We really go out of our way to highlight what’s going on with this genre of music because as rock evolves in the United States and elsewhere, a lot is lost in translation.
Seriously, this is a sad situation that we find ourselves in because a lot of the core elements that made blues music so vitally enriching and inspiring are in danger of just falling apart. It seems that as alternative rock acts have taken over large chunks of the music industry, there is very little space for traditional forms of music.
Everything is really about a post-modern pastiche a slice-and-dice blender type of Frankenstein musical creations that involve samples and attitudes. People rarely look at music as really some sort of cohesive whole that requires a tremendous amount of sacrifice, attention to detail, and experience to truly master. In other words, the traditional way of approaching music as a cohesive art form has pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur.
In fact, when you look at many music blogs, as well as discussions on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms, the moment you raise the T word or “tradition”, people laugh at you. People look at you as this old fogie who is a product of a past era. They might even poke fun at the fact that you like music from the past.
This really highlights the fact that in America at least, the young eat the old. We are very cannibalistic in terms of our preference of art. The whole idea that the young must rebel in a very distinctive and almost militant way against the old order has gone on unquestioned for so long.
And this really is a shame because a little bit of continuity can go a long way. A little bit of respect and appreciation for what went on before can create a more conducive environment for making music in the here and now. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
There are lots of musical articles who are obviously sampling from past musical arts and don’t even bother to give credit where credit is due. The recent fiasco suffered by Pharell, where he got successfully sued for ripping off Marvin Gaye, is just the tip of the iceberg.
Now, the verdict is still out on this because the case is being appealed. His whole point is that he just got inspired by the overall vibe of Marvin Gaye. Of course, Marvin Gaye’s family has the opposite opinion.
They believe that he just basically ripped off and infringed on the late musical great’s work. Whatever the real resolution may be, this case highlights that we have reached a stage in musical evolution where creators don’t feel that they have to acknowledge what went on in the past.
Germs and Kernels
They feel that they can produce music as a cohesive whole that contains germs and kernels of previous art movements without appreciating or even acknowledging that this is the case. They think that it’s the collection that matters more.
Now, I wish I could tell you this is a product of some sort of evil syndicate. I wish there was some sort of musical conspiracy we can point our fingers to because it really highlights some sort of malice on the part of these individuals, but that’s not the case. Instead, this is really more reminiscent of a change in generational attitudes as to who owns intellectual property as far as music is concerned.
For the longest time, American intellectual property law is really fine-tuned as to who owns what, as well as the limits and boundaries of such rights. Thanks to innovations in technology, this is no longer the case. And this is exactly the kind of argument that is being made a lot of creators.
They are saying that we live in a modern world where influences basically mutate like bacteria. If you want to get a clear understanding of how this works, look at bacteria in a test tube. When you have different species of bacteria containing different DNA, these bacteria actually mutate and mate with each other regardless of their species’ differentiation.
Not surprisingly, the bacteria that have certain qualities when exposed long enough to other bacteria with other qualities would start absorbing those qualities and interestingly enough, pass on these genetic changes to the next generation.
This is called recombinant DNA engineering. Usually, it happens randomly in nature. Thanks to modern biotechnology, we have actually used this natural development under controlled circumstances to produce really mind-blowing new combinations of organic functions. A large chunk of the biotechnology sector’s innovations is based on this.
Well, interestingly enough, the same process plays out when it comes to artistic creation. The more a person is exposed to certain genres of music, the more likely that person is going to absorb bits and pieces here and there to into something new. And thanks to modern sampling technology, as well as fully-computerized music composition software, it’s become easier to pull this off in a very smooth and compact way.
The end product looks like a very polished piece of music that really doesn’t have a beginning or an end, and this is where we are in our stage of musical evolution. It is quite worrisome because not only is there a lot of disrespect involved, but it also raises the possibility that artists can basically just rip off other artists and claim to be completely new because they’ve sliced and diced it.
This can go a long way in discouraging new artistic creation, expression, and experimentation. As you can probably really tell, music only evolves when artists are incentivized to step past their comfort zone to try something new. Unfortunately, without the financial incentive to do this, it’s anybody’s guess whether artists would sacrifice the time, effort, and energy needed to get this going.
This is a big deal and it needs to get resolved soon.
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