In the kitchen: Genre-frying

The following piece, if it even turns out to be coherent at all, is an attempt to transcribe a lighthearted theory that popped into my head over the weekend. The theory is an expansion on my constant food-to-music references and made sense to me, at least at the time. Also I would like to clarify that the intention of writing this is not to belittle any one genre, or say that certain genres can be only be appreciated as parts of a greater whole. Obviously this is hugely subjective, as all music is, and should be taken as an abstract theory by a nutjob on the internet, nothing more.

The album that inspired this careening train of thought was Old Man Gloom’s latest, “NO”. It’s a blistering combination of noise and sludge metal, vile low-end riffs and guttural maelstroms of distortion and noise. This hybridization of so many different elements is what led me to consider the following; What if you consider genres as the ingredients of a meal, with the final product being more than the sum of its musical (genre) combinations?

Specifically, it was during the opening assault of “Common Species” where I first thunk this thought. The track contrasts a bellowing but straightforward sludge “chorus” against several various noise “verses”. This led to me mentioning to my girlfriend that I don’t enjoy noise as a genre on its own but it makes other genres sound super fucking cool. Just the same as a bottle of hot sauce can make a meal pretty fucking spectacular but you wouldn’t exactly want to go chugging the whole thing would you?

So how would this actually work outside of comparing noise to hot sauce? Well, I started to consider the “main” genres of music; rock, metal, country, rap, classical, jazz, etc. as the “main” courses, be that meat, potatoes, a base soup, rice, noodles or any of the other boring shit that fills your stomach but does nothing much to tickle your taste buds. Next I thought about all the weird, crazy or obtuse genres that populate modern music now; noise, grind, prog, space, dub, funk, avant-garde, gothic, occult, the list just goes on. These are your spices or ingredients which may be small in quantity but bountiful in flavor. On their own they would be far too overpowering for your pallet, melting through your tongue like grindcore does your brain.

But! When you combine these powerful spices with the meat and potatoes from the main course, you (usually) end up with a damn fine meal. All the physical or musical flavors are picked to complement each other and make the whole thing greater than the sum of parts could have ever been.

Sure, a nice expensive cut of rock might taste pretty good on its own, but thrown some garlic, salt and pepper – er – stoner, prog and thrash, in there and then watch it really sizzle. It can anything from the spices or the side dish that makes the main course shine and knowing how to properly implement these seasonings is vital to making a good final product. Just because blackened-stoner-thrash-grind sounds like a good idea doesn’t mean it will turn out to be one unless the cook knows what they’re doing.

So yeah. That’s my idea in a nutshell (preferably pistachio). I’m not going to babble anymore mainly because I think I got my point across but also because now I’m pretty damn hungry. Of course I wouldn’t leave a post without any music, so here’s the Old Man Gloom track that got this whole thing started.


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