doesn't have to hurt

April 16, 2009 5:48 PM

A loud composition, in 7/4 time, 120 BPM.

It doesn't have to hurt. Composed with a custom PD synth, performed with a midi fader board, mixed collaged and rearranged in ardour. Much more rhythmic than most of my music.

posted by idiopath (29 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

And yet it does hurt.
posted by dobie at 6:47 PM on April 16, 2009

indeed it does. I'm curious if music comes in at some point, but I don't want to press play a third time and hear that screeching noise.
posted by micayetoca at 8:22 PM on April 16, 2009

It's funny how instinctively I dove for the stop button. Like something was really wrong.
It made me think of when "Enhanced CDs" first came out in the 90's and there was always a DON'T PLAY TRACK 14 IN YOUR CD PLAYER!!! YOU'LL WRECK IT!!! warning.
posted by chococat at 8:37 PM on April 16, 2009

I listened to this track many times at a very high volume while tweaking and polishing it, and my speakers and sound card are fine.

If you don't think you heard music in the first 15 seconds, you won't hear any in the rest.

If you don't like this, you will probably want to avoid the other tracks I put on my "bombastic audio" playlist too, it's the harshest stuff I have found in perusing the archives of mefi music.
posted by idiopath at 9:14 PM on April 16, 2009

If you don't think you heard music in the first 15 seconds, you won't hear any in the rest.

And the emperor will continue to not wear any clothes.
posted by dobie at 9:51 PM on April 16, 2009

I like it. Tasty, detailed noise sounds and an engaging variation scheme (something that I wish, say, Merzbow had).

I played it at medium volume, though. My tender middle-aged ears can't take any more than that, and I think I can hear the detail better that way anyway. Also, it sounded way better in speakers than on headphones for some reason.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 11:33 PM on April 16, 2009


This is real music. It is the kind of music I listen to. If I wanted to listen to and make music that I didn't actually like, I would pick the sort of music that girls like, because making music that girls like leads to felicitous relations with girls.
posted by idiopath at 11:37 PM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the feedback. Regarding speakers vs. headphones, the sounds are all electronically generated, and I used no reverb, so they are not acoustically in a simulated space. When you play it on your speakers, of course, it will be colored by the room it is played in, and take on a more natural sound.
posted by idiopath at 11:44 PM on April 16, 2009

I like the use of the stereo field -- on headphones, it's got this cool nausea-inducing whiplash effect that's pretty impressive.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 1:41 AM on April 17, 2009

idiopath, I meant no offense by my comment above.
I actually found it quite interesting that I'm so hardwired or conditioned about sound that certain frequencies or tones will cause a sort of mild panic for a few seconds.
It wasn't meant as a flippant dismissal of your work; hopefully you didn't take it that way.
posted by chococat at 6:00 AM on April 17, 2009

Yeah, me neither, I gotta say, and I would never dismiss something I don't like as "not music", sorry that my comment was so poorly phrased that it came across as saying that. I was listening on headphones and, as Karlos said, on headphones it has a "nausea-inducing whiplash effect". I didn't get to listen enough of it as to recognize a pattern.

So, even if it's not the kind of stuff that I listen to, I'm glad you are here posting. It's a really cool thing to have people with such different approaches to music in one site.
posted by micayetoca at 6:34 AM on April 17, 2009

I think unpredictably timbre-centered, rather than more predictably pitch-centered approaches to music is legitimate. That said, I think it is interesting how gender often ends up being deployed in their defense.
posted by umbú at 7:05 AM on April 17, 2009

oops, are legitimate.
posted by umbú at 7:08 AM on April 17, 2009


The whole "music girls like" thing was just a glib response to dobie. It has been a long time since I have gotten the "this isn't music" troll, and sad to say, it still pushes my buttons sometimes. I wrote nine responses to the "emperor has no clothes" comment, finally settling with something less defensive, matching the flippant tone of the accusation.

And micayetoca and chococat, no offense taken.
posted by idiopath at 10:51 AM on April 17, 2009

Also, doubtfupalace: Masami Akita was a free jazz, hardcore, and prog rock drummer before he started his Merzbow project. He also danced bhuto. If you listen for them, these all show in his work. The rhythms of Merzbow are there, but they tend to be excruciatingly slow, and in very strange meters. In most of Merzbow's work, the density of the sound hides how slow and sparse the spacing of the structural events is. For a more conventionally structured electronic artist using much of the same timbral palate, check out Ryoji Ikeda.
posted by idiopath at 11:00 AM on April 17, 2009

I never meant to imply this doesn't belong here.

I feel that this sort of music is so deconstructed as to be like projecting dusty film stock onto a wall and saying "These are the kind of films I like". People may very well like this. I prefer silence to this. Your sequencer settings may say 120 bpm, and you might have 7 quarter notes per bar, but I do not believe that there is any meter here. I have listened to it, repeatedly. Counted to 7 over and over and never found a pattern. Sure you could speed up the settings to display 140bpm, and the composition would play proportionally faster, but it is utterly without measurable meter. Hence my flippant comment.

Technically this IS music as it is made up of "sounds organized in time". It just smacks of goatee-stroaking contrarian obsfucationism. It is so inaccessible that it must be by design. It creates a false dichotemy that shrieks "If you don't understand this then listen to your simple music for girls".

We don't always need to agree on mu-fi.

Obviously we're all souls in rooms trying to wring something out of sound that resembles the whispers inside of us. I have the utmost respect for this process. I'm saying as someone who is passionate about music. I know that idiopath is clearly passionate about his music. I think it is a dead end. Music to be described in theory, but not listened to.

We can agree to disagree.
posted by dobie at 11:56 AM on April 17, 2009

dobie: The one thing I dislike most about the noise scene is that women tend to feel unwelcome. I think the credibility of noise would only increase if women were more interested. I made my comment in complete ignorance of what kind of music you listen to, and in ignorance of whether you even make music.

If you have a substantial critique I will happily take that into account. Claiming that what I was doing was a fraud stepped over a line from critique to ad-hominem insult.

Regarding the meter, a majority of the clips are arranged to the start of the measure, with many of them arranged to be on the third or fourth beat. The two most prominent clips are exactly one beat and exactly two beats in duration. For the other clips, the most common duration is exactly one measure. In noise there is often an attempt to not fall into a beat or melody, and avoiding those things to this degree is more difficult than you might imagine. What I was attempting with this piece was a feeling of distinct events rather than an undifferentiated miasma, without falling for too long into a countable meter.

P.S. Funny enough, I also am a fan of Stan Brakhage's films. And if I went to a movie and discovered that it was dusty film stock, I would actually enjoy it.
posted by idiopath at 1:21 PM on April 17, 2009

I'm sure Merzbow has the structures you mention, but they just don't engage me. That's as much down to my taste as anything; in this quasi-genre, I prefer music that uses harshness and noise as one element of many (for example: Thomas Dimuzio, John Bischoff, AMM, Stockhausen). Actually, I'm been moving away from relentlessness and minimalism and toward variety and contrast in my listening (and music-making) in general lately. Part of getting older, I guess.

But I saw Stalker last weekend and it was pretty much the greatest thing ever, so I can still hang with the arts of impoverishment on occasion.

I've heard Ikeda's music, but can't remember how I felt about it.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 1:35 PM on April 17, 2009

It IS funny that this piece is called "doesn't have to hurt" but then it does hurt but only because I wasn't prepped for those freqs.

After a quick and minor volume adjustment, I found this to be pretty damn cool.

I used to have a moog rougue and for being a simple little machine it sure was a hell of a lot of fun! Rock the synth!
posted by snsranch at 5:07 PM on April 17, 2009


just kidding
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:12 AM on April 18, 2009

Fucking brilliant. I love it.
posted by nthdegx at 11:57 AM on April 18, 2009

I thought my bluetooth headphones were malfunctioning. Yet I continued to listen. Thanks for posting this!
posted by ba at 8:10 PM on April 20, 2009

While this may not hurt human ears, my dog shat his pants.
posted by quadog at 10:59 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is actually a pretty good noise track. Nice work.
posted by azarbayejani at 10:28 PM on April 21, 2009

I liked the hard panning. Antiphonal!

It also sounded pretty good with my girlfriend running the immersion blender in the background.
posted by speicus at 10:10 AM on April 26, 2009

I like this. Thanks.
posted by Rykey at 7:23 PM on April 29, 2009

finally got around to listening to this.
It's like a sonic enema. I don't feel backed-up anymore.

The sensation I get during the brief periods of silence is one I love every time it happens.
posted by man vs sun at 9:57 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, at first I fast forwarded over this to the next track on my playlist, but then I immediately reversed back to the track cause I realized I LIKED IT and WANTED to hear what happened next. For some reason, it made me laugh, in a good appreciative way. I can sometimes get into noise, and this brand of noise tickled me. Like a comic, cosmic, sonic shitstorm! Every time it built up and then paused, and then exploded again, I was like, WHEEEEE HERE IT GOES AGAIN!!
posted by not_on_display at 8:56 PM on January 4, 2012

The song popped up on my playlist 4 months later: IT HAD THE SAME EFFECT. Thank you again for making this piece of sound.
posted by not_on_display at 1:37 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

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