An Introduction

I first became interested in 4AD, a UK independent record label founded in 1980, towards the end of the '80's. I was falling in love with the music of Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, Pixies, Bauhaus and The Birthday Party and was surprised when the 4AD label sampler "Lonely Is An Eyesore" came out in 1987 that all these bands were from the same label.

After visiting a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition of some American's collection of art, I came to thinking of all this musical art that 4AD have released that may one day drift into obscurity unless someone shows it as art. So now I'm on a crusade, to collect the first ten years of 4AD's releases and exhibit the collection on 4AD's 50th anniversary in 2030. This is a big task which will have some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

If music be the food of life, give me a pizza with mayo

 I seem to get a lot of negative responses to my attitude to other people’s music tastes. Probably because I find most folks taste in music bewildering and to many this comes over as arrogant. So in light of this, I wanted to explain the best way I can, how I perceive music and music tastes. Not being the most eloquent user of the English language, the following will be interesting to say the least.

Probably the best way for me to describe my attitude to music is to relate music to food. For me music is necessary for life. I love music and it has nourished me and kept me alive for the whole of my existence and without it my life would be non-existent. I see music tastes as similar to tastes in food. I have my favourite styles of music, but I can appreciate all styles. Life would be dull without variety and extremely unhealthy

I see the majority of mass commercial music in the way that I see crisps (or potato chips if your American). There’s nothing wrong with crisps. They come in many varieties and are enjoyable to eat. But I wouldn’t want to spend my life on a diet of them and I wouldn’t be very healthy if I did. I certainly wouldn’t take anyone seriously if they expressed how much they loved food, and yet existed on a diet of nothing but crisps. Nor would I be overtly interested in someone who ate nothing but crisps their whole life and tried to convince me how good the new flavour was that came out last week, no matter how excited they were.

The majority of crisps are not made with love, nor are they made to give the customer any real sense of satisfaction. Of course they aren’t. They are made solely to make lots of money. Plenty of food is made with love, with experimentation, where the food is the primary concern and money is either secondary or completely unimportant.

I see commercial pop and most chart topping music as the same. Made purely for money. And no matter how many “varieties” there are, it’s only slight flavour variation. I am bemused beyond any understanding why anyone would choose an entire life solely with this music, to the point where most people restrict themselves to this diet and look on others, like myself, as delusional or just plain weird for having variety.

So I feel two things. Pity for most people, as they cannot see how much they are missing out on variety. Imagine a life spent solely eating crisps and missing out on chicken Balti or pizza. And yet, I find the majority of people happy to have no variety in their music taste. They settle for music made purely for money and of course music that is popular, which is narrow in it’s variety. The other thing I feel is a strongly humorous disbelief.

Imagine if the most of society had only a crisp diet, then had crisp festivals, crisps award ceremonies, Eurovision crisp contests, crisp charts, reality TV crisp eating with celebrity judges, celebrity crisp eaters marrying famous sports people. And yet that’s what we have dominating the music world. It’s hilarious. It’s not this existence that’s funny, it’s the sole diet of this stuff. I don’t mean to be patronising, I just find it all so alien. And I also pity the people stuck in this narrow way of living.

You may then think I hate pop music. I don’t hate crisps. I don’t hate pop music. But I would prefer to pick out the home made crisp. Music made with sincerity, where money is secondary. But I never forget that even these can still be just crisps.

Oh well, I’ll stick to my roast beef, sweet and sour, tikka massala, ….. and keep childishly sniggering at ..oh…look now, pizza flavoured crisps!!

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes, crisps. See what you mean. Can I extend your analogy to shops? In my local Tesco there's an aisle for 'world foods', which contains stuff from all six continents... and which takes up just about the same amount of space as the 'crisps & snacks' aisle. Most of which are the same three or four flavours in different coloured bags anyway. This I think is the food equivalent of HMV, nuff said.