Thursday, 18 March 2010

Are Friends Eclectic ?

The fact that you’re reading this means that you like music. A lot.

So probably when you meet someone new it won’t be long before the conversation turns to what music you like. So how do you feel when the answer to your question is “Oh, I like a bit of everything really.” Does this signify a wide ranging, eclectic taste and a passion for all kinds of music, or is it just a bland get out clause ? Do you see that person shirking away with a ‘please don’t ask me anything more about music’ look in their eyes ? If so, may we suggest that this person probably doesn’t like music as much as you.

We certainly don’t like a bit of everything. We do however like synthpop, acoustic folk, indie rock, new wave, easy listening, electronic dance, post rock, sixties pop, ambient, afro beat, dubstep, shoe gaze, techno, brit pop and many more. There’s very little heavy metal in our music collection. Much modern hip-hop doesn’t do it for us either, although Public Enemy, De La Soul and Outkast would all feature on our Top 100 albums of all time list. We guess our tastes are reasonably eclectic, and we like to think that this blog represents this. One thing is for certain - we are passionate about what we like, and sometimes what we don't. After listening to music for as long as we have sticking to just one genre would be incredibly tedious - like having sex in the same position with your wife for thirty years - you’d probably want to try a different wife or some new positions. Maybe both.

Writing about unpicking the phrase ‘New Music’ in an article for the Guardian here, journalist Tom Ewing cites recent research by the physicist Yi-Cheng Zhang into online film recommendations. This research found that as people become more experienced and learn more, their tastes widen and become harder to predict, until you’re better suggesting something completely off that persons radar. We’ve recently been interviewed by a couple of on-line publications (we’ll try to remember to post links as and when they are published) and one of them asked us to name ten records we would take as our dessert island discs. Our answer was that we would take ten recordings we hadn’t heard yet. This seems to accord with Yi-Cheng Zhang’s research. We’ve been listening to music for such a long time now that those off the radar suggestions are going to be far more intriguing than one that sounds a little bit like something else we know. Of course the difficulty is as we suggested (here) there are so many notes, so many sounds, that now that popular music has reached middle age everything is going to reference something else.

The concept is that this blog is like a warm music loving friend with a wide range of tastes. For example in the last few days we’ve covered tropical shimmying soundtracks, angry female fronted piano, ambient moody electronic dubstep, acoustic folk pop, synthpop and indie dance with videos and links to help you on your way. The word eclectic is a dangerous one to use, but we hope that at least we are non-genre specific, with passion for that which we like. Rather like BBC 6 Music (have you completed the consultation document yet - if not click here), our vision for this blog is certainly not about being the hippest or having the highest hit count, but to engage readers who want a little more than just the latest free hot download remix shoved out by a PR company. This blog encourages debate. We’re like a big round table in a pub, with all your music friends around.

So when you meet us at a party, and you ask us what music we’re into, please don’t be surprised if we then talk non-stop at you for an hour. There’s a lot more to it than just liking a bit of everything.

7 comments:

Peter said...

Nice post. I find that I say I tell people I like a bit of everything because it is so non-specific. In general most people I am likely to encounter at a party or work or whereever will not like music as much as I do. So this answer avoids the following situations which I must have heard a thousand times.

A)
Me: I like dance music
Other: Uhhhh Not all that boom boom techno

B) Me: I like indie music
Other: Me too, Kasabian (substitute any indie landfill band here) are great aren't they

Plus it avoid me having listing 10 acts I'm currently listening to and them looking blankly at me.

Anonymous said...

And what sort of party will we meet you at ? By referencing changing wives would it be a wife swapping party perhaps?

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

Yep Peter, been there done that :)

No Anon, haven't been there and done that, but who knows what the rest of life will bring.....;)

Pedram said...

yeah I get that statement everywhere. What kind of music do you listen to? I think it's just safe to say 'most indie stuff' and lay the burden down. Sadly enough, in the country I'm living, there's almost no ear for indie. So, I face that blankly look back at me. I get along! ;)

Mistress Wanda said...

An interesting post, and something I have been thinking about a bit too. I like to think of my tastes as eclectic, and they certainly are more than they used to be, however I still think I fit into a certain stream that is determined by my ethnicity, nationality and demography. For example if we did meet at that party I would think I would recognise you - you'd be the white, middle class lad from the south of England. I know that without having met you, purely because of your music tastes. As eclectic as we like to think of ourselves we still like our music to define who we are and which tribe we belong to.

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

Yes agreed Miss Wanda, the tribes pull is strong. Yes I do read The Guardian, yes I am white, yes my day job is as a professional chartered surveyor and local government manager, yes I do wear dark rimmed glasses and yes my girlfriend is an architect. Yes you would probably recognise me at a party (although you may be a little surprised at my age. I'm hardly the youngest hippest blogger on the streets...)

But having said all that many of the 'tribe' similar to me have much more narrow fields of taste musically, so I guess my tastes are more eclectic than many of those I associate with in my peer group.

Now where's that heavy psy dub folk album I was listening to this morning !?

Pedram said...

You left your Burial CD in my dashboard! I asked you if I can have it. You nodded. It's mine now.

Fantastic blog!
Appreciate your honesty.
Added to my Blogroll.