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The Infamous Cut & Paste Method

Discussion in 'General Metal Discussion' started by anonymousnick2001, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. anonymousnick2001

    anonymousnick2001 World's Greatest Vocalist

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    I just wanted to bring up a discussion on cut-and-paste songwriting akin to Mr. Bungle, Candiria, Between the Buried and Me, Dream Theater, Meshuggah, Opeth, etc.

    Although there is little to no correlation between riffs, phrases, movements, or seemingly anything as far as natural/tonic/theoretical/well-written transition between segments of these bands' songs, is it all really such a bad thing?

    Mr. Bungle and BTBAM definitely write that way on purpose, and I certainly appreciate the random wackyness that comes with unexpected style, riff, time signature, volume, vocal, instrument, or speed changes that seem illogical but grow endearing and expected through repeat listenings. Is this bad songwriting or simply a different approach? Do songs always have to have a set pattern and logical passings of musical development? Can't cut-and-paste work?
     
  2. Toby

    Toby Cheesegrater Of Chastity

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    I think it's an awesome way of songwriting. If I'm understanding correctly, then Cryptopsy do that pretty well (no apparant song structure, but still written well).
     
  3. The Grimace

    The Grimace New Metal Member

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    Depends on how it's done. BTBAM and Candiria have a sound I don't too much care for, the kind of stop and start style changes that get annoying after a while, like every time an idea starts to develop, they stop and do a blasting thing, or an emo thing, or little twiddly bit, so nothing ever seems to get accomplished. Whereas a band like Meshuggah or Opeth takes as long as they have to building up riffs and beats and ideas to get the full effect from each one. But then they also can't cram as many ideas in that way. I certainly can't say any of it is 'bad songwriting', not in any sense, since 'good songwriting' is just a subjective measurement of what the particular listening wants to hear.

    When it comes to purely abstract cut-n-paste music, like Bungle and all the freak bands with no intention of ever 'developing' any of their ideas, I think it's the most brilliant thing ever.
     
  4. crimsonfloyd

    crimsonfloyd Active Member

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    I think it depends. If they are just cut and pasting riffs together cuz the don't know how to connect riffs then, no it's not good.

    If it's done to create a mosaic type effect of many different emotions revolving around one theme and coming together, such as Opeth's first two albums, then it is very effective. I also like when it is used to create a sense of chaos and instability...
     
  5. MasterOLightning

    MasterOLightning Optimator

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    If you ever looked at the lyrics for Dirge for November, you would see that it is intentionally disjointed in that way. I've always liked all of Opeth's work. A lot of the time, the style ties in with the lyrics. Orchid is pretty erratic though. A band like Dream Theater is on the fence. Awake didn't seem cut and paste at all. SfaM flowed pretty well in my mind. The new one was pretty crappy though.

    I've only heard one BTBAM song, and it was basically unlistenable to me.

    Some people just have a vendetta against Opeth. Listen to Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk. There are a lot of changes there, and you could easily criticize the flow there. Take for example With Strength I Burn. That song is all over the place, but no one ever says a word about Emperor being cut and paste. I guess that's because most of the time they play too fast for it to be noticed, whereas Opeth is never at the same pace as Emperor.
     
  6. Jean-Pierre

    Jean-Pierre Son of The Bitch

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    I can't stand incoherent songwriting in the least. If a band is going to play technical, I think they need to take a hint from bands like Coroner, Atheist or Watchtower. I actually believe that it's more difficult to be ridiculously technical while having a consistent and coherent songwriting base, rather than just being entirely random.
     
  7. The Grimace

    The Grimace New Metal Member

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    Come on, that's not true, and you know it. It has to be harder to write and perform a 12 minute song with no repetition than a 5 minute song with a chorus, that's just basic logic. And bands like Atheist, Cynic, Death, Watchtower, etc., are hardly what I would call 'ridiculously' technical, they're just extremely complex. I'm not shitting on any of them, of course, I'm a fan, but technical, to me, means that even if I knew how something was played it would still be difficult to reproduce it, whereas complex just means there's a lot of shit stuffed into in a small space or short amount of time. Meshuggah's 'Chaosphere' or 'Calculating Infinity' by Dillinger Escape Plan are ridiculously technical, in the true sense of the word ridicule, as in 'Stop being so fucking technical you assholes!' :tickled:
     
  8. Jean-Pierre

    Jean-Pierre Son of The Bitch

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    Oh, to play and remember a totally random composistion would be hard. I'm just saying that it seems it would be more difficult to WRITE one that is more coherent on the songwriting level. I mean, honestly, I could write a totally random piano piece that's 20 minutes long with no hooks or interesting melodies, coming up with something that rocks as well is the hard part.
     
  9. Cynical

    Cynical Member

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    I've heard that complaint made about Anthems loads of times, and I agree with you; the whole album is a bunch of half-formed ideas that are randomly thrown together with some sentimental bullshit and a touch of angst so that people will think it's profound.

    Amazingly, even that piece of shit is better than Opeth, though.
     
  10. NAD

    NAD What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse

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    If you think Mr. Bungle doesn't let their songs develop, you aren't listening close enough.
     
  11. V.V.V.V.V.

    V.V.V.V.V. Houses Ov Mercury

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    Correct.
     
  12. crimsonfloyd

    crimsonfloyd Active Member

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    Complexity of songwriting really has nothing to do with quality of songwriting so that fact that one is more challenging to create then the other is a rather null point...
     
  13. Jean-Pierre

    Jean-Pierre Son of The Bitch

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    Well, I'm building this from the fact that I always have a lot of prog fans telling me that all this schizophrenic freeform stuff is better than straightforward stuff due to its complexity.

    But honestly, I'm just spouting off what I believe. If I want schizophrenic freeform madness, I listen to Jazz.
     
  14. anonymousnick2001

    anonymousnick2001 World's Greatest Vocalist

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    Yes, I agree. That's why Symphony X kick so much ass. The coherence meshed with technicality.

    Mr. Bungle develop their sogns in a different manner. Their style is intended to be erratic and disjointed, because that is the purpose of the music. They do always manage to play each section just long enough for the novelty to be fresh and the riff or passage to sink in before a random vchange, but I generally like the cut-and-paste method of BTBAM or Opeth. I like picking up their album and thinking of all the cool little passages that stick out all over the album. It makes me feel a more intimate bond with the music. "Ah, yes, there's that one part on track 5 from 2:10 to 5:36" or whatnot.
     
  15. crimsonfloyd

    crimsonfloyd Active Member

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    Ah I see. Yeah how anyone can think complex inherently makes music better is beyond me...
     
  16. Scourge of Malice

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    Its just a different way of writing songs. Its part of their style. Most of the bands mentioned do it well, and the parts dont usually seem random or out of place.
     
  17. Stormwatch

    Stormwatch Cock.

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    I think it's okay, unless you're Metallica, and you think cut and pasting one riff/chorus repeatedly for 9 minutes makes your songs complex. That's a bad thing.
    Opeth are great.
     
  18. Jean-Pierre

    Jean-Pierre Son of The Bitch

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    Opeth is much more monotonous than they're given credit for. ;)
     
  19. Astral_Dominion

    Astral_Dominion Shanghaid

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    I haven't never liked black or death metal songs with incoherent structure. But in progressive music of almost any kind (i.e. rock, jazz, alternative) the incoherence is basically what I want to hear. What I'd like to point out is that the "cut&paste" -method is not based on randomly putting riffs and pieces together (except you're John Zorn). That's called bad songwriting! It's more like building a puzzle: the song is not going to work if you don't give a thought to it. There are always hooks in well written (incoherent) songs.

    Mr.Bungle's music for example is full of hooks (basically because of the grooviness) and there are always certain themes that are repeated. Dream Theater is also a great example of this. Most of their progressive songs are just simply and purely brilliant!

    So, you really need to make an effort to make the song coherent in its incoherence. That's what it's all about and imho that's a damn good songwriting.
     
  20. anonymousnick2001

    anonymousnick2001 World's Greatest Vocalist

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    Oh, if that's what you meant, I agree totally. Complexity means shit unless it is used to achieve something. There is such a thing as a meaningless passage.

    I just find a lot of what seems to be random transition to not be such a bad thing if the song is still listenable.

    This is also true. :)

    Agreed.
     

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