Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
on September 22, 2010
I find the author's work interesting but at the same time unbalanced.
What brings me to write this article is his strident, absurd critique of Steve Roach's and David Parson's music.
Of course, the "techniques" used in production of works are important, nevertheless many of the artists considered innovators leave their public off the track down the road.
The opposite is true for Steve Roach and all the genre artists associated with the various labels producing the KIND of music they're doing.
Having been a young prodige, and fan of classical music, only to wake to pop & rock in the 60's as an adolescent, I quickly discovered the new age jazz of OREGON while on Vanguard records. I had been a Tangerine Dream, King Crimson fan as a kid, but needed more sonic "structure". As an adolescent, I quickly fell in love with what the WHO was doing on QUADROPHRENIA, as well as the YES song albums like TALES and what followed.
The arguments amongst many musicians were based on doing what will sell vs doing what is wanted, desired by a cult public of true-blue believers.
Well,I think that the tribal ambient niche has been well served by the sonic soundscapes, evocative of myth and ancient themes that have all but gone out of the public mind.
David Parson's is a notable exception having done much to promote the local music in its full ethnicity, while doing interpretations from his travels which merge the sounds with his perceptions of them.
This has a distinctive style - independent of the "track overlaying" strategies used and the search for unique electronic sound substitutes for natural sounds.
I feel that their music is representative of a niche segment of the public that HAS HAD intense "shamanic" or life experiences and has a natural nostaligia for sounds and thematics which FIT OUR evolving mindspaces.
In terms of professionalism, their works are increasing "slick". The market and afficionado ears of many require those technical moves. Moreover, the overall move to digitalizing sound to enhance the electronic dimensions is universal.
However, what the author's book DOES NOT EVEN MENTION much less try to explore, are the musicological uses of sound to open & explore the "unconscious" of the listeners - whether you see "mind" as a physical phenomena (sitting in your brain, you watch TV ) or you see "mind" as a distributed co-operating socio-cultural process, even some Jungian "etherical soup" -- their music appeals to this SOMETHING that is BOTH in our genetic code, our cultural GREATER MIND (see MIT on the subject of "extended mind") as well as our tap into the "local mental spaces" being sold in the downtown music store.
There are universals. They are ACCESSED through sound & music. This is a very esoteric subject because NO ONE has yet devised a suitable musical theory allowing for a bridge between spoken,written linguistical reality and their "class equivalences" in sound.
Soundscapes are that bridge. They open up a space to the imagination that bridges history, present, future.
The author knows this but does not say it - instead playing the role of musical critic.
That role is better played in newspaper sunday pages rather than in a book.
Sorry, nice try but no cigar on this one !