Saturday, March 8, 2008

Confessions of a formerly reluctant, overly critical beat-freak, part 1.

I have to admit, what is now my rather long-term love-affair with electronic music has been heretofore rather tepid and reluctant. Up until recently, there was part of me that was still trying to resist admitting to it.

I assume that this was the part of me that started playing guitar at age eleven. The part of me that was foaming at the mouth with a childhood fervor to throw myself headlong into a life where chord-charts and equipment and pentatonics and techniques and woodshedding were important things for reasons that didn’t need to be explained, merely because their importance was just part of “who I was.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not claiming that these formative tools and obsessions haven’t served me well. Being “a musician” is still an integral facet of my identity, as anyone who knows me, however casually, or regularly reads this blog, can attest. Without the musical hang-ups of my youth, my current way of identifying myself would not have been able to evolve as it was. However, I’m well aware that, to people who think “as musicians” in the sense that I did when I was younger, some passing mentions of my current musical preferences and critical opinions can verge on downright sacrilege. It might, therefore, be time to venture an explanation, with a mind to a broader sense of “cultural criticism” to tie it all together.

I have to admit it now. Even though I am primarily (loosely) “a guitarist,” the music that, to my critic’s ear, gets me the most excited for future artistic/ cultural progress with music as the medium rarely (if ever) features a guitar as the dominant instrument. Hell, I’ll go even further than that. Even from a non-critical, more personal and taste-based perspective, the music that tends to get me excited, the music that I enjoy that makes me feel comfortable, is nearly always, at this point, driven primarily by well-programmed, atmospheric/ textural electronic beats. I’m well aware that, to most of my brethren of the fret-board, this is something that no self-respecting guitar-player should ever say.

To be continued…

…but in the meantime, I’ll end this installment by continuing my series of “marginalia as visual art, art as criticism, marginalia as criticism, criticism as art itself…” I forgot to bring a notebook with me to work the other day, yet started brainstorming the ideas for this entry while on break… leaving me no place to write down my ideas besides on full-page advertisements in the current issue of “Poets & Writers” magazine that I happened to be reading… producing this mess.

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