Thursday, September 27, 2007

genre busting

a couple days ago i was hanging with some friends, when one of them mentioned that he'd seen me referenced in nuvo in the past couple weeks. while i do kinda-sorta pay attention to nuvo, i don't read it every week, so this was news to me, and i figured i should try to locate the article in question and see what it says.

i finally tracked it down, with the help of one of my myspace friends (thanks hissica!). for one thing, it wasn't in nuvo; it was in intake, which might tell you a thing or two about the strength of the intake brand, lo these three years the paper first hit the stands.

at any rate, as a tie-in to the oranje event that happened a couple weeks back, intake thought they would offer up "a guide to music, Indianapolis-style". a noble idea, perhaps, but considering the end result, perhaps they should've left well enough alone.

i'm listed as a local example of electronic music. or at least, someone called "Stalio" is listed. now, i know my name breaks various conventions of spelling and punctuation. the currently correct spelling, for the record is stAllio!—small s, big A, exclamation point at the end. but i know most people will get that wrong, so i'm not bothered when someone uppercases the S or forgets to add that bang at the end. i imagine The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band probably feels similarly to being misattributed as "Rev. Peyton and his Big Damn Band". but "Stalio"? they don't even get the right number of L's. that's just sloppy. it's the word "stallion" with no N at the end. how hard is that?

even worse, the article also manages to misspell the names of two national bands: "Siouxie and the Banshees" and "The Locusts". (the correct names are of course "Siouxsie and the Banshees" and "The Locust".)

so anyway, electronic music is defined thusly:


Music that is either totally or mostly performed on electronic instruments -- sometimes even horribly mangled electronic devices (that leads into a subgenre called "circuit bending").

so somebody at intake remembered that nuvo had written that circuit bending article back in june, and felt obligated to include it. therefore, "Stalio" is listed as a electronic artist who does circuit bending. that puts me (or Stalio) in the same field as depeche mode. of course, that piece was much more about baconhanger than it was about me. but let's move on.

personally, i would be more likely to classify myself as "experimental" than "electronic", but i wasn't listed there. this is how intake defines experimental music:


Any music that does not have a large enough number of artists or acts with enough commonality to form a cohesive, easily identifiable group, White said.

possibly the worst definition of experimental i've ever seen. "experimental" apparently equals "obscure". examples such as lee "scratch" perry are given, because there is no other term to define the wacky, crazy music of artists like lee "scratch" perry.

i'm also not listed as noise. you have to check the sidebar for intake's definition of noise: "When your music makes less sense than the sounds put out by the vacuum cleaner. Just kidding, but this stuff is pretty unorthodox in structure and output." if you didn't know what noise was before reading this, did it help? anyway, this is where "The Locusts" come in; they are the only example given. (tip: if you think the locust are noise, you probably don't listen to real noise.)

you might think i'm grumbling just because intake got the facts wrong regarding my obscure little styles of music that nobody really listens to. but i'm not! check out these other oh-so-helpful definitions:

christian music—'Any music with Christian religious overtones.' thanks, intake!

classical music—'Think Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. Anything that has violins gets tossed in there.' so The Devil Went Down to Georgia is classical music. got it.

folk music—'Music that kind of derived from acoustic stuff'. it goes on from there for another sentence, but i think you'll agree that all you really need to know is that it "kind of derived" from "acoustic stuff".

goth music—'"It's kind of based off alternative rock and punk stuff," Williams said. "It got its origins from Siouxie and the Banshees -- it has a darker outlook and feel to it."' again with the kind of stuff! is this really worthy of a direct quote? maybe we could, you know, kind of, like, reword it, or something? incidentally, i've met ryan "sweaty b" williams, who's being quoted here, and i imagine that he knows how to spell "Siouxsie", though i could be wrong.

r&b music—'Classic R&B is rhythm and blues. Modern R&B can refer to anything from Rhianna to R. Kelly.' so modern r&b is not rhythm and blues, and can range anything from the r&b side of pop music to the pop side of r&b music.

and finally, here's one of my favorites:

twee pop—'Sweet, innocent pop music written by, well, twee rockers.' the words 'twee' and 'twee rocker' are not defined.

all in all, while i'm flattered to be name-dropped at all, it would've been nice if some proper editing had been done. this thing was most likely edited to oblivion so that only the errors remained. and if anyone reads it and tries to look up "Stalio" on google, they won't find anything (unless they happen to find this blog post), so even though too much editing was done, clearly not enough was done, either.


dj empirical said...

jeez, were these descriptions written by Ishkur?

Wilson46201 said...

As someone who was teaching on Moog Synthesizer Serial #3 forty years ago I was amused by those newfangled mangled musicological definitions ...

Kelly said...

Glad I'm not the only one who thought that piece was horrendous.