"yearning for the algorithmic"

mvuent

Every dog has its day.
you'll often hear terms like "holding down" the groove, that imply a kind of stillness or fixedness. the idea that groove is a matter of parts locking into place, and then being homogeneously sustained for the duration of the song. like unrolling a mat. obviously variation will occur, especially when it's played by human hands, but that's incidental.

almost paradoxically, though, it's doing not quite what's expected rhythmically or melodically that creates funk / the effective kind of awkwardness that often makes dance music so great. there's a strong, consistent rhythmic feel / sense of motion, but one that's freely bends and stretches without breaking, not fixed to any one exact phrasing / loop.

the point is that as essential as repetition is to dance-based music, we also want (and intuitively gravitate towards) non-fixedness and variation. not just on top of the groove, but as an essential part of it.

works cited:
- the first (temporally speaking) music I've noticed this approach in is early blues. musicians will often phrase a riff (etc.) slightly differently each time they play it
- probably funk? probably dub?
- it appears in hip hop in a lot of different forms
- a lot of nuum music as well
- dumb title refers to how I think the newest place this approach can be found is in "algorave" type music, although it hasn't exactly spawned any actual dance music genres yet

maybe the commonplace term that best describes this is "looseness." but it refers to an assumed attitude of the musician rather than acknowledging what's actually going on; besides, in the case of electronic music doing things this way may actually take more effort than exact repetition

the rigid automaton pendulum swing idea of machine music one out over the more modulated, improvisatory and computerised element.
 

mvuent

Every dog has its day.
country/blues:

https://greilmarcus.net/2016/05/09/johnny-shines-too-wet-to-plow-050478/

The music on Too Wet to Plow is played in country time, which means that on the ensemble numbers the musicians find their own rhythms. The beat is not kept so much as it is passed from man to man, giving each musician the freedom he needs to find his own voice. Such music can sound clumsy, unsure—but only at first. After a time, what you hear is confidence and delight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f64cX5vn0mc
0:52-2:00

best example I know of is link wray s/t (e.g. the bassline on the first track)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZmSZGJggE4
 

mvuent

Every dog has its day.
I think crowley's post here might refer to this as well
The trick is in the run-on sentences, the moments of friction in the pockets of the beat, the erratic energy that can easily become a formula but becomes about dawdling and the unnecessary over emphasis on certain syllables or deliberate staggering. Everything appears to be slowing down again (or rather I can't remember examples of it being exceptionally brisk and higher BPMs to cite) but that's also because a lot of these guys get scooped and molded to slow down to fit current radios. When you're being asked to become lower key to suit the dirge, it naturally relies on you to calm not the others to excite.
 
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You could extend this vertically (dynamics) as well as horizontally (linear timeline); natural dynamics, peaks and troughs, make more sense to the human ear than heavy compression.
 

mvuent

Every dog has its day.
You could extend this vertically (dynamics) as well as horizontally (linear timeline); natural dynamics, peaks and troughs, make more sense to the human ear than heavy compression.

got any examples to show this in action? this is a pro-youtube thread
 
"It seems that for a lot of people, if they hear something that doesn't sound regular, they assume it's random. If live musicians were playing it, they'd probably call it jazz or something. But the fact that it's coming out of a computer, as they perceive it, somehow seems to make it different.
 

mvuent

Every dog has its day.
"It seems that for a lot of people, if they hear something that doesn't sound regular, they assume it's random. If live musicians were playing it, they'd probably call it jazz or something. But the fact that it's coming out of a computer, as they perceive it, somehow seems to make it different.
yeah they also talk somewhere about how the underlying patterns are obviously to them, but obviously not everyone does--might be part of why people don't here groove in their music. which relates to a major point about this stuff: I think you do have to have some kind of 'ideal' phrasing of the changing element in your mind, otherwise the variations won't make sense.

fahey mentions jazz as well in the video above
 

mvuent

Every dog has its day.
just to connect this to another thread a bit, I think this definitely suits a "masculine" way of listening, to use the official Dissensus Framework™ term. it doesn't really mean anything unless you're paying attention to events. at least I don't think...

rhythmic intricacy is a musical trope that i imagine is inherently perceived in terms of velocity, and not particularly relatable to the feeling of a body (other than the movement of a body)
 
lol in this case I can't tell if the problem is the lack of dynamics or just the, you know, song.

You can hear how flattened everything is though, right? How there's no depth to the recording, each element sitting next to the other rather than above, below, behind or in front of.
 

mvuent

Every dog has its day.
yeah for sure, just not sure if I was able to hear how it might have been impacted by that in terms of rhythmic feel. I think you're right though, having a mix of faint and loud sounds in a beat can really make a difference. maybe having dynamic range helps convey rhythmic motion more vividly.
 
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I wasn't talking specifically in regard to rhythm, more the idea of imperfections and variation being desirable - that mastering job is the dynamic equivalent of an unchanging rhythm - but, yeah, it can have an impact on rhythm too. If you hop into a DAW and take a drum pattern then play about with the velocity sliders, you can do a fair bit without moving any of the hits themselves.
 

mvuent

Every dog has its day.
I wasn't talking specifically in regard to rhythm, more the idea of imperfections and variation being desirable - that mastering job is the dynamic equivalent of an unchanging rhythm - but, yeah, it can have an impact on rhythm too. If you hop into a DAW and take a drum pattern then play about with the velocity sliders, you can do a fair bit without moving any of the hits themselves.
as far as "imperfections" and variations sounding better than "perfection" (or at least are compelling in their own right), analog vs digital is another classic one; this idea's really stuck with me, probably deserves its own thread.

Where does stuff like gabber and very straight techno fit into this?

raises the question of whether or not there's a scale of whatever this is called. 80s pop, gabber, etc. at one end and ??? at the other. or maybe it's hard to quantify, since the ways 'yearning' expresses itself are so different across genres.
 
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