Why I don’t like EDM

It’s actually been a lot more than one week since I last posted, unlike what I promised myself… What does that make me?

Anyways, here’s something I’ve been meaning to put this into words for a really long time now and for that I might even be too late now, but I haven’t read or heard anyone saying this before so here goes.

EDM or Electronic Dance Music is a major part of the music industry now. The following has been increasing and increasing for as long as I remember first hearing it. And I just don’t get it. I’ve seen people get crazy when new songs come out, which they somehow do every other week and I don’t understand why so there is so much hype for it. Honestly, I don’t get that excited or hyped for almost anything, but that’s a completely different story of how I’m dead outside but something else inside. Coming back to the topic, I think I should probably be giving some background as well, otherwise this whole thing is going to be a waste.

So, to get my perspective of this, you should know that I have been trained in Indian classical music for about 8 years. I was taught how to play the Tabla (amazing instrument by the way, give it a look. It’s very pleasing when accompanied by good vocals) since the age of about 5 or 6. It came to a stop when I had to leave town and go to Mumbai for JEE coaching which was absolutely wasteful, I’m not in an IIT right now, but Mumbai helped me in other ways which I’ll talk about in another article hopefully. (It might take decade or two considering how lazy I am). So my training in classical music came to an abrupt stop for academic reasons, and hence I am not as good as you might expect me to be with the Tabla. I also used to perform a lot in the school, playing around with a lot of other percussion instruments, which are easy to get hang of. I even played the drums for a bit, and it was awesome. Albeit I’ve lost practice now but what I’m trying to say is that once you are in the environment for that amount of time and at that age it becomes a part of you. I’ve also been blessed with an uncle who had probably the best collection of music I have seen yet (he had a whole drawer full of old cassettes) so I also grew up listening to a lot of Eagles, Eric Clapton, Guns ‘n’ Roses, AC/DC, Pink Floyd and a lot more.

So what my approach of music now is that I appreciate music that I listen and feel that is a difficult thing to create and/or replicate. For example I listen to a guitar solo by Slash and I go “Hot damn that’s a great solo!” because I listen to it and I understand how hard it is to be that good. As you train and practice music (Not the electronic BS) there is a cost to pay. There is a lot of sweat, for starters and then come the blisters, if you are practicing an instrument. I’ve dealt with a lot of blisters and they are painful as all hell, trust me. But you have to get better at it so you have to keep going. Then comes the blood and you just have to ignore it unless its wetting the leather or making the drumstick slip from your fingers. You clean up and you continue. That’s the kind of music I’ve grown up loving and that is what I appreciate. Singing is another skill that I hugely admire, and I’ll come to that in a bit. So blood sweat and tears, that’s what makes good music, to my perspective at least and when I hear a good song, I look for that. I look for the amount of will it takes to train so hard that you become so good that the world looks up in awe. And when my friends or roommates make me listen to some song by Skrillex or Martin Garrix or someone like that I don’t see that. I do understand that there is a lot of creativity required to make those songs and I respect that but the only thing I imagine when listening to them is some dude sitting in front of a computer mixing tracks in a software and poof a song is ready. I just can’t bring myself to appreciate that.

And then there is the complete absence of lyrics which is another annoyance. There’s a whole cacophony of sounds that are completely alien to me, because they have been through so much processing that I can’t tell if it was a piano or just someone playing the congas, and on top of that there’s no lyric, no vocals, nothing. I’m sorry if you do not like this but I want a human element in a song. For me, that’s what makes it a song in the first place. You might be thinking that there are a lot of instrumentals from the classical genre and if I hate them too. No, I do not because, like I said, I can understand what Beethoven was doing alone in his room when he came up with Fur Elise or how painful the countless hours of practice were for Kenny G just to make those 5 minutes of saxophone turn into End Of Night. With EDM I am completely blind. Coming back to the lyrics, as a writer I also know how hard it to write something and then not cringe while reading it again. Writing makes me hate myself when I come with some silly rhymes that I think even playschool kids would laugh at. From that to coming up with a whole song takes so many hours of thinking and writing and rewriting that it almost drives you crazy. And if there is even a little bit of that in some contemporary electronic songs I do appreciate them. What I don’t like about EDM is its monotonous and alien tone, which is exactly what appeals to a lot of people.

EDM concerts are also a big thing these days. Probably the biggest right now in the industry. And I don’t like them. Why? Because in all those concerts there is only one little guy jumping around behind a DJ rig and pushing buttons. And people somehow love it. Performing music is a whole different thing for me. It’s when a group of people are on stage, together and they communicate with their music, with each other and with the audience. It’s poetry in motion. I been to a both kinds of concerts and I have pretty much opposite opinions about them.

Try to bear with me a little more. I know this is becoming a huge rant and you probably are tired of reading already. That is, if you were patient enough to read this much in the first place.

But imagine this concert where a band is performing one of their songs. First of all they have to fight their nerves, which everyone experiences because it’s human nature. The fear of messing up on stage is immense. I know because I have messed on stage. More than once. But once you start, you realize it’s you and your friends doing what you love doing and on top of that a thousand people there to applaud you for it right there. A performance is about improvisation and presence of mind. Like when Michael Buble concert had an electrical failure, he just put the mic down and began singing unplugged. And the man is blessed with such a voice that it reached the crowd easily and amazed a lot of people. The concert is a conversation, like a friendly debate between instruments and vocals. The band communicates not by words but by their music and the audience gets to witness that. People used to faint watching Michael Jackson dance, tell me if you’ve seen anything like that in a DJ’s concert. It’s a whole new story of brotherhood and friendship when a band comes together and plays together sharing the spotlight. The singer is usually at the center of the all the attention and who would want to lose it, but he still steps aside to let the guitarist perform his solo and steal all the attention. If you get the chance, try and make any 4 people you know stand together and sing the same song. Trust me, you won’t get it right at once. The amount of coordination shown by a band performing on stage is so glorious that (for me at least) not one guy with a an array of buttons to press can outshine.

So in a nutshell, what I mean is that the beauty of music lies in tangibility. Music is made when the lyric and the tune, fall into place like pieces of a puzzle. When listen to Adele  or Ed Sheeran sing or Slash play the guitar or Kenny G with his sax or Shiva Mani and his drums or Zakir Hussain’s Tabla routine, I see the years of hard work and sheer will and determination and that is what I appreciate. I listen to a lot of songs, but EDM won’t make it to my playlist.

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War

I’m starting with a poem this week, which to be honest, I’ve written quite a long time ago. But it’s a start at least, so here goes… Read More

Let’s Get it On

One of my favorite songs. I’m listening to it as I write this. Yes, I am lazy enough to actually do that, and yes the favorite doesn’t have a ‘u’ in it because this editor is on US and I don’t like that red underline.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll get to the point. I’ve had this blog for a long long time now. So long that the stuff up here has become very embarrassing. But I won’t remove it, for a few reasons. Like nostalgia, for starters, and there has to be something my readers get to laugh at at least. Unless you find my stuff making you cringe, in that case I’m really sorry, feel free to log off this page. Also I think my mom and a few of my old friends like this so I’ll keep it up.

What I want to do now is bring this blog/page/website/whatever you want to call it, I’m not sure, back to regular updates. I’m in college now (surprise!) so this might be a bit too much or may be not, but I’m going to try to post every week. Something or the other that I see walking around or hear about that strikes a thought long enough to fill a few paragraphs. This sounds underwhelming but trust me on this, if I post it it’ll be good because of all people its me who finds my work cringe-worthy the most. So that’s that.

I think I have a post ready for today. It’s my first in a long long time so I don’t know how bad it is, but give me some time and I’ll get better, I hope. Wish me luck. Here’s to something new!

PS – If you find something off about my grammar hit me up IMMEDIATELY because I know its annoying to look at grammatical errors.

😉

The Big Bad World…

In the recent times, we have seen a few events of a colossal magnitude. There is a refugee crisis in West Asia, causing the citizens to migrate to Europe. The cause of this is the civil wars in the Middle East, mainly in the countries Libya, Syria and Yemen. The whole world was in taken aback by the damage this caused to the residents of the affected regions as well as the places these immigrants moved to. European countries had to choose between providing the immigrants refuge, or to keep their own resources stable. A sudden inclusion of such a large scale into a nation’s population could possibly punch a hole through the countries’ finances and/or resources. On the other hand, there is Mr. Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America, who comes up with consistently vivid decisions and never fails to surprise the world. The president recently stated that the States will now recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and will also be moving its embassy to the same. This sparked a flame of conflict across nations. The surprises he brings are never like the ones we expect for Christmas.

West Asia, or the Middle East, has been a place of conflict for a long, long time. The discovery of oil leading to conflict over ownership, then its trade creating more conflicts, then the proxy wars, and now civil wars. Yes, the countries namely, Yemen, Syria and Libya have been in the state of civil war for a while now. These wars have mainly been to overthrow existing governments or to decide which one will rule next. In Libya, the people grew tired of the reign of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and began an outrage against forces loyal to him in order to oust his government. In Syria, the same happened to the government under Basher al-Assad, who inherited the governing position from his father after a 30 year reign. Anti regime protests and uprising spiraled into what now is a fully fledged civil war. In Yemen the conflict sparked as the Houthis captured the capital of Sana’a in the protest against the government. The Saudi think of Houthi as a tool of Iran and frame the conflict in Shi’ite-Sunni terms. As of now, the Yemeni civil war stands stalled since neither party is able to fully defeat the other, but can still hold their own. What needs to be focused on here is not the clash between the powers, but on what happens to the citizens as the flames of these wars lead to monumental collateral damage. People have been forced out of their own houses and now seek refuge in parts of the world that they can not necessarily trust. What started with around a million people in the mid-20th century has risen to a massive 20 million refugees seeking refuge in other parts of the worlds. The news brings us footage of how devastating the wars can be.

This also leads to another point of view of the same conflict. The Europeans now face a question that contests their ethics against their survival. Although the European nations have begun to allow significant number of immigrants, it still takes a toll on their own conditions. And there is also the fact that not every refugee is an innocent victim of the civil war, not every refugee will be the ideal dutiful citizen that a nation needs. These nations also face a biological danger, for one may never know how a disease creeps in during such immigrations. History is the teacher here, for the cause of the Black Plague which took lives of millions is very similar to what is happening now. In order to keep things safe, the governments need time to put proper effort in ensuring the comfort of the immigrants as well as the residing citizens.

Coming to our beloved Mr. Donald Trump, the president of the USA who very confidently announced in his speech that his government will now recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It must be said that this is a bold move, and one needs to be courageous to make a decision that can possibly cause whole nations to go against you. Yet being courageous does not mean one is wise as well. We may not know what the long term outcome of this decision may be, since the president refrains from delving into further details of the reason of his decision, but we know for sure that most of the world does not align with his point of view. The only party seemingly happy with this decision is the Israel government which congratulated the president on his speech. While the Palestinian government remarked that this step has destroyed all possibilities of a future two-state solution of the residing conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The president has also been somewhat racist in his policies, which suggest only the white occupy the States and not the immigrants, and also a lingering subtext that white are certainly superior race to the colored races. These actions are in a way reminiscent of the ways of Adolf Hitler, who in his idea of destroying the Jewish population caused massive destruction to humanity. His idea was that the residing German race was the superior one and the Jewish immigrants were the ones who were causing the nation to decay. Not implying that President Trump wishes to emulate the genocidal horrors but the fact that the similarity in ideologies exists and that is scary enough on its own.

Now the facts or incidences aforementioned may not be completely accurate, but they do show something that we desperately need to understand. Something that is wrong with us and that some things need to be understood or the world as we know it would implode in conflict. What comes to notice at first, seeing all these occurrences is that people, in the past as well as today, can still be fooled into thinking they are superior to other people because of foolish reasons like color, or birth or even gender. Isn’t it intriguing how we don’t even question these stereotypes that have been the cause of discomfort of so many people? We draw judgment from the complexion of a person rather than actually knowing what he/she is capable of accomplishing.

Another thing that is sounds familiar in these news is the amount of people who have been forced out of their houses. This resonates with the 200 year old practice of slave trade. People from Africa were brought to the Americas on ships to work for the White Man. These slaves were humans, just like us, and yet their freedom, their homes, and their lives were taken away for naught. The civil war immigrants face a similar condition. Their lives hang on a thread as they wait beyond borders of their own homes. They do not have a place where they can say they belong to anymore; just because someone thought they could run the country better than the other.

And yet these are just words from someone who can’t fully grasp how the world works. But one can at least try to see the real picture beneath all the meetings and speeches and conferences of the powerful representatives of nations to understand what actually makes the earth and its people tick. One can be curious as to why people choose to act in ways so immature. One can try to be the better citizen, the better human, to at the very least be the first drop to an ocean…