[LAU] OT: Subconscious Affecting Music

Patrick Shirkey pshirkey at boosthardware.com
Fri Aug 27 03:31:53 UTC 2010

On Thu, August 26, 2010 11:17 am, Rob wrote:
> 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.

Yeah they were the foundation but the specific combination has been used
so much over the past few years that I feel it has taken on a life of it's
own now. In addition the combination of autotuned vocals add another level
of complexity that seems to affect people more directly and more
consistently than anything else over the past 40 years of disco/club

> 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.

I agree that the basic formula was discovered way back then but I think it
has only recently evolved into the current form.

> 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.

I don't mind listening to it or most other aggressive music but I get
bored of listening to a whole set of purely aggressive elements. I noticed
that there was a very aggressive period worldwide during 2007/8 and I
think it was partly a subconscious response to the "sectarian" violence
and civil war in Iraq at the time. Some might even hold that it was a
carefully orchestrated manipulation. Would be hard to prove if it was

> 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
> magic formula.

Yes, it is easier but I am interested in the hard task ;-)

It's like putting LSD in the water supply. Not necessarily a good or a bad

Patrick Shirkey
Boost Hardware Ltd.

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