[LAU] OT: Subconscious Affecting Music
lau at kudla.org
Thu Aug 26 18:17:29 UTC 2010
On Thursday 26 August 2010 08:38, Patrick Shirkey wrote:
> How about a test instead. Listen to 10 of the latest club remixes of the
> latest Pop music from the last 3 years and tell me if you can spot the
> compositional technique therein? It's mostly centered around certain
> very similar synth and drum patterns and is complemented by the use of
> sexually suggestive breathy female vocal tracks/samples and aggressive
> dumbed down male lyrics.
I started going out to clubs regularly in about 1990 and those elements
were already there. The beats have evolved over the decades but I even
remember hearing New Order remixes from the late 80s with the suggestive,
breathy female vocal samples... not to mention everything ever produced by
Enigma from '91 on.
I would argue that what you're describing goes as far back as disco, and
it's the ascendancy of club culture in the present day that attracted your
attention to it. Of course they all have pretty much the same beat. So
did disco. So did electronic pop in the mid-80s. So did house music. I
knew someone who got really, really turned on by a remix of the throwaway
novelty single "People Are Still Having Sex" about 20 years ago. It had
the same beat as everything else at the time so it was in everyone's mix
for a couple of months, and featured the sound of a woman whispering
"Hello, lover" repeatedly throughout the track.
On the other hand, 10 years before that, when I was still in elementary
school, I had a girlfriend whose dad had a tape of disco stuff that all
sounded like "More More More" by Andrea True Connection, but with fewer
lyrics and more moaning. He was embarrassed when we made fun of it,
leading me to suspect he was into it for not-purely-musical reasons.
As you observed in your last post, the clubs I go to may not exactly be
mainstream, and certainly most of the people there aren't going to react
sexually to breathy female anything. But that stuff still gets played,
often gets played there long before DJs in what you describe as mainstream
clubs have even heard of it, and has been for decades. Timbaland may have
added his own spin to it, but so did Giorgio Moroder (who may have invented
the model), Stock/Aitken/Waterman, and so on through the years. In another
couple years someone will come up with an even 'sexier' beat and bassline
and even breathier female vocal talent, and someone else will be wishing he
could use the same technique for, er, 'good'.
I can't speak to the aggressive hip-hop stuff, because I generally leave if
too much of that stuff gets played.
To sum up, I think the best way to positively affect people's lives through
music isn't to try to come up with some scientific formula for imparting
intelligence, tolerance, etc. subliminally through beats, but through
writing songs embodying the qualities you wish to impart. Make them close
enough in sound to everything else that they slip underneath the radar
while also being catchy and novel enough so that everyone (well, everyone
who plays non-major-label stuff) plays them.
I think that'll be easier and more effective than finding and subverting a
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