
If it fills the air at such a genious festival like Progpower Europe, I have a great option: I walk through the door and do the second thing I came for: talking to some of the great people I have the opportunity to meet.
Concernig to Blueprint's idea of just ignoring the cookies, well, I can't. At least unless one offers a growling filter implant.
But all in all, Blueprint is right, many bands really do great music, and the fact that I can't stand the growling and therefore will not listen to them is a tragedy.

So much for my statement about cookiemonster vocals. I will not say silly things like "I hate people shouting at me this way" or something like that. There is this one thing in man that has no reason: taste. It is the way it is, and one cannot say why. In this human here, a strong growling intolerance is given. but hey, it is my taste! I don't actually am against it on purpose! I just don't like to hear it. I would never say it is a bad thing because of reason xy. Bad for me in person only because I miss some great instrumental work, but I will never tell anybody to not growl unless he/she were in a band I've founded.
Lamneth complained about one who said that Opeth are killing the death metal genre by bringing in some clean vocals. Well, I bet it was a young one who's overly supportive to that genre so he doesn't want to go beyond it one little step. It was an opinion, nothing more. A person with a rather narrow range of taste. That won't make this person a bad guy at all. I bet if I meet that one, we could have a great time together.
We here are proggers. We love this kind of music and support it in all ways we can. In common we share tastes. Even if we have sort of tribalism, which I tend to call differences in taste. Is that bad?
If I made friendship only with proggers here in Munich, where I live, I would be a rather lonely person.
Imagine a person that is highly intelligent and smart, has a high class job that makes him a 1st class income, but is straight to the ground and simply a great friend. And then you find out he's a country fan. Would you turn your back on him and call him a moron? I don't think so.
In the nineties there was a great guy being sound engineer at the studio where I worked. We were hanging out in bars and street cafes pretty often, simply having a great time. one day we began a discussion about how a good radio show would have to be made, how much variety it should have, and all that kind of ideas. It took some two hours and we agreed in simply every aspect, until we came to the point where we started to name bands to be played. We've found out that I was the metal guy and he was a straight to the heart hip hopper. Man, that was a laugh!! But we've remained good friends and spent plenty of great time together until life tore us apart 10 years ago. I still think of him often.

All we people on this planet have different tastes and should respect each other's. Some 25 years ago, when I was into jazz (among other genres), I turned and walked away because of the elitism of the jazzers. In the here and now I experience the same elitism in prog fans and gotta shake my head.
Intelligent music - being open minded - convert the sheep to prog - no hope for the morons ... I hear and read terms like these way too often in the progressive corner. Are we really that better than the rest of the world?
The doctor who saves your live loves classical
The bakerman who produces your bread loves marching music
The farmer who grows your vegetables loves country
The constructor who built your house loves trip hop
---> All morons? Not worthy?

Stop the elitism! Stop evangelizing! Or you are the moron...
Yes, play your preferred music to people you like. But when they ask you to stop, then stop. Respect their tastes.
Taste cannot be controlled, neither can it be manipulated. Gladly! If that were possible all our governments would do it. A horrible scenario.


BG said...

"Lamneth complained about one who said that Opeth are killing the death metal genre by bringing in some clean vocals"

I would say that Opeth is helping keeping the genre alive.

If you really want to blame some bands, take those commercially driven band like Linkin Park, Bullet for my Valentine, etc that take growls and clear vocal and somehow manage to make the combination sound like pop songs.

Marcel said...

Good blog, one side note:

though you should respect others when they tell you to "turn that shit off", on the other hand is it too much to ask for a little respect for taste of others. Whereas you yourself are a most respectful individual, I've seen others almost make a show of walking out of a venue, hands held high and shaking their heads. I can tell you that doesn't do much good to the self-esteem of a band that's already performing to small crowd and can basically count heads in the venue. I saw it happen to Neverland this year at PPEU, and out of respect for the band (even though it was one of the least enjoyable performances this year for me), I stood and watched. And when I saw others walk away that dramatically, I moved in and stood closer to fill a gap. I did walk away eventually, but after a song, after applauding their effort (cos they did put in effort) and with a nod to both Iris and the Turkish singer.

I've noticed there's a severe lack of respect for other music genres in general, and ofcourse it's the bad apples ruining it for everybody else. I think these bad apples need to be pointed out their flaws and told that their severe disrespect for people is most humiliating and hurtful, not just for the people they intend to hurt, but in the end not in their own interest either.

Good job Ray!

stringray said...

"turn that shit off" will never make me do it. Bad manners are bad manners and I dislike them. I usually react with ignorance to such people.
And indeed, if I see someone behaving like you mention, me being on stage, I think "go with your god and keep him away from me, go to a place that suits you better and the both of us will be happy."
Whenever I have the doubtful pleasure of meeting self-pretentious people, I let them live and don't care much; but one thing is for sure: no invitation to my barbequeue.

BG said...

Some people are just ignorant and cannot imagine people listening to music that is outside of their own small box.

And acquaintance once heard some of the music I like and responded: "Why do you listen to this stuff?Its not even heavy".
Well, what could I say? These kinds of questions really deserve no answers, but I told him "Because I like it", and that is all there is to it.

guitarsean said...

I used to hate death metal vocals. They've gradually grown on me and now I like them when they are done in balance with clean vocals, like Scar Symmetry. The music have to appeal to me, too. I think In Flames was the first band that broke through for me, partly because of the well produced, melodic music. I also prefer that I can still figure out the words. Some bands might as well just employ snarling dogs... oh wait, somebody did:

Jeroen said...

Just as guitarsean, I used to hate anything beyond crisp clean singing. And just as Lammeth, Opeth opened the growling doors for me. From that point onwards, I gradualy grew more into the extremes that music has to offer, both towards the growly side and the more "genteel" side. The growls took me to bands like Death and Vader. The other side took me towards Zappa, Beefheart, and even to jazz ans some modern classic. Something I never guessed I would have ever liked some years ago.

I'm not saying I'm always as open minded as I wish I'd be. I recall for example a discussion about Panzerballet on the ProgPower Europe forum where I formed my opinion too soon, before a live experience. And I categorised the band as a jazz act. Well, my judging was horribly wrong as it turned out.

My point? Well, I think everyone of us can enjoy a broader scope of the music industry than you could ever imagine. As long as you're open to anything, you will discover your taste to be broader than expected. And I can only hope that more people are willing to do this.

stringray said...

Great to see you popping up here on our blog, Jeroen!
A cool coincidence that you were posting this while Dario, Sven and me were at a Panterballett gig. :D (Sven told me that he considers attending ppe this year...)

I think you should follow Cello and tune in to progulus some here and there. If you want to open yourself to more musical genres and styles, progulus is your best place to be. And, you can chat live with us, the English/German newbies in the ppe family, and all others of the progulus family of course!

And btw, I'm glad you went to a Panzerballett gig, even with a prejudice! Exploring music, that's the spirit!