Monday, 24 March 2014

Discoveries - music sub-genres!

And we're back. Life has been overwhelmingly busy for the last couple of weeks and I haven't had the brain space to write. I've missed the discipline and noticed that I wasn't being as observant in the world either. Thanks to readers who have expressed grief at the lack of regular posts from divacultura. It's nice to be missed!

Yesterday I did something that I used to do all the time, but haven't done for ages. I went into a music shop and I bought a CD! I mainly buy my music online, but will buy CDs direct from artists when I attend a gig.

I'd just had lunch with a friend and we decided to have a post lunch wander. A nearby music shop, specialising in classical, jazz and soundtracks beckoned. Fatally, I plugged into the listening post and was seduced by long-buried Cuban dance music, West African desert music and something else that defies classification but is about birds. It was gorgeous. We even engaged in passionate and animated conversation with the staff member who knew about music and appreciated the conversation.

Having had a taste, we crossed one city block and went to a second hand vinyl and CD shop. The shop was located at the end of a narrow, grungy staircase and we were immediately in the middle of the Heavy Metal section. I decided to browse. This is one genre of music that holds no appeal for me. I just don't know how one accesses it to the point of appreciation. Obviously there is a way as many people embrace the form, but I just don't know what it is. Prior to yesterday, I was aware that there are a couple of sub-genres, for example, Death Metal and Thrash Metal. This section included others: Tech, Grindcore and Black. Most of the album covers were black or a variation on black. I might have been wearing a black jacket, but I felt like I couldn't have looked more incongruent if I had been wearing a cream cable knit jumper to a goth fest.

As I browsed, it struck me how difficult it must be to come up with a band name in the Metal area. Examples I noticed included: Trepanning (yes, that's usually a word that refers to drilling into the skull), Horrendous Injuries, Napalm Death, Cannibal Corpse. There are detailed descriptions of the various genres available on Wikipedia. It's actually fascinating and the drummers are incredible as they generally play very, very fast.

I moved to the next section and discovered a genre called "Krautrock". I'd never heard of this and it seems the genre was obscure to others as there was a helpful sign with information.  Krautrock was popular in the 1960's and 1970's and is a "mix of anglo-american post-psychedelic jamming and moody progressive rock". It originated in Germany, in case that wasn't obvious. It was also about challenging formulas, like the three chord patterns that dominate rock and pop music. I have no idea what it sounds like.

Over in the punk section, I was unsurprised to find albums with titles ranging from the prosaic "Shit gets smashed" to the more political, "Social Unrest". Right next door I discovered another genre: Stoner Doom. Sounds cheery. My online exploration has revealed that "doom" is a genre of its own and that there are the following subgenres: traditional, epic, stoner, sludge, funeral, drone, death and black.

There were many delightful curiosities: only 9 albums in the 20th Century section, but 10 items in the Spokenword and Poetry section. Nearby, I resisted purchasing my very own copy of the Chipmunks sing the Beatles. My friend resisted buying a record (yes, an LP) of French poems read in French. Neither of us has the space to store physical copies of joke recordings.

Aimless wandering and browsing in company is a great thing to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I remember doing this in bookstores too. Now I do it online at home by myself. Tweeting about a discovery or exclaiming over an album title just isn't fulfilling.

What musical discoveries have you made lately?

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