Eckspeerihmentall Mewsicc: Mayke the Efforte

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Chris Shields, Writer

Most music listeners today often lack the advanced knowledge and understanding of the art form to truly be able to appreciate its more obscure and abstract side. Music is a fluid form of expression that can take the form of catchy words or rhythms, or even borderline unpleasant and bizarre sounds, but it all fits under the category of auditory expression. Most people nowadays appreciate more simplistic or unoriginal chord progressions and catchy lyrics as opposed to music that takes more time to understand.

There’s nothing wrong with simplistic music. Everyone is entitled to their own preferences, but when closed minded listeners foolishly disrespect music that is a bit more evolved, there’s an issue. In music, one of the fundamental guidelines is that you have to have an advanced understanding of the rules in order to break them correctly, as is the case with most art. Jazz music is a prime example of this. There are boundaries and rules in jazz, but the most advanced musicians can take these to such an extreme that they can bend these boundaries beyond the black and white meaning. Certain bands and music genres, like jazz, take this theory to heart to produce music that isn’t necessarily “pleasant” music, but if you can truly free your mind of its confining shackles to make an effort to understand and appreciate this branch of the art form, your mindset may change. 

Everyone likes a catchy chord progression, fun lyrics, and a groovy rhythm in a song, but what most don’t seem to comprehend is that some musicians want to experiment outside of this to create something more original. Every form of art has more obscure branches of it that make people question what they may have previously thought to be “good.” We all like pretty landscape paintings with bright colors, but there are paintings out there that have a more abstract take on life just for the sake of pushing boundaries and challenging concepts. We all enjoy performing and participating in the latest dance crazes with our friends, but there are interpretive dances out there that pry a little deeper into the meaning of dance itself. The same goes for music. 

Bands like Primus, for example, pride themselves on being “bad” music. Their famous catchphrase from the 90s was “Primus sucks” because that was most people’s reaction to hearing their music for the first time. Primus intentionally steers clear of catchy chord progressions and simplistic melodies and instead focuses on displaying their talent and knowledge of how to bend the rules of music. Les Claypool, Tim Alexander, and Larry LaLonde broke what we previously thought was conventionally good in a way that displayed their sheer talent as well as their developed understanding of music. Their material isn’t necessarily pleasant to listen to, and that’s the entire point behind it. In fact, they even have an album titled Antipop released in 1999. They have made a career off of making experimental, bizarre music. Most bands can’t say the same.

Mr. Bungle is another band that intentionally pushed audiences away in the beginning of listening to them, but if the listener has a deep understanding of music, they will come back. Wacky time signatures, fluent key signatures, bizarre meanings and lyrics, and unsettling instrumentals are what Bungle aimed for in their music. Their goal is to weed out the non-intellectuals and to leave them enjoying their Billie Eilish playlist. The common listener will always gravitate to what “sounds good” first, but a developed mind will be able to understand and appreciate the boundary breakers like Mr. Bungle and Primus.

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