Doomed information

While listening to Subconscious Dissolution into the Continuum by Esoteric, it occurred to me the musical information in their productions can be found from a different place than usually is the case. This is probably quite obvious to scholars of musical theory, but anyway, I try to explain my perceptions.

Esoteric plays very low speed doom metal with low growling vocals. The music changes rather slowly. The songs last usually 15 minutes. There are samples available at their discography page, which ought to give better concept of their music than any words can describe.

Their music is based on building up different structures than actual melodies. At most parts, I think, it would be irrelevant what exact note the guitar plays, itself or in respect to the previous ot following beats or notes. Rather, musical experience (the perception of organized sound, the information which the human brain processes and finds structures from) manifests mostly from longer units, most notably rhytmical arrangements - in stead of the melody, which usually is the main information carrier.

I reckon that a passage of about 30 seconds is equivalent to a few measures in a pop song. Of course, there is the informational level of the combination of singular notes, but these are quite random and carry scarcely any data. The real information can be found in the level of verses, concealed in the different rhythms of guitar riffs, timing of the growls etc. The whole band is like a rhythmical instrument, but way more complex than just a set of drums.

It requires a longer attention span (and experience with the soundscape of the doom metal genre, lest it is likely intolerable) than the usual pop song. But I'm pretty sure that from the point of view of the human mind, it's exactly the same effect. But did the composers design all this when composing or is it just a coincidence?

The deployment of information onto a different level is scarcely anything new. For example, many classical pieces of music carry the information in both of these levels (and in plenty of others, for example, and quite likely most notably the fugues of Bach). It's quite unusual in modern rock-based music, though.

Categories: Information, Music
Posted by Matias at 05.09.2004 18.41 (13 years ago) | 501 comments


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