Saturday, November 06, 2010

It's complicated...

There are trends in music!

While progressive rock has been shot and burried, I am hearing it back in more and more new music I buy these days. Take the latest Sufjan Stevens record for instance; It's as complex as an early Genesis and King Krimson album, but no hipsters will ever dare to listen to these two old bands!

The new Sufjan is getting some negative comments from the press though. When I`m listening to it, it sounds very crowded and self indulgent at times. Some people might call these negative espacts, I call them plus points. An artist shouldn`t care about his audience; He should do what he wants to do, and take nobody's ears into account. Experimenting should not always be pleasent to the ears.

When an artist starts listening to what the audience wants, you get bands like U2 and the Kings of Leon. one trick ponys, who learned how tho draw a crowd with their albums, and decided to continue doing this trick till infinity. Bland music. No excitement. Just 3.40 minutes of nothing.

The most intesting thing about Sufjan's Age of ADZ is how he manages to mix the absolute with the relative, the analog with the digital and the ugly with the beautiful. Its an album full of contrasts, and these contrasts make it sound alive.
If you want a demonstration of this, just listen "Too Much". As the second song on the album it is basically a summary of everything to come. Its a mix of electronical beats and classical instruments. Unlikely bedfollows, but he somehow manages to make it work for my ears. It also helps that throughout the album I`m hearing the excellent voices of Annie Clark and Sarah Worden in the background. Or maybe that's just my imagination.

Imagine the Kings of Leon making exciting music. I`ve seen them performing live yesterday on Later with Jools. I`m trying to look into their faces. Trying to spot something in their eyes. Are they consolidating on their current fame? Are they playing save? Are they making the music they actually want to make? Or is their record company pushing them to give birth to 10 other sex on fires?

Questions that might never be answered, but who would even be able to hear these answers through the sounds that make the Age of Adz?