My tastes in music are far and wide-ranging. They make Alternative
look like pop. If you were ask me to identify a single thread that runs
through all my favorite music, Id probably run off into some thicket
of contradictory musical analyses and come out all covered with cuts and
scrapes from the brambles. I cant come up with some definitive test
of whether Id like some music because I like so much of it, and
any definition would leave something out. So Ill just list what
I do and dont like.
Music I Like
(Not a complete list)
- Tallis Scholars. Anything medieval or Renaissance. Madrigals.
- I grew up on recordings by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields,
Neville Marriner conducting. He broke away from the romantic traditions
and played the Baroque composers crisply and precisely. It was refreshing
in its day, but Im bored with him now. Let me throw Nigel Kennedys
or Il Gardino Armonicos recording of Vivaldis Four Seasons
at you. Ahhh, Bach! Yo-Yo Mas recording of the Cello Concertos
is highly cool. I need a good gritty modern recording of the Brandenburgs:
fuzzy bows, knocked-over music stands, and plectrums on the floor; I
want revenge for the Duke of Brandenburg using the sheet music as coffee
filters! And Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music delivers.
- Beethoven is pretty cool. Im digging John Gardiners Revolutionary
and Romantic Orchestras recording of the Symphonies. Im
learning about Mozart. His music, like a sonnet, is delightfully predictable:
The rules are in my head, though I could not tell you what they are.
- Bluegrass. Irish traditional. Filk. Silly Wizard. Malicorne. Pierre
Bensusan. Its too bad there isnt any respectable German
folk music any more. The Nazis co-opted it all and everybody hates it
except for this obscure little folk band in Bavaria. Once we
all get over all that Nazi Karma, we might get to see a German folk-music
revolution to rival the Irish one. The material is there in the archives.
It will just take folks who are neither hung up on the fat-guy-in-the-beer-hall
and Oktoberfest Spoon-Dancing style of German folk nor adopting New
Wave Kraftwerk Technohouse German Angst Music (Klaus Schultze) in reaction
Steeleye Span! After thirty years they are still going strong. They
are strong contenders for my all-time favorite musical group.
- Beatles, Jethro Tull, 10,000 Maniacs, Cat Stevens, Moody Blues, Klaatu,
Talking Heads, Crash test Dummies, REM, Alan Parsons Project, Roxy Music,
Pink Floyd. Oh, the list goes on.
- New Age
- I liked music in this category before it had a name. Mannheim Steamroller,
before they ran out of steam. Andreas Vollenwieder, before he ran out
of steam. Shadowfax, before they ran out of steam. David Arkenstone,
before he ran out of steam. Enya ... but shes running out of steam.
Whats going on with this musical formis it really so limited
that any musician runs out of new ideas after only half a decade?
- Its odd that our own music has its well-defined categories,
and anything that comes from anywhere else on the planet is called World
music. Phrases like World Pop EthnoBeat are way too trendy.
I was liking outlandish music long before it became fashionable. Zamfir
before he abandoned folk music and went schmaltzy-romatic on us. Mongolian
throat-singing. Bulgarian. Balinese. Gyuto Monks.
In Amsterdam I found a record shop that specialized in classical and
folk music. When I asked the proprietor about Dutch folk mucic, she
sneered at me and said that this shop doesnt carry that kind of
music. Since when is our own folk music not worthy?
Music I Dont Like
(Not a complete list)
Im taking a risk here. I know that this list is going to offend
somebody. Tough. You cant expect the whole world to like the same
things you like.
- You can keep your schmaltzy Rachmaninoffs. Have you ever tried to
sing this stuff? Conductors like to make flowery baton-movements to
help choirs express the romantic feeling of the music, but they make
it damn-near impossible to figure out where the beat is, and even with
the most syrupy flowing expressive stuff, you still have to get your
consonants in at the same itme as everyone else. Pianos trying to emulate
the sound of bagpipes. Turned-On Classics.
- Fat blonde German operatic baritones singing wholesome hiking-in-the-woods-collecting-Edelweiss
Oktoberfest ballads. Anybody singing any folk music with Studied Operatic
Voices. Orchestras playing Irish fiddle ditties. Its time to rescue
German folk music from the classical composers.
- Country & Western
- Im tired of hearin bout cheatin hearts,
drinkin beer, and drivin trucks / Im goin back
to Beethoven cause Country Music Sucks. I once saw a bumpersticker
that read, If it aint country, it aint shit.
Well, I have to agree. Selbst-verstaendlich! If it is not Country,
it is not shit.
- Laurence Welk, Muzak, Big Bands
- Especially the kind that sounds as if a bunch of musicians are in
the same room warming up. Why is it that this form of music has to be
explained to me so I can like it, when just about everything else is
self-evidently agreeable (or not, as the case may be) from the start?
- Rock: Disco, Heavy Metal, Punk, Rap.
- The insipid micromelodies and microrhythms of Disco are designed for
people with the attention span of a can of Diet Coke. Heavy Metal was
the Angry Rock of the 70s. Punk was WhiteBoy Angry Rock of the
80s. Rap is Black Angry Rock of the 90s. Okay, fine. Express
your anger, but dont wake me up, okay? Ill sing my English
blood-and-gore love-ballads and revolutionary folk tunes, thank you.
My Tastes in Music. Revised September
5, 1998 and a little bit December 1, 2002.
Copyright © 1998, 2002 by Michael Roeder. All Rights Reserved.