The 'Baby' controversy...
Recent discussions regarding Whitehouse and their music at ElectronicMusic@egroups.com - NB. these texts have been collated and edited for relevancy.
Funny you mention Whitehouse, myself and several others were just involved in a debate over their music on another list. Though they've been around for 20 years, I'd not heard of them until roughly a week ago when their label posted an announcement. A friend checked out the samples on the MP3.com page, and he told me to do likewise, as he couldn't believe the dreck he heard. I figured they'd sound something along the lines of SPK, Skinny Puppy, Front 242 (or something like that), but those groups are infinitely better. In fact, the "music" was beyond belief, minute after minute of 'noise' with nothing else, sometimes vocal/dialogue samples coming and going, with nothing rewarding after the track's termination. One MP3 track called "Baby" was nothing but a sound-sampling of a child yammering and splashing around in a bathtub. One poster argued that it was indeed 'music' but of course I refuse to accept such an absurd suggestion - a sound-sampling is a *recording,* but it was not a *musical* recording. The same poster also argued that the style they'd pioneered was 'extreme' or 'power electronics' but electronics or synths (or any kind of %$@& instrument) were indiscernable. The clincher was when he's revealed their material was recording in pro studios (incl. the same one where the last Page/Plant album was done). I can't fathom anyone buying this sort of stuff.
Okay, I confess. When spam hits the list I always go to check out the links to make sure it fits into some genre of EM (i.e. don't try to sell your rap or country albums here!). No offense Susan but whatever you are promoting I think it is only electronic in the barest of sense...but there sure is no music contained therein. It's definately the soundtrack of the new gameshow 'who wants to be a serial killer' though. Upon playing the disturbing Baby track my unsuspecting 2 year old daughter ran away in horror at the ominously dark sounds of a retarded 'baby' taking a bath. Of course be warned, there is plenty of added profanity and vulgar language on various tracks to further the philistinism of this band. Whitehouse - undoubtedly one of the worst forms of electronic creations I've ever heard. I'd rather listen to Berlin School in it's most infantile form for hours on end than this waste of electricity. I take back everything I said about any BEM related music... well... everything except the comments about the exclamation point. That's even worse than this music, heh.
Dan J. Schulte DJS: Progressive Electronic Music
Whatever it is that Whitehouse produces (that they choose to call "music"), it isn't music. Their track, "Daddo," is described as "a genre-defining epic...that spans almost operatic qualities in its scope." Spare us! Er, it *could be* generated (to a degree) with extremely effected, prepared electronics. It sounds like a wall of feedback processed to the point it reminds me of the white noise a TV produces when a cable channel goes off the air at 3am (but not even that pleasant). At 7 minutes into this track (I had to go this far to hear if anything else would emerge), sped-up distorted dialogue samples begin, e.g. "What did Mommy say?", "Let me go!", etc., and were continuing when I finally aborted the download at 10 minutes. "Tit Pulp" and "Movement 2000" are similar exhibitions of structure-free dreck, a continuous stream of white-noise infested sound. They all sound like they were recorded in a tin can. "Baby" is simply a recording of a child (and at times, someone else), splashing around in a bath tub, mumbling and crying. The description for "Baby" reads: "Simply one of the most disturbing pieces of music of all time." It wasn't disturbing, and it's not music, it's just a sound-sampling!
If this is 'electronic,' I sure cannot tell. Devoid of structure, any iota of qualities musical, and, IMO, sense. There are three members to this "band"? I can't imagine anyone buying this stuff (though, by gauging their MP3.com page, people are), let alone attending a live "performance" (I wonder what it is they exactly do stage). Perhaps this material sounds best in an altered state. Check, please.
I have experienced a lot of Noise or Experimental music - I have given it a chance, and I am also a fan of early futurism, but my main problems with it are:
1) Extremely pretentious.
2) very bad for your mental/physical health (the vibrations & sounds levels are anti-life in the fact that a lot of it upsets your energy system (kills plants etc.) (scientific proof of that exists) making you physical ill after prolonged listening. (You're acupuncturist wouldn't recommend it!) ;) In otherwords you are creating negative energy. The same goes for Thrash Metal and other kinds of this sort.
It is a form of self-masturbatory artform, it doesn't adress negative social issues, it just avoids them or adds to them. I find most artists in this field are taking mind-numbing drugs, or destructive on one hand, or are just plain trying to look down on people or show off in gross pomposity on the other.
In defense, my girlfriend likes this kind of music... :) In fact I can see some of the above CDs in my room right now. So don't think I am entirely against ya. :)
Simply because there are other avenues and subcultures to electronic music doesn't mean that any one is better than another. They're just different. Each has its adherents. They all come from the same place.
I agree but don't forget the pro-life/anti-life problems with sound. Sound has power, just ask the ancient Egyptians. You have to have responsibility with it. I have to tell you the whole reason I started our band was to create very pro-life positive vibration music or music that touched on social issues with positive criticism. In other words I want people to get a big buzz of positivity whacking into them. It is like therapy. And it works, I get many mails confirming that. So I keep doing it. Another reason I tell people to F**K copyrights! Because positive music has to spread. And not everyone can afford to buy CDs. (another topic entirely here)
It's recommended that it be heard at extremely high volumes -which, of course, would be done on speakers you don't care about too terribly much.
This is not recommended at all. I am sorry. And this statement represents a lot of experimental/noise genre. A lack of responsibility. I don't believe music should cause separation or be anti-unity. We don't need that now, we need unity more than ever, sad thing is, I am in the minority in that kind of thinking. If you give me choice between Cpt.Picard or the Sex Pistols you know which one I'll go for.
Well, we've found a common ground in this. I heard power in their material, alright....RAW power...uncultured, uncultivated power. Power that needs to be manipulated, shaped, arranged, channeled. A block of marble is immensely powerful, even for an inanimate object, but the sculptor shapes its power, directs, alters it to become a showpiece.
Bear in mind that I don't believe music is limited to verse-chorus-verse and 12-bar blues (I guess if we did, a lot of wouldn't like most electronic music!). I do think music (to my ears, anyway) is rhythmically, melodically and harmonically adherent. White noise is not music, but there are those who think it is. Music can by noisY, but noise cannot be music, because noise is usually shapeless, right? I listened to Whitehouse, and I gauged their output as a sort of 'antimusic,' since what they're doing (at least by listening to four tracks) was quite unmusical. Yet everyone's different, and it was obvious these guys had a fanbase (and I knew there had to be at least a few on this list).
I agree with you on the Howard Stern stance, it's the same thing I tell people (with regard to Howard, that is). Honestly? I kept listening to see if the "music" would change. You have to imagine the expression on my face while I was hearing this stuff, haha. Well, no, it didn't change, and I did abort one download, but I'd heard more than enough (I did listen to three other tracks in their entirety, incl. "Baby" after Dan told me about it).
Could not a home-based studio have yielded the same results? Disturbing to think that it was done in a legit recording facility...
Believe me, I know for their fans, Whitehouse's music must hold a *definite* aesthetic importance. But their "music" is seriously fringe-stuff, only for the extremely explorative and rebellious. I still don't see how anyone gets anything out of it.
Give me a break. My tastes are extremely eclectic (and Britney is very melodic musically despite the fact that I'd rather look at her than listen to her music). I even own some 'environment' releases. Like Mirai said, it's a much more positive experience than Whitehouse's grinding noise machine. That's what seperates the terms music and noise. I've never understood the arguement that if one doesn't like something that sounds like crap he's being small minded. That'd be like me telling you to go have sex with a guy or you are being small minded (unless you already are in which case I guess my point is moot). Yes, it is ridiculous, isn't it?
Next thing you're going to do is refute the entire english dictionary. This is the problem with so many people these days. They just want things to mean what they want instead of excepting the universal meaning. Is it because you want to be part of that profound race of listeners who are just so prolific the stuff you listen to, regardless of what it sounds like, can be considered music? There are basically two forms of sounds...music and noise. Yes there will always be that guy who thinks the noise (airplanes crashing, static, dung falling into an open toilet, etc) is music but then again there will also always be that guy who has to try to be different just to stand out. The word music was invented to distinguish melodic compositions over the sound of a cat hocking up a bird kidney. If noise was considered music we wouldn't even need the term music for anything. All sound bases would just be called noise.
Define "music"? Or the lack thereof?
Sigh, another person who still doesn't have a dictionary. Music: any rhythmic sequence of pleasing sounds (Webster's World Dictionary). Whitehouse doesn't even come close to creating pleasing sounds or even attempt to include any form of melody. When was the last time you saw a video of a retarded baby splashing in a bath tub on MTV or the Billboard charts? I know the point you are trying to make but give us a break. Would you consider farting in a sampler microphone music? I thought you would. I envy your cd collection, heh.
Okay.....Whitehouse! How's that?
Is "sound-sampling" invalid as music, electronic or otherwise?
When there is no form of pleasing melody, I think so. Congrats to Whitehouse for one thing though...they're the only band I currently know of that make current Tangerine Dream output look like a Mozart revolution.
Dan J. Schulte DJS:Progressive Electronic Music
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