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February 6th, 2007, 21:56
This might be something for dte, provided the link does work - I have no way of knowing as the embedded mplayer never works when i need it. Anyway, this is the sound clip of the video I just saw: Diary of Dreams: The Curse.

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February 6th, 2007, 22:08
hate to agree with you, but I do ='.'=

listening to Marilyn Manson's "Antichrist Superstar"

The more time passes, the less and less I like this cd.
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February 6th, 2007, 22:18
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
OK, then - let me toss out one of those great subjects for the 'relativity debate'

I believe that in all fields of art there are objectively great works that are 'better' than others, even if an individual person doesn't like them. For example, Beethovan's 9th or Wagner's Ring or Ellington's Far East Suite are all truly great human accomplishments in the artistic realm, and even if you like Van Halen better, every one of their works is objectively inferior from the standpoint of artistic achievement.
While I'd LOVE to agree with you there, it reminds me of an argument - no, a short dialog - I had with nother club member 20 years ago. We were talking about contemporary music, and one of the hottest new artists at that time happened to be Sade. My co-clubber turned out to absolutely love her music while I just couldn't stand it at the time. When I told the lad that, he snapped: 'Then you don't understand diddly-squat about music,' and left.
So?
Do I have to understand something to like it? Or to like it to understand it? Actually, I like to happen both Cool Jazz and Elevator Music , but Sade's old stuff still is not appealing to me.
I find it tremendously difficult to be objective when it comes to art. If I feel like saying 'his brushstrokes speak of incredible artistic skill, but the style is not my cup of tea', then I personally would not define the work of art as great.

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February 6th, 2007, 22:53
Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
Actually, I like to happen both Cool Jazz and Elevator Music , but Sade's old stuff still is not appealing to me.
I find it hard to find a difference between cool jazz (I assume you mean Smooth Jazz like Kenny G as opposed to Cool Jazz like Bill Evans), Sade and elevator music

Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
I find it tremendously difficult to be objective when it comes to art. If I feel like saying 'his brushstrokes speak of incredible artistic skill, but the style is not my cup of tea', then I personally would not define the work of art as great.
Then what matters - is art really such a base thing that it has no intrinsic cultural value? Is it all based on gut-level pop response?

Let me take that a step further - if that is true, then the entire liberal system of values is a self-serving sham. Why put money into 'artistic enrichment' if real art doesn't matter, just instant-gratification? Why bother with liberal arts education? Self taught will suffice, no need to strive for greatness, just do what seems good enough. As for 'art history' and appreciation? Trash 'em, that is old boring stuff with no relevance - fine if you like them, but of no particular importance.

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February 6th, 2007, 23:34
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
I assume you mean Smooth Jazz like Kenny G as opposed to Cool Jazz like Bill Evans
Indeed, that's what I meant. I do like Evans (and Brubeck, for that matter), though, and Henri Salvador's Bossa Nova stuff… erm, where was I again?
Why put money into 'artistic enrichment' if real art doesn't matter, just instant-gratification?
I agree with you, and I'm sure you know it. But what *is* real art? What is REAL art? Is there real art as opposed to false art, or is it a debate of art vs. craft?

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February 6th, 2007, 23:41
Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
Is there real art as opposed to false art, or is it a debate of art vs. craft?
I don't know - that is why I put up that controversial beginning (and there was a time when I was young that I did hold that belief strongly … now I am much more in the provide support for all forms of advancement and *always* encourage everyone to advance their mastery of their particular craft)

Anyway … on the craft vs. art thing, I don't know. Let's take Kenny G as a great example - he is called a 'smooth jazz' musician, and has sold tons of records. Yet his mastery of the craft is mediocre - his apparent harmonic knowledge is very limited, his rhythm is not very good, he shows an inability to play in tune or with anything resembling a good ear or swing.

So he makes people happy and that is 'good art', right? Well I like M&M's and they are 'food' but that doesn't mean I should have them as dinner. Regardless of how happy that would make me …

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February 7th, 2007, 01:49
@Jaz- Since my music is generally over-produced, live tracks often give me a misleading picture. Musically, very nice, but the vocals are just a little too overwrought for me. Very possible that's a result of the live mixing and instrumentation.

@Sammy- I think I've still got my copy of "Antichrist Superstar" somewhere (it's true ). Bought it on the strength of Beautiful People and a little curiousity. I think I bought a copy of the single at some point so that I could ditch the cd when the opportunity presented itself. That song is ridiculously simple, but I love it. Definitely a one trick pony, though.

@Mike- while I have an appreciation for technical competence, I generally scoff at the pretension of the artsy-fartsy types. Did Melville really sit down and say, I'm going to write a book that's actually 7 different symbols at once? Bull, I say. These self-pronounced literary experts are making stuff up to justify their existence as well as justify their lofty egos. You can take any piece of work and interpret it 20 ways if you choose the bits and parts you care to focus on. These self-important puffers have somehow got people to support and endorse their pronouncements as fact, which is then passed on as such to helpless students everywhere. To borrow a phrase, it's "the scene that creates itself." It's not as bad in music, but the principle still stands. I did warn you about a soapbox…

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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Last edited by dteowner; February 7th, 2007 at 01:58. Reason: added more rambling
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February 7th, 2007, 03:37
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
while I have an appreciation for technical competence, I generally scoff at the pretension of the artsy-fartsy types. Did Melville really sit down and say, I'm going to write a book that's actually 7 different symbols at once? Bull, I say. These self-pronounced literary experts are making stuff up to justify their existence as well as justify their lofty egos. You can take any piece of work and interpret it 20 ways if you choose the bits and parts you care to focus on. These self-important puffers have somehow got people to support and endorse their pronouncements as fact, which is then passed on as such to helpless students everywhere. To borrow a phrase, it's "the scene that creates itself." It's not as bad in music, but the principle still stands. I did warn you about a soapbox…
Forget about what literary experts tell you. Dte, you cant really stand on a soapbox and say that there's no difference between Moby Dick and Harlequin #1529. The novel is an art form, but it's true that most novels written are no more than trash. At it's best, though, the novel can be a spiritual exercise, and that's what you get with worthies like Dostoevsky, Balzac, Faulkner, etc. The university can suck the soul out of poetry, that's true, but forget them. Just read the books.
Sorry, I just had to say something, and I wish I was confident enough in writing english to say what I think on the subject. I'd like to recommend an author, though, someone who's written the definitive study of the novel (although the book is much more than that): the man's name is René Girard and the book's title is Mensonge romantique et vérité romanesque. Girard is a frenchmen but he's taught all his life in the states, and I'm certain you can find a translation of the book in english (literaly: Romantic Lie and Novelistic Truth). Give it a try.
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February 7th, 2007, 04:16
"As I Lay Writing a Horrible Book"??? "Criminally Wordy Punishment"??? Chalk me up for the heathen camp, I guess, Cormac. I failed to see what all the hype was about. *thinking back to AP English* Chaucer was fun, and reading Gardner's "Graendal" after Beowulf was interesting. Heck, Willie Shaker (our teacher was a Shakespeare nut, so we had fun tormenting her with such sacrilege) had some really good output. Even thinly-veiled social commentary like Gulliver's Travels and 1984 was well done. But elevated pillar Hemingway could stuff his bullfight…

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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February 7th, 2007, 07:22
I can read a book simply for relaxation, or to appreciate the themes, imagery etc which the author strove to achieve. However, it's all irrelevant. What's in any book, is precisely what YOU get out of it!! I can tell you that Moby Dick is really about this sailor with a social disease, but unless that's what you see in it, then it's just my interpretation vs yours!! What you see, is what is important for you and that's what counts!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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February 7th, 2007, 07:46
@dte: 1) Diary of Dreams: his live recordings sound a lot like the studio works, or vice versa. The voice is always dominant, though not as dominant as in his 'Diorama' stuff.

2) …but Shakespeare was a hack! A daily soap author writing for the masses, so to say… so why is his trashy output considered art nowadays? Will people consider Perry Rhodan great art once a couple of centuries have passed?

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February 7th, 2007, 15:16
Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
@dte: 1) Diary of Dreams: his live recordings sound a lot like the studio works, or vice versa. The voice is always dominant, though not as dominant as in his 'Diorama' stuff.

2) …but Shakespeare was a hack! A daily soap author writing for the masses, so to say… so why is his trashy output considered art nowadays? Will people consider Perry Rhodan great art once a couple of centuries have passed?
Hey, if enough self-appointed gurus get together and pronounce it so, Perry could be the greatest of all time. On the other hand, Edgar Allen Poe died destitute and is now revered, so I guess the stuffed shirts reserve the right to change their collective mind. It's high art because some self-proclaimed expert says so. Bah!

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February 7th, 2007, 18:15
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
@Mike- while I have an appreciation for technical competence, I generally scoff at the pretension of the artsy-fartsy types. Did Melville really sit down and say, I'm going to write a book that's actually 7 different symbols at once?
OK, I want to get back to *music* (you said I'd regret making a book analogy ) … but to close out a couple of thoughts:
- I think Melville (and Dostoyevsky and Camus and Sherwood Anderson and Yan Martel and Gabriel Garcia Marquez and so many others) is a tremendously gifted crafter of stories, with an instinct for developing those stories in a very deep and real way. They are highly practiced and polished in their craft through extensive study and work. I believe that they sat down with a story of some significance in their mind, with an aim at making that vision come to fruition in as perfect a fashion as possible.
- How many times have you read a book in which the author fails to maintain proper voice or person? Makes simple grammatical errors or stumbles through paragraphs? Fills pages with … um … filler? I like Star Wars so I read some of those books and even the best of them (Thrawn series) are only average in terms of writing. That doesn't mean they aren't good entertainment, but there is a *very* different feeling reading "Labyrinth of Evil" compared with the thought-provoking and expertly crafted "Life of Pi" by Yan Martel.
- Also, and this is more direct - what do teachers and critics have to do with it? Sure, research and teaching and exploration of art is part of things, but ultimately art is about art.

As for revisionism, that is largely due to popularity trends. Shakespeare was very good at doing what was popular at the time, and over time it was realized that there was significant depth and craft there. He was never considered a 'hack', but wasn't considered 'teh gr3atest' until after his death. That could be called 'perspective'. Same with Mark Twain - he was very popular and made broad use of colloquial speech in his writing, but his reputation as a very serious and gifted novelist was growing long before his death.

I think that there is a real 'art critic' problem with popularity. Taking music as a standard once again - Miles Davis 'electric' work of the 70's was disregarded for many years as being a sell-out, despite having 40+ minute long songs that most considered unlistenable - it was the perception that he was embracing the work of people like Hendrix and James Brown that caused critics to put on blinders. Now, given perspective they can appreciate the great stuff he was creating … of course, I already knew that

But there is a danger mixing Art and Craft as well. Last night on the way home I listened to the entirety of Return to Forever's "Romantic Warrior" (live clip of the song "The Magician" here) - and was reminded of why 'fusion' died such a quick death. It was all craft and not much art. Return to Forever, and particularly that album, was very good and represented a tremendously talented group the likes of which have never been seen in pop/rock - the brilliant pianist/composer Corea, the stunningly fast bassist Clarke and guitarist Di Meola, and the powerhouse drummer Lenny White. But on other recordings of theirs and many many examples from other groups it is all just cold and technically perfect unison runs and rock-showiness.

But I still believe that mastery of craft matters.

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February 7th, 2007, 18:57
Mike wrote, in part:

Let me take that a step further - if that is true, then the entire liberal system of values is a self-serving sham. Why put money into 'artistic enrichment' if real art doesn't matter, just instant-gratification? Why bother with liberal arts education?
Art is pretty undefinable in any of it's forms, I think. And I have to think that putting money into it is as a scholastic discipline is pretty much a wasted effort as far as generating real art if it isn't there to begin with. And not because 'real art' < instant gratification, but rather that it comes from a spiritual well that is enhanced by craft and technique, but far from defined by it.

(And of course, some disillusioned cynics would say that the entire liberal system of values IS a self-serving sham, fueled by a collective guilt so deep it can't be measured.)

Of all the art forms, I think music is the most subjective and contextual. It speaks to the emotions and the senses directly, rather than siphoned through a medium of paper or canvas. It invades the brain through the ears and pervades the physical self in a physical way. If you have a good experience, or an epiphany, while listening to a certain genre or artist, that music becomes yours. If you have no personal connection to a piece, it remains remote and abstract. It can be appreciated both ways, of course, but the intellectual appreciation can never be as deep as the physical one.

I learned a long time ago that the quickest way to offend someone was not through dismissing his politics or religion, but through ridiculing his music. That doesn't mean I have to think " All music is in the eye of the beholder," just that I have to respect that the seminal truth of music is that it is a speech of the soul and psyche.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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February 7th, 2007, 20:06
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Also, and this is more direct - what do teachers and critics have to do with it? Sure, research and teaching and exploration of art is part of things, but ultimately art is about art.
Teachers are merely passing along the "enlightened judgements" of the critics, so they're not really at fault. Guilty of aiding and abetting, perhaps, but no felonies.

The critics, on the other hand, have no such excuse. First off, there's the question of expertise and competence. Are the critics at NME truly fit to judge today's music? They are certainly influential on the direction of pop music. Really, they're sheep leading the sheep. And to go relativistic and say the critics are mirroring the "current whims of society" is bunk. That means they're flailing around just like the rest of us, which pretty much voids their position of "expert".

It really comes down to hypocrisy, which is why I get so wound up about it. While we can try to apply some objectivity to a critique (technical competence can be measured to some extent, and even something fuzzy like innovation can be researched and documented a bit), in the end music, and all art, is a subjective subject. By definition, that means that true critical analysis is impossible and anyone claiming to be a "reknown expert in the field" is selling snake oil.

So what to do? You can whittle the field a bit objectively, but after that, picking out "respected, important art" boils down to little more than someone pulling a name out of a hat and convincing the sheep to nod their heads. It's Machiavelli applied to music.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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February 7th, 2007, 20:16
"Those who can, do. Those who can't, critique."



Edit:speaking musically, mike—not a slam at those who selflessly attempt to review and decipher games so the rest of us can decide if we want to buy them or not

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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February 7th, 2007, 21:10
Ah, but see, there's a difference between what Mike does and "true critique". Mike offers opinions and supports them with facts, but never makes some claim of knowing "worldly truisms". There's 7 levels of Moby Dick and if you don't agree, you're obviously an uneducated rube that will not get an "A" on your test.

I'm getting a little too excited. I was about ready to drag out the "enema art" argument, but there's no need for an elephant gun when yer huntin field mice.

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February 7th, 2007, 21:18
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Last night on the way home I listened to the entirety of Return to Forever's "Romantic Warrior"
What! I bought that album many, many years ago… for the cover. I also like the record, but I loved the cover art more…

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February 8th, 2007, 05:05
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
Ah, but see, there's a difference between what Mike does and "true critique".
When I started at GamerDad, he described it as being like Consumer Reports, which works for me. I'm not a journalist by any stretch, not doing true criticism in the classic Atlantic Journal/New Yorker sense of things, nor do I aspire to that. I like that doing reviews has actually helped liven up my professional technical writing for my research reports, though

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February 9th, 2007, 00:36
Personally, I'd much rather get info that's educated opinion and advertised as such than some stuffed shirt spouting "universal truths" anyway.

Good debate, folks, although I don't know that we had a counter view to oppose so much as shades of the same stance.

Back to topic, it's Delays for me today:
"Long Time Coming" by Delays

BTW, Mike, finally watched the Romantic Warrior vid. Seemed a little pointless, but you gotta love the crazy fast bass. The keys and guitar parts did little for me, even on a technique level, but I have no doubt that was more a reflection of the composition than the players.

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