Monday, March 17, 2014

LEVEL 9 ("Golf Games and women's underwear" aka. "Elevator Music")

I just re-listened to episode 54 “Elevator Music 2” which begins with the guys telling us that user Gabe Castro (?) had sent over a copy of Earthbound (“hardcore nice move”) and which is obviously brilliant since it deals with one of Brent’s favorite topics. While listening, I had two ideas:

First, totally add Gabe’s podcast to this page’s blogroll and ask Gabe if he wants to join us in the quest for bringing back / worshipping the LMH.

Second, discuss how use of the term “elevatory” indicates the podcasts ingenuity.

The first task is already done so here is what I have to say about the use of the term elevatory: The LMH hosts are unbiased and do not succumb to mainstream attitudes towards muzak – which unfortunately is generally associated with having “simple melodies” (see the Wikipedia article on ‘elevator music’) or being “simplistic, crude, and lacking in artistic merit” (see ‘muzak’ in urban dictionary). Though I perfectly know that the sources quoted above are not reputable according to academic standards, they both demonstrate some sort of popular belief. And that is that ‘elevator music is bad music’ (whatever ‘bad’ is supposed to mean). Still Rob and Brent explore this genre to the max by admitting affection for the specific musical quality of the tracks in question. They open the listener's ear to material which otherwise would have not been heard due to prejudices and quick judgments. Brent even uses the term ‘elevatory’ as a label for cues which are particularly noteworthy and of distinguished quality. Being elevatory makes a song special and definitely makes it good. More than once Brent mentions that music being elevatory is a good thing. Several of the show’s episodes deal with this specific topic and the label is used in many of the other episodes to depict music which according to the hosts is particularly good.

So the show dos not just praise music which is generated by 8- and 16-bit synthesizer chips without the use of any “real instruments” or “live performances” (attributes which for most self-appointed music experts are imperative to make ‘good’ music), it even worships a musical genre which is widely regarded as being bad, boring or at least simplistic. Still the hosts manage to discuss the tracks at length, give musically sound explanations of their compositional structures and (at least in my case) make the listener appreciate their specific musical quality.

I cannot think of any popular radio station which even tries to analyze the latest Beyonce or Eminem product as thoroughly and still manages to be entertaining while doing it. The LMH-podcast and especially the episodes dealing with “Elevator Music” make an effort to properly explore with impressive theoretical insight the roots of great music by thoroughly examining how it is made.

So besides the fact that “elevatory” is a must have in a list of great LMH one-liners (and possibly worth a shirt design) it can also be used to ask you, fellow users, for your opinion about the elevator genre. Do you like it? Did being introduced to the notion that muzak can be a good thing change the way you ride elevators, wait for phone operators or stroll along shopping mall alleys? State your opinion in the comments section and honor Brent’s favorite musical genre by upping the Google hits for the term “elevatory” in a musical context.

Thanks, Markus

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