Transcending the Limits of Modern Music
Last night, I was laying on blanket at Fort Reno listening to a band that seemed to sound much like other bands I have heard. This experience lead me to continue thinking about the limits of creativity in music these days and started thinking about the ways to transcend sounds that have become common place. I can be happy at Fort Reno, with friends pretty much regardless of the band that is playing but I do wonder about the ability to create new sounds.
With each band building off of every other band and using the same instruments, it’s hard to find the new sounds I am constantly craving. I am by no means bored of the music I listen to, and I find new sounds that are creative and interesting on pretty much a daily basis. But sometimes I wonder what is next and where do we go from here. My musical tastes seem to be centered on things that are loud and reference old ideas brought to the forefront in Punk Rock. But I have been searching for something newer and unheard.
Today, I read a cleverly titled article How Humans Conquered Echo by one of my favorite music writers William Weir. The article discusses the history of artificial reverb. At the end of the article Weir asks the creator of artificial reverb Jame Putnam if there is much more that can be done with the effect. Putnam responds as follows:
“We live in a world of sound reflections, even if you’re not aware of them,” Putnam says. “Reverb, real or artificial, just takes us back to that.” Some forms of reverb comfort the listeners, he said, giving them a familiar setting. The fun happens when you find a new way to use reverb to “monkey wrench the brain.”
“In a lot of ways, creativity is just messing with people’s expectations,” he says. “Reverb can be that jolt.”
Reverb is just one effect that has become common place to us in the music we hear. Yes, maybe we can use reverb in a way that we have not considered before but will just finding a creative way to use a new tool be enough. I can think of many examples of music that just uses old tools differently. I can’t help but wonder if we need something more to take us to new musical place.
Do we need to create a whole new toolbox, to create new sounds? How do we go evolve to go outside of the norms that sound the same and still attract people who were raised in the comfort zone of popular music?
I hope to hear DC bands, try to answer these questions and create new sounds for me to write about here.