A matter of genre…

Dubstep, Breaks, Drum’n'Bass, House.

As a society we seem to love to categorize things by type, style, shape and sound. One thing we love to categorize more than anything else is our beloved music; the soundtrack to our lives.

But it doesn’t stop there. Once you hit a genre, you’ve got sub-genres. Not content with umbrellas dictating how your style must sound, how your mixing must be, how the structure of your song must flow, each slight difference will lump you in a subtly different category.

You like drum’n'bass? Is it Techstep? Darkstep? Atmospheric? Jazzy? Liquid? Ragga?

You like house? Minimal? Progressive? Deep? Ambient? Electro? Hard (hee hee)?

A recent Gizmodo article shows that music hasn’t really evolved a great deal in 50 years. Despite fragmenting musical styles into (increasingly strict) requirements, science is telling us we’re just splitting the same music into increasingly restrictive genres. What’s more is that some of the most heated and bitter arguments stem from the discussions of music and music artists. The better artist. The better style. Why one style is inferior to another. Why this music isn’t in that genre because it doesn’t follow the exact rules and regulations of the archetype.

So here I am, sitting amidst a shattered landscape with a fistful of musical notes. I have to get someone to listen to me amidst this mess.

I think I’ve got my work cut out for me here. You see, I’ve tried to ‘pick’ a genre for some time now and it’s just not working. So I’m going to stop pretending I want to be constricted and I’m just going to write music. I’m going to paint you a picture free of constraints and I’ll see where it takes us. Chances are my music may be disliked because I don’t fit a mold – I never fit one in life anyway, so I suppose it’s no big loss. Chances are my music may be pigeonholed into some trivial genre and arguments occur for days on message boards where I fit in the grand scheme of musical styles. Chances are I’ll stumble upon something amazing and new and break the cycle of repetition and conformity.

I figure it’s time we collectively threw caution to the wind and tried something different. We are long overdue. I’ll take the first step; Let’s see who follows.

4 Responses to “A matter of genre…”

  1. Aleph-Null July 31, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    With you all the way on this one, boss.
    As what some would describe a “metalhead”, I’ve watched as the music I love gets disintegrated into niche markets. We’re catering to the hipster crowd now, wherein it’s seemingly cool if no-one’s heard of you yet.
    The -core suffix really gets my goat, and is a prime example of this. Deathcore/mathcore/screamcore/metalcore ad infinitum all fall under the one umbrella, when you boil it down.

    I think we’re also running out of titles for these genres, as hardcore pertains to both electro-rave happy (almost gabba?) style, as well as screams and discordant, chaotic stylings of more aggressive guitar-based music. It’s trivial, and to a more increasing extent, petty.
    I like to consider myself as one with eclectic taste, however the question of “what do you listen to” perpetuates the need to differentiate between styles.

    Avant Garde attitudes such as your own are needed, and if I were to pigeonhole you on your outlook alone (as much as I don’t wish to) that’s where you’d be. The fact that this topic is considered “pushing the envelope” simply shows that the envelope has folded in on itself. Free-thinkers are what is needed, and working outside the constraints of labels (both in the commercial sense and the definitive sense) is how to create that.

    Keep it up man, your work is appreciated.

  2. Virus__ July 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    Genre’s everytime I think of genres I think of the doco Metal: A Headbangers Journey, where Lemmy is asked what he thinks about Motorhead being classed as a heavy heavy metal band and pioneers of genre and various sub genres, all he has to say is he doesn’t see Motorhead as a metal band, but as a simple rock n’ roll band, he doesn’t want to classify himself as anyone thing, he just wants to play rock n’ roll, which is fair & I think a good way to see things, especially for a man such as humble as Lemmy, he’s a real inspiration.

    Whilst I spent a few hours yesterday sorting my iTunes library so the artists and band I listen to were in their correct genres, I really don’t care for them. I basically did that for my iPod’s sake, so I can sort by genres on that easier ha.

    I also hate it when people judge me by what I listen to, I listen to what I want because I like it, not because society tells me I should like or whatever, if I like the catchy pop tunes of Katy Perry then I like the catchy pop tunes of Katy Perry, that doesn’t mean I can’t like the thrashing heavy music of Slayer it just means I like diversity in my music tastes, mostly so I don’t get bored with the same old stuff. But I guess i’m what you call a metalhead, even if I listen to a large variety of music.

    Whilst I don’t like everything that is out there, I can respect most of it. Some styles of music I just can’t, but that’s possibly because i’ve had no choice but to listen to it, like on car trips where i’ll get my head bitten off if I suggest to turn it down/off or change to something more tolerable.

    BACK ON TOPIC! More power to you man if you don’t fall into any one specific style, it to me just means you have more creativity in your work and don’t want to stick to the one particular way which could be restrictive & maybe boring.

    Also I have never even heard of most of those genre’s you listed, I even thought some weren’t even around anymore because the scene moved on to a new name for an altered version of it.

  3. Shane W Smith August 1, 2012 at 2:18 am #

    The musicians I respect most are the ones who can play with ‘their’ sound and branch out into different ‘genres’.

    The only example I can think of at the moment is My Chemical Romance’s Danger Days album, but I’m sure there are better examples out there.

    Anyway, I guess it’s easier for them to experiment and diversify because they have a label already and legions of diehard fans who’d follow them over a cliff… but still, it’s a respectable position to take.

    All the best!

  4. The Cracks August 1, 2012 at 3:24 am #

    Pick the genre ‘awesome’.

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