Thursday, February 17, 2005


Brandon over at Bad Christian laid out his musical autobiography, and asked for the same from others (check out Streak's, too). Since my comment was starting to overspill the bounds of acceptable length, bloggin' it is better.

While Brandon ended up at folk, I started at folk. When I got kinda good on guitar, though, it really, really bothered me that folk is so musically limited. There are only a handful of chord progressions, after all, yet folk embraces this Romantic ideology of the author-as-genius. I couldn't handle the cognitive dissonance, so I started listening to music that fractures sound. I've found that there are three main ways to fracture a given chord progression:

Texturally: My Bloody Valentine is a good example. They overload a song with so many sounds and layers that you end up not listening to the chord changes - I guess you could say it collapses a linear, or horizontal, chord progression into one massive synchronic, or vertical, scale.

Tempo - Slow a chord progression down until it's entirely unrecognizable as a progression at all. It's almost the inverse of the MBV method. Rather than overload a progression, ya stretch it out. Best example: Labradford (if you check out the music page, check out "Pico" from 1996's Labradford). See also: Stars of the Lid.

Arpeggiation: Instead of strumming a progression, you break each chord into component notes. This is best done by utilizing notes that don't fit into the given chord. That way, the tonal center of the chord is displaced and makes the chord less recognizable as itself. Exemplar: Six Parts Seven. Interestingly, I've also found that there are a good many Christians playing in this style (Unwed Sailor, for example).

Now to copy quotes from Brandon and Streak that are ripe for good-spirited mocking and to give assorted shout-outs.

Streak: "I was an Amy Grant fan and saw her in concert a few times. I still like her voice, and we listen to her Christmas album every year." Really, this mocks itself. No commentary necessary.

"I listened to a lot of stuff that makes me wince now. Def Leppard (though the first album was decent) Rush and a few others." Def Leppard ruled. I don't know if anyone remembers, but inside the Hysteria cassette was a mail-away offer for their "official biography". Yeah, I bought it. And it was awesome. I still read it once a year. Actually, I just think it'd be funny if I did.

Brandon: "I was totally jazzed when I heard Jesus Freak from DC Talk on the local radio station...." That song came out when I was going through my terrible-music-is-hilarious phase. I'd drive around, blaring that song paired with assorted tracks from Mary Kate & Ashley's Sleepover Party and Vanilla Ice's totally underrated "gangsta comeback album" Mind Blowin'.

General shoutout: I still like the folk. Good stuff. Also, that was the best post topic ever.