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Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:07 pm
by CS_TBL
ABBA (imagine a hypothetical reunion for a new song)
Should the tone of that song be like their 70's / 80's sound palette? Lots of synths, drumcomputers, stringmachines etc.

Alan Parsons Project (imagine another hypothetical reunion)
Should the tone of such an album or song be like their late 70's early 80's sound palette? Some synths, but mostly guitars, drums and a large orchestral backing?

You could ask yourself the same about Jarre (old equipment vs modern day equipment), Mike Oldfield (early albums vs recent albums) and such. The question is whether synths and production methods from decades ago are so important to one's style that such artists can't (and shouldn't) be without them? What if all those ABBA fans go to an ABBA reunion to listen to a new song, and that song is produced in exactly the same style as in the 70's and early 80's? Would those fans be like yay \o/ or would they be like nice, but it sounds a bit dated (even while on their way to the reunion have been playing all those albums). What if that song is produced using modern recording techniques and a modern sound palette? Perhaps fans would be like yay \o/, but it doesn't really sound like ABBA.

Were those old synths (pads e.g.) here just a cheap solution for expensive string players, back in the days? Or were those synths a truly calculated ingredient of the act?

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:06 pm
by michael stein
What was used for the strings in LAY ALL YOUR LOVE ON ME?
Soooooooooooooooooooooooooo amazing

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:33 pm
by MarcinP78
I think, the mood of the music should remain the same. The exact replica of the sounds isn't that important because there are many ways of expressing the same mood (vibe). For example, take a famous classical piece, Claire de Lune. It has substantially the same impact on me, no matter whether it is played by a symphony orchestra, solo piano, sequenced synthesizers, piano and theremin or synths and theremin, because it is a particular composition and expression techniques, not a particular timbre that make this piece.

If it's not valid for electronic, pop or any other music, I believe there's something terribly wrong with that music. Hence evolve.

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:46 pm
by Esus
I saw Howard Jones in '86 (mime & all), the drummer had a set of Simmons pads, HJ had a mountain of synths, and it was a great show.
Fast forward to about 10 years ago, and I see him again--only this time, it's just him (with a much different look) playing a single controller, and a guy with an acoustic 12-string. Same tunes, but with a very different vibe.
The two shows couldn't have been more different, but they were both enjoyable.
I think good artists evolve, and if the music stands on its own, it can evolve as well--but it's obviously a calculated risk.

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:53 pm
by balma
I don't know if that' s a lie, that VANGELIS said that he never joined YES because he is anti-group conpcet, a band is a label, and it doesn't allow to evolve into new forms or concepts


IMO, changing the sound is having balls. Fck the old fans

Depeche Mode. 30 years. They are around 50ies.

Do they sound dated? No, they still evolving. That's the reason I love them so much. Always giving new feelings, that's creativity, not a label.

A band that always have reinvented their music is U2. October and Boy and WAR sounds so different from Joshua Tree and Unforgettable Fire and Rattle and Hum, and their most drastic change was with Zooropa.

Music on all the sound spectrum, lots, lots of styles. And they still being U2...

Anyway, I'm very ignorant on these topics...

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:30 am
by Yoozer
CS_TBL wrote:Were those old synths (pads e.g.) here just a cheap solution for expensive string players, back in the days? Or were those synths a truly calculated ingredient of the act?
Both, I think. When you have to rehearse with a Solina because you can't drum up 30 string players for a dime, it is very much possible that the sound eventually grows on you and you start seeing the substitute as what fits in the mix and makes the song. It becomes an instrument in its own right instead - much like the B3 and Rhodes did.

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:57 am
by Dj Pound
Hmm, I dont know. Its certainly a subjective sort of matter involving taste thats for sure. What may sound "dated" to one, may be "brilliance" to another. Ideally, Good music is good music no matter when the music in question happened to come out. Some things are just better left untouched. Certain sounds and songs are also certainly timeless and transcend any date or time, and thus always sound "good" so to speak.

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:00 am
by Stab Frenzy
I saw Gary Numan last year and it was shocking. He sounded like a bad NIN cover band, except covering his own songs. I totally understand the need for an artist to evolve over time, but nobody went to that show to hear his new stuff. Evolve yes, but evolve to be better, not worse. (Yes I know better is subjective.)

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:12 am
by Dj Pound
Another good example suitable to this argument is the music of DJ shadow. My first reaction upon listening to "The outsider" was WTF :!: :?: :!:

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:18 am
by CS_TBL
Apart from certain sounds belonging to an artist, there may be also be sounds that don't belong to an artist. I mean, how would you feel if artists like Vangelis, Parsons and Mike Oldfield suddenly start using a 909 kit with a standard house pattern? They've never used that in their glory years. Isn't that like your mom buying a pole to go pole dancing and your father buying a skateboard and a half-pipe for in the garden? :P It's just not right!

As for Oldfield, I'd say that Tubular Bells 3 is a good example of an established sound formula+sound gone wrong. It may be more modern (tho I believe it sounds incredibly dated, dull and boring), but it just doesn't fit the artist. ..which is why I doubt certain artists (esp. those with a certain sound) should evolve in the first place.

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:43 am
by TrondC
Dj Pound wrote:Another good example suitable to this argument is the music of DJ shadow. My first reaction upon listening to "The outsider" was WTF :!: :?: :!:
totally. that album quickly found it's way into the "forgotten" box stashed in my basement.

in fact, DJ Shadow was a one trick artist for me. Endtroducing... is thill one of the most brilliant, exciting, fresh, interesting, intelligent, and different albums I've ever heard. the private press is good, but quite bumpy in terms of good vs bad tracks, and The outsider... sorry Shadow, you'll never be king of party hip hop, that's not at all why I'm diggint endtroducing as much...

then again, maybe he "used up" his sampling talent with the first album, it is so detailed and intelligent that maybe it's hard for him to do something similar without it either sounding like he is just copying himself.

On the other hand, BoC is a band I never got to like because they have only "that" sound, and if you've heard one track you've heard them all (in my ears of cource). "Daywan Cowboy" is a top track, but everything else sounds like paling copies of the same recipie. now if they could only do what Goldfrapp did between "felt mountain" and "black cherry", it would be something. Goldfrapp made such an unexpected jump between those albums, and it works so well it almost makes me laugh to think it's the same artist. good example of how evolving can work for the better.

anyway, I think it comes down to wether or not a band has a distinct signature sound or not. if the signature is there, they kinda have to stick atleast somewhat close to it, while a band with no "oh, that's surely band X" factor can afford to experiment more.

I have no idea what I'm talking about here...too many painkillers this morning

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:47 am
by TrondC
oh damn, how could I forget Squarepusher in this context.. truly an artist who re-invents himself with each album without ever leaving fans wondering if this is really squarepusher or not. In my eyes, squarepusher is a true artist, while aphex twin is more a concept than anything else.

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:10 pm
by balma
If you are gonna be "gray" must be it since the beggining.

Like Mobby. This guys tries everything on his life except eatingh meat...

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:57 pm
by aXL
michael stein wrote:What was used for the strings in LAY ALL YOUR LOVE ON ME?
Soooooooooooooooooooooooooo amazing
IIRC, nothing but the mighty Yamaha GX-1! Benny Andersson is a fantastic keyboard player.

Re: Evolve or stick to it

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:10 pm
by Shreddie
Stab Frenzy wrote:I saw Gary Numan last year and it was shocking. He sounded like a bad NIN cover band, except covering his own songs. I totally understand the need for an artist to evolve over time, but nobody went to that show to hear his new stuff. Evolve yes, but evolve to be better, not worse. (Yes I know better is subjective.)
The 'Replicas' tour yeah?

I saw that last year, I thought It was one of the best gigs I've ever been to.