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Listening differently...

Discussion in 'ProgPower USA' started by General Zod, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. General Zod

    General Zod Ruler of Australia

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    During a discussion on extreme metal’s evolution towards dissonance and deconstruction, and how we as listeners consume our beloved genre, one of the participants shared a link to a seven part series entitled, “Metal Beyond Metal”. Although the series grows a bit tangential in Parts 6 and 7, the first five parts made for a fascinating read. The series tackles the idea that the immediacy and abundance of metal music is leading to a crisis for the genre. I’m not sure I agree with that thesis, but it does make for interesting discussion forum fodder. Regardless, the writer posits that as a result of immediacy and abundance, in combination with the zeal of the average metal fan to know as much about the genre as possible, our listening habits have shifted. He suggests this shift in listening habits has left metal fans “acquainted with many releases, but friends with few.” While I certainly can’t say if that’s true for everyone, it’s certainly true of me. I find myself obsessed with consuming as much new music as I can. As a remedy to this, the author suggests introducing some form of artificial scarcity. The form that intrigued me the most was limiting the number of releases I listen to in a given time period.

    I’ve decided to select five releases and spend the next thirty days listening to only those five releases. I figure, if nothing else, it makes for an interesting thought experiment. Perhaps I’ll discover a whole new way of listening to and appreciating music. Perhaps I’ll find limiting my music consumption, through this introduction of “artificial scarcity”, largely tedious. Most likely I’ll simply discover a heightened level of appreciation for one or more of the five releases. The tricky part was picking the five. After giving it some thought this weekend, I’ve decided to focus on music I feel I either haven’t appreciated at all or music I likely would have appreciated more had I listened to it in the focused way I listened in my teenage years.

    Agalloch // The Mantle. I’ve always enjoyed this record. However, I suspect I might love it even more if it got the type of attention it would have gotten in my teens.

    Gorguts // Colored Sands. It was the best reviewed metal record of 2013 (RateYourMusic). I tried listening to it a few times but never quite “got it”.

    Radiohead // OK Computer. According to RateYourMusic, it’s the best reviewed record of all time. It seems a lot of my metal friends love this band and this record.

    Shade Empire // Omega Arcane. Given the other four releases qualify as “essential”, this clearly is the one that seems out of place. However, every time I spin this I think to myself, “I should listen to this more.” Given it’s running time of 1:14+, I don’t reach for it unless I’m really, really in the mood for it. For those unfamiliar, I’d describe it as the record Dimmu Borgir would have written if Dimmu Borgir was better songwriters.

    Slayer // Reign in Blood. Despite being 46 years old and a fan of many of their peers, I’ve never enjoyed Slayer. Granted, I’ve never tried very hard or spent much time with any single release of theirs. This seems like the ideal “classic” to use in this experiment.
     
  2. Liquid Tension

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    Thanks for the Shade Empire recommendation...

    Good luck only listening to 5 discs these next 30 days...
     
  3. lady_space

    lady_space Porno kitty

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    That sounds interesting... I'll have to give that series a read. For my part, I often feel overwhelmed and thus wind up listening to even less new stuff that I feel I should.

    Will be interested to hear from you in 30 days. :)
     
  4. Palabra de Dios

    Palabra de Dios Heavy Metal Weatherman

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    I couldn't agree more with what the author posits here. Of course because my music collection is thousands of albums deep now, there are some that are like family to me, that I'd buy again if they gave out. But some I only knew once back in college or something; acquaintances more or less. That's a great analogy.

    One way I make myself give more attention to an album is by keeping it as the only album in my car, for weeks. So if I want music, I listen to that album. It has made me appreciate some gems in my collection that like you mentioned - have simply become consumed and not "friends."
     
  5. KingsGene

    KingsGene God of Thunder

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    This is what I do as well. I still have a 6 CD changer in my old 2003 Pontiac Vibe and I keep those same 6 going (maybe with a couple as backups in case I decide I really no longer like one of the 6) for at least a month. That's how I can tell the ones to keep if I start humming or singing along with them. But that doesn't really work for the more mellow new agey or jazz type stuff so I don't fall asleep at the wheel....those I check out at the office while working (where it's a little safer to nod off).

    I am still obsessed with the daily searching for the "next greatest unknown band", and it can be overwhelming....but, I try to keep it fun.
     
  6. VenomGA

    VenomGA At War With Stan

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    I agree. Back in the day, there were faaaaaaaar fewer releases and I absorbed each album I bought. Now a days seems like there is a new metal release coming out every 5 seconds and like others, I'm trying to find that hidden gem or "next great unknown band". I rarely given more than a few albums more than a listen maybe two. Those I do listen to more than once or twice obviously grab my attention and tend to make my Top 25 albums of the year.
     
  7. oldboy

    oldboy Member

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    Good points. I've had a similar experience. I usually buy 50-100 CDs a year and that does not give me enough time to spend with each release. This year I bought a new car, and it lets me save music in its hardrive. I have only 5 Cds there, and I have listened to those repeatedly this year, and I am enjoying them immensely. As a result I have not bought anything else this year, and I anticipate buying only a few more CDs this year (Maiden, Symphony X, Luca Turilli come to mind), and I suspect that will be pretty much all I need. Moving forward I plan to buy less albums, and listen to them more. 10-15 Cd's a year should b emore than enough, and that inludes discovering new bands, and older albums I might have missed.
     
  8. General Zod

    General Zod Ruler of Australia

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    If you like Dimmu, I'd be shocked if you didn't enjoy Shade Empire.

    Definitely worthwhile, especially the first five essays.

    Agreed. I felt the analogy really drove the point home for me.

    I think the "thrill of the chase" is definitely a part of the enjoyment. However, at a certain point, searching for great music can become detrimental to spending time listening to great music.

    And it's not just that there were fewer releases, but most of us had limited financial resources, which added to the "scarceness" of releases we could listen to.

    Unfortunately, this wouldn't work for me. Aside from my obsession with finding new music, I'm also somewhat obsessed with tracking what I listen to. Between my phone and my PC, I track 100% of what I listen to. I wouldn't be able to do this with CDs or a harddrive in my car.
     
  9. VenomGA

    VenomGA At War With Stan

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    I grew up in the 80's. Trust me there were a lot less releases in that decade than now, because there were a hell of a lot less bands than now.
     
  10. hoodaman

    hoodaman Is it live or is it Dave?

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    OT but I do this too. Ever since I got a smart phone I scrobble everything except when I listen to something on vinyl.

    to the point though, I think artificial scarcity is an interesting idea. I'm going to try it out.
     
  11. General Zod

    General Zod Ruler of Australia

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    I've often thought about how cool it would have been to have been scobbling my entire life. I'd love to know how many times through I've played Shout at the Devil, Rage for Order, Ride the Lighting, etc.

    I think you misunderstood. My point was money ALSO created an element of scarcity. Today you can hear whatever you want, whenever you want, for free. In the 80s, you could only listen to those records you could afford to pay for.
     
  12. TwizstedJesus

    TwizstedJesus Member

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    Zod, that is an interesting way of going about digging into new music. Since I purchase a lot of cds(10-15 a month), I run into the same problems as you where any given cd does not receive the listens that it may deserve. Many of the cd's end up stored away in totes never to be heard again (I have over 15,000 store bought cd's). To rectify that, I give each cd that I purchase at least 2 spins from the time I put them in my cd changer. If something grabs my attention, I spin it a few more times. That way I'm not just filing away a cd that may be a very good cd which just didn't catch my fancy on any given day.

    Your point about hearing whatever you want whenever you want also points out the problem with the way we receive music these days. How much temptation is there for somebody to see something that looks cool, so instead of going out and buying it like we used to in olden days, we just download it or youtube it to see if its good. I have a short attention span for this way of listening to music, so it better be captivating almost instantly or its easily forgotten. Once again, good music can easily be missed because of the availability of something else instantly.

    The replay value of music is still very prevalent in my world. If its good, its good. Cd's like Evergreys new disc or Ascendia have earned repeated plays in my house because of their greatness. I've had to have spun "Hymns For The Broken" over 100 times! When it first came out I spun it 3 times a day for a week straight. Same with Ascendia. How they'll hold up to repeated plays with the likes of Fates Warning "No Exit" or Savatage "Streets" is probably not as relevant as it should be, since we are adults now and our focus changes on what's important as opposed to music being the only thing in our lives as teens. In saying that, you still know how a new cd compares to a classic after 20 spins or so, and many continue to earn repeat plays over the years, just not at the level of that one "desert island cd".

    Scobble? What is this scobble that we speak of?
     
  13. General Zod

    General Zod Ruler of Australia

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    Wow. That's impressive. I have no clue what the last CD was to earn 100 spins with me.

    The web site Last.fm can track the music you play on your PC and various devices (smart phones, etc.) through a piece of software they developed called the Last.fm Scobbler. It's free, light weight, simple to use, and it tracks every song you listen to. You can then view that information based on time period, as well as my track, album or artist. The site also has a social media element, where you can share that data with friends or groups.
     
  14. hoodaman

    hoodaman Is it live or is it Dave?

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    scrobbling is a term for keeping track of all the music you listen to. Last.fm is the most popular music scrobbling service. It keeps a database of all the music that it knows you've listened to and allows you to kinda analyze the data. It's neat to see who's your most played band, song etc.
     
  15. Harvester

    Harvester The Promoter

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    [​IMG]


    That would be like being single in college before the days of the internet and only owning 5 pornos. You can enjoy the hell out of them, but you know you are missing out.
     
  16. General Zod

    General Zod Ruler of Australia

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    [​IMG]

    For the next 30 days I will limit myself to only 5 pornos. :loco:
     
  17. Oblivion Ocean

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    Another part of the shift might be time as we grow older. I remember getting a new cassette or cd as a teenager and sitting down with headphones and the lyrics. And I would listen to the album. Now most of the time I download an album, then put it on while I work. Then I stop it to watch some cat or fail video someone links me. Then I restart it, step away from my desk, restart it, etc etc.

    Also, with the amount of music I encounter, something only gets a couple spins to catch on. If it does not, it moves aside for the next release. In some ways this is like a vicious musical gladiator pit where only the strongest survive. But I also guess I am missing some things that would have clicked eventually. I just hope at that point places like this and other social music places I got to it sing the praises of it enough to make me revisit anything I brushed aside prematurely.
     
  18. Palabra de Dios

    Palabra de Dios Heavy Metal Weatherman

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    Another suggestion that could be fun, would be to limit yourself to one band for a couple of weeks. A whole 30 days seems like a huge investment of time. But two weeks? More palatable. But think about it - one band that has eight or more albums. Amorphis, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Blind Guardian, KISS, etc. etc. etc. You can listen to anything in that band's category, but only that band. And you get to (hopefully) become more familiar with albums you have from those bands that have perhaps just been purchased to complete the collection or that simply maybe only got a cursory listen and you wrote them off. I can tell you that even from my favorite bands, there are albums that have been neglected a bit and could use a few more listens to fully appreciate.
     
  19. Palabra de Dios

    Palabra de Dios Heavy Metal Weatherman

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    I also like this analogy. With so much music, it does seem like this, eh?
     
  20. espz

    espz Member

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    Thanks to Amazon Prime I now have 4700 albums and 42,895 songs to choose from. Just my purchases with Amazon since 2011 add up to 3981 songs, which equals 278.5 hours of music. I will never hear every song I have, that's just a fact. I still have a handful of go-to albums. They randomly get bumped, like now that Eidos is out, I'm listening to it a LOT. But I still keep it varied and hit the random button sometimes. I also build playlists, the latest is just called Best. It only has 17 songs right now, one each from bands that I always go back to, Savatage, Angel Dust, Queensryche, Dream Theater, Pagan's Mind, and I throw in some classic songs like Triumph's Magic Power, or some Balls To The Wall. So I do keep gong back to the stuff I grew up with. I try to enjoy each song on it's own, just as I do for an entire album as a block. I get this experiment, I do. There's just SO much music out there. But I am a hoarder (which is so much easier now in digital!) and I wants it all!
     

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