Tuesday, December 16, 2008

maths rock/free jazz = The future of music.

I've been listening to lots of maths rock (It sounds better as Math rock but mathematics is plural for god's sake) Bands like LITE, You Slut!, Maps & atlases, This town needs guns, Foals, American Football, and a few others. I love the guitar interplay. That's always been a big interest for me, interplay of multiple parts.
It brings up the fact that my musical interests and aspirations explore a few particular things. I am most interested in the interplay of multiple melodic lines, discord, passion, and innovative use of dynamic range.
It can be seen in my interest in Jazz, and maths rock, as well as my interest in screamo and post-hardcore. I am most comfortable where musician-ship meets the need to express.
I am helped by the fact that I strongly desire to express things I'm unable to put into words. There are a number of things that only music can bring out. The best example I can give of this is the way that a piece with two melodies brings out a third melody which though unplayed, is naturally there. It's like the two melodies outline the space for the third unplayed one to go. Basically one is able to hear the space inbetween.
This is partly because of the way I hear music. I hear music in terms of what can be added to it. Most songs have something missing. Almost all songs. Even great songs have things missing. There are melodic opportunities unrealised. when nothing is missing the music is just fucking amazing, but this is a pretty rare occurrence.
So I'm as likely to come up with some different tune to go along with a song as I am to sing along with the tune the song already has. It's only when people have more than one melody going, playing off of eachother, and modulating based only on patterns set out beforehand and the other players ideas. It's the logic behind great jazz, especially free jazz.
Two great musicians playing off of each other is a great example of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Two great musicians playing off of each other pushes each musician in directions they wouldn't usually go.
I feel like the natural next step in music, the next progressive step is that fusion between free jazz and math rock. There is a natural junction there that I don't see being fused. I asked my friend (a wonderful jazz drummer) why no one has gotten to this point yet and he suggested it's a musicianship problem. Most jazz music with rock instrumentation becomes fusion. That's all fine and well, but it's been done. It is passée in the most literal of ways.
What I would like is a free jazz played with rock instrumentation and a certain flavour of maths rock tied in. It's a hard thing to describe, but with only one person I sure as hell can't play it.
The trick is to remove a large deal of the structure of the songs. That is where the maths rock is missing things. There is a great deal of interplay, and the way that the guitar is weilded is pretty impressive, but the removal of standard rock structure is what's missing.
That's also the problem with the fusion inclinations of electric musicians who chose to play jazz. It's like they can't get past structure. Maybe I learned differently and so ended up at a different playing point, but the rock structure, for all the good that's been done with it, needs to be put to rest.
There are advancements in rock, and they're interesting, but they all have the same structure for the most part. Subversions of this structure are welcome and usually end up being some of my favourite things, but none have been game changers as of late. The story has been the same for jazz. Jazz hasn't had a real game changer since the death of Davis. There hasn't been a Coltrane for the modern era.
Someone who throws into sharp relief the things that can be done. Someone who throws a monkey wrench into the workings of things. Basically I am calling for those people who have the inclination to make beautiful Jazz or Maths Rock, or Post Hardcore to take a good hard look at what you're changing. Say fuck it to the 90/10 rule about familiarity/innovation and throw out most of the structure that keeps you up. Be brave enough to create without a life vest.
I'm going to try to further this dream, and I continue to play guitar for hours a day to further my skills, and my goals, but if someone should step up before me, that would be welcome.

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