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a few days ago on F train…

June 3, 2007

happened to sit next to these two kids probably in their early 20’s talking to each other…

a. so what do you think about philip glass?
b. he uses the same pattern for a long time, like 10 minutes, right? nah, not really into it.

a. what about that guy, steve reich?
b. hmm, his music is too atonal and noisy for me. i used to like all that noisy stuff and i think it’s still cool but cannot listen to it anymore.

(i held on tightly to my seat, not trying to roll my eyes…)

a. you mean like kronos and stuff?
b. yeah, it’s cool but not my thing anymore. i can take it live for a little bit but that’s about it.

a. so what are you listening to these days?
b. i like something that’s drone-y so i don’t really have to think too much while listening. that i can handle.

a. cool.

thank god, the train reached my stop… otherwise they might have had an experience they wouldn’t forget that easily…

From → Uncategorized

  1. Creative Musician 101Lesson 1: There’s no accounting for taste. Or the lack of it.

  2. There is still accounting for generalization and ignorance: “I used to like all that noisy stuff and i think it’s still cool but cannot listen to it anymore.”

  3. Hm…i have to admit I’m not into Glass myself…but I love Reich.

  4. i’m sorry but i don’t understand exactly what made you angry. i think that music means different things to different people but in our consumer societies it functions for many people like the clothes that they wear, as a way of expressing their personality and “individuality”. when asked the question “what music do you like?” many people will answer choosing artists that they feel define them as a person (irrespective of whether this is actually music they listen to on a day to day basis). on the train maybe these 2 people were just trying to find mutual ground while showing off a bit about what they knew. i don’t expect everyone to like music in the same way as me or have the same tastes as me, in fact i’m pleasantly surprised if people like the same stuff as me and i don’t like to condemn people for having different tastes, in the same way that i don’t like to be told that my tastes are invalid. i like your music okkyung and i like your blog but i don’t think i agree with you getting angry about this one. maybe i’m wrong, can you explain a bit more about why it made you so angry?

  5. Forget being angry: those guys were hilariously pretentious. Sure, not everyone likes the same music, but lame posturing is always funny.

  6. Lasopa, how can you speak of egalitarian subjectivity and then in the next breath ask Okkyung to justify her annoyance?Sure there is no objective absolute we call ‘taste’ which subsequently subordinates one to the other. But that is not to say we are not to be annoyed at things we dislike. Fuck that, more people should be as self-assured in their taste and knowledge like Okkyung and to not be afraid to show ones conviction or annoyance. I’m tired of these sanctimonious and middle ground conceptions, if you like something you surely think it is better than something you don’t. Yes there is nothing sating what you like is ‘objectively’ better. But there are your opinions to stand by; what kind of world are we going to live in when someone can’t be annoyed by something they disliked?

  7. i didn’t get angry… yes, franzi said it right… they were being pretentious and probably consider themselves very knowledgeable in the “new” music… it’s not to say i know so much more than those guys but the fact their definitions in musical terms were so off the key and even wrong (c’mon, reich’s music is not “atonal”…) got me… this kind of incident makes me think what people really think of the music i play…

  8. ha ha ha. i think i need to learn to express myself more clearly and in a more concise form but i just wanted to say something in response. first of all thankyou everyone for YOUR responses, it’s interesting to hear what people think, that’s all i really wanted to know and thanks okkyung, your position is a lot clearer to me now especially from your line: “…this makes me think of what people really think of the music i play.” sorry if i falsely accused you of getting angry… and adam you’re probably right that i contradict myself, i often don’t have a clear line of thought just many questions but i’d like to say in response to what you wrote that i agree that people should be free to speak their mind and verbalise their convictions BUT firstly i rarely think it’s necessary to get annoyed in order to do it and secondly i don’t believe that our everday opinions and tastes are so rigid and indestructible. take listening to a piece of music as an example. my mood when i hear it, my knowledge of the artist, the form in which i hear it (live, recording, good stereo, tinny headphones, radio), whether people i know and respect like or dislike the work, my level of concentration and so many more factors all have a part in playing whether i LIKE it or not at that time. furthermore it’s possible that something i initially dislike i can grow to love and vice versa. i don’t think i’m alone in being so influenced and sure, while i’d like to be able to approach everything with an uncluttered, unbiased mind i realise that it rarely happens that way (if indeed it’s possible?). so while i think it’s fine to disagree with someone else’s opinion i also think it’s more common than we acknowledge to disagree with our OWN opinions at a later date. finally i realise that my argument here is self-defeating in that i believe all opinions are only opinions, but that is just my opinion but i’m quite happy with that for the time being. sorry for taking up so much cyber-space with my rantings, and thanks again for your ideas and reponses. i’d be interested to hear your further replies but maybe i’m dragging this string on too long and flogging a dead horse. happy june…

  9. Ha ha, maybe this IS going on a little long but I think when there are such interesting ideas going around they must be drawn out, debate like this is healthy.First of all Lasopa, great response! I loved the idea of mood in relation to taste, reminds me a lot of Heidegger. I completely agree, and by no means did I mean to suggest that we have rigid opinions and that we are at war to defend them. I agree in the fluidity of opinion and I agree that the singularity of each instance can affect ones response. I also loved the idea of disagreeing with oneself, for I believe that this self-relation is most healthy as opposed to stagnation.All I wanted to suggest is that it is very easy to dismiss ideas if they are against anothers by leveling everything out to subjectivity. That is not to say that just because it is easy we mustn’t do it, nor do I inherently disagree with this reasoning. I just personally enjoy discussing preferences and disagreements, I think it is very healthy and constructive even if the culmination is no further along than from where it began. And where I agree that we do not need anger to do so, I do not think we should not be so quick to dismiss someones anger. We must distinguish it from hate, for the former is vastly more constructive. Let’s not forget that the paradox in the subjectivists argument is the fact that the argument itself is subjective, one which may be challenged.So I agree with you Lasopa, but I do believe that when we have an opinion, even if they may change in time, it is healthy to discuss and when needed, to defend them. Some of the most interesting conversations I have had are debates regarding preference; they are not angry nor pointless, but they tell you a lot about yourself and the other. All I wanted to say is that we should be carfeul not to lose those things which give rise to some of the most interesting conversations we can have; I really fear a world in which we are so scared to challenge anothers views by trumping it all with the argument of subjectivity.It’s a debate one can never win but they tell you more about the issue than stagnation every could.Sorry to ramble…This is not a reflection on Okkyung’s post so much but just a general thought and one in which like Lasopa said, I will hopefully challenge myself in time.

  10. Yeah, Reich characterized as “atonal” would’ve pissed me off, too. But damn if those ignorant twits weren’t spot on about Glass…PS: I love your music.

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