What is it called, this music that I like?
September 16, 2014 5:58 AM   Subscribe

I've collected a small amount of music lately that I enjoy very much, but I'm at a loss how to categorize it and find similar music. I've found every label from "classically inspired textural post-rock", through "jazz fusion" to "contemporary classical" slapped on it. Can anyone help me put a finger on what these songs have in common?

Here we go (a mix of YouTube and Spotify links):

Coat-Hanger Kisses by Roger Doyle, a lovely piece, but I don't much care for his other work.
Baleen Morning by Balmorhea, who have other, similar music that I'm currently investigating.
Code 32, Goggle 2 and ludixio from Harmonia meets Zappa, even though it appears to be compositions by Roger Eno?
Son of Mr. Green Genes by Frank Zappa.
And Harmonia Ensemble's treatment of Zappa's Waka / Jawaka.
And Gotan Project playing Zappa's Chunga's Revenge.
posted by Harald74 to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
They all blend Western classical music (esp. post-~1900, when non-Western and vernacular music, ambient noise, and mechanically-produced sounds began to widely influence its composition and performance - Zappa, for example, was famously inspired by Edgard Varèse's "Ionisation") with elements of folk and rock.

There's no genre pigeonhole or convenient term for this kind of music, though, because its creators come from multiple traditions, may or may not be inclined to identify with one and its various subgenre terminologies over others, and many actively resist labeling or categorization to begin with. Classical, jazz, rock, and folk all started fraying at the edges decades ago, and there is so much happening in between the traditionalists now that, with any one, it's often a lot of work to find and stay on top of.

It may be helpful to spend some time listening to some of more adventurous, open-minded classical / new music radio shows - I regularly hear new, interesting stuff, for example, on RadioOM and UbuWeb Radio.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:07 AM on September 16, 2014

The Son of Mr. Green Genes link makes me think of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and I always figure that they are what people are talking about when they talk about "prog rock."
posted by sparklemotion at 7:58 AM on September 16, 2014

Professional musician here. I'd caution you that you're not going to get far trying to label/categorize your taste as a result of this bundle. As someone who plays a LOT of different styles with myriad different groups, I can tell you that you're picking/choosing way more than you suspect you are. You can't be "typed". Your tastes are eclectic, esoteric, non-mainstream. And that's a good thing!

I'd suggest you listen even more widely; this isn't the time to narrow in further, or to draw boundaries around what you like/dislike. Paradoxically, listening widely can be more subtractive than you'd suspect, because it means ignoring even more defiantly music pushed at you by mainstream sources. Let your tendrils grow far and wide, and let your sensitivities guide you. Find the sweet spot between 1. hastily rejecting everything that doesn't immediately appeal, and 2. listlessly failing to survey the vast swathes of possibilities. And thank goodness there's an Internet! Use it to drill far and wide!

I'd resist the compulsion to "bundle" your taste. It may turn out that you also love Jakarta street music, Albanian choral music, the earlier work of Stan Getz, and Hanna Barbera cartoon themes (which, btw, truly are awesome...listen to "Top Cat" and "Underdog" for starters!). You needn't find a common denominator, just let everything ring your bell in a different way; perhaps even let yourself be a slightly different person as you listen to each. Let music unsolidify you in various ways!
posted by Quisp Lover at 10:25 AM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm gonna guess you'll really like the Penguin Cafe Orchestra.
posted by escabeche at 11:12 AM on September 16, 2014

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