Tag: Stamping Mill
I read a random tweet a few months back that said – “Not now. I’ll give it another try next year.” Me, every year, regarding Trout Mask Replica. I feel the new music from the artist known as Stamping Mill may soon bring equal responses. To put it quite simply, this music is difficult. That’s not to say it isn’t fully intriguing, wholly original, and helmed by a fully talented musician. But it does seem like the kind of thing that would be on exhibit at the Guggenheim, and that David Byrne would view with his head slightly cocked to one side like a dog that’s trying to make out what you’re saying. This is music that makes you truly question the intent and goal of its’ creator. Some make music to please, or to unite, or to induce movement… and some make music to challenge and perplex. There’s several epically self-defining statements from the man simply known as Joseph about his Stamping Mill project, on his site…
.:. I can no longer pretend to enjoy playing live music… Stamping Mill will not be performing live now or in the future.
… This is not easy listening music and it’s not for everyone. In fact, there is a very good chance that you will despise this music at first or perhaps conclude that it’s not music at all; but make an effort to understand what I’m trying to do before rejecting it outright.
.:. For me, music is about a constant struggle to create a unique piece of artwork… Stamping Mill is an attempt at art – that is the ultimate goal here.
.:. I reject the process of songwriting by committee and I will never compromise with band members or producers again. I make music alone for people like myself that would rather put on headphones than go see a live band.
Obviously, this man is not a dancer. His statements also seem to highlight the fact that this music is the result of his frustration and anger with the music industry. Which leads me to wonder… if he had never gone through the musical ringer, would he had ever been led to make such absurdist music? While he is the sole creator of these sounds, isn’t the entire history of modern pop and rock the true collaborator? This music is essentially the result of one man’s frustration with the tonal rhythms that society has pounded into his brain. While he claims this to be the most solitary music of all time, perhaps it’s actually the most widespread demographically collaborative music anyone has ever made.
The music itself is composed by expanding on a computer program’s production of random musical notes. Thus, the natural absurdity that results is equal to a trio composed of John Cage, Captain Beefheart, and Hal 9000. This is the closest anyone has ever come to making music that sounds like a Jackson Pollock painting. While composed of stacks of random actions, the end result is a fully realized piece of art that exists solely in relation to itself and to the artist. The debate over whether it is actually good or not is an arbitrary discussion that can only result in a theological argument about whether anything is this universe truly has a right to exist. So much like Trout Mask Replica, the true determining question is not whether or not you like the music, but whether you have put yourself out there and actually experienced it. Don’t be afraid, give it a shot.
What the fuck is aleatoricism?