Rip It Up And… Don’t Start Again: How music is just a Universal Noise.

I’ve not written a blog for a while now, so I figured that with these few days off work, becasue of the snow and whatnot, I’d knock off a quick one about a couple of my favourite musical bugbears. And here they are:

1. Music that I don’t like is ‘just a noise’.


2. Music is a ‘universal language’.

Argh! Continue reading


The Death Of Progressive Rock: Addendum

Following my post 1979: The Death Of Progressive Rock & The Jazz/Folk/Acoustic Amalgam, I began to think more about what I’d written. Was I being too hard on the Prog scene by saying it was virtually dead in 1979? Surely there was some life in it yet? But then I thought, what does the sentimental side of me say about this? It said ‘no, you were not’. And my logical side, of course, agreed. Continue reading

Weighing Up The Scales: Does Your Left-hand Know What The Right-hand Is Doing?

So, a while back, I was teaching a bit of compositional theory (as you do) and I asked the students a seemingly outrageous question: “What is the purpose of the harmonic minor scale? Why is there a raised 7th in there?”

Blank looks.

But I was not deterred and thought I’d push them even further… “OK, what about the melodic minor scale? A raised 7th AND a raised 6th.”

Silence. Continue reading

The Police As Pioneers: Did They De-Do-Do-Do It For You?

The Police, back in the day, were my favourite pop band. I first heard them in early 1979 on the radio station Q107, Toronto – playing ‘Roxanne’ live at the El Mocambo. As a 14 year old raised on a musical diet of Kiss and Aerosmith, The Police were revelatory. Of course, they were part of the ‘New Wave’ of UK music, making itself present in Canada and the USA in the late 70s, that included Elvis Costello, The Records, Gary Numan etc. and coincided somewhat with American ‘skinny tie’ bands like Cheap Trick, The Knack and The Cars, whom I loved as well. Continue reading

Hip-Hop: The ‘Instinctive Travels’ Of A White, Middle-Aged, European Male

OK, so I admit it, hip-hop passed me by in the late 80s and early 90s. I was much more concerned with contemporary classical music, rock and jazz. I mean, I had De La Soul’s Three Feet High And Rising and have long had Gil-Scott Heron’s Moving Target and Reflections LPs on the player for years, but I’ve never really known my MCs from my DJs, let alone my Run-DMCs from my EPMDs. Continue reading