Reading Music

Jun 29, 2006 01:19 # 43185

xavierenigma * posts about...

Getting away from mainstream

93% | 2

Recently, I was commenting on the mainstream music taste of a friend and telling him how much he was missing out on. He retaliated, in an annoyed response, asked how to find more music that he liked. Not an easy question to answer so I will attempt to provide a simple guide to finding music one will enjoy outside of the mainstream.

Step 1: Diversify
Don't limit yourself to what you hear on the radio or see on MTV. In fact, I activtely encourage you to avoid these tools when attempting to expand your music taste.
Don't limit yourself to certain genres. I know of no one that listens to music which falls within some strict set of genres. Try other things. I listen to alternative/indie rock (Wolfmother) in addition to folk music from all over the world (such as Taraf de Haidouks), "progressive classical" (Kronos Quartet, Yann Tiersen), latin (Ozomatli or Xavier Cugat). Bluegrass can be pretty good (I still haven't acquired a taste for country). Just give them a try.

Step 2: Find the roots
You can start with what you like. Find out who influenced your favorite artists. Discover the history of your favorite genre. If you know where the roots are, the tree and leaves are relatively easy to find.

Step 3: Find similiar, sometimes undiscovered, artist.

Step 4: Listen. If you enjoy the music, continue this step. If not, return to step 1.

It appears the first two steps failed to explain anything about how to actually do this. Here's my suggestion:

Talk to people. If you're geeky enough, you can even throw a music discovery party. Get everyone to bring their CDs, iPods, MP3 players(Archos). Discover what you like.

Or, if you lack friends or your friends' music tastes are poor, take your discovery online. Plenty of resources exist. You will have to sort quite a bit but ocassionally you'll find something good. One of my favorite sites for this sort of thing is Pandora. Check it out.

An incredible amount of good music goes unnoticed and unheard. Find the music.

Jun 29, 2006 05:28 # 43190

zen *** replies...

Re: Getting away from mainstream can be difficult

?% | 1

First, I find it amazing that anyone would actually NEED help in expanding his/her musical horizens. To me, this is as simple as breathing, but not all of us are at the same place.

I'm going to be one of those boorish louts who divides folks into two camps; only for the sake of discussion.
They are: those who listen to music because they like music itself, and those who listen to it to fill in the silences.
I'm one of those who enjoys music for what it is, does, says, and what it can say and do.
I've been listening to college radio for about 20 years now, since I was in high school. I still have tapes I made from that time. This has been my single biggest means of broadening my horizens.
I've made it a point to visit the little tiny record stores in New York, Boston, etc. when there. I still buy records. I'm digitizing my rather sizable analog (tape/record) collection. This is who I am and what I do.
I think it's almost an unnatural thing for someone saturated in mainstream to be dislodged from that place. It seems to me the most natural thing to think that if they were interested in broadening their tastes, it would've happened already.
It all boils down to the motivation for listening in the first place. These two types of people are very different, and the expectations of music are very different for both these individuals.
Moreover, pop music, much like television, has a hypnotic effect. It becomes a sort of addiction. One can very easily become sucked into the vacuous, mindless qualities of the repetative beats and rhythms of pop music (and pop culture). In many ways, it's like fast food: filling, but does little to truly satisfy.

I'm all for experimentation, but this is me. It's most definitely an uphill battle to get one to break from his cognative Kansas to the diverse, scary musical world of Oz.

Once Fred Neitszche declared God is Dead, f*ck became the most important word in the English languag

This post was edited by zen on Jun 29, 2006.

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