Posted in Music

Sound Bites: Oct 26, 2016

And again, red.

Hello, everyone. Here again with another sound bites. For those of you new to the blog….

Let’s get right to it then, shall we?

1. Coelakanth is Android, Polysics!

Like most of their music, this song is completely and utterly incomprehensible and is a great example of how I enjoy music. You see, music is something that I view in a very general way. When I first listen to a song, it is a very superficial interaction. I hear sounds in sequence and, if that sequence pleases me, then I like the song enough to proceed to judge it on deeper levels. This is actually how I came to enjoy Japanese music, the Polysics being one band in particular. I don’t struggle to understand the meaning behind the lyrics and instead hear the sounds of the vocals, the notes that the artist is making through the instrument of their vocal chords and how that interacts with the instrumentals. Music is, at its core, just a chorus of varying sounds. Appreciating it on that basic level allows me to enjoy music that I otherwise might not have enjoyed. With something like the Polysics, it’s like an endurance race. The fast tempo and rapidly changing chords and offbeat note placement, mixed with the sheer array of strange noises that they produce using the digital medium, makes it difficult for me to keep up and I have to constantly pay attention and try and figure what’s going on. It is really interesting simply because it is not obvious what I am about to hear next!

2. Summer Mirage, Kimagure Orange Road ED 1

Remember the 80’s? I know a lot of people who do. While my youth was definitely rife with sounds of the BeeGee’s and the like, I am much more enamored with the synth sounds of the 80’s and 90’s in Japan. To my mind, there is a startling amount of innocence and purity in this music that I really appreciate. They do not get as wacky with the sounds themselves, as many in the American disco scene did, but instead rely on using the modern technology in tandem with modified classical rhythm. This song is a terrific example of this. You will hear chord changes and interval swaps and tonality which are not often found in synth music. It is actually the type of thing that you hear in experimental classical tunes, but using modern methods of sound production. It’s really interesting stuff and the result is one of my favorite songs ever.

3. Hurt, Johnny Cash

Often called one of the greatest cover songs ever made, this is one of, if not the, last song(s) produced by Cash in his final years. Hurt is a cover of a Nine Inch Nails song, which is not something you would immediately expect from the man who pretty much popularized country music as a genre. He showed that, even in his waning days, he could reinvent something using his brilliance. He took a song from a notoriously dark and emo band and used it as a vehicle to vent his frustrations and criticize his own legacy. Usually the emo genre is whining and complaining about pain and sadness using dark motifs, and while that is at the surface what Cash is doing, his musical style and employment of “country” instrumental puts his own sepia tones on the music, causing us to view it in his light. What results is musical gold, a dark and dusty walk through memory lane with one of the tallest musical figures of his time. Cash’s death very soon after the songs release adds another layer to it all. To this day, it is still one of the most powerful pieces of music I’ve heard.

Welp, that’s all for now folks. As always, thanks for reading and have a great day.

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