Thursday, July 31, 2014

High Emotion

Since the day I first discovered that there was music in the world beyond Top 40's radio, I have been in pereptual search of music that speaks to me on an emotional level. I enjoy a good beat and a catchy melody as much as the next person, but the music that really resonates with me must display a high amount of emotion.

On the other end of the spectrum, I really enjoy cheesy club anthems. Dance music circa 2009 was a golden moment for me, although I was a little late to the party and can only appreciate retroactively.

Ministry of Sound's 'Mashed' collections were, without a doubt, the best compilations ever made. I own all five of them, with this song having earned the highest play count in my iTunes library:

Since electronic music tends to follow the trends of other genres, what with DJs and the like, it is forever changing. Those sounds I loved in 2009 have now turned to a dubstep sort of feel, and electronic music seems to have shifted into something I cannot hang my hat on.

And then I found trap music. I really did not like it when I first listened to it. It sounded too much like dubstep. You can't tap your foot to trap music. It's very erratic and strange, but the experimentation and off-beat patterns have become refreshing to my ear and I can't get enough. I started listening to Flume a few weeks ago and I can't listen to anything else. His music is so choc-ful of emotion that I can't help mouthing the words or humming along on the subway in rush hour (which I'm sure is very annoying to other passengers). Over the past two-ish years, Flume has exploded in popularity in Australia (where he is from) and all over the world. Tomorrow, I will be seeing him for the second time in under two weeks and his performance might just be the highlight of the entire Osheaga weekend for me.

Wikipedia defines Trap music as follows:
Trap music incorporates an extensive use of multi-layered hard-lined and melodic synthesizers, crisp, grimy and rhythmic snares, deep 808 sub-bass kick drums, pitched down vocals, double-time, triple-time and similarly divided hi-hats, and a cinematic and symphonic utilization of string and keyboard instruments creating an overall dark, harsh, grim and bleak background feeling for the listener.
This sounds about right to me, with the addition that a lot of trap music features rap overtop of these grimy beats. I wasn't the biggest fan of rap before I found trap music, but I have found that I am starting to enjoy some rap as well. What a great segue into a new genre!

In time with Osheaga this weekend, I made sure to familiarize myself with a lot of new music. Shlohmo, a native of Los Angeles, is equally talented and has a very interesting sound. I listened to a lot of his stuff on Soundcloud, where I realized that there are a lot of people who feel the same way about this music as me. Watch the comment section as you play this song:

First of all, those comments completely confirm my thoughts about trap music being highly emotionally charged and wonderful to listen to. This kind of music brings something out in people that other music doesn't do (or perhaps does in a different way).

I also absolutely love the experience that Soundcloud creates for its listeners. You can add a comment at any point in a song, and each comment pops up for subsequent listeners as they reach the part of the song where the comment is located. It's like listening to a song in a room with a bunch of other people who love the music as much as you. If we're going to talk about excellent user experience, here is your shining example.

From Flume and Shlohmo I landed on ODESZA. Originally based in Seattle (near to my heart!), the duo has been coming out with amazing songs that really hit you where it hurts. Have a listen to this:

To wrap a bow on this one, I guess I just don't see a point in listening to music that doesn't make you feel anything. It would be like eating food that didn't have any taste or nutritional value. I should state that music is probably one of my main sources of pleasure in life, as it is for many of the people with whom I surround myself. And is that so bad? All we're looking for in life is meaning and the pursuit of happiness, right? Why shouldn't it come from an art form that dates back to the beginning of man?

One thing I would like to reiterate is the fact that I never thought I could get into trap music, until I did. Opening oneself up to new things (both inside music and outside) is so important to becoming a well-rounded and satisfied person. Let's chalk this up to my summer motto of "just say yes", shall we?

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