Monday, 1 June 2009

Loving Wonky

66 comments:

  1. 'Perhaps some (possible) aesthetic suggestions (for some viewer-listeners) for some heuristic aesthetic 'equivalents/ce' heuristics (not to be taken seriously, but sort of - but not sort of)':

    Zomby - Kandinsky
    Ikonika - Picasso
    Darkstar - Paul Klee
    Joker - Edward Hopper
    Starkey - Boccioni
    Burial - JMW Turner

    ReplyDelete
  2. tiny pieces of genius here and what blogs were made for: building elaborate bridges where there's not even a need for a simple one... love it - and more or less agree as well

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kanji kinetic
    Raffertie
    The Squire Of Gothos
    are on some wonky electro tip. Similar to starkey, I think Stakey has even signed Raffertie.

    ReplyDelete
  4. wow, just wow. so refreshing to see someone approach this from a musical angle, and in such detail. respect.

    ReplyDelete
  5. *slow clap*

    Nice to see Kandinsky's art used here, because he actually aspired to bring visual art to what he saw as the pure abstract effect of music (so that's cool the thought of certain popular musics warping and mutating around to kind of share a spiritually playful middle-space with Kandinsky and his contemporaries' art).

    BTW, have you read Kandinsky's "Concerning the Spiritual in Art"? Just finished it and part of your approach here (of taking a theoretical perspective from that of the artist/musician's craft) makes me think you might find it interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  6. massive thanks for the kind comments guys!

    yeah Chris, I have read Concerning the Spiritual in Art, it's a fantastic treatise. you're right, it's interesting to note how various avant-gardism develop according similar patterns but differ according to context and goals.

    if you liked that, check out Paul Klee's 'Pedagogical Sketchbook'. it's a sort of guide to creating visual forms, but the intriguing part is that it can arguably be used in creating music as well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A-fucking-men mate! How great to see someone approaching wonky records for what they ARE and not what they're NOT.

    Joe Muggs

    ReplyDelete
  8. amazing post mate.
    great to see this level of examination in such a rigourous way.

    more!

    ReplyDelete
  9. wow. you have time on your hand AND have used it well.

    ReplyDelete
  10. fabulous article. thank you for the level headed approach to what is being accomplished by these fresh sounds, rather than dismissing them for weak or lacking in some kind of sophistication

    ReplyDelete
  11. I will be checking that out Rouge's, thanks.

    been finding more and connections between sonic and visual craft (tone = colour, rhythm = line etc) so theory that goes into the form and spirit of the craft itself is very insightful for both the temporal (musical) and spacial (visual) arts.

    ReplyDelete
  12. good work! i wonder if being stoned has anything to do with conjuring the wonk....

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jesus I can't beleive I read the whole thing, its 3 AM. Thank you for properly qualifying this music, you're writings will surely be cited on many forums.

    ReplyDelete
  14. well written, thanks for that

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is a great post - hopefully it'll make waves and we'll start seeing more of this type of analysis from the notoriously musicology-wary blogging community... a Schenkerian study of Donk anyone?

    I've written a response of sorts to this here - perhaps you'd like to read?

    ReplyDelete
  16. It's quite rude to assume the producer's of the music naively stumbled across such complexities in their music isn't it ? should'nt we be giving credit where credit is due as a result of hard work and dedication.
    great post rougesfoam.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Fantastic post, but I'd just like to say one thing.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_pabYYe08NRg/SiQLJEVaUoI/AAAAAAAAAHM/jrxwV93dFeQ/s1600-h/Zomby+Forest.jpg

    This image is most definitely not Zomby, this is the user ordo from the fashion forum superfuture. They aren't converse either, they are visvim.

    The only flaw (a very minor one at that)in anotherwise excellent article, but I feel I should point it out.

    ReplyDelete
  18. really well writen, loved the text. it's really good somebody write about something that i can't verbalise, only think.
    check my beats by the way www.myspace.com/ridept
    big up from portugal
    ride

    ReplyDelete
  19. great essay.
    i think the album 'di vizi di forma virtù' from the italian hip hop artist dargen d'amico fits in. you should look for it. some of the wonkyness is in the lyrics tho.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great article. I was particularly impressed by your transcription and analysis of Kaliko. I'd definitely be interested in seeing more stuff like this in the future!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've had similar thoughts of the avant garde nature and abstraction of whatever you want to call this genre, but never thought anyone would be able to make sense, let alone agree with, my hazy pipe dreams. You said it far more eloquently than I ever could. Bravo.

    Additionally, Herbert Marcuse's "Civilization and its Discontents" posits that Surrealist art can be used to awaken the psyche and subconscious from slumber, while traditional forms of art are used to subdue and subjugate the masses (he was a bit of a communist). Through abstraction, we can open our minds. However, the jarring effect of surrealism has the effect of disturbing a majority, as they have become accustomed to their sedentary mental existence.

    Could it be so that the detractors are merely peons in the game of capitalist exploitation, while "wonky" is the music of the proletariat? Its a little ridiculous, but I hope you can see the humor in it.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Daps for breaking away from the staid music journalist's format of backtracking through precedent and instead focusing on composition and sound palette.

    One point I would quibble with is the aesthetics of outdated technology. I don't see how such sounds should be heald equal to high quality sound design. The creation of a rich and unique sound palette is part of the appeal of electronic music. But you make a valid point about such technology being financially out of reach of many. Keeping an open mind about such "old" sounds will allow a broader range of musical talent to shine.

    Big up!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Huge mate... brilliant read. While I feel that we are perpetuating the myth of wonky... It's still a good read! :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Zomby - Kandinsky - Gehry?

    Just thought I'd add that ;)

    ReplyDelete
  25. quote "It's quite rude to assume the producer's of the music naively stumbled across such complexities in their music isn't it ?"

    It is not rude at all when it's all true. They stumbled yes, moving the cuts around the beats until it sounds great. No more mystery than that. No need for over analyzing. These producers are not musicians who would write this stuff right on the paper.
    It's a sake of trial and error.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Well all musical or artistic composition, whether it involves paper or not, involves a load of trial and error. To their credit, the best 'wonky' producers seem to have recognised the point at which they achieved a rhythm that's so delicately balanced between quantisation and a potentially messy unquantisation, something which less imaginative, more 'naive' musicians may not have done.

    And obviously the notion of 'sounds great' varies from listener to listener, so these producers had to be bold. 'on the paper' reveals a certain sort of problematic, Romantic authenticity/technical ability bias, too.

    If the 'complexities' Anon #1 referred to are not simply making wonky beats but the avant-gardism as a whole, then this music is almost certainly not naive trial and error. I hoped to show this in my analysis of Kaliko, which is highly imaginative and goes through intricately conceived processes in order to 'work' and 'sound great'. That would have been a helluva lot of accident, naivety and trial and error.

    If you believe that I have over-analysed these producers, or that I've projected far too much artistic agency onto their music, then I put it to you that it could be that you're 'under-listening'...

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm not quite sure what you said, but I sure do like it.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wow. Radiant!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wow, I started reading without knowing how long this post was, but I finished it.
    A fascinating (and mindbogglingly detailed) dissection of a subgenre in its nascence.
    Having only really heard the wonky term used loosely a few times I'm pretty amazed you've provided not only a definitive analysis, but also convincing conclusions.

    I'm certainly going to listen to Zomby in a whole new light now.
    Thanks for the stimulation.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Superb writing and totally agree re Klee's 'Sketchbook'!
    Regards/

    ReplyDelete
  31. WOW! respect for your writing!!! i definitely feel your thoughts, but never knew how to express them. it actually took me 2 cups of tea to read through :) EXCELLENT!!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. amazing read. just amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Way to completely over think something which essentially good because it's bonkers and doesn't require deep contemplation.. congrats on your use of a dictionary/thesaurus though.

    I could have listened to lots of music instead of reading the 600000000000th analysis of music on any blog at any time

    ReplyDelete
  34. well done!
    i really enjoyed and totally agreed with all of this.
    and the suns coming up!
    fuck!
    _strunkdts_

    ReplyDelete
  35. What a read. The bit comparing Zomby to Stravinsky... what a jump. Made me think though. I've kind of only been half taking notice of the whole hyperdub/techstep (whatever you call it- dark tracks with deep swinging bass) thing for the last 4 years but only properly got *interested* when Darkstar/Zomby came along (I was into Burial and Skream but that's because everyone was)... see Stravinsky's a favourite of mine so I wonder if your comparison holds up.

    Hmmm, it's probably not at all correct because all these tracks are still relying on the 4 beats in the bar, with kicks on the 1st and snares off or on the 2 and 4th beat. That's still the driver of the track. It's still a pounding beat which makes it what ALL of what it is. All the wonkiness is simply 'funk' evolution that's occurred since amplification of music. I mean, there's a FlyLo track I heard recently that was so obviously in 6/8 that it was so obvious and forced....

    I think if the Stravinsky comparison holds any water, it's on the wonderfully stubborn, outsider attitude of it all.

    Thank God Stravinsky didn't use fucking FruityLoops.

    ReplyDelete
  36. hey Simon - firstly I wasn't comparing Zomby with Stravinsky so much as Kaliko and parts of the Zomby EP with The Rite of Spring on the basis of the repetition of musical cells juxtaposing metres across the parts, and that there's a loose but appreciable parallel with wonky-as-modernism and the classic(al) modernism of Stravinsky et al. Secondly it's only a comparison, something to think about, not meant to go all the way - sure, Stravinsky never used relatively conventional 4/4 drumloops, but the Zomby EP resembles Stravinsky a lot more than, say, Skream does. It's all relative, but I think you can be in 4/4 while having metrical difference in the other parts recall structures like The Rite of Spring.

    Not sure I entirely follow your second paragraph, but the thousands of words I've written above probably demonstrates why I don't agree with "It's still a pounding beat which makes it what ALL of what it is". I really don't think you could say that about a track like 'Strange Fruit', with its texturally rich treble synths.

    Agree with you about the stubborn outsider! But I do wonder what he would have done with fucking FruityLoops - it's a musical instrument just like the bassoon that starts the Rite...

    ReplyDelete
  37. Awesome post dude, love the zomby tune.

    ReplyDelete
  38. still revisit this post often

    ReplyDelete
  39. Seriously in depth and definitive analysis of our wonky! Brilliant work.

    ReplyDelete
  40. this was AMAZING!!!: Mount Kimbie - Sketched on Glass and maybes(there both on youtube)are very necessary listens both absolutly brilliant, once again thankyou for this blog :D

    ReplyDelete
  41. I would like to learn how to draw this character. hope I can learn.

    ReplyDelete
  42. a wise woman once said, "writing about music is like dancing about architecture". you're dancing nice indeed ey!!
    peace and love wizardsarebetter

    ReplyDelete
  43. what about wonky techno which was long time before?

    ReplyDelete
  44. holy shit, that ‘Kaliko’ score! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Brilliantly in depth.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Any of a group of birds in the family Psittacidae which also includes cockatoos and lories. All are characterized by curved beaks with the lower one fitting inside the larger upper beak when they are closed. The typical parrots are the macaws, parakeets, lovebirds and budgerigars. They are characterized by their bright plumage, their gift of mimicry and their popularity as pets.
    Thank of Generic Cialis Online

    ReplyDelete
  47. Wow, incredible man. totally worth how damn long it was!

    ReplyDelete
  48. J'ai commencé à lire sans savoir combien de temps ce message a été publié, mais je l'ai terminé.
    Une fascinante (et mindbogglingly détaillée) dissection d'un sous-genre dans son Nascence.
    Ayant seulement vraiment entendu le terme utilisé abusivement wonky quelques fois je suis assez étonné que vous avez fourni non seulement une analyse définitive, mais aussi des conclusions convaincantes.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Hello, read your post with great pleasure and interest. Thank you for your work.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Il est assez rude à assumer le producteur de la musique naïvement tombé sur de telles complexités dans leur musique n'est-ce pas? should'nt-nous donner à César ce qui est dû en tant que résultat d'un travail acharné et leur dévouement.
    rougesfoam grand poste.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Wow…I am bowled by your level of knowledge. I am so impressed. I think you have got a deep insight into this topic. Could not think on those lines ever…I think you are gifted…keep going. Thumbs up!

    ReplyDelete
  52. wow, just wow. so refreshing to see someone approach this from of effort, and in such detail. Thanks for share it keep it up.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Wonderful pictures and videos and he said said, "writing about music is like dancing about architecture". you're dancing nice indeed peace and love wizardsarebette. nice thinking..

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hi, nice post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for sharing. I will certainly be subscribing to your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Adam, hi. Thought you might like to know I set this piece as part of the Goldsmith's MA course I'm teaching, Popular Music: Listening, Analysis and Interpretation. The students liked it very much!!! The inevitable worries popped up about imposing a master discourse with the use of staff notation, but all seemed to feel your approach mitigated any worries in that department. Anyway, you may be glad to know that in a context of Adam Krims on Ice Cube and Middleton on Bryan Adams and Madonna, yours seemed the text to solicit the warmest response. Cheers. (Hope you don't mind being used like this by the way.)

    ReplyDelete
  56. Ah thanks! Glad the essay went off OK at Goldsmiths, thanks indeed for letting me know. It was while I was doing a masters there in Historical Musicology that I wrote this essay as a bit of a release from the study of watermarks.

    ReplyDelete
  57. This is amazing. Me and my friend love Wonky music big time, we even made a Wonky EP http://ephera.bandcamp.com/album/wonky-ep.

    ReplyDelete