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Re: Basic intro

On Mon, 13 Aug 2001 18:38:33 -0700, glenn <glenn234@pacbell.net> wrote:

>that was great! Recognized lots of those themes but they'd become somewhat
>nebulous over the years to say the least. Thanks for that: Interesting

(Dragging things back on topic...)

The most interesting Tiresias reference I ever found was in Peter
Gabriel's "White Shadow" on his second solo album:

        No one knew if the spirit died;
        All wrapped to go, like Kentucky Fried.
        Trying to read the flight of birds --
        low on fuel, getting low on words.

When I thought about this, it occurred to me that a lot of the songs I
really like are somewhat "secret". They have an interpretation and
meaning that's almost private between me and the artist; things the
average guy just plain isn't going to get. That's one of the reasons I'm
such a huge Marilyn Manson fan; I "get" his work in a way that I'm
convinced most people can't or won't. To understand "Little Horn" from
Antichrist Superstar, for example, you need to draw the parallel with
the biblical book of Daniel (8:9-12, "And out of one of them came forth
a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, [...] and it cast down truth
to the ground, and it wrought, and prospered.") -- but I don't think
there are all that many biblical scholars listening to ACS. 

This is also reflected in my own work. When I use a sample, it's not
always just "that will sound good here", it's often a deliberate
juxtaposition of opposing concepts -- like the opening verse of Ice-T's
"Colors" overlaid on the introduction to Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home
Alabama". There's also a definite intent to bring *surrounding* material
to mind; the rhythm guitar from any well-known song, for example,
carries some amount of that song's entire meaning with it. Adding the
intro to Metallica's "Harvester of Sorrow" over a drum beat can make an
otherwise silly sample significantly darker and more compelling... the
phrase "Let me take you down, 'cos I'm going to" from the Beatles'
"Strawberry Fields Forever" would sound light and happy in most mixes,
but when placed in this context it becomes downright creepy. Especially
when you follow it with the main rhythm from Alice in Chains' "Grind",
which further includes the verse "I could set you free, rather hear the
sound/of your body breaking as I take you down" -- even though that
verse is not itself sampled. This three-way combination (conflagration?)
turns a line normally associated with peace and love and nature into a
thoroughly wicked little threat.

So how do other people see this sort of thing? Do others use this kind
of contextual mixing? Is the presence of obscure meaning in a song a
bonus, or a liability? Is it even relevant? (Many electronic and
loop-based musicians I've spoken to consider the "meaning" of a song
unnecessary, a simple side-effect of throwing things together that sound
good. I'm not going to start the "are lyrics important, or just another
kind of noise you throw into the music" debate just yet; I've been
blamed for starting flame wars with that too many times.)