Like anthologies? Techno music might be for you.
Posted March 12, 2016on:
I was an art minor in college. It took 32 credits for me to learn that while I am rather creative, I am not artistic. One of my art professors had us do a project where we created a self portrait shadow box using found items. Of what little I owned at the time, I sure wasn’t going to sacrifice any of it for some art project. And the things that I felt represented me either weren’t things, or weren’t easily available. On the day of the critique, I remember most of the shadow boxes included parts of the single serve cereal boxes you could get in the dorm cafeteria. Somehow Lucky Charms and Apple Jacks was supposed to represent all the anxiety a college freshman away from home from the first time experiences?
I do wonder though, if the art professors had a bet going to see how many students used stuff pilfered from the dorm cafeterias in these “found objects” projects.
I’ve been listening to a lot of techno music lately. It falls under different names – techno, EDM, dance remix, electronica. Yes, I know all those words technically mean something different, but in Venn Diagram land they all overlap somewhat. It’s the kind of music where someone has taken lots of bits and pieces of other songs and layered them on top of each other, and on top of a dance beat. it’s really fun to dance to. the beats per minute is usually pretty high, so it’s great music to run or work out to. If you have Sirius Radio in your car, I listen to channels 51 and 52 a lot. Hardwell, #ASOT, Tiesto’s Club, stuff like that. Last week on channel 52, I heard a dance remix of the main theme from the movie Interstellar. Someone had taken Hans Zimmer’s music and put a dance beat behind it, and mixed it around a few other ways. It was so beautiful i nearly started crying. I only have access to this radio station while in the car, so I was nearly crying while driving too fast down the interstate.
If i knew now what I knew back when I was taking that annoying art class, I’d have turned in a dance remix instead of a shadow box. And probably received an F, because it was an art class, not a music appreciation class.
More on this at a different time, but i’m one of those weird people for whom sound often has a corresponding color. When I listen to a song on the radio, the singer’s voice may have a certain color (not all singing voices have a color, but the ones that do have a consistent color). So the whole radio song is usually the same color. Still with me? But the techno music, because the melody changes all the time, it’s like the DJ (or mixer, or composer?) is layering all sorts of different colors, painting with different sounds. In the course of 5 minutes, I get to hear lots of different colors! wheee! It’s the sound of a colorful painting, but not in an overwhelming fashion. More like it’s a few colors at a time, and those colors slowly morph to other colors. Sort of.
Whoever has put the song together has chosen their bits and pieces of music and put them together in a very particular way, with one sample shifting into the next, which shifts into the next, and so on. Like an orchestral overture, a particular melody might make multiple appearances. Maybe the composer switches up tempo, or pitch, with a faster beat being following by a slower beat, and then a faster beat, or a short melody followed by a long melody, followed by another short one. And the entire thing together? It is a shadow box of the whole song – a bunch of found objects that when put together represents whatever the composer/artist wanted to represent. If you’ve ever been in the terminal tunnel at Detroit Metro Airport, a lot of the techno music I like sounds a lot like the shifting colors in that tunnel.
I’m not sure what to call the folks who make this kind of music. DJs? mixers? artist? composer? How about “editor”? They are pulling together things that will work together, choosing an order of what should come after what, deciding how the end user should experience their creation. It’s like they are editing an anthology of sound. An anthology you can listen to in 8 minutes.
there you have it: how techno music is like fiction anthologies. And if you read your anthologies cover to cover in the order shown in the TOC, techno music might be for you.