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Is this the end of art as we know it? (Page 1 of 2)
(c) 2003 Myles Wakeham

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Do you know just how close to killing off art we are?

Well damn close, if you ask me. Today I came face to face with some software that aids the songwriter in the construction of a song. On the surface, it sounds intriguing. Then I got to thinking. I don't think this is good for all of us at all. This particular product, which shall remain nameless at this point, works mainly in the provision of rhyming and constructing of phrases for songs. Its new and its likely to become well known, but I don't agree with its point.

OK, these are my personal opinions. But with that said, and with the luxury of a platform to say it, I will. You can agree or disagree, but at least give this some thought….

I was a child in the 60s. What is surprising to me, and I'm sure surprising to others is how artists and bands who came out of the 60s seem to have staying power beyond their years. I'm listening to a Blue Oyster Cult CD that was recorded live in Chicago in 2002 at the moment. For those that don't know, this is a band that got their start in the 70s, and became a bit of a classic in the 'heavy metal years' of the 70s. The lead singer, Eric Bloom, who I very much admire, is 58 years old now. But he and the band are still around. Why is this? And why is it that other bands of their era still are able to fill stadiums?

The answer is probably associated with why I'm finding it harder and harder to find new artists who are contributing to the greater good of music as an art form today, and feel somewhat 'forced' to return to the older decades when everything was new and innovative? Don't get me wrong here…. I have found many new artists today that are fantastic and that I listen to regularly, but its harder and harder to find them. Why?

Well I have a theory. Its all about technology. The problem is that we have just gone through about 20 years of computer evolution that has hit the artist in a way that enables them, for less money and with less time required, to produce music. Music often dominated by the technology that was used in its making. Sometimes this works just great. I mean the advent of the electronic synthesizer is a miracle in modern music. Even the advent of the sampler (and I'm a big fan of samplers by the way) has allowed us to understand more about sound and make it an instrument to be played. But is this important for the songwriter, or the originator of the song that we are going to hear?

I think what is happening is that we lose sight of what is really contagious in music because of technology? I'm talking about humanity. The reason why a great song works is because it touches us. Often as humans we need to be kicked around the side of the head with a song to remind us just how difficult it is to be human, and just have painful the process is. These are the things that we can all embrace together. Artists that penned lyrics that ripped out your heart or turned you into a depressed lump of a person, or even those that inspired us to greater heights through both the human emotion of sound and the human emotion of lyric are true artists.



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