Saturday, July 17, 2010

What the 'Fork!?

Let me set the record straight: I have no bone to pick with Pitchfork (For those of you unfamiliar with the notoriously cultured review site, please compare this and this). If anything, my grievances lie with the “indier-than-thou” mentality that’s so prevalent on the Internet these days.

Let me set the record straight #2: When it comes to the spectrum that at one end has “Music as Art” and at the other has “Music as Aural Pleasure,” I straddle the midpoint. I like my music to please me both superficially and under the surface.

Good. Now that’s out of the way. Like any good indie kid, I peruse the daily offerings of everyone’s (note: “everyone” here referring to people who are to some degree pretentious) favorite music website in search of the next great thing the good people at Pitchfork want me to listen to. I often play Jekyll and Hyde, though. It’s as if half of me craves hearing about crazy new indie goings-on, and the other half hates anyone who chooses to outsource thinking for themselves to such a notoriously elitist music blog. That being said, all of me gets pretty infuriated when I come across positive reviews of music that is mind-bogglingly awful. The part of me that loves Pitchfork has no sympathy for a reviewer who boldly proclaims that “This album is difficult,” and goes on to explain why a certain record (ahem, this one) is actually good, contrary to what the uneducated and context-less listener may think. Disregarding what Pitchfork may opine, there is such a thing as too artistic. By espousing the opposite belief, Pitchfork makes a caricature of itself.

On this note, I’m hoping to start a weekly bi-weekly monthly whenever-I-feel-like-it update on the occasional shenanigans and mental fallacies of the Pitchfork staff.

[Now is the time for you to fire up your computer speakers and listen to this bad boy in another window as you read the following paragraph.]

So, today, to kick off the series, I turn to the aforementioned "difficult" album: it’s Wolfgang Voigt’s Freiland Klaviermusik, which from the get-go sounds like robots making violent, violent love. Or perhaps it’s more like a compilation of computer error messages. There’s certainly nothing funny about this horrific hodgepodge of death, but it’s pretty funny how much of a highbrow treatment it gets from the ‘Forkers: with this album, they say, “Voigt positions himself as the next step in a lineage of experimental keyboard music.” Surely, this is “Music as Art,” but who said art ever had to be so painful? This album is straight-up brutal, and should be reserved for Guantanamo’s solitary chambers.

And so, until next time, I must ask: What the ‘Fork!?


1 comment:

  1. Since we're on the topic of pretentious music, I'd love to hear your opinion of John Cage's "4'33". It just screams Emperor's New Clothes: