The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

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The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Arpangel »

These things are part of all types of music, from pop etc, to contemporary classical and avant-garde, and everything in between.
My theory is that it’s a reflection of of how people feel globally, either trying to introduce a quality that invokes a nostalgic memory, of better times, or, they are used to reflect what’s going on in the world right now, a slow decay, literally, disintegration. I know that’s exactly what I’m using it for in my music, the last thing I want is high fidelity.
"Technical quality" has become unimportant, it’s almost irrelevant to most people, especially younger listeners, all sound, of whatever quality, has become acceptable, it just depends on the context.
You’ve only got to look at some of the instruments that are available now, advertising lo-fi, low bit rate, bit reduction, dirty, anything but pristine and clean.
Where all this is going I don’t know, I like it, it won’t be thought about, like I am now, it’ll just be part of the scene, it already has, it’s interesting though, how things sometimes do a complete u-turn, from wanting ultimate fidelity, and to reproduce acoustic instruments as realistically as possible, to the point we are at now.
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Martin Walker »

Look up 'hauntology' and all will (probably) be explained.

EDIT: This video link will save you the trouble of looking up the term, and is a useful primer: https://www.bbc.co.uk/ideas/videos/what ... s/p0729knv

Oh, and the duo Boards Of Canada are probably the best introduction to the whole genre in the musical sense (I own most of their output on CD): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boards_of_Canada

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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

I think these things come into and go out of fashion in cycles as new generations discover previous work and are subsequently inspired. Plus there's always the background level of people who have always embraced this kind of sound.
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by N i g e l »

Boards of Canada :thumbup:

Allways reminds me of wobbly b&w films at school showing the Rhine all frothy with dead fish, shopping trollys and toxic heavy metals.

Martin Walker wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:08 pm This video link will save you the trouble of looking up the term, and is a useful primer: https://www.bbc.co.uk/ideas/videos/what ... s/p0729knv


That included a reference to "look around you" so Im guessing Synthesizer Patel is OK to watch ....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2myFLUDB74

[note: he has done some mods to his Ebay bargain synth ]

----------------

I think its only Hi quality sound that lets us apppreciate "distressing" to its full potential. Maybe its a compare and contrast thing - Lo-fi along side Hi-fi.....
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by resistorman »

Distortion has always been a part of music since amplifiers were introduced. I think there's an argument to be made that it's much, much older once resonating bits were added to drums in Africa and more recently to snare drums.
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

resistorman wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 2:39 am Distortion has always been a part of music since amplifiers were introduced. I think there's an argument to be made that it's much, much older once resonating bits were added to drums in Africa and more recently to snare drums.

Not to mention the over-blowing technique with brass instruments.
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by awjoe »

What's the overblowing of brass about?
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Favedave »

Brilliant post! As I read it, I thought that most of your post would be used as a newspaper article about rock music in 1971 and be as relevant. Or, if changing some of the adjectives, be about the premiere of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring in 1913.

I think it's very healthy indeed to "muss up the hair" of the previous generation's sound. Or destroy it altogether. Although what you describe has never really been possible before to this extent since we have SO MUCH recorded music from the last 120 years. And we have the easily available electronic means to alter it in infinite ways.

Can't wait to see where we go!
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Arpangel »

Favedave wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 7:02 am Brilliant post! As I read it, I thought that most of your post would be used as a newspaper article about rock music in 1971 and be as relevant. Or, if changing some of the adjectives, be about the premiere of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring in 1913.

I think it's very healthy indeed to "muss up the hair" of the previous generation's sound. Or destroy it altogether. Although what you describe has never really been possible before to this extent since we have SO MUCH recorded music from the last 120 years. And we have the easily available electronic means to alter it in infinite ways.

Can't wait to see where we go!

Interesting comments.

Martin, BOC, when I first bought Tomorrow’s Harvest, it changed the very atmosphere, the chemical make-up of the air in my room, it was transcendental, you were immediately in another place, it was so evocative, of what? I’ll tell you, of everything, it was like a film running from the past showing me my whole life, Stars Of The Lid also have this affect on me, I say when people ask me if I’ve taken Acid, "no, but I’ve seen Stars Of The Lid"
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

awjoe wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 5:22 am What's the overblowing of brass about?

Paragraph 3 ;)
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Martin Walker »

Arpangel wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 8:28 am Stars Of The Lid also have this affect on me, I say when people ask me if I’ve taken Acid, "no, but I’ve seen Stars Of The Lid"

Hi Tony,

Thanks for introducing me to Stars Of The Lid!

With claimed influences including Arvo Pärt, Henryk Górecki, and Brian Eno, it's hardly surprising that I love what I'm hearing 8-)

Looks like I'll be purchasing 'and their Refinement of the Decline' in short order.

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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

blinddrew wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 11:37 am
awjoe wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 5:22 am What's the overblowing of brass about?

Paragraph 3 ;)

And this time with the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overblowi ... 0a%20slide.
:headbang::headbang::headbang:
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by IchiOtoSasayaki »

Hi, I think there are few elements to it.

As I understand there is a need of animals including humans to become part of their environment, to grow new neurological connections, and to change physically.
I even heard from a singing teacher that the Diaphragm changes as a reaction to the soundscape one is immersed in, like if you are in a city or nature..
Like birds imitating their soundscape.
And these sounds existed for a long time around us.

Many people associate it with certain feelings, experiences, times in their life, etc..
It part of musical reification, like when you hear a song from a film you liked and the emotion is triggered. Few years ago I read research about it from neurology perspective.

There is also the Idea of having more choices in the painter's color palette.
Difference create contrast and this brings engagement and interest.
Many of us desire difference and contrasts in various forms, this brings another form to the palette.

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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Drongoloid »

Also interesting to consider what might be a parallel in other creative concerns like film, photography or painting. What is the equivelent of lo-fi 8-bit glitching in the world of fiction (writing)?
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by BWC »

Drongoloid wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 7:34 pm What is the equivelent of lo-fi 8-bit glitching in the world of fiction (writing)?

Perhaps when a character is stressed in a way that their dialog sporadically regresses to childlike?
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by RichardT »

The great thing about producing music now is that we have all these wonderful processing tools available to us with a few clicks. Plus now we have free (or nearly free) access to all the world’s music of the last few hundred years as well. And we can collaborate easily with musicians around the globe.

I expect all this will usher in a time of great creativity. Now we can create fusions not just across genres but also across eras!

Added to which in a few years we will have usable AI assistants.
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Martin Walker »

Drongoloid wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 7:34 pm Also interesting to consider what might be a parallel in other creative concerns like film, photography or painting.

Well a classic interpretation of hauntology in painting must be
Roy Lichtenstein:

Image

One for film is surely Sin City with its greatly reduced dynamic colour range:

Image

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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

And in photography you've got all your 'vintage' filters or deliberate use of high ISO for visible grain.
And in literature I guess you've got things like A Void by Georges Perec or A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride.
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Arpangel »

Drongoloid wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 7:34 pm Also interesting to consider what might be a parallel in other creative concerns like film, photography or painting. What is the equivelent of lo-fi 8-bit glitching in the world of fiction (writing)?

I’m not sure you can, some things you just can’t make an analogy with.
John Cage, Mesostics, maybe?

Martin, if Stars Of The Lid ever tour again, you have to see them, I’m not going to even begin to describe how incredible they are live, if you think the "music" is good and you haven’t even seen them yet :shocked:
In terms of live shows, they aren’t on the cutting edge, they’ve gone way beyond it and fallen right over.
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by BigRedX »

IMO in music "LoFi" only really becomes a thing once "HiFi" is easily available to anyone who wants it.

Right up until the mid 90s almost everything I did could be termed "LoFi" because that was simply all the technology I could afford a the time for creating, playing and recording music could achieve. On the few occasions that we went into a "proper" recording studio, financial constraints meant that either it was only a slight step up in quality or we simply couldn't afford the time to really do the songs(s) recorded justice. A lot of the time a "good" take was one in which all of the band got all the way through the song without producing any glaring errors. And then of course the results were released to the pubic on compact cassette or budget vinyl pressings.

I think it is unsurprising that once "perfect" sound reproduction is the norm, that people look to add some "dirt" back into the proceedings. However it is very much select dirt and while it might not sound like it to most listeners you can bet that the artist producing it has carefully tweaked the dirt to exactly their requirements. It's very rarely uncontrollable dirt produced because the instruments or recording process are incapable of anything else.
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by IchiOtoSasayaki »

Drongoloid wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 7:34 pm Also interesting to consider what might be a parallel in other creative concerns like film, photography or painting. What is the equivelent of lo-fi 8-bit glitching in the world of fiction (writing)?

I thought about this since I read it, very interesting.

Here's a parallel of glitching in... I don't really know what art this is :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxdlYFCp5Ic
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by awjoe »

Arpangel wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 10:30 am

Martin, if Stars Of The Lid ever tour again, you have to see them, I’m not going to even begin to describe how incredible they are live, if you think the "music" is good and you haven’t even seen them yet :shocked:
In terms of live shows, they aren’t on the cutting edge, they’ve gone way beyond it and fallen right over.

Att'n: Arpangel

Tony, I found a number of Stars of the Lid CDs at my local stockist's. Any particular recommendations?
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by awjoe »

Martin Walker wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:08 pmOh, and the duo Boards Of Canada are probably the best introduction to the whole genre in the musical sense

I got Geogaddi on a whim. It's really good. It gives me hope when I stumble into something I've never heard before and it's really good. Their stuff makes me feel they were no strangers to Portishead. On the other hand, they sound really unique, but that's not very deep of me because I've heard so little stuff like that.
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Arpangel »

awjoe wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 4:48 am
Martin Walker wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:08 pmOh, and the duo Boards Of Canada are probably the best introduction to the whole genre in the musical sense

I got Geogaddi on a whim. It's really good. It gives me hope when I stumble into something I've never heard before and it's really good. Their stuff makes me feel they were no strangers to Portishead. On the other hand, they sound really unique, but that's not very deep of me because I've heard so little stuff like that.

You must get Tomorrows Harvest, very powerful.
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Arpangel »

BigRedX wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 12:24 pm IMO in music "LoFi" only really becomes a thing once "HiFi" is easily available to anyone who wants it.

Right up until the mid 90s almost everything I did could be termed "LoFi" because that was simply all the technology I could afford a the time for creating, playing and recording music could achieve. On the few occasions that we went into a "proper" recording studio, financial constraints meant that either it was only a slight step up in quality or we simply couldn't afford the time to really do the songs(s) recorded justice. A lot of the time a "good" take was one in which all of the band got all the way through the song without producing any glaring errors. And then of course the results were released to the pubic on compact cassette or budget vinyl pressings.

I think it is unsurprising that once "perfect" sound reproduction is the norm, that people look to add some "dirt" back into the proceedings. However it is very much select dirt and while it might not sound like it to most listeners you can bet that the artist producing it has carefully tweaked the dirt to exactly their requirements. It's very rarely uncontrollable dirt produced because the instruments or recording process are incapable of anything else.

Interesting, I’m still using my Tascam cassette Portastudio, and if you use it "normally" it’s quite hi-fi, to make it sound really dirty you have to abuse it in certain ways. use bad tape, don’t clean the heads, mess about with the noise reduction, turn the speeds right down, overload it.
There is no such thing as a broken piece of equipment for me, I have various tape machines, that have quite major faults, but they are then like pedals, or effects units, they do something unique, it’s uncontrollable sometimes, but you either want it, or not.
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by tea for two »

Forms of Paper by Steve Roden released 2011.
Termed lowercase music as it isn't meant to draw attention to itself, it is from a place of humbleness.
Made from the sounds of paper being handled
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oO8HrG2h9pA
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by awjoe »

Arpangel wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 7:38 amYou must get Tomorrows Harvest, very powerful.

Okeydoke. What about a Stars of the Lid recommendation?
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Arpangel »

awjoe wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 8:46 pm
Arpangel wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 7:38 amYou must get Tomorrows Harvest, very powerful.

Okeydoke. What about a Stars of the Lid recommendation?


If you asked me, I couldn’t name one of their albums, listening to their music at home without the visuals is like listening to a recording of Niagara Falls, you really need the live experience or it doesn’t work, it’s a whole package, inseparable. Going to one of their concerts is the eighth wonder of the world, they make any other bands live show look like home fairy lights.
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by awjoe »

I shall resort, therefore, to the apparent randomness of chance.
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Re: The popularity of distressing, disintegrating sound.

Post by Martin Walker »

awjoe wrote: Tue Oct 19, 2021 7:40 am I shall resort, therefore, to the apparent randomness of chance.

This is apparently the double album that got them many of their rave reviews:

https://starsofthelid.bandcamp.com/albu ... he-decline

ADDENDUM: I started playing the above again when I posted, thought it was quite good, but then (exactly the same as last time I listened) I found myself still listening and totally sucked in ages later.

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