CONTRIBUTORS’ GENRE ROULETTE: ROUND 2
It’s back! By popular demand, some of us contributors (current, former, and new) sat down to introduce ourselves to genres that people in general and we in particular tend to avoid, as recommended by you, the users. Here’s what we thought…
Recommended by cvlts
Assigned to neekafat
Before listening to your two songs, what’s your opinion of hardcore punk?
I mean, all that I really know about the genre is from the classic days of the Misfits and Minor Threat. I’m admittedly not super into those bands (I know, heresy), which is probably why I haven’t looked too deep into the modern equivalents. There’s something so simple about the musicianship to those bands that never quite got me interested (if I want aggression I’d probably just listen to thrash or something), but I’ve always respected the genre and try to keep an open mind.
Nails — “Endless Resistance”
Okay so I won’t lie, I know this band from my decade cram list last year (I jammed Unsilent Death), and I thought these guys were technically grind? This song is definitely not dissuading me from the fact that this is more metal than anything, but I’m kinda into this. The vocals have a weird nu-metal vibe to them and the pace is a bit more sluggish than I’m used to from hardcore. The guitars definitely kick ass but I gotta admit I wish that this song did a little bit more with its three minutes than it does here. Overall I somewhat enjoyed this, but it sounds nothing like the hardcore that I’m used to.
Gouge Away — “Only Friend”
Wow wow okay. Those vocals are quite something. This song certainly carries what I’d call a “punk energy” in that percussion and the frantic guitarwork. The energy and discordant sound throughout is far more exciting to me than a lot of older punk stuff, and it reminds me of the more creative and diverse sound of the Dead Kennedys. Maybe this is something I should explore further.
Will you seek out more hardcore punk? Why or why not?
While Nails didn’t sound much like what I’m used to from this kinda music (nor is it something I’m super interested in getting more acquainted with), I gotta say that Gouge Away track caught my interest. I’ll have to give that album a proper listen and see if that’ll finally turn me into a hardcore convert once and for all.
Recommended by Trifolium
Assigned to JohnnyoftheWell
Before listening to your two songs, what’s your opinion of minimal techno?
I’m generally on board with minimal techno; I’d given it a wary distance until my Tentenko marathon, but have been tending much closer to that kind of electronic music recently. It’s funny to be assigned techno because Trifolium and I have already sussed out that as far as this style goes, I prefer noise and glitch elements because I’m a neurotic savage, whereas he likes clean, crisp sounds because he’s a cultured gentleman. Anyhow, I’ve dipped my toes into various techno and already given Monolake some attention, so I guess consider me already interested but down to get further into it.
Monolake — “Reminiscence”
Love this. It takes all my favourite elements from Gravity – the Monolake album I checked – and runs away with them. That bass tone is impeccable and I love how the snare is just a tiny bit starved of reverb. I get why this was a good genre showcase; the track’s ebb and flow makes the most of minute alterations and really shows the minimalism off for its best. Just losing the snare at 6:39, say, feels like a huge moment although only one element has changed. Great stuff, smartly arranged and easily holds down a nine-minute minute runtime with a single bassline and minor permutations of the simplest drum patterns imaginable. What album is it from? Going to check this one next.
Minilogue — “In a Distance”
Ah, this is a nice counterpoint. Monolake always makes me feel claustrophobic; this has a lot more space and ease to it. The atmosphere feels expansive enough that the ‘minimal’ tag almost feels strange (though it’s obviously appropriate for the arrangement). This has more in common with the trip-hop/downtempo I used to jam several years back; the tones and ambience remind me of Laika, with the unobtrusive wah-wah guitars and skittery rhythms. Not that this is a comparison I’d otherwise make – just means I’m predisposed to dig it, I guess. It’s got that coldness I usually associate with techno but also a fair bit of vibrancy in it; the track feels quite mobile without losing that unhurried feel that the genre seems to demand. I’m a little less on board with the way it trails off at the end, but I’ll definitely aim to explore this artist/album more. Good stuff.
Will you seek out more minimal techno? Why or why not?
Yes! This was already a semi-active (though somewhat unrealised) objective for me, but I definitely feel keener about it now. Perhaps I wasn’t the best person to take this one, but I’m glad I got it. Going to get back onto my ambient/glitch and minimal techno journeys soon, I think – will aim to get these two albums down when I do!
Recommended by Calculating Infinity
Assigned to dmathias52
Before listening to your two songs, what’s your opinion of J-Pop?
I have roommates who enjoy anime, but have no knowledge of J-Pop outside of a couple of theme songs. I don’t actively seek out pop music often, but am a sucker for a good chorus. At the risk of sounding terribly American-centric, I’m also a huge lyrics person, so often don’t explore music that falls out of my limited understanding of language and most lyrics I enjoy definitely have an “Americana” nature to them (AKA I’m very basic and only speak English). Essentially what I’m trying to say is that I’m an ignorant American with no idea what to anticipate.
Koto — プラトニックプラネット
That is an insanely catchy chorus. It’s also incredibly clear how insulting it is to mention this in the same breath of air as Shawn Mendes, or any pop radio artist that I can think of. “プラトニックプラネット” is incredibly complex and layered, all while having a super interesting song structure to boot. It is likely the most upbeat song I have ever heard, which makes the slowed down portion at the beginning of the second verse really engaging. I also enjoyed the bridge, which I would best describe as the opposite of a bass drop. My inability to understand the lyrics didn’t matter to me, since this is the kind of song that is more made for dancing than deep thought. Again, that isn’t to discredit any deep topics that may be discussed in the song, as it’s my complete ignorance of language that’s at fault.
Oomori Seiko — みっくしゅじゅーちゅ
I absolutely love the pop-rock instrumental aspect, as opposed to the dance music stylings of “ラトニックプラネット.” Similar to the first song, there are a lot of complex layers. The lead guitar is particularly noteworthy, as the player seems incredibly skilled and is handed multiple solos throughout. There are also interesting orchestral sections, some unique percussion, and a lot of other welcome flourishes throughout, all topped off with a very engaging vocal line. Instrumentally, this is one of the best pop-rock songs I’ve ever heard. However (and I might get skewered for this), I absolutely cannot stand the voice of the lead singer. It’s playful and fun for sure, but the breathiness and whininess in it is pretty grating to me, especially on the high notes. I also am really curious about the lyrics for this one, but was struggling to find an English translation. So I would definitely appreciate help there!
Will you seek out more J-Pop? Why or why not?
Most likely not. The first song was definitely fun and something I can appreciate, but is entirely out of my comfort zone, at least with “プラトニックプラネット.” With artists like Oomori Seiko, it’s more complicated. The style is something I could definitely enjoy, but the voice really pushed me away from it. I think I would be open to the style with a different artist, I would just have to work on my own shortcomings of being overly attached to lyrics.
Recommended by garas
Assigned to Dewinged
Before listening to your two songs, what’s your opinion of dungeon synth?
Well, I’ve only heard the legends. Music made by lonely cell dwellers that can quote you a whole paragraph of Tolkien’s Silmarillion while having a conversation about literally anything, who also happen to have a windows 7 powered laptop covered in murk and smegma connected to a casio and an outdated version of Fruity Loops. Themes include staring at the wind until your nose hair forms a stalactite and seducing orc sorcerers at dawn. They have also logged an insane amount of hours in Morrowind.
Thangorodrim — Gwindor’s Rest
I told you they know everything about Tolkien, man, EVERYTHING. It starts nice, sounds like a videogame soundtrack, like a Sega Saturn RPG made in a gulag in Siberia. There’s a very cinematic cymbal played backwards, that always works when you want some epic in your synth soup. We go on the beat now, nice, ah no, it stopped, back to that left hand middle finger asleep on one key. It’s called dominant key you idiots, you think I didn’t know huh, I’m not a contributor because of my impressive mane, people, get a grip. Thankurudrim has summoned evil forces now, they speak in an unknown tongue, although I’d say it sounds close to a northeast elven dialect, I know of these things. Damn, this is a pretty long intro. I lost count of how many different types of synth textures are in use, I wonder when the drums are… ah no, it’s finished. Well this was very soothing and somewhat entrancing, the melodies were pleasant enough and it didn’t feel too long in spite of being an 11 minute track with nothing but… synths.
Depressive Silence — Depths of the Oceans
This is from 1996? Hell yeah brother, let those fools enjoy that stupid grunge and dance music. This track starts with a lot of white noise, that’s when you know shit is about to get real. A piercing violin’d synth stabs my left ear, which means I’ll have to listen to the rest with only the right one. This is pretty, I feel like… like… resting on a lakeshore watching the fireflies while my beloved one brushes our unicorn under the moonlight. I honestly thought this was gonna be harsh at some point, like wall-of-noise harsh, just judging by the cover, but this is like ambient music melting chiptune with a hot rod. Reminds me of Motoi Sakuraba at times (yes, the Dark Souls series OST composer). I can see there’s a slight difference with the previous track, but I can’t really pan out what it is. Nice track, all in all.
Will you seek out more dungeon synth? Why or why not?
Let me tell you what I would like to try. I would like to visit an abandoned dungeon, like a real one, while jamming stuff like this, and see how it goes from there. I can’t say I would seek more dungeon synth because that means I’d have to spelunk the dark side of the ethernet and I am pretty much a cyber-coward, but I’d take on a rec any given time, sure, especially if it’s composed in the northeast elven scale, I always loved that one.
Recommended by TVC15
Assigned to Nocte
Before listening to your two songs, what’s your opinion of Synthwave?
I’m honestly not too familiar with the genre – which probably explains why I keep getting these sorts of left field-but out the back genres in the Contrib Roulette feature. With that said I’ve always imagined Synthwave to be the doped up, “hidden under a cloud” cousin to dance’s more energetic, light-strobing arenas. I mean, we’ll just have to see where this goes.
Perturbator — “Future Club”
On “Future Club”’s first listen I can’t wonder if I’m being retrofitted into a 90s futuristic racing game. I mean, do any of you guys remember Dethkarz? With nothing other than the context of the track that’s given to me I can’t help notice the atmosphere that pulses through some really dominant phrasing. With that said, it’s insanely repetitive and I yearn for more dynamic changes aside from the synth led melodies. A track like this has its place in a highly cinematic setting, capturing mood and the atmospheres mentioned above – and little else.
Deadlife — “Digital Rain”
Despite the rather laid back nature of Deadlife’s “Digital Rain” it’s got a lot more going on for it when compared to my other designated track of this series. The addition of smooth vocal croons complement the twinkly nature of the ebb and flow found underneath it. Largely, “Digital Rain” breathes better by using minimalism adjacent to the track’s more slightly tenuous bearings. However, it’s difficult to prevent the boredom created by the song’s backbeat.
Will you seek out more Synthwave? Why or why not?
Chances are I won’t be deep diving into the genre anytime soon. I have trouble finding basic levels of engagement with the synth-led dominations that probably define the genre. It’s not that these two particular tracks are bad. Rather, they’re just not very interesting.
Recommended by Sinternet
Assigned to hesperus
Before listening to your two songs, what’s your opinion of trance?
I mentioned in the last round of Genre Roulette that I never really learned the difference between different subgenres of electronic music. That’s true of trance music as well, and while I can make some educated guesses as to what it might entail (I’m guessing long, intentionally repetitive songs intended to induce, well, a hypnotic trance), I don’t feel like I know enough to pass judgment before listening.
John O’Callaghan feat. Audrey Gallagher — “Big Sky (Original Mix)”
Based on this song, my prediction about what trance sounds like seems to be sort of true, as “Big Sky” is ten minutes long and rather repetitive, with a pretty hypnotic beat. But I wasn’t prepared for just how accessible it would sound. It has a conventional verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure (albeit spread over a longer runtime) and even uses a typical pop chord progression in the chorus. While I can definitely appreciate the appeal of the song’s poppier elements, I found myself wishing that the song was closer to my prediction. The song has a very cool beat and an engaging bass line that I wanted to just sink into, and the vocals and pop structure were a bit of a wet blanket on that desire.
Davey Asprey — “Fallout (Extended Mix)”
After listening to “Fallout,” I’m surmising that what makes trance music trance music has less to do with length or structure and more to do with instrumentation and beat composition. “Fallout” and “Big Sky” have quite similar beats and prominent ethereal synth lines. However, I feel like the leading line in “Fallout” is too loud and dynamic to actually induce a trance. Speaking of which, God, that leading line is annoying. It reminds me a lot of the songs that got big during the EDM boom of the mid-2010s, from the David Guettas and Calvin Harrises of the world, most of which had really in-your-face hooks that were probably trying to be commanding and uplifting but I just found obnoxious. “Fallout” irritates me in much the same way, its leading line taking up too much space to make room for the other elements of the song.
Will you seek out more trance? Why or why not?
Probably not. Both “Big Sky” and “Fallout” had intriguing and promising elements, but as a whole, neither of them gave me an experience I want to seek out again. Both of them just left me wanting something different, which isn’t a good sign for my introduction to an entire genre.
Recommended by 0GuyMan0
Assigned to SitarHero
Before listening to your two songs, what’s your opinion of post-metal?
I’m aware of the genre and have enjoyed some of what I’ve heard of it. For instance, I was addicted to Cloudkicker’s Fade for some months back when it came out in 2012 and Pangea (an Indian post-metal band in the style of Cloudkicker) back when they were sporadically putting music out. I also remember checking out ISIS’ Oceanic, but it didn’t make much of an impression and my interest in the genre waned after that.
Rosetta — “A Determinism of Morality”
I now remember why ISIS didn’t make an impression on me. I love everything about “A Determinism of Morality”…except for the vocals. I don’t have anything against harsh vocals, but the music is so lush and dynamic and colourful that the monotonous white noise of the vocals are a distraction. This will be an unpopular opinion, I’m sure, but the vocals just don’t seem to be in conversation with the song. The only place where the vocals truly work with the song are the final minute or so when the monstrous wave of textured guitars that has built up over the previous nine and a half minutes crests in a cathartic foam of metal riffs while the vocalist bellows “SCATTER!” The rest of the time, he just sounds like someone screaming for no apparent reason at the tides on a sunny day at the beach.
Cult of Luna — “Thirtyfour”
Again with the harsh vocals, but I won’t dwell on them as much. They work better for the more doomy vibe of “Thirtyfour”, and there is actually some gentle clean singing which works beautifully. I didn’t like the song much at first, but repeated listens revealed melodic detailing that made it worthwhile to replay. However, it just doesn’t have as much of the same visceral impact on me or the same kind of emotional catharsis as the Rosetta song, despite being arguably better constructed.
Will you seek out more post-metal? Why or why not?
As I’ve already said, my main issue with the songs is that the harsh vocals often fail to match the lushness and dynamism of the music. Maybe that’s the point—as it seems to be with blackgaze—and if that’s the case then it probably isn’t for me. However, I can definitely see myself digging deeper into instrumental post-metal bands or bands that change-up the vocal style as necessary.
Recommended by DoofDoof
Assigned to MiloRuggles
Before listening to your two songs, what’s your opinion of sophisti-pop?
I shouldn’t be surprised that a vague, shortened adjective in front of the word pop actually alludes to an entire subgenre. I guess the idea here is that if dance music can become ‘intelligent’ if it uses some gnarly, obtuse music theory, then pop music can become ‘sophisticated’ if it eschews maximalist tendencies for jazz chords and timbres that we can describe using words like subtle and refined. It’s definitely not a bad twist on a common theme, and Wikipedia tells me that my appreciation for early Everything but the Girl qualifies me as at least an entry level fan.
The Bathers — “Get Out of Life”
A little over-eager on the vocal panning straight out of the gates, this track sounds like one of those mid-album experiences that context helps to elevate rather than a brilliant standalone song. Either way, the arrangement manages to sound both careful and expansive with little to no lazy mimicry between a variety of instruments, and the vocal performance/lyrics paired with the oh-so-sophisticated painted album cover bring to light a kind of surreal darkness that exacerbates the rather aggressive track title here. Good stuff.
Blue Nile — “Let’s Go Out Tonight”
I don’t recall ever owning a three-piece suit and a fedora, and I don’t remember buying this pack of Benson & Hedges, but here I am all dressed up with no place to go and only one cigarette left, tears streaming down my face under fluorescent street lights, wondering just what the fuck I did to annoy my girlfriend this time. The vocalist’s performance here has a slow-burning, soul-crushing arc to it that makes revisiting the most important lyric of the song really sting- “What’s so wrong tonight?” I came here to flex my sophisticated-yet-accessible taste, goddammit. I didn’t expect to catch feelings.
Will you seek out more sophisti-pop? Why or why not?
That’s a yes from me, dawg. Even though I hate the genre title, I love the music. It feels as if the parameters that define the genre demand that the songwriter(s) be flexible and thoughtful in their approach. When it’s done right, its emotional power can be devastating.