I always have to stop myself when I say I like “all kinds of music”. Because, honestly, that just isn’t true, there is really only one kind of music I like. No, not [just] Black Metal, I’m talking about music in a minor key. I mean, I’m a pretty happy guy, but there is something about sad, sad songs that just does it for me. I don’t dislike Vivaldi’s “Spring” and “Fall”, but I far prefer “Summer” and “Winter” (guess which seasons he writes in a minor key). “Satisfaction” is a fine song, but I’d rather listen to “Paint it Black” any day…you get the idea. Basically, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that sting [of soul crushing sorrow and sadness].
This month on Minor Key Monday I’ll take a look at one of those electronica bands I like because of the melodies not the beats:
Autechre has been around since the late 80s but did not release their first official album until 1993’s Icunabula (from which today’s track is taken). In their early days they were lumped in with the pretentiously named “Intelligent Dance Music” (IDM) genre, though as their career has gone on, they grew more and more experimental. It is their early more melodic (and straight ahead) albums that I have always especially loved however. Icunabula, Amber and Tri Repetae (along with various EPs and miscellanea) are real masterpieces of ambient electronica, full of cold, hauntingly beautiful melodies over sparse beats.
Today’s song is one of the ones that prompted last week’s “My greatest fear is that I will someday unknowingly let a major key song slip in there” Postsecret. I mean, I’m putting my rep (and ability to pluck out the melody on my guitar) on the line here and saying it’s a minor key song, but “Bike” is just so laid back. It’s not upbeat exactly, but it is a far cry from some of the most sorrowfully epic things I listen to. Yet, there is still a hint of futuristicly epic melancholy to the song. Most electronica that I like (which, I doubt I have to point out at this point that I only listen to minor key electronica) has that futuristicly epic quality to it.
Today’s song sounds like something you’d listen to in the a futuristic dystopia during the golden hour in your anonymous apartment on the side of a giant steel skyscraper in that city from Bladerunner while you reflect on all that has been lost from the world. And yet the sun is weakly shining through a hole in the ever present clouds and the electric birds you saved up for are chirping and whirring at the window and you realize things aren’t all that bad after all. That’s a small part of what I mean when I say futuristically epic, a quality I feel “Bike” (and Bladerunner …and, if you really must know, that movie Hackers too) captures quite well.
I could go into my predilection for other forms of futuristically epic electronica (like “Epic Gay Eurotrance”™) right now, but I’m not quite ready to admit that I once went to see Paul Oakenfold in concert, let alone discuss one of the cheesiest forms of music I listen to on Minor Key Monday. We’ll stick with Autechre; it’s futuristically epic and only a little cheesy!