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Old Nov 16, 2004, 03:12 PM   #1
NerkTwin
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Default Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

I've noticed there is limited knowledge of instruments on this forum (not knocking anybody down, just an observation). So if anybody has any questions about music or instruments, feel free to ask me and i'll probably be able to answer.
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Old Nov 16, 2004, 04:05 PM   #2
sourmilkpinky
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Default Re: Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

Why does today's music suck??? Just kidding (unless you want to answer that one). Welcome to the forum. I know soooo little about music and instruments I wouldn't know what to begin to ask.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 07:28 PM   #3
lennon4
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Default Re: Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

Okay, here's one... WHERE can I find a Rickenbacker imitation guitar? As I'm not famous, yet, I don't have the money for a real one. Any ideas? The Jay Turser models were discontinued.

-lennon4
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Old Nov 20, 2004, 05:55 AM   #4
PetePointon
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Default Re: Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

[ QUOTE ]
sourmilkpinky Posted:
Why does today's music suck??? Just kidding (unless you want to answer that one).

[/ QUOTE ]

I'll take that one. Axtually, not all of it does, but there are problems...

In the words of Charlie Parker, "There are only two sorts of music: good and bad." That's been true almost since some hairy bloke with protruberant eyebrow ridges discovered that a hollow log makes a nice sound if you bash it with a big enough stick. And there's always good music being made in one way or another if you look for it. (There's also always bad music: that's the stuff that tends not to find its way onto the nostalgia CDs that line the cheapie bins.)

Good quality or no, it's traditional for one generation to shout upstairs for their kids to "Turn that bloody jungle music down," and once they've trapped their slumping offspring in the same room to lecture them on how "Music was much better in their day."

The fact is that it generally wasn't so much "better" as different in style and approach. Thus pure musicianship was valued far more in the first half of the 20th century, and thereafter the emphasis was on more handmade music and individual expression. Thanks to the education I received as a musician, which came largely from musicians who had already been playing for decades when I started, I've learned to love music my grandparents and parents grew up on, but I follow the usual pattern in that I still get a special frisson from the music I particularly liked in my own era.

There are deep psychological reasons for this response which are similar to those that cause scents and smells to trigger particular emotions and memories: the music that we heard as kids, and particularly in those years when the hormones began boiling through our veins and so many of the experiences we encountered were entirely new, formed the soundtrack to those most vital times, and hearing it can actually send "ghost" messages to the nerve endings that were most highly stimulated back then.

One of the reasons this happens is that popular music has obligingly branched off in new directions with the passing decades. This evolution hasn't necessarily resulted in improvements in quality, but it has offered succeeding generations music that they can recognise as their own. There's always been another caveman capable of finding a new riff to play on that treetrunk, or new ways of chanting in time.

Except that over the last decade or so it's all started to go wrong, probably because the process has been accelerated by recording and distribution technology.

In the last couple of years I've bought stuff by Beck, Coldplay, The Manic Street Porters - sorry, Preachers (a joke only the English can get) - and Badly Drawn Boy amongst others. Some of it's not up to scratch, but there's also a lot of well crafted stuff there. The problem is that there's little or nothing there that's new, beyond personal nuance. Popular music, which has in the past depended on change, has climbed to a plateau where there's nothing really happening.

All musical forms are endemically limited by the scope of instrumentation and technique available to them, and rock is a case in point. It's growing old. Its characteristic scales, chords, tunings, vocal harmonies and whatever have been scrutinised and exploited for decades. There's nothing new to be found there, any more than there are any more truly new and pleasing tunes be written. It's all been done, and most of it had already been done by the end of the '60s.

This state of affairs should have been expected really, as the same thing happened to jazz. It was losing its pace by the early '60s, and by the mid-'70s was suffering from a paucity of new ideas. Ken Burns' documentary series on jazz fizzles out in regard to the last three decades because there's little to say about them. Adding break beats hardly counts as development.

No doubt someone would challenge me by pointing to dance/techno/trance or whatever label is currently being applied to branches of similar electronically based product, but can they honestly say that anything truly new has come along in those genres in the last decade? In fact, dance does point to a certain desperation in the search for something new and individual. In many ways it is regressing back to the first primitive thumps on treetrunks, in that the hypnotic qualities of the rhythm have become the guiding principle and it's primary function is ritualistic, to provide a pulsing background for the rites of passage occurring at the rave or club. Melody and harmony are reduced, and even stripped away completely. Rap? Playground chant brought indoors, something to flirt and get ratted by.

Musical forms with an electronic bias have limited staying power anyway: there is a coldness in them engendered by their dependence on studio technology, which the human psyche recognises even where sampling is used to plunder the work of musicians whose manipulation of their instruments is more direct or whose vocals are less heavily processed. Ever wonder why old songs and "natural" instrumentation are used far more often in commercials than electronic sounds? It's because the advertisers have realised that they'll sell more by associating their products with warmer, more "human" sounds.

The music industry's response to the prevailing lack of creativity is to become more entrenched in what they've always been about really: producing marketable product. They prefer artists in any given genre to produce similar albums each and every time, so as not to alienate their fanbase. The fall-off in Blur's fanbase when they moved in a more rootsy direction does seem to show that they have a point. So we get bands like REM making what is effectively the same album over and over again. At the same time, anodyne groups of "singers" are constantly being created, really chosen because of their looks and ability to mime at the same time as doing dance moves. The music made "by" these people is paint-by-numbers pop, and often poor covers of past originals: but as long as the group gets enough TV and radio exposure they know it will sell, because the media are compartmentalised and geared-up to display little else.

I can tell you the time when I first became interested in music almost to the minute. It was Saturday 19th January 1963 at around 6.15 PM. That was when I saw four young men called The Beatles performing Please Please Me on the TV programme Thank Your Lucky Stars. Like so many others I was instantly galvanised by the brash originality and melodicism of their sound and the startling difference of their look. Had I but known it, my future career was born in that moment, but the timing of The Beatles was crucial in a broader sense. They arrived at just the right time, as pop was in a similar state to now: anodyne, coasting, dependent upon plastic popstars - then created by the likes of Larry Parnes. It proved that I backed the right horse from the start, as over the next seven years The Beatles both made and inadvertently fostered myriad developments in approach, songwriting and technique.

Pop/rock needs the freshness of another Beatles now, and I would dearly love to see such saviours arrive. But I'm not holding my breath.

Rock and roll isn't dead, but it's started to go round in circles.
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Old Nov 20, 2004, 10:39 AM   #5
sourmilkpinky
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Default Re: Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

Thanks Pete
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Old Nov 20, 2004, 10:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

very interesting read, thanks Pete, I think you nailed this one...
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 08:23 AM   #7
PetePointon
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Default Re: Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

Thanks, gentles all.

One thing I forgot to mention is that we should remember that it's all new to the kids anyway. They have, after all, got the entire sweep of music history to explore, whether there's anything original coming up or not. For example, my six year old has taken a liking to doowop, and his favourite album is the American Graffitti soundtrack.

Markets have changed so radically that music simply can't be as important as it once was in any case. Put it this way: there isn't a single CD on the Christmas lists I've received so far, though there are plenty of DVDs and computer games.
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Old Nov 27, 2004, 07:36 AM   #8
chiliace
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Default Re: Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

Pete,I read with intreast your post regarding new and original rock and roll music.I don't have that post right in front of me, but if I remember rightly, you hold little hope of hearing anything excitingly "new" in way of format and substance.
I would like to dust off and put on the table an ancient belief known as The Muses. We've all heard about these inspiriational {and some say creative) forces used by artists,including musicians.
The muses have not moved on to another substrata of beings, to this day they still make themselves available to human kind. Rock and Roll has used the Muses to come up with new and exciting tunes since the blues turned a few shades brighter and picked up a beat, transforming blues to rock and roll.
It's been said that in all Arts new artists borrow from the old to build on and enhance the "new" material. This may be so, but to have a piece really "work" SOMETHING new must be added. The new bit is suipplied by the Muses.
To access the creative genius an artist must put a great deal of ego out of the way and become somewhat of a "medium", bridging the gap between mortal knowledge and divne inspiration.
There is no lack of new material in this divine realm. Something new is always readily available, should the artist be able to "get his(or her) bloated nothingness out of the way" (Emerson).This is good news for all lovers of rock and roll. As we move our way towards higher consciousness and less ego, the new rock and roll will appear. It should be really good stuff and I'm looking forward to it.
Hope this didn't come off as to lofty, but the Muses have come through for mankind in the past, and why shouldn't they continue?
Soldiering on in the North,
Chiliace <font color="orange"> </font>
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Old Nov 29, 2004, 02:27 PM   #9
PetePointon
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Default Re: Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

I'd really like to be wrong, Chiliace, but I don't think I am. The fact is that there is a limit to what you can do within given genres, even those which actually embrace several sub genres like rock and jazz. You're right that all art is essentially synthesis, a fusing into unique combinations of what has gone before with a little inspiration thrown in, but I think the inspiration in popular music is gone because there's nothing new to be found. Individual artists can still sound slightly different from others because of their location, socialisation processes, influences and so on, but the buzzing shock of the new which we once felt upon first hearing great originals such as Like A Rolling Stone or I Am The Walrus isn't forthcoming any more.

We shouldn't be surprised, as history is littered with worked-out musical seams: baroque, romanticism, ragtime - you name it. Genres don't become redundant merely because they've fallen out of fashion, but because even the greatest musicians can find nothing new to do with them and so they either move on or commit themselves to repeating earlier work as well as they can.
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 02:19 AM   #10
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Default Re: Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

[ QUOTE ]
[b]PetePointon Posted:[/b
In the last couple of years I've bought stuff by Beck, Coldplay, The Manic Street Porters - sorry, Preachers (a joke only the English can get)

[/ QUOTE ]

I got it and I'm not English!
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 01:41 PM   #11
PetePointon
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Default Re: Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

Eek! Sorry, I'm not really a little Englander: I just wasn't thinking straight at the time. Mind you, bad things seem to happen to me in Scotland. so maybe my subconscious was in protective mode.

I'd also like to apologise to the Welsh amd Irish, who are also no doubt aware of la Porter (especially now), and to anyone in continental Europe who either subscribes to or steals our telly.
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Old Dec 02, 2004, 08:02 PM   #12
chiliace
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Default Re: Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

PetePointon--------
Somehow we have got into the who's right and who's wrong tangle. I'm not trying to be right, I'm trying to be a lamp set atop a hill (in a very humble way).
On page 175 of The Beatles Anthology Paul talks of "...my most successful song.It's amazing that it just came to me in a dream.That's why I don't profess to know anything; I think music is all very mystical. You hear people saying 'I'm a vehicle, it just passes through me.' Well, your're dead lucky if something like that passes through you."
Lucky indeed if you can be a vehicle for which a song like "Yesterday" passes through you.
It's a good thing, to my way of thinking, that the mystical powers that be know nothing of lack of inspiration or a void of new material.
I guardedly share the view in that true greatness in rock'n'roll has rarely been heard since the likes of the Beatles and early contemporaries. However the wildfire that burned so bright in Springsteen and a very select cadre of others is testament that rock'n'roll will truely never die.
warmest regards in this dark and cold December
chiliace
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Old Dec 03, 2004, 10:29 AM   #13
sourmilkpinky
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Default Re: Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

chiliace, I am touched and intrigued by this thought and agree that Springsteen was touched by this type of 'magic'.
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Old Dec 06, 2004, 02:50 AM   #14
chiliace
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Default Re: Any questions about gear or music can be answered by me.

Dear Miss sourmilkpinky,
As I know from your previous posts, the "sour" portion of your moniker is far from true nature of kindhearded self. This is so evident in your reply to me re my post in sesponse to petepointin gloomy forcast as to the future of rockn'll.
I do realize your name is tribute to the "quiet Beatle", a tribute so well deserved. Sweet George, rest thee well.
I'll reserve further comment on pete's forcast, but let's touch on the "magic" that held Springsteen in its' thrall. Taking nothing away from Bruce's innate genius, I cannot tell you what a sense of abondonmenet I could see, feel and hear when he gave himself up to the music pulsating through him. Jim Morrison ,to name another great, gave these muses direct credit in refering to the American Indian spirits that so influenced his music and actions on stage. Moving along, Hendrix Indian heritage found expression in a way that many would call"other-worldly".
Here's hoping(and knowing) that you will indeed do fine making it through another December.
Thanks for responding, Pinky,
with respect,
chiliace
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