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May 02, 2020

Comments

Just a quick thank you for now, for an amazing post.

You make all that work sound so interesting that I'm tempted to take up yet another hobby.

But lifelong dilettantism does teach some lessons, even if they're different lessons from a lifelong dedication to mastery. One of them is: enough is enough, for hobbies or anything else.

Funny, though, I do sort of do that thing with the gas pump....I mean, what else have you got to do while you're standing there? ;-)

I've always found the Concert Hotels "Got Rhythm?" test both illuminating and frustrating.

https://www.concerthotels.com/got-rhythm

I have a hard time getting anything much above 850, which is probably why I end up in busy, contrapuntal territory a lot of the time, playing against the rhythm when I play along with stuff, or I gravitate towards some sort of long-envelope, reverb-and-feedback sound that creates its own time with just enough analog glitchiness to keep it organic and unpredictable.

Also, I find that it's really hard to keep rhythm at the same time I'm trying to think about what to play. In the past few months I've finally started to get a bit of muscle memory to where my hands are playing intervals without me consciously having to think about how to play it. It's those all too brief moments of being in a flow state where I feel like I'm actually playing music and not just creating an imperfect facsimile of a song.

Related to your gas-pumping exercise: at a traffic light where the walk sign counts down seconds for a fairly long interval, count off 20 or 30 seconds w/o looking. As you say, the slow cadence is hard. Even moving up from 60 bps to 72 makes it noticeably easier.

Comments on nous's link, which I had never heard of:

1. I want a new keyboard.

2. I do 50 points better if I close my eyes. (Admittedly on only a handful of tries.)

Having started piano lessons very late in life, with zero previous music training, I found that getting rhythm correct was near impossible.

The metronome drove me near insane. I simply couldn't play at all with that damn thing clicking away.

So now I just play it how I feel, and the hell with it. The audence is just me, anyway.

works for me, Bernie.

Thank you! I think I have good natural time, but, as Linus observes here

https://www.gocomics.com/peanuts/1962/03/11

there is a difference. I'm doing WiFit now and exercise is so much easier if I can fit into the rhythm of the motion. A little too slow or too fast, it's agony.

I wonder if my musical career would have been more successful if I had really dug into rhythm as Russell suggests. I never had any problem picking up the beat and playing within it, and when I was doing music, you didn't get people who had a bad sense of rhythm, they were washed out relatively early. Part of that is US music education, which is limited to those who want to and then streamed pretty severely for ability. It was only when I came to Japan and played with student orchestras that I realized that there can be people who play music and have a really bad sense of time. The university conductor (orchestra is a club and the school and club hire an outside conductor/trainer) really taught me a lot about teaching the way he worked with the orchestra to get them to learn rhythm.

Which takes this into all other areas, so feel free to pick up or leave any of those points. Thanks again Russell.

I knew a guy, a painter, who was trying to sharpen up his drawing skills.

He would draw circles. Pages and pages and pages of circles. Big circles. Small circles.

Circles. For hours.

A good golfer goes out on the weekend and hits a few buckets of balls to improve his swing.

The pro goes out and hits hundreds or thousands of balls daily, to work on the way he turns his left wrist, right at the bottom of his stroke.

Details accumulate.

Details accumulate.

This is about art, of course. But also about expertise. Obviously, a little different with whatever people do and get good at, but not wholly.

Practice. Patience. Day to day. Cumulative knowledge, habit, experience.

"Carnegie Hall archivist Gino Francesconi says that the best version he’s heard involved violinist Mischa Elman. As the story goes, Elman was walking from Carnegie Hall toward his hotel following a rehearsal. He wasn’t happy with his playing and had his head down. Two tourists who saw his violin case asked him the question. Without looking up, he replied, “Practice.”"
The Joke

I’m probably somewhere around the byomtov level on piano, but I can play in time.
What I can’t for the life of me do is play a triplet in one hand against two beats in the other (or any other two rhythms which aren’t simply doubles or quadruples).
Any tips ?

Try to hear it as one rhythm and assign the beats to the appropriate hands

bom bo-ko bam

The first bom is both hands, than bo and bam are the triplet hand and the ko is the duplet one. If you are right hand dominant, start with the triplet in the left and try to get that automatic while you concentrate one droping the duplet in the right place. Change hands and do the same. Then you can recognize the whole. A bit easier for instrumentalists, they just have to concentrate on where to place one side of the beat correctly, and I could only do it on piano as chords, not as individual separate notes.

Wikipedia has some phrases and suggests A common memory aid to help with the 3 against 2 polyrhythm is that it has the same rhythm as the phrase "not difficult"; the simultaneous beats occur on the word "not"; the second and third of the triple beat land on "dif" and "cult", respectively.

The phrase recommended for 4 against 3 is 'pass the goddamned butter'...

Russell will explain how to do a different rhythm on each of your 4 limbs...

arrrghhh !

you're going to shame me into practicing with a metronome.

I don’t know if this is exactly on topic, but something I just kind of stumbled upon playing guitar in the last month or so is what I think of as boogie-woogie. That might not be the right term, but a really good example of what I’m getting at would be Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Rude Mood. It’s not something I had been trying at and failing until recently. I don’t really recall trying to play that way before. It just happened.

The thing is, I could do it. But then I couldn’t. I would just lose it. The only way to get it back was to stop trying to do it for a while. Then I could do it again. And I would lose it again. I finally decided to do the simplest thing I could over and over by alternating between two notes, with the low E string open and on the 3rd fret for a G. Just a chugga-chugga with those two notes until my hands and my brain could get together to play that way on command.

But then I had a hard time doing anything but that in that style. I threw an extra note or two in to get past that. Then got to the point where I could run through a blues scale boogie-woogie style. Now I can just play that way within the limits of what I could otherwise do before.

I’m not really into learning songs. I just like to play, alone in my bedroom, sitting on my little practice amp. Playing in that boogie-woogie style is perfect for that. It’s really fun.

(But it might be the exact opposite of being disciplined and playing with a metronome. I am an accomplished slacker.)

Blues shuffle might be the term.

check out some of the metronome apps, some offer different sounds. Also, they offer poly rhythm options that can help you break those down.

"Rude Mood" is pretty fast. If you played it slow it might be a shuffle, but a shuffle usually implies more of a triplet time feel - when stuff like that gets up above about 250 the triplet feel usually flattens out to more like a straight 8th note feel.

At the tempo they take it, it's more like a train beat.

To me, the main thing is, for the most part, every note is played twice (or some multiple thereof) before going to the next. In my head, it’s a “doo-da doo-da doo-da doo-da” sound. I wouldn’t describe Rude Mood as rock-a-billy, but what I’m playing might be an attempt at rock-a-billy, of an especially dirty and raw kind. I don’t know why, but I’m attracted to music that sounds like it wants to rip your face off.

Looking through the different metronome apps, I'm intrigued by the Polynome, which is programmed by Wishbone Ash drummer Joe Crabtree. Looks like it's built to do all manner of time signatures, feels, and polyrhythms. The review and demo videos all say good things.

Not that I've been using anything. I'm playing according to The HSH Method. Guitar and bass, endlessly noodled.

Also, happy 5/4 people:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRYsXEciYeY

i'm also an hsh-style player.

lately i've found i really like to learn music theory.

and i'm sure the stuff i'm screwing around with is the kind of things most piano players learn in grade school, but... i didn't go that route.

Good thing I don't gamble on such things, I was sure nous' link was going to a version of "Take Five".

For those not familiar with The Turtles song "Grim Reaper of Love", the verses are 5/4, with transition to (I believe) 6/8 for the chorus.

Also, happy 5/4 people

"That was my cue?"

LOL

lately i've found i really like to learn music theory.

When I was in school, as an engineering student, I had one (ONE!!!) 3-credit class I could take that didn't have to fill some requirement or other. I could just take any damned thing I wanted. I took Intro to Music Theory. It was the most enjoyable class I took in college. I think I only missed one lecture for that class the whole semester, which was unheard of for me. (Did I mention that I was an accomplished slacker?)

Everyone always goes with Take Five or the Mission Impossible theme for 5/4.

For me it had to be either "Living in the Past" (as above) or Tool's "The Grudge."

When I was in school, as an engineering student, I had one (ONE!!!) 3-credit class I could take that didn't have to fill some requirement or other.

The best thing I did as an engineering student was to tack on a second major! Then, as long as I had 2 engineering classes, my engineering advisor was happy to sign off on my courses. And as long as I had 2 anthropology classes, my anthro advisor would sign off.

Which meant that, every quarter, I could take one class on absolutely anything in the entire university! One quarter, I took a course in The Landscape Architecture of Japanese Gardens. ;-)

It took longer to graduate that way.** But I managed to get one seriously broad education. I think it's tragic how early people are forced to specialize; specialization is for insects.

** Took longer to pick up my masters degrees with a double major, too. But it meant that even in grad school I could keep broadening my horizons.

7/4 if you are interested
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMwn_hnoS5Y

Any rickrolling people, just don't...

I spent two years at St. John's College in Santa Fé. There were no electives, but it was a liberal arts college, so everyone had to take Freshman Choir and everyone had to do a year of Music Tutorial and learn music theory (and a bit of practice).

I think we'd be better off as a society if our non-technical higher education approach started wth two years of liberal arts generalism with as much overlap as we could cram together. No one gets to specialize until they have learned a bit of lots of things and found the things that they wish to explore in more depth. And it would also be good if those classes for the first two years included information about how people with those interests, training and skills turn that into a living.

Odd meters - 5/4, 7/4, etc - usually make better sense when you think of them as combinations of simpler meters. So 5/4 is usually a 2/4 plus a 3/4, or 3/4 plus a 2/4. 7/4 is usually 4 + 3 or 3 + 4. And you can usually feel how the groupings should go from how the melody and/or accompaniment are phrased.

I accompanied a choir last year on a piece that was written in 5/4, but the phrasing was actually 3+3+2+2. They were trying to count it in five and it was making everybody nuts. I suggested that they think of it as "long - long - short - short" and it came together pretty easily, because that was how the melody was phrased.

A lot of Balkan stuff is in odd meters, and the long vs short pulse thing is usually a pretty natural way to get inside it.

"Solsbury Hill" is kind of funky because it's sort of 3+3+1, but each of the 3's has a dotted figure that makes it kind of 3-over-2, 3-over-2, 1. Or you can just hear it as 4+3, with the accompaniment and playing the 4 part and Gabriel answering on the 3 part, but with a four-beat phrase that ends on the downbeat of the next 4. All of that over a steady quarter note pulse.

It's clever, and pretty natural.

If you think about it too much, it'll go sideways. Best to let your body and the phrasing of the line tell you what to do.

Another one that gets people in trouble is Genesis' "Turn It On Again," what with all the syncopations. People online argue endlessly about whether it's 13/8 or alternating 6/8 + 7/8, but then when you add in the bridge and chorus the whole things really becomes a matter of it pumping a steady eighth note rhythm and then learning the pulses.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTZgE8D8a9E

Fun song.

But I hate the way that Collins messed with the rhythm of the vocals for the bridge in live performance. Always felt to me like he was better at serving the song when he was drumming than when he was out front.

The Turtles song in definitely 3/4 + 2/4 in terms of the melody.

always have to mention King Crimson, "Discipline"

Wiki:

The composition undergoes many time signature changes. There are two main guitars (one played by Robert Fripp the other by Adrian Belew) which are often in a different time signature, giving the song a chaotic and intense feel. Many times the guitars play similar patterns, but one drops a note making them go either out of sync or change time signatures. During the piece the two guitars of Belew and Fripp, respectively, move through the following sequence of pairs of time signatures: 5/8 and 5/
8, 5/8 and 4/4, 5/8 and 9/8, 15/16 and 15/16, 15
16 and 14/16, 10/8 and 20/16, 15/16 and 15/16, 15/16 and 14/16, 12/16 and 12/16, 12/16 and 11/16, 15/16 and 15/16, 15/16 and 14/16.

Throughout the composition, the drums play in 17/16 [with the kick playing 4/4 throughout]

not a coincidence that these Genesis, Gabriel and KC records are all from the same era.

they all learned about African polyrhythms at the same time.

It's like when you can't find the right sized socket in your ratchet set.

Peter Gabriel was a pioneer in that regard
https://blogs.longwood.edu/musicintheworld/2012/02/20/peter-gabriel-africa/

and my impression is that his support of African musicians has been stellar, with them often appearing on stage and him highlighting them

Paul Simon, on the other hand, seems to have stumbled into it without really knowing what he was doing
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/apr/19/paul-simon-graceland-acclaim-outrage
but it fortunately seems to have turned out well.

...or Tool's "The Grudge."

I got to see Tool twice on their recent tour. The second time, after having seen the show and not being quite as busy trying to take it all in while being blown away, I found myself counting to figure out what the hell they were doing during their more mathy tunes. It's kind of a weird way to enjoy music.

Paul SImon has, over his quite long career, repeatedly brought regional and indigenous musicians and musical traditions to an extremely broad audience. By "extremely broad" I mean the whole world, really.

Off the top of my head, the list includes Andean traditional music, the South African township stuff, Jamaican reggae and ska, samba school stuff from the favelas in Rio. All presented respectfully, with participation by the musicians from those traditions and communities.

He has really good ears, he is genuinely interested in music from everywhere, and he gives visibility to the folks who created and play it.

His decision to work in and with South Africans during apartheid was controversial, but my guess is that if you asked the folks he sought out and worked with there, they'd be fine with it.

they all learned about African polyrhythms at the same time.

I'm always of two minds about white western pop musicians "getting into" African polyrhythms. I generally like what comes out of it, and have no issue with people looking to other traditions for ideas and inspiration. It's just never sounds very African, to me.

I'm not really an authority, but my sense is that the African thing is less about complicated time signatures and more about interlocking patterns. And then counter- or cross-rhythms against that, to create what is essentially rhythmic dissonance. Sometimes that is polyrhythmic in the "3 over 4" kind of sense, sometimes it's more about displacement - phrases in the same general time signature, but beginning at or resolving to a different point or downbeat. Or both.

Same or similar structural concept as European harmony, just expressed in rhythm rather than pitch relationships.

As a really odd parallel, which begins to get into the clave thing that LJ has asked about, the most common bell pattern found in sub-Saharan music has the same pattern of short-long distances between beats as the major scale has between pitches. That bell pattern ends up in the Western Hemisphere as the rumba and son clave rhythms.

I saw that documentary that lj's guardian link is about when it came out. It was fascinating, particularly because I agree with russell's first four paras, above, and moreover I think (and thought at the time) that Graceland is a masterpiece.

Obviously, I was a lot more clued in to the whole issue of apartheid and the various boycotts (cultural, sports, financial etc), but even so I was astonished by Paul Simon's apparent obliviousness to the true issues. His meeting (described in the article) with Dali Tambo, in which Tambo gently and generously explains the issues, without accusation, was almost painful to watch. I have a lot of respect for Simon, but he came across as a bit of an idiot, to be honest, which I know was misleading.

When the album came out, I knew an extremely annoying New Yorker, obsessed with "authenticity", who could only say that of course, to anybody who knew township music, the album was nothing special and just cultural appropriation (although we didn't have that term then). Well, I did know township music (not in depth, but the sound was very familiar to me), and as I say, I thought Graceland was a masterpiece.

I think Simon should have followed Belafonte's advice, and consulted the ANC. I think the cultural boycott, along with all the others, was correct, and should have been observed. I think Simon's comments about artists and authority were naive in this context, and wrong. And yet I am glad that the album got made, and was the success it was, with the ensuing publicity and success for the African musicians. So life is (as if we didn't know) complicated.

...the most common bell pattern found in sub-Saharan music has the same pattern of short-long distances between beats as the major scale has between pitches.

I don't why, but that blows my mind. Humans homing in on the same thing, if in different ways, in different parts of the world, presumably at different times. It's like Golden Ratio-Fibonacci Sequence kind of stuff.

Graceland and some of these others really broke worldbeat for the public, but I think Byrne and Eno laid a lot of the groundwork with My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. And that album is also one that well deserves scrutiny for thinking through western musicians collaborations with musicians from former western colonies.

I love that album and I also recognize how problematic it is to comb through field recordings and create collages and bring in musicians to jam and then put your name on it as the auteur. And I don't mean to get on Byrne or Eno for that. At the time the underlying issue was a lot less apparent, and their work with afrobeat was part of what helped make the conversation possible.

And it's not like Byrne and Eno had any shortage of self-absorption where collaborators were concerned even when they weren't dealing with post-colonials.

I don't why, but that blows my mind. Humans homing in on the same thing, if in different ways, in different parts of the world, presumably at different times. It's like Golden Ratio-Fibonacci Sequence kind of stuff.

For me, that list would also include the similarity between hemoglobin and chlorophyll molecules.

Back during my brief stint as a UU, I once did a summer service focused on the theme, "My Favorite Miracles." These molecules were part of it, along with the notion that we are made of star-stuff, in more than one way. Life is powered by sunlight, and all the complex elements got their start inside stars.

To a rough approximation. ;=)

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

This is one that I've always been aware of, but have never actually checked out. I'm gonna have to do that.

Thanks nous!

Humans homing in on the same thing, if in different ways, in different parts of the world, presumably at different times.

So.. there has been some recent speculative research into applying Euclid's Algorithm for finding greatest common denominator to generate rhythmic patterns. What came out of that was the idea of Euclidean rhythms, which are more or less rhythms where the notes played are distributed as equally across the time grid as possible.

As it turns out, almost all traditional rhythmic patters are "Euclidean" by this definition. All of the forms of clave, all of the traditional African bell patterns, all of the Latin cascara rhythms, all of the samba and bossa time keeping patterns, alla that stuff is Euclidean.

The same kind of patterns exist in pitched musical instrument tuning, at least (or maybe especially) in the equal tempered systems.

Freaking math just won't leave us alone.

I sometimes think of music - at least the theoretical structures of music - as number theory for the ears.

For me, that list would also include the similarity between hemoglobin and chlorophyll molecules.

This blows my mind as well.

Have fun with a Euclidean rhythm generator!

Freaking math just won't leave us alone.

This reminds me of a moment long ago when one of my roommates took a shot and me and another rooommate by going on about how she liked more natural things, like dance, not this artificial nonsense that we enjoyed, like math and computer programming.

At the time, all I thought of to come back with was that math was as natural to me as breathing, as natural as dance and movement were to her.

Now I would say that math is actually the foundation of reality.

Just don't ask me to prove it! ;-)

But this gets talked about in a wild book called "Quantum Mind," by Arnold Mindell, who founded process-oriented psychology. Like the guy I call my "guru," Danaan Parry, Arnold Mindell was a physicist before he was a psychologist. I don't think it's an accident that they're the ones I'm drawn to learn from.

As for the subject of the post -- even at the basic vocabulary level I have my lessons laid out in front of me for a good long time.

Actually, I may be mischaracterizing "Quantum Mind." It's been at least 20 years since I read it. Maybe I should dip back into it again. Anyhow, it starts off with a discussion about number systems and the body. Which reminds me that this whole thread could be used to suggest to my old roommate that math and dance aren't exacly separable. ;-)

I discovered My Life in the Bush of Ghosts while I was doing research for my writing class that's constructed around writing about music. I had picked up Jonathan Lethem's essay collection for Fear of Music. That led me down the Talking Heads rabbit hole, and since I already had my classes reading an interview with Eno it landed me firmly on a research agenda that had me listening to My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Remain in Light, and Angélique Kidjo's afrobeat reinterpretation of Remain in Light.

Angélique Kidjo - Born Under Punches

Don't know if that will ever turn into anything written, but there is a lot to be teased out in that progression.

I come to realize that I got to see King Crimson last September as well as Tool twice in November. Those would have seemed far removed from today’s circumstances but for the uncertainty about the foreseeable future. Now I feel like I got that stuff in under the wire since this thing has grown in significance. I look back on more and more as “stuff I did pre-covid” the bigger it gets.

I think I just harshed on the thread’s buzz. Sorry...

Reality sucks

I, for one, would really like to hear some throat-singing with didgeridoo rap.

I think there’s some of that on Ill Communication.

I think I just harshed on the thread’s buzz. Sorry...

No worries.

The true groove is unharshable.

Also, the Kidjo remake of "Remain In Light" is fucking brilliant.

I'm really not all that purist about this stuff, and there is a universe of "inspired by Africa" stuff that I dig and respect. Including the Talking Heads "Remain In Light". I love the Heads, and I love that record.

But if you want to hear the difference Africa and not-Africa, compare Talking Heads' "Remain In Light" to Kidjo's.

Both completely legitimate. One is African, one is not.

I, for one, would really like to hear some throat-singing with didgeridoo rap.

Closest I can come there is neo-nordic folk with overtone horns and spoken word overtone vocals.

Heilung - Krigsgaldr
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRg_8NNPTD8

I have a lot of respect for Simon, but he came across as a bit of an idiot, to be honest, which I know was misleading.

Just to use this as a (probably unwanted) jumping off point, but my feeling is that everyone is a bit of an idiot, it's just 1)figuring out where they/you are an idiot and 2)if you/the acknowledge you/they screwed up, it lessens your/their idiocy. That's why this is important

What is most impressive is that Simon allowed Berlinger to make such an intriguing film, including far more criticism than most celebrities would tolerate, and that he had the guts to argue face to face with Tambo.

Been pulling quotes from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/zen-motorcycle.pdf

and this seems apropos.

If you have a high evaluation of yourself then your ability to recognize new facts is weakened. Your ego isolates you from the Quality reality. When the facts show that you’ve just goofed, you’re not as likely to admit it. When false information makes you look good,
you’re likely to believe it. On any mechanical repair job ego comes in for rough treatment. You’re always being fooled, you’re always
making mistakes, and a mechanic who has a big ego to defend is at a terrific disadvantage. If you know enough mechanics to think of
them as a group, and your observations coincide with mine, I think you’ll agree that mechanics tend to be rather modest and quiet.
There are exceptions, but generally if they’re not quiet and modest at first, the work seems to make them that way. And skeptical.
Attentive, but skeptical, But not egoistic. There’s no way to bullshit your way into looking good on a mechanical repair job, except
with someone who doesn’t know what you’re doing.

So Paul Simon goofed, but he seemed to at least acknowledge that some people might have disagreed with what he did. So points.

Also, about tuban throat singing, had a dorm mate who was into that and we used to say he was playing his 'Country and Eastern' music

tuvan....

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

i just discovered it last week!

the similarity to Remain In Light is undeniable. but, RiL is better. better than almost everything, ever.

as far as musical self-training... i've been murdering my self-esteem with an interval training app called "Complete Ear Trainer". beeeep / booop - 5th or octave? WRONG!

my wife is into a band called Paramore. their choruses are pure pop and their crowds are full of teenage girls. which is all fine, just not my bag. but the verses get into some pretty complex rhythmic stuff - almost like Tool at times, very heavy, polyrythymic. brothers on guitar and drums helps.

i'm happy to see that stuff get into the mainstream.

and then there are bands like Dirty Projectors who blow out all the stops to make pretty but extremely angular stuff.

Don't know where to put this, but since this is (mostly) a music thread, this is Bob Dylan tweeting on the death of Little Richard:

I just heard the news about Little Richard and I’m so grieved. He was my shining star and guiding light back when I was only a little boy. His was the original spirit that moved me to do everything I would do.

Another tangential reply, here only for the music theme...Dave Grohl in The Atlantic:

https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/05/dave-grohl-irreplaceable-thrill-rock-show/611113/

Okay, back on topic for playing in time. Meshuggah just posted on their FB page that today is the 25th anniversary of the release of Destroy Erase Improve. Whether or not it is to your taste, it's safe to say that this was a revolutionary album that inspired scores of young metalheads to take up down-tuned, rhythmically complex music on extended range instruments. Part of the '90s explosion in metal that turned the genre into something rivaling jazz for sheer breadth of styles and complexity.

Anyway, here's a taste of the album and their rhythmic assault: Meshuggah - Inside What's Within Behind

They insist that most everything they play is in 4/4 (with the exception of the stuff they programmed with the Drumkit from Hell, which was composed from the get go to have no fixed rhythm). And it's true that you can bang your head steadily through, usually by following the crash. The rest is all bits and pieces that are assembled together and eventually land at the end of a bar to kick off a chorus or bridge.

Watching them do this live is mind boggling.

I'm not a metal guy so much, but Tomas Haake is really a virtuoso. Just mind-boggling.

Watching them do this live is mind boggling.

Amen to that. I find it to be a euphoric and hypnotic experience, full of power, joy and awe.

I could make the argument that, as of now, Meshuggah may be the best metal band that has ever existed, considering their combination of technical prowess, stylistic creativity, influence on other bands, and sheer brutality. They have distilled metal to its pure essence, only to add to it to make it something more.

I started listening to Meshuggah when I bought Nothing. I later went back to listen to their earlier stuff. I don't think I fully appreciated Destroy Erase Improve until I took my daughter to her art class one night and decided to put the seat back in my car and just listen to music while I waited for her class to finish.

My car has a decent stereo system, and with the car not running, sitting with the windows up on a quiet side street in a sleepy little town, it sounds even better - sufficiently loud without being turned up much at all. The precision of the execution on that album is stunning, best appreciated in solitude with nothing to do but listen.

Agreed, russell. And Fredrik Thordendal's compositions are equally so. If you have not already done so, you should check out the Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects album, Sol Niger Within, with Morgan Ågren on drums. The album lives somewhere in the center of a Venn Diagram between Meshuggah, Zappa, and Alan Holdsworth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZx4e1pdq1Y&list=OLAK5uy_mjXcnBpeS0Z9ISj0ol-9CpeOhLMGNm1o8&index=2&t=0s

Ågren is another Swedish virtuoso.

hairshirthedonist - I saw Meshuggah at the opening show of their Obzen tour with Cynic opening for them (first tour proper for Cynic since they reformed after a decade plus of thinking they had bombed out of the biz with just one album). Had never heard Cynic, but them and their virtuoso blend of jazz and death metal coupled with Meshuggah and their pummeling precision remains one of my favorite live shows of all time.

I'm going to check out Cynic.

Something that just popped up in my video feed on facebook was a Smashing Pumpkins performance on the Howard Stern Show from 2018. The drummer for Smashing Pumpkins, whose name I don't even know short of googling it, always jumped out at me. Nothing like Haake, but just super tight with a really cool style. There's a crispness to that guy's playing that just gets me. I should see if he's involved with any other projects. I only like Smashing Pumpkins to a certain point.

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