expanding the norm


The internet did something particularly revolutionary for music. I'm not talking about digital distribution or viral network marketing. I'm talking about domesticating the international scene. World music, ethnic music, international dance music, or as I'll more generally call it non-American-radio music, would not have reached the breadth of listeners it now maintains had it not been for the internet allowing us to bridge a connection across the hemisphere.

If you've taken a communications or sociology class (or lived more than 16 years of life) you know that being exposed to a concept usually precludes it becoming a choice in your decisions. If you're not in the 3% of population who are completely free thinkers and innovators, you're most likely a consumer of ideas. You model and accept the trends you're exposed to on TV, print, and radio. I'm not saying this is bad, just very narrow.

While the internet helps us be less narrow, it hardly opens the door to a radical change in interest unless you seek out that stimuli. Regardless of all the diversity that's out there, we tend to follow a browsing pattern that keeps us on the same road, finding us astray only every once in a while. To put this idea into a concrete example about music, I dare you to think of all the times you deliberately sat down in front of the interweb and sought out a new style of music you've never heard, because you could! Because the internet, unlike times 25 years ago, makes this possible!

I bet it probably never happened. You most likely heard a new genre of music on a TV program or magazine review and looked it up on myspace because you thought it was cool. Again, not bad, but narrow, especially since we regard that artist as a special case and return to our regular fixes thereafter.

Today I challenged myself to seek out and become more informed about a style of music I knew little about. Psy and goa music, for me, is a genre I'll listen to a couple times a month in passing, the same 8-10 artists who I can barely remember the names of. I do enjoy the genre, but I admit it feels overwhelming for me. Maybe it's the faster BPM, the zingers that never let up, or the intense hallucinogenic state of the mind the music lends itself to, but I can't listen to it day in, day out without worrying I'm going to turn into some sociopathic mess.

I googled "full on psytrance artists" because I know that if there's any hope for me growing into this genre it's going to be through the harder-trance influenced full-on. I came across a DI.FM forum thread about describing full-on music. I must say, it was a beautiful meeting of nerdy musical minds who share the same feelings about underground music as I do, but to a slightly more bitter degree about American-radio. I'll quote the best parts.
I would have gotten into goa trance like ten years ago, the only problem was no one ever bothered to ****ing tell me about it, damn this American radio and its shitty music. Its like MTV and the government didn't want me to find out about this music. When I go somewhere and I'm forced to listen to the local radio and they play rap/altrock/emo ... I actually feel dumber and depressed even if the song is upbeat. However when I first came here three years ago and discovered goa/psy I felt like a mole who just discovered the surface while the majority of civilization was still underground. I found my home, my nirvana, my Elysium fields. I found a music that was right for me. For the first time in years I felt happy and mentally stimulated. --Bubble Wrap

Yeah, unless by chance you come across this music, most people would have never known such music existed. But I wouldn't restrict this feeling for just goa - try classic trance, acid trance, and progressive/techno, its just as mind blowing too. Hell, I even listen to movie soundtracks as well! I listen to any music that makes you feel like you're in another mysterious world - and for this to happen, it must sound organic, natural - not computerized and mechanical - and this is why I think goa beats most psy. --xruntime
For me becoming interested in a new style of music is a gift. Even if it means giving up a bit more mastery and specialization in the other genres I love, it means that I can appreciate music in many more avenues instead of waiting for the same old bands or sound-alikes to reinvent the same, tired elements. This ultimately gives me a lot more choice and empowerment about the music I listen to, not because it's not the radio (you're missing the point), but because I know what else exists out there and can respect the artists that strive for the non-trivial even more.

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Meet the Author

Hi, I am Julie.
Sometimes Jules Juke.
This is where I ramble, reflect, and refocus.