An Ethereal Guitarist's Path

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Filling my head with creative ideas instead of...

practicing. I havent felt motivated to practice at all. Ive been doing a little more with theory, but more importantly exploring more music. Jazz in particular. Miles davis, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk are all amazing. Every other time ive tried to listen to jazz it felt like random notes and structures or lack there of. I didnt get it, i thought it was cool because i didnt hear it a lot, but i didnt understand anything of it. I was first introduced to a video of Miles Davis playing Bitches Brew. Since then, ive come to understand what i was hearing a little more. Today I took some cds out at the library. I took out one by Miles and popped it in my stereo. From this point on I have figured out what the problem was. Im finding with jazz especially the focus is not on the specific note. What i try to do is focus on the expression of the music. Thats what makes it interesting. Yea theres a melody of course, but how does the artist express that melody? That is what is important, that is what gives the music its own sound and emotion. I never was much of a fan of horns but after hearing Miles play, man I love trumpets. He plays the trumpet like a guitar. Thats how I looked at it. Jazz can many times be simple in terms of technical ability, and then it makes up for it in rhythm and ornamentation. Not only did I decide to listen to the way the music is expressed more, but also how the artist moves from one note to another (not necessarily consecutive).

Anyway this new insight is what I want to incorporate into death metal. I want to have it reflect jazz somewhat. Not in just playing all these weird chords and melodies/harmonies that youd expect from a modern band who claims theyre influenced by jazz. I would like to specifically concentrate on dynamics , space between notes, rhythms, improvisation, and how to express the musical melodies. Also i want less repition. These are what I want to incorporate but its not like im going to limit myself to these. I think the way to make death metal less stale and more interesting is to vary the elements used within the music. Specifically im talking about repition.

In death metal, as well as general metal a riff is a musical phrase that gets repeated. THe whole thing. May be sometimes there are alternate endings. Aside from that the whole thing is basically repeated with no variation. It is repeated between 2-8 times generally. That can be good, but what happens if its a boring riff? You have to sit through that boring riff over and over. I think it would be a good idea to take a little section or part, or melody or what have you, from the riff you are working on and repeat that so the listener remembers it, and feels that it is important. From there you vary everything else that was originally in the riff. I guess that would sort of be like a riff/variation kind of thing. In my opinion metal needs that consistency, so I dont want to make something that just sounds like a blur of notes without a common ground. I think i want to structure songs keeping that in mind. I want to bring "sections" into death metal as opposed to riffs.

Why am I choosing to do this with death metal and not just make jazz of my own or something else, why death metal? Well what I like about death metal that i do not see in any other genre is the intensity and energy. Its a constant flow through out the whole song. I often dont feel that in classical music, jazz, and any other genres. Its heavy. I want to create heavy/intense music that is very well thought out. Energetic music is the best because it moves me the most. If i can make music that is both moving and well thought out, then I have filled two gaps. Death metal isnt 100% stale, but if you look at it every band has the same sort of formula. Repeated riffs, no variation on expression, etc etc. Music to me is more than just playing with feeling. Its more than just listening to the melodies. Its everything in between. More than what you hear. Its what is physically there. What im trying to say is, Music is a reflection of how I feel with an intellectual process of expressing it. Meaning that it is a combination of feeling and choosing how to express that feeling by thinking and planning rather than just playing stuff and say "oh!" that sounds cool. Thus I am figuring out more and more what I want to achieve.

So back to the original topic of the thread. This is why i havent been practicing, I am not sure 100% where I want to take my music. I want to play fresh again instead of doing the same old routines. So im taking a bit of a break. Im afraid to take too long of a break for my skill level will definitely decrease, but i just need to clear my mind and stop being so biased of how i play.

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