One Thing I Like About Steve Is

Some few weeks ago, Steve Jobs wrote a somewhat succinct resignation letter; or more frankly, a letter that said he was stepping down as CEO of Apple. It came as a shock to the employees, who have been an integral part of Jobs’ meteoric rise as much as he had been a part of their molding as effective employees of the company. It also shocked the world.

To think that he lagged behind Bill Gates for a few years or so.

Now, the man responsible for revolutionizing the way of life in the 21st century ceased to be what defined him in the first place.

But fuck, why am I patronizing on this cancer-riddled guy? To tell you the truth I never really liked Steve as much as I liked Alex Lifeson, the goofiest guitarist ever (Paul Gilbert comes at a close second place). What I really wanted to tackle was the mindblowing spontaneity in the way sapient mortals listen to music, and I have to admit, Steve has been a part as integral to redefining music habits as he is in molding his employees’ mindset.

Way before iPod, way before .mp3 format music, way before portable compact disc and portable cassette recorders, people listened to music in gramophones. They bought grooved wax and foil strips, the grooves of which contained the music itself, and wrapped these strips on a laterally rotating cylinder, by which the stylus of the gramophone would read the grooves and process the data contained in the grooves. Music then comes out.

Then the vinyl records came about. They came in different shapes, sizes, and playing speeds, the latter of which was actually defined on how the grooves were drawn over the disc. It enjoyed various reconfigurations in sound quality, speed, and size as the 20th century passed by. Later, though, cassette tapes received a surge in sales, as a cassette was easier to bring along and use. Plus, it had more capacity than even the 33 1/2 rpm 12-inch disc had.

With its recording attributes, the cassette enjoyed an array of products rolled out into the market or its use. Most notable was the portable cassette player, which was quite smaller than the betamax, or the videocassette. It had a speaker on it for people to be able to enjoy music from their cassettes anytime; and a headphone jack helped for when noise was not really appreciated in an area and you, for some weird reason, needed MIsplaced Childhood or The Number of the Beast to concentrate. They also rolled out transistor radio-cassette player mashups for when Madonna on your cassette wasn’t working and you needed an added push from Loretta Lynn and Bjork. It was a trusty music man.

All seemed to be well until CD came along, and that changed the playing field. As the compact disc’s popularity increased, the analog disc slowly faded into darkness, and the CD was subject to storage increase mods. They rolled out the 800 megabyte disc to supplement notable progressive rock albums, which, from four vinyl discs, was being converted to fit two compact discs.

Of course, when you have CD’s, you’re bound to have something that works the same as a portable cassette player, but on CD. So they rolled out the portable disc player, which was basically like a CD player, with the laser and stuff, except that it has the buttons to actually play a CD the way the conventional big CD players did with the CDs.

What’s more interesting was that they also released a CD player that played VIDEO CDs as well. It had jacks for the left channel, the right channel, and the video output much like the conventional bulky CD player had, and it ran on two rechargeable AA batteries much like all portable things do. Imagine that.

Then came the advent of the computing age, and various file formats dawned on the human race. Yes, including music formats. But unlike the vinyl and the CD, the progress of the digital file conversion was rather stealthy. Only when they released digital music players did the surge in popularity occur.

Only when Steve and Apple released iPod did it go full throttle in 6th gear, hitting more than 375 km/h.

Of course, Apple may not have been the primogenitors of portable digital music players, but they were what got the entire portable digital music player business in full gear, with imitations from China sprouting from small-scale companies and being thrown in gizmo shelves alongside the newest cellular radio telephone models.

The rise in digital file patronage due partly to the iPod gave rise to the developments in increasing the storage capacities of the music players, which led to the developments in increasing the storage capacities of normal storage discs. In the compact disc department there was the DVD (before the iPod, I reckon), then the double layer DVD, then Bluray (which apparently does actually nothing to the space, but rather to the quality). In the flash drive department there is the 512 MB, then the 1, the 2, the 4, the 8, the 16, and the (according to Ronnie) goddammit-ly compressed 32 GB flash drive. Not to mention the 1 terabyte hard drive which elevated the digital storage field to new heights.

The music player, yes, the music player had its own improvements as well, including a VIDEO VERSION! In that 80 gigabyte iPod you would be able to watch videos and view photos alongside its main purpose of playing music. And then the touch-screen cellphone integration, equipped with wireless LAN capabilities…

I could go on and on, but it would not cease. I’m sure Apple’s cooking up something with its iPad, trying to increase its storage capacity and battery life while keeping the thin MacBook Air streamlined shape it has had. What’s more, dozens and dozens of companies release their own tablet computer versions.

Some people, however, have some critical opinions on the musical advancements spearheaded by Apple. A notable one is Steve Wilson, who is a solo artist in his own right and is probably best known for having fronted Porcupine Tree. A promo video he had for his solo album had him destroying iPods in a number of peculiar ways. This helped him voice out his opinion of the musical quality being sacrificed for portability. In a way he was true, the motherfuckers who engineered the Beatles albums to play on stereo fucked it up, most notably in the song Yellow Submarine, where in one channel you could hear the instruments, and in the other was Ringo’s sole voice, apart from sound effects. Bulldick.

But joking aside, I still would side on the musical advancements, because admittedly, I, too, have benefited on them. My musical experience had been different now that I play my music on my music phone than when I started to buy CDs to listen to. The space I have now on my flat is wider compared to when I was in my home due to the excessive CDs I had. Of course, I am comparing a 3m x 2.5m space back in what used to be my home to a 1.5m x 1.75m space right here in my flat, and to tell you frankly, there would be no contest as to which one was bigger, giving consideration to the number of CDs in there.

But the world of music considerably changed when the digital music player was invented. Admittedly, so was mine. And I have been grateful to whoever thought of an MP3 Player for opening me up to new musical realms, whether those epiphanies be there, back in my hometown, or right here, in Meteoropolis.

Hot Milk, Jack Thammarat, and People I Don't Know (Different Worlds)

This would probably be one of the first few posts about a topic I despise, and that includes but is not limited to intruding her universe, songs of euphoric bliss, etc. That is, if you don’t count that post a few months from now, about coffee and intruding her universe.

Why the parenthetic remark saying “Different Worlds”? I laid it down way before I moved here, in a conversation with ex-friends that went awry. Her personal attributes, which include a brain articulate enough to create a story in whatever medium she prefers, arms and hands differentiating her in many aspects from the tens of thousands of other females back in my hometown, those few seemingly corrected faults within her physical appearance which makes her all the more beautiful to me as compared to what others might say, and, as I succinctly phrased it, “a nice tush”. Add to that all the things she does that furthers her uniqueness and totally defines her.

Yeah, yeah, this is becoming subjective, but what can I do? Whoever is a slave to those faults evolution has carved the human body and human mind into is going to be slave to the unavoidable emotional short circuits triggered by stimuli from the environment. A “heart” may be “of stone”, but it’s still a “heart”. It beats, and it will, at one point in time, want something. Like, say, an IV bag of type O-negative for brain oxygen sustenance following a near-fatal car crash.

But my placing of the parenthetized remark after the title (which describes what defined the moment that sparked the “inspirato”) has something else attached to it. It’s something that hints me to draw the line between who I am supposed to be and who she is supposed to be; a line that, once crossed, will foil the bullet catch trick and arouse suspicion of trickery, and then loss of interest.

Why is it there, anyway? It’s there for a reason. It’s there to make the mark that I am just a lower-middle class guy whose hobby does not need that much to fulfill (anything is a musical instrument; there are far more possibilities in being a percussionist, but knowing how to play a guitar is better enough a background) and whose time is divided between music and some other comparatively unimportant things that don’t really matter much in the shaping of his character; and that she is an upper-middle class girl whose relatively expensive hobby she can provide for and who is more likely to succeed in the world due to how she divides her time and how she distributes her productivity in different aspects of her life. To put it simply: I’m a poor slackster musician who is less likely to succeed due to antisocial attributions, she is an aspiring professional photographer who has a shit ton of things ahead of her that she can attain with initiative, willpower, and a finger snap.

You know, now that I think about it, I’m something like a martyr, like fucking Severus fucking Snape (WHO IS A FUCKING GOOD GUY FOR JESUS FUCKING CHRIST ON A STICK INSECT’S SAKE!), but a somehow mellower version, a shy, toned-down version of that fucking twat who called his lover a mudblood. A mellower version in that I choose to remain silent, laid back, and mum about stuff. Maybe it’s an innate attribute of natural bass players, to keep it inside until the volcano explodes, in which case they would tend to climb the scaffolding in the Grammy’s to protest their band’s loss to a poes band. Well, when I say natural I mean pure bass players without other contributions to the band apart from a few lyrics here and there and the basslines, and perhaps a minimal amount of voice.

With that being said, I think I should just stick to the background and see what happens. As that late PPTH Diagostic Medicine Department fellow said, “the view’s better from the outside looking in”. Besides, she’s got a fuck load of stuff coming down her way, and I’d rather she would not spend precious gold deciding on what to do to me (apart from chopping me in half alive and then making a Raco Stew for her and her friends and her friends’ friends to consume. Gawd, I taste good.) or what to do with me. I’d rather she spend her youth on youthly things than engaging in an in-too-deep relationship with someone who is bound to fuck shit up like hell.

Jesus Fuck, I’m a motherfucking martyr. And I don’t give a fuck. The phrase “Different Worlds” ought to set things right and keep me in my place.

By the way, Jack Thammarat is a jazz fusion guitarist from Thailand, with his forte of instrumental guitar inspiring teenage Asian IT students out there to tinker with their electric guitar. And he’s pretty good too, his songs have this impact on the interested and willing listener, and you know how I love instrumentals. Tjek him out here.

Meanwhile, I go check some stuff out. Heard there was something going on in town, right here, in Meteoropolis.

Legs, Katawan, Babae, Epic Music

How much do you know about your country’s music?

I often looked at myself as a sophisticated proletariat. I have no job, I live at my parents’ house, and yet I know things such as Djent, ignosticism, and the involvement of unitarian religions in politics—a concept not even the barker can grasp, let alone define word-for-word. I think it’s time I aired out how I find wonder in local things. Like empanada, Rio Alma, and a boy band.

No, boy band is not even suitable for them; they depict the image of macho men;”old-world” chick magnets, if I may, but with a twist. They may have the clothes that suit the definition of an archetypal macho man (black leather stuff), but the builds of their bodies seem to portray your typical kargador, or market baggage carrier. An allusion to being street-smart beneath the “hip” leather clothes can be traced just by looking at how they dress. The facial hair, too. So, not “boy band”, but “Man Band”.

Songs penned mainly by Mike Hanopol of Juan Dela Cruz Band fame established the machong cariñoso image these five guys projected, with their clothes serving as something that corroborates this claim. The lyrics have both the macho and the cariñoso factor, singing praises to and appreciating the human female, and at the same time marketing the strengths of the man and how a woman could benefit from it. All with the delivery of a man looking for a fight. There’s the aggression, and there’s the submission. The aggressive delivery of a submissive message that somehow has the notion of the man swearing to any cosmic thing to uphold the human female and serve her with his manhood/manliness. (Or maybe his delivery was just angry because he lost a bet.)

Hagibis had so much to offer when it came to defining a significant portion of the history of Philippine Contemporary Music, wherein it actually came to a point where they had their own genre (that is, when viewed from a different point of view). Of course they’re classified as one of those in the Manila Sound, which is established to have been a sub-genre of American pop. But try looking at it from outside the box.

What struck me the most, though, did not involve their image, or their lyrics. It was the music; the overwhelming instrumental breaks. the orchestration, the arrangement of the horn and violin parts, the perfect placing of the tympani parts, the integrally solid rhythm section, even the occassional guitar and percussion solos had a significant part there. And I know, for some reason, that neither the horn section nor the violin section is synthetic. Now, I can’t describe how these parts go together, because I have no music degree. Have a listen to some of their hits, perhaps that’s the best way to see how epic the instrumental breaks are.

I personally think, if it weren’t for the epic music, along with the catchy lyrics and the black berets and facial hair, Hagibis would not be able to solidly establush their own place in the realm of Philippine music.

Noise in Another Side of the Coin

Everything you hear; the chirping of the birds, the rustling of the leaves, the V6 engine on a van or the screams of girls when seeing a guy strip in some event; everything is noise. The white noise, the jack hammer, the moaning cats having sex in the alley at midnight. The lay preacher, the laborer, the Laboriel, the laboring woman. Everything is noise. Annoyance is inevitable.

Unless you look at things the other way.

Be on the right mindset, and noise becomes music. The chirping of the birds, the rustling of the leaves, the revving engine and the screaming sluts, all in harmony at 135 beats per minute. The white noise, the jackhammer, the moaning cats, all in the key of C#. The lay preacher, the laborer, the Laboriel basses, the laboring woman, everything in a pattern distinctly inconspicuous, but when caught in the act, will sound like the Burundian drums. Except for the Laboriel basses, bearing notes in them.

Music is noise in itself. If looked in a subjective manner, Meshuggah may sound like cattlecrap to you. If looked in a biased manner, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre may sound like spoken-word pop-funk artists which do not have a sense of rhyme. Pat Metheny and Joe Zawinul might seem like elitist music to those whose ears are trained only to pick up signals from the radio.

But turn the bias off, and dance-punk takes on a new life as a viable competitor to ATC (later known as A Touch of Class). Animals as Leaders, beyond the weird time signatures and arpeggios, can provide a sense of soothing manic energy around the body, and Andy McKee would transcend the realms of his association with the internet once his musical prowess has been dissected and analyzed to prove he’s not just another one of those people like the Numa Numa Guy or Eduard Khil.

It’s just a matter of different perspectives, is all.

A table is used to do stuff on, especially when you need your hands comfortable. A box is where you put stuff in, most notably those which you do not ned for now and are not planning of using for a long period of time. A can, once opened, can be used as storage container for different kinds of stuff: toys, food, trash, your sister’s… garden plants, your dad’s porn collection (your brother gets his fix from the internet).

Look at the other side of the auditory perception coin and you’ll get percussion instruments.

There’s this guy in worn-out formal attire sitting on the stairs on a pathway to the local mall, and the dude has beat-up cans and two headless drumsticks, right in front of him. Whenever I pass by the stairway I would hear the 4/4 drum patterns he would play on those relatively old cans; patterns reminiscent of a drummer who failed to make it in the music scene and, since he has no other fallback, resorted to playing on the streets with milk cans that have been with him for years.

Other people walking by would just stare at him blankly, and would dismiss what he does as rubbish, as noise. Some give him spare change as an act of goodness. Some sneer at him. Some make fun of any flaw they see on the guy, whether it be his clothes, his “drum kit”, or his hair. Some resort to public display of violent reaction. Not violent reaction, per se, rather it’s more of complaints or words of degradation. Others put their headsets on or talk more noisily with their companions, if they do have companions

I, meanwhile, would begin to hear concepts of possible drum patterns, and guitar riffs and bass lines that would make a good couple with the very simple drum patterns he has. I even transcend his patterns and end up with a polyrhythmic concept to a song. Which I forget once I reach home and finally try to write the song. Just because I ate pasta at the mall.

The pasta is another issue, though.

The thing is, I like music. And music thrives around us all. I can always find something to write pieces with complex time signatures about, be it a traffic jam, a coin dropping and clinking to the ground, or a vibrating dildo. These are simple noises, but I see something else in them, because I see noise as having something else in it. I see the way it tries to harmoniously blend with the sounds of the suburbs, the live-giving jazzy rhythm of the earth, and the melodies of the nature. I see noise as something along the lines of “trying to be music somehow”.

And thus I see the table, the milk and corned beef cans, the revving engines, the screams of the crowd, or the feedback of the guitars not merely noise. I see them for what they really are; melodies that, when felt with a sense of acceptance, blend together with the sounds of the earth. Be it in 3/4, in 13/8, or in 118/57.

Now, where was I… oh yeah, I was about to sift through my music library. I’m gonna be a bit busy here, but I’ll get this done in no time. I’ll be making me melodies as well, so if you’re free, beep me, and I’ll be glad to share some of my unfinished suites, right here, in Meteoropolis.

Actually, a pretty new band I’ve gotten into is Death Cab For Cutie. They’re the latest thing in rotation for me. I love their lyrics. I think Ben Gibbard is a modern-day poet. I do focus on words, too, and the lyrical content in Death Cab is pretty high.
—  John Myung, Dream Theater bass player, on “anybody new who’s doing it for” him; who he is listening to nowadays. Interview here.
This Was On The Radio When I Was A Kid

A prevalence of Asian pop is evident in local radios, with most of the stations in my hometown playing what makes the Korean immigrants and “flip flirt fanhos” happy and elated. What’s more, pop form Europe seemed to have taken a fall into a ditch since the rise (and fall) of the fourth wave of Pinoy rock. I don’t see pop from Europe competing with Wondergirls. If there were pop, it would come from the most peculiar of all places; say, Canada? (Fuck you in your ass, Shawty Mane!)

But way back when I was a kid, Eurodance was as prevalent as cigarette vendors lining the streets.

I grew up when Europop and Eurodance were receiving high airplay in the radio, “Barbie Girl” and “Quit Playing Games With My Heart” were on the “high rotation” whiteboards in FM booths across the nation. The only other “international” genre, if I may, competing with Europop would be pop from America, with pioneers like Britney Spears and Mariah Carey. If there were rock acts, Metallica and Linkin Park would lead the pack, but even then rock in the radio was limited, except of course if you were a rock station.

I once heard a quirky song with uncanny chord changes and bubbly lyrics denoting a reference to the Edgar Rice Burroughs classic Tarzan of the Apes, or at least the Disney animated feature film version of the said novel. Everything I heard on the radio when I was a kid came back to me, everything that had the same structure and were on the same genre as this pop song.

I deduced the band might have been those who sang the bubblegum dance hit “Barbie Girl” as well, so I looked up the song in Aqua’s discography, through my good friend Wicky. I didn’t see anything that said “Tarzan” there, but I saw some of the hits that played on the radio when I was a kid.

I wish that you were my lollipop
Sweet things, I will never get enough
If you show me to the sugar tree
Will you give me a soda pop for free?

-Aqua, “Lollipop (Candyman)”, Aquarium, 1997

Rolling Stone labels Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” as the worst song EVER in the 1990’s. But believe it or not, kids here sang along whenever this played on the radio, oblivious to how the lyrics depicted Mattel’s flagship doll. Which reminds me, Wicky told me Mattel filed a suit against Aqua, probably due to the depiction Aqua conjured through their lyrics. Might have been Barbie being a brunette (Lene Nystrøm on the role) and Ken being bald (René Dif is actually bald), in the video. Søren Rasted (Aqua instrumentalist) fits Ken better, except that he has spiky hair.

The quoted song above was supposed to be titled “Candyman”, but they altered it for fear of being mistaken as the other “Candyman” song, probably by Christina Aguilera. It was another hit in these shores, along with “Doctor Jones”, “Cartoon Heroes”, and, to some extent, “Roses are Red” and “Around the World”.

As of press time, they have reunited and released three singles off of Megalomania, their first offering in a decade, since their split in mid-2001.

Another band following the “Aqua” vein was Toy-Box, a Danish group consisting of people whose names and faces do not look like Danish people. Anila Mirza (now named Aneela for some reason) and Amir El-Falaki, as a group, released three singles that became airplay staples in this area of the world, including “Best Friend”, which brings to mind the phrase “Don’t Eat Your Best Friend”, “Tarzan and Jane”, the same song with the catchy chord changes and bubbly lyrics I was talking about, and “Superstar”, with a big big house and a big big car, and who doesn’t care who you may be.

However, unlike Aqua, Toy-Box is yet to reunite for a third offering. But even this seems unlikely, although Aneela is open to possibilities such as a reunion with her partner Amir.

Boom, boom, boom, boom!
I want you in my room
Let’s spend the night together
From now until forever.

Vengaboys, “Boom Boom Boom Boom!”, The Party Album!, 1998

The Vengaboys, a Dutch group, became famous in this country for their songs “We Like to Party (The Vengabus)”, and the song quoted above. I could still remember that catchy intro the Vengabus had, it was one of the songs that had me wondering how they made the intro with electronic tweaking.

Although not in the same vein as Aqua or Toy-Box, they still made the shore’s weekly countdown charts, and have reached a degree of popularity in this country that they visited the capital once to perform a one-night gig to thousands of Europop and Eurodance fans (which in one way or another would become old enough to dance to new pop songs). They even guested on a noontime show here, if I’m not mistaken.

As of 2009, they have returned to the club scene touring small venues, mostly student union clubs. Some other groups, meanwhile, isn’t as active compared to them.

Two of ATC’s song receive a moderate, but still considerable, airplay in these shores, the most notable being a cover of a Russian Europop band’s song. The video for “All Around the World (La La La La La)” features a Melkus RS1000, and show the members of ATC (later known as A Touch of Class, damn, I love their faces) racing the said gull-wing door yellow coupé through an indoor track. The catchy chorus may have something to do with its short-lived fame. Now, I think the female members have settled down to domestic lives (no significant news from them), and the males maintain a low profile.

Well then.

These, and a lot more, were those that played on the radio, alongside Westlife, the Backstreet Boys, the Spice Girls (a Europop group themselves), *NSYNC, and a few rock breakthroughs. Believe it or not, I used to enjoy this music; nobody ever thought I’d be a Rock fan. Although, admittedly, not as much as local rap, though.

All things said, these, among others, influenced my music-driven life, and encouraged my openness in different genres. I like deadmau5. I like Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. I like La Bouche. I love ATC’s faces. I like Skrillex. I like Genesis, with or without Peter Gabriel. And I think the radio has something to do with me seeing and hearing music when I see and hear one.

I owe the radio, for introducing me to new paths and undiscovered highways in my approach to music. I would have not heard of Weedd’s “Long Hair” had I not listened to the radio that often. From the bus stereo to the eatery component, I hear new songs everyday. Saying some of Justin Bieber’s songs is catchy does not make me gay, it just makes me transparent in terms of musical influences. And trust me, there are more metalheads who think ATC’s “All Around the World” is awesome music, than are Usher fans.

You had your time, you had the power
You’ve yet to have your finest hour
…Radio, someone still loves you.

-Queen, “Radio Gaga”, The Works, 1984

Yes, radio. In an iWorld where iTunes and iPod and iMusicCompression rob the soul off the music and take the purpose of the radio away, someone, here where words are king, still loves you. Right here, in Meteoropolis.

Songs are created to be listened to, and to be enjoyed. Whether or not these songs mean something to a group or a chosen few does not matter. As long as music exists and freedom of expression is rightfully exercised across the globe, so shall songs be open for everyone to listen to, and to enjoy.
— 

Raco. Speaks out.

A short justification for an atheist playing “Amazing Grace”.

Remaining Underground

I’ve been busy reading news from the underground djent community in the web, through websites such as got-djent.com, and noticed various line-up changes and “parting ways” with members. I do not speak that often regarding matters even though I really want to let my voice be heard in such matters, mainly because I have no account. Bummer. Going back to a few articles I have read, this trend is not new; some of the progenitors of the djent scene have disbanded and went on to form projects separate from the bands they were in. Although, undeniably, the influence from the former band lives on, as can be noticed by the fans of these disbanded bands (repe-fucking-titive) who follow the succeeding projects of their heroes.

Looking at how the people receive various dynamics in musical history, I somehow have come to the notion that it is mainly the fault of the lack of the support of someone “big and mighty” to push through with technical metal and unleash the dynamism of the genre to the mainstream. In short, support from big record labels is what has been missing in the brew. Without enough advertising and exposure, not a struggling band from the underground trying to make it to the mainstream can make as much money as Dream Theater does.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the various record labels Periphery, Vildhjarta, and TesseracT are signed to pull all the stops to make sure these bands and more djent bands signed to them get the exposure they need to make a million fans or so. But the music industry has evolved in more ways than one since The Platters, to the point of the music industry’s focus being something else than releasing good music the masses can enjoy. Now the music industry works in a way that they push someone who has an appeal to the audience, to the point that dudes lying in their beds claiming to have connections threaten to hack those who diss their favorite popstar, and eventually send them in prison.

The way I see it, the concept is: You see talented twats, you sign them in. If they create a massive following, you push them more into the limelight, thereby creating more concerts for the guy, equals more income, equals bathing yourself with wads of cash in your walk-in safe. If they fail to meet your expectations, you let them finish their contract with less push than the initial release they had in your company, and basically have them rot in a ditch.

Bottomline: It’s all about making money.

More and more talented musicians are realizing how the music industry actually works and what drives the industry, and they either remain underground, change their content drastically to the point of leaving behind their roots for a chance at any of the stadiums in Metropolis, or become resilient and insist their content onto A&R’s, like Dream Theater.

Luckily, in the US, more and more indie labels sprout, with relatively minimal capital to start off with. These indie labels, however, aren’t like the bigtime labels. Most of the bands they sign end up to have a cult following, which may or may not extend to the four (hundred thousand plus) corners of the globe (assuming the world is not actually a perfect sphere, which it is not). That, in my opinion, is how the push these indie labels exert ends up to be.

Even if the indie push is relatively stronger than the push the bigtime labels exert, in relation to the number of artists encompassed in that exposure push, it is probably not enough for a Paramore (2008 or so) following. These indie artists basically remain underground, even if they had waded the waters of the mainstream in a specific point in their career.

The disbandments and the “parting of ways with this guy”? Collateral damage of not enough push.

That’s why most of the YouTube comments I read whenever I watch music pertain to the hate these underground music fans have for those twats up in the pop scene.

If there were a label that focused on djent and is as big as Roadrunner Records, to say the least, I would be happy for anybody in the djent scene signed by the label. For now, let me focus of trying to get the time signatures rght on the djent songs I’m into right now. I just hope you like djent too, because I’ll probably ahve you listen to some of my creations, right here, in Meteoropolis.

What’s with Alicia Keys? All along I sang that chorus as “country jungle wet dream tomato, there’s nothing you can do…” and I found out recently it was “concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh, there’s nothing you can’t do…”! Please fix that weird lisp, Miss Keys. Just saying.
—  Raco. Speaks out.
"Can Anyone Get Me The Lyrics To This Song?"

The definition of a good song, just like perception of the world, is subjective, depending on the person you’re asking. It depends on people’s adherence to the numerous genres of contemporary music coming out from the underground, ranging from Djent to dance-punk, from South Africa’s Zef rap-rave popularized by Die Antwoord to various international renditions of contemporary East Asian pop (with the boys with weasly hair and the girls who dye their hair neon green) of which South Korean boy-bands and girl groups are the progenitors. Try asking people what a good song is to them, or at least tell them to give you the title of a good song. Some may think Bad Meets Evil’s new single is a good song, others may blurt out Conway Twitty in a supposed knee-jerk reaction to “good song”.

Some others, meanwhile, would give you an answer too deep to dig up and dissect. They might define a song with “a good hook”, “a good message behind the lyrics”, “nice composition; chord changes, appropriate segues”, etc. But trust me, these are subjective as well. Chances are they have an extensive library of good songs that they single out those several that fit the description they would give. They might be thinking about The Fab Four’s “I’ll Follow The Sun” when they blurt out the thing with the music. Try asking someone what song has a good hook. You’ll be surprised not to hear the same answer. They might even say songs from bands you utterly despise.

(On that note, may I also remind you that disdain of certain genres is also subjective. I think there is no other objective truth except those established by science and have been proven numerous times. Like air pressure. What with the car tires and the glass of water experiment back in grade school?)

I myself like songs of bands whose mere names would make other people want to vomit due to sheer disdain. I even like music not accepted by the mainstream music community due to certain attributes that seem to cross over the boundaries set by the mainstream community in defining a song accepted by the mainstream. Flurrying notes from lightning-fast fingers almost unintelligible it would make the head want to explode? Check. Un-air-drum-mable drum patterns suggesting odd time signatures with a basic 4/4 underneath? I dig it. Underground social hip-hop by white people? We cool. Odd time riffs and an unwarranted drum fill here and there, coupled with a shrieking Canuck? That has got to be the BEST band, hands down, evar! Nuff said.

I make music myself. I used to play bass in a band, before the indefinite hiatus brought about by dependence on the fickle social concept of “family”, who then tell the members (including me) about the risky music business and the high chances of getting unemployed after a one-hit excursion in the waters of the money-driven music business. I keep myself busy with various music making softwares in my “gat”, thereby continuing to hone my skills in making music. In fact, I have a lot of unfinished shit stored in my gat, leaving less room for accomplished music from other artists I look up to in creativity. Like Tosin Abasi. I’m kind of planning incorporating all my creations into one or two songs, depending on which section is compatible with which, and what series would make a good chain in a song.

The only thing I’m having trouble with is the lyrics. Yes, I write, as is evidenced here, and I have had my experiences on poetry, but I feel my excursions on trying to make words rhyme was not enough, as the poetry I used to write involved not the structure of the piece, but the feeling evoked by the piece itself, thereby resulting in lines not rhyming, and some few lines ending abruptly. Add to that my lack of experience in lyric writing, of which JP is a master of. Therefore most of my creations have minimal, if not totally nil, involvement from the lyrical side, resulting in apparent instrumentals.

Instrumentals. Those pieces whose lyrics are composed of just an ellipse, and whose composition involves the different sounds a musical instrument has the capability to make, like turntable scratches on the guitar, percussive strikes on the bass, and treble notes on the drum kit.

I have an affinity for instrumentals. I just feel the amount of words in any dictionary is not enough to evoke a scenario, a landscape of sorts, than the amount of note combinations or even chord combinations. Unless you make words up, like Lewis Carroll in “Jabberwocky”. Or even make dialects or languages up, like Sigur Ros’ vonlenska. In a musical piece, be it classical or technical progressive sludge death rap metal, the various chord changes evoke the feeling the musician wants you to feel when listening to a song s/he considers his/her magnum opus of some sorts. The musical landscape is laid down before you hear what s/he has to say. The lyrics may sound like Tenacious D, but if the music wants you to be serious, there is a chance you will not crack up when you hear the song. Unless you already had browsed the lyrics, in which case it’s cheating. LOLz.

In musical pieces with lyrics and vocal involvement, the lyrics have the message, and the musical instruments are there to provide the atmosphere the lyricist intends the lyrics to be interpreted with. In instrumentals however, a new dimension of musical instruments in presented; a dimension displaying their capabilities to send a message to the listener much like the vocals in a piece with lyrics would.

The only thing is; there’s a huge difference with the messages these two types of music offer. In vocal music, the content is established, any interpretation will most likely be close enough to what the lyricist would intend the listener to hear out when embarked in an auditory journey. If ever s/he uses metaphors, chances are people would most likely connect with what the lyricist had in mind when writing the piece, unless an in-depth analysis spoils the show. Instrumentals are a different case, however; the landscape is laid down, a flurry of notes are in progress. The soloist might have his/her interpretation on what the flurry of notes may portray; for all the listeners know, the soloist might even have established a certain kind of message s/he wants the world to feel in the song when hearing the song in its entirety. But due to its wordless nature, people may have different interpretations as to what that flat 7 chord is doing in the middle of a minor pentatonic sequence. Some people might interpret a 160 bpm solo juxtaposed in a 90 bpm background to be a scenario of a hissy fit, some might interpret it to be wailing. It just depends on the person.

Not to be misinterpreted; I am not favoring one over the other, nor am I dissing vocal music. I myself sing every once in a while to tunes I know. And I am a self professed fan of many vocalists in the music scene, among them Bruce Dickinson, Tobias Sammet, Aimee Mann, Snoop Dogg, Randy Blythe, Enya, Joni Mitchell, and the world’s second greatest shrieking Canuck (only overshadowed by this band’s vocalist). The only thing with instrumentals that amaze me is the dynamic attribute instrumentals possess: the flexibility of interpretations, the various landscapes and feelings a piece may evoke, and then some.

Or is it just my inability to write decent lyrics that propels me to write this? Oh, so ironic. You know, I could have written a song about trying to write a song with cool lyrics but can’t. But… on second thought, I might as well try writing another incomplete instrumental as homage to this post.

The title? It’s a typical YouTube comment of either a troll or an überfan in a video of vocal music without lyrics (like The One Epicness) or an instrumental, asking for something whose presence (or absence) is obvious enough for even the local cardboard-donning hobos to know when they see one.

Hey, by the way, all this is just opinion. I’m still relatively young, you have the ability to try to change my ideas at one point in my existence. All you have to do is drop by. We could go have coffee and a chat. I’m pretty sure you like to chat and have free coffee with a free spirit, right here, in Meteoropolis.

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