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RE: Radiophonics and...

Samba wrote: 

" In terms of critique , asking what the artist attempted and whether
accomplished it, I find very useful. Most of the reviews I see , of all 
sorts  ,lack this approach. It's pretty much useless to me when someone 
says: this is great ,or this is awful etc."

You mean the "boo-hooray" approach, which is basically an expression of
how one feels about a piece of music at the high and non-detailed level,
versus an attempt at an objective compare and contrast, or useful
analysis.  This is a very interesting topic, that of the objective and
subjective evaluation of music or art.  I don't think I've ever read a
formal music review (except for an article in an academic journal)  that
does not combine both objective and subjective elements, either
explicitly or implicitly. Most reviewers can't resist including their
own emotive responses to the music, which is fine, but probably not as
informative and educational for readers.  What I find interesting
(speaking of emotive responses!) is when people make subjective claims
about music, but dress them up as objective. This is very misleading,
but I think a natural outcome of the inadequacy of language.  My
hypothesis is that the common language we use is not conducive to
factually accurate reviews and critiques.  For example, when a person
says "song x is awful" that could mean:

A) "Song X has the objective property of awfulness" (where the term 'is'
is ascribing an objective property to sound, similar to measurable
properties like duration, frequency, etc)


B) "Song X makes me feel awful" OR "I don't like song X"

I subscribe to a philosophy (not just with music but with other areas)
which implies that version A) is meaningless, because "awfulness" is not
an objective or factual property, but an indirect way of saying that
something makes us feel awful...or that it simply displeases a person.
The only factual property in this sense is the person's moods, feelings,
thoughts, and psychological states, which aren't empirically verifiable,
but only validated by the person who possesses the state.  When a person
says A) but means B), they don't always clarify this.  This is why when
I launched this discussion thread, I opened with the line that these
were my own subjective responses to the music. I was setting up the
context for me to use language that would otherwise be misleading.
Because I believe when I say "I think Robert Fripp's soundscapes are
boring and uninspiring" I am not making a factual claim about an
objective property of Fripp's music or playing, but a factual claim
about my reaction to his music or playing. If someone thinks I am making
an objective claim about the music, and they happen to possess a more
positive emotive reaction to the music, then my claim becomes grounds
for dispute - only in that the claim is construed as objective and not

But it is often very awkward to use factually accurate language in art
reviews....or this at least appears be the case in the wealth of reviews
out there.  Version A) above appears to be much more authoritative, yet
factually meaningless based on my system of thought. Version B) is like
an emotional "show n' tell"...like, "I like blue" or "I like pizza". We
don't learn anything about the actual music in itself, only about the
listener's reaction to that music. I suppose one is equally as important
as the other, but this importance is distorted by the misuse of
language.  If a person were to go into minute detail of version B), then
it starts to sound more like a detailed psychoanalysis rather than a
music review.  

I'm sure I'm probably being overly philosophical here and boring folks
to death. I hope to write discourse on this topic one day, a
philosophical analysis of music evaluation, applying the system of the
"Vienna Circle" and other logical positivists to music critique.  There
is a wealth of music reviews to use as examples to illustrate the

Krispen Hartung 

  I too can be unintersted in work that seems to be less developed than
own technical ability,but I consider this to be a potential mistake. I
it very useful to listen as if I don't know anything about how the sound
produced. As if I'm tasting food.It's wonderful if I can improvise from
frame of mind. Same goes for the  To synth or not to synth dilemna. How
it feel as pure sound,without refence to the source? Sometimes banks of 
effects don't seem at all qualitatively,different than synths 
subjectively.Sometimes it's hard to tell the differenc.Sometimes we 
musicians get into this technical orientation that if applied to writers

would be something like. Wow he used 357 adjectives and he was typing at

350wpm on a vintage ibm keyboard from back in the day.His placement of 
commas is much more developed than so n so's. or X's latest book was
on a ....
     Gear discussion is really useful ,and fascinating to me,esp as is
the case on this list,when people discuss the relative strengths and 
weakneses,and distinguish between studio and performance  unctions