Other People’s Music

Years ago I was watching a “Star Trek: Next Generation” episode and there was a scene where Picard, the sage captain of the space vessel, walked into the room of some impertinent alien prince. The kid was playing this absolutely chaotic, atonal music full of clangs and groans and Picard sort of sighed, presumably thinking something like, “These teenagers and their crazy music!”

I remember wondering “Will that ever be me? Will music get so strange and un-relatable that I’ll be left wondering how anybody could stand it? (And I say this as someone pretty open minded about music.)” Frankly, I think most of us presume this to eventually be the case. And for a while I could kind of sense it coming. All this electronic music with weird names like Techno, or electronica or Dub-Step kept appearing and I didn’t really get it. I was unclear what I was supposed to be listening for. It sounded like music made up of drum loops and chunks of other people’s music with little really being “created.”

But lately I’ve been kind of getting into that kind of music. For instance, I was recenty won over by this video – an ad for nail polish that features equine acrobatics, great dancing and a weird soundtrack which is a song mashing up short samples of music (and raw sound.)

I’ve also, as mentioned, been reading the book “The Great Animal Orchestra” which makes the case that aural enjoyment (NO! Not “oral enjoyment,” you sicko!) can be found in nature, by listening to the raw sounds of the environment. This opens up a rather expanded definition of music, really arguing that it is no more than “organized sound.” (Actually, it might even be unorganized sound if you expand the definition to include the pure sounds of nature, unless you presume nature to have some kind of built in organization.) Oddly, thinking about this led me back to a character I’ve stumbled upon in the past, Skrillex. Skrillex is a DJ (I guess; I’ve never understood what that term means) who makes very modern, unnatural music often made up of equal parts traditional synth music and strange, undulating mechanical groans and chirps. For a long time, I didn’t “get” this kind of music, but I’m beginning to and I’m digging it.

(You have to wait a bit for this song to get weird.)

3 Responses to “Other People’s Music”


  1. John Saleeby

    Remember that crazy shit Michael Caine was dancing around to in “Children Of Men”? I guess people in England will have to settle for anything once everybody in America is dead.

    That was a good Movie though. It had that cool “Cunts Are Still Runnin’ The World” by Jarvis Cocker at the end, too.

    Cunts are still runnin’ the World, you know.

  2. Wil

    Yeah, that was a great song…

  3. John Saleeby

    That whole album is great. I should investigate the whole Jarvis Cocker-Pulp thing. He’s a really funny guy.