Archive for the ‘Gnarls Barkley, et al’ Category

Clarifying a distinction

June 15, 2008

Again Schweitzer, from the same book:

“Some artists are subjective, some objective. The art of the former has its source in their personality; their work is almost independent of the epoch in which they live. A law unto themselves, they place themselves in opposition to their epoch and originate new forms for the expression of their ideas.”

I’d throw Zeppelin, Coltrane, Nirvana, Public Enemy, and some others, into this category.

ToeJam weighs in

June 15, 2008

toejam Says:

Hey, if we’re just voting for our favorite bands, then I vote for the Dead. And I can make a case for it, too.
Paige, it depends on how much time you want the music to be symbolic for. Those are the rules.

Yo dooood. You’re in my base.

If we’re looking at Bach, he covers the baroque period (generally thought to end when he died), but worked with music that came before him. With Ellington, he took the jazz and dance music of the time and worked it all out. Miles did it with BeBop, free jazz, fusion, and pop music. Hendrix with soul music, blues, funk, and rock music. Prince with pop, funk, disco, and soul music. The Dead with country, jazz, bluegrass, and rock. I don’t think the time period of the music drawn from applies, because the musician should pull the music into the present and thrust it a little bit forward.

Bach, Beck, and Barkley

June 12, 2008

My nominations are Philip Glass and Wynton Marsalis.


What about Prince?

BTQ: Gnarls Barkley?

June 6, 2008

pelee Says:

On some NPR show today, there was a writer discussing Duke Ellington. There was constant discussion of that music being “symbolic of the time” and the question was raised whether we have music that is as representative these days. They had a music critic on and his strongest suggestion was Gnarls Barkley. I can’t remember the others, but that one stands out.

I believe Frank Sinatra was mentioned as the same sort of icon for his heyday.

I haven’t heard the NPR piece, but I looked for it online. I remember reading Albert Schweitzer’s biography of Bach, and his summation of his music was that he took all the existing forms and styles of music up until that point and worked them out to their logical and complete conclusion, such that the music he borrowed from was rendered superfluous. (I’ll lry and find the exact quote online). I’ve always thought of great musicians in that way since. So Duke Ellington would be one, within his style of music, as is Miles Davis. Jimi Hendrix was another. Who that would be these days I don’t know, because music is so stylistically balkanized that it will be hard for any musician to accomplish the same thing.

I shall ponder the mystery…..


The money quote from Schweitzer:

Bach belongs to the order of objective artists. These are wholly of their own time, and work only with the forms and ideas that their time proffers them…The art of the objective artist is not impersonal, but superpersonal. It is as if he felt only one impulse – to express again what he already finds in existence, but to express it definitively, in unique perfection. It is not he who lives – it is the spirit of the time that lives in him. All the artistic endeavors, desires, creations, aspirations and errors of his own and of previous generations are concentrated and worked out to their conclusion in him.”