Music and Beyond

I believe that music is one of the greatest forms of art.  There is no limit to the creative aspect of sound.  A musical piece can be composed, written and recorded, but still, a ‘final’ piece of music can be performed over and over again with a different result every time.  Music, as a whole, is not just an art for the ears, but a form of visual and performance art with room for improvisation of any kind.

Math Rock, to me, is a great example of the creative possibilities of music.  Using only a bass guitar and a drum set, bands like Ruins have been able to create a unique sound that no one had ever heard before.  They have done nothing original with the instrumentation or how the instruments are used and played individually, but Math Rock bands have instead choose to combine these two ‘generic’ instruments in a way that results in some of the most unique sounds and rhythms.  Unlike the 4/4 bands that stick to a generic tempo, Math Rock bands have created a complex sound environment that is constantly changing and catching the listener off guard.

During the live performance of Tatsuya Yoshida in class on Wednesday, I was very impressed by the complex rhythms that he was able to play to a prerecorded bass track, but even more striking to me, was his use of looping effects during the breakdown of the song.  At one point, when he was playing, he stopped drumming in order to create vocal noise effects into a microphone while changing the pitch through some sort of effects device.  This noise was recorded and looped.  He then played a keyboard part that was recorded and looped as well.  These are things that without technology could not have been done.  Years ago, effects like these could not be produced, especially not live like Yoshida had done.  I find it very interesting when bands are able to make creative use of technology in this way, to create sounds that have never been heard before.I have learned a small amount of minimalist composer, Steve Reich’s work, and he also has made some very interesting recordings using technological ideas that, especially, in his early works, had to do with looping tape effects.  One example his piece, “Come Out,” which consists of two tapes looping the words, “Come out to show them.”  Eventually, do to the impreciseness of technology, the two tapes would undergo a phase shift and play slightly off from each other.  Also, his piece, “Pendulum Music,” makes use of technology by making music that is created by feedback.  The Youtube video shows a fine performance of this piece.


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