Cultural Insider Vs. Cultural Outsider

Since its release in 2008, New Age/electronic  group Enigma’s, Seven Lives Many Faces has been an album of personal comfort. The very first time I heard the artistry within “The Same Parents”, I noticed a sense of primordial awareness stirring in my soul. Through the lyrics, I felt in-tune with the message and intention of the song. Through my own inner sense of being, I feel that everyone and everything is naturally interwoven through the same breath of life. As a human, I feel I have a lot of responsibility to treat the planet [and it’s respective inhabitants] with great reverence.

For centuries upon end, humans have fought one-another in order to have their tribes and villages come out on-top biologically. There are plenty of differing causes for people not having the conscientious ability to peacefully coincide with one-another. Perhaps they were neighboring villages, or two civilizations so racially similar, it was threatening, or unclear who was ‘right’ and who was ‘wrong’ in their respective belief systems.

Romanian-German musician and producer, Michael Cretu, spreads an important message still very much needed in today’s day in age. Cultural genocides, racial obliteration, and massive destruction through war has slaughtered more than just human-beings…and in the end, for what?

The human ego seeks control.

Instrumentally, the piece fades in with a plucked (pizzicato) guitar melody line. A child speaks with (what in my opinion) sounds both sad and aware, “In the beginning, We all had the same parents, Many million years ago, Why can’t we live in freedom? Without hunger, with no war.”

A violin saturated with reverb holds the base-line, while a series of strings gracefully plays on-top, assisting in compositional development.

When the percussion comes in, the beat is seemingly very simple, though many various samples and drum-elements are used along side the young singer to create a rather enchanted sound…it almost begs people to think outside themselves for the 3:32 it plays.

At the beginning we all had one mother and one father. That’s where we’re descending from. Attention, I don’t, I don’t understand, Why so much hate? Attention Between races and religions. It’s mad, insane, I don’t understand. Amazing, Why it has to be like that? Incredible experience. We all had the same parents, Many million years ago. Why can’t we live in freedom?Without hunger, with no war. Attention, I don’t, I don’t understand, Why so much hate? Amazing, Between races and religions, Incredible experience, etc.”

…..Now on the flip side, I must present a piece of music (or style) that makes me extremely uncomfortable for whatever reason, be it musical or the message it stands for. I can appreciate the skill one must acquire to snort like a pig and scream like a banshee- but I just don’t find this “sub-genre” of metal appealing to listen to for more than a couple seconds at a time. This is simply because it fatigues my ears and is often-times very shrill, over-compressed, and rather deafening.

There is so much going on at once: the guitars are intentionally out-of-tune, and the music is arranged in an unexpected, uncomfortable manner. Instrumentally there’s very little headroom in the mix, giving it next to no space to breathe. I can respect the skill it takes for double-kick bass drum pedal techniques, and having 16th notes, grouped in two, spread across two feet. This is a genre that takes an insane amount of practice and skill to withstand its blood-thirsty fans.

While I can’t directly understand the lyrics, the artist inaudibly screams “Your eyes silently scream astonishing grief. The satisfaction I devour is not retribution. Your sorrow’s my devotion. I’ll be rewarded with your degradation. Nourished by bitter passions, My hunger for human deprivation will be quenched. No retribution. Your sorrow’s my devotion.”

Now that I just decided to slit my wrists, let’s all hold hands and dance around a rainbow! Maybe this is just my own form of ethnocentrism, as I’m just not in a death-metal state of mind.

**SOURCES

“Furtive Monologue Lyrics – Despised Icon.” FURTIVE MONOLOGUE LYRICS. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2014. <http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Furtive-Monologue-lyrics-Despised-Icon/D87D02695F27CE43482572CA000BC229>.

“Enigma Seven Lives, Many Faces.” Enigma. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2014. <http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/27739/Enigma-Seven-Lives,-Many-Faces/>.

“A Metal State of Mind.” A Metal State of Mind. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2014. <http://ametalstateofmind.com/tag/pig-metal/>.

“Michael Cretu.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Jan. 2014. Web. 27 Jan. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Cretu>.

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3 comments

  1. I think you did a fine job contrasting these two styles of music. I think both songs have a lot to say and do so in ways that are very different from one another.

    1. Hey thanks for reading, Eric. Definitely appreciate your input! They are for sure very contrasting styles, with very contrasting messages! I don’t NOT like metal. I must say that since I’ve been at the Art Institute, I’ve grown to quite enjoy the post-grunge, thrasher head slamming stuff… probably because I’ve finally been exposed to it! The Seattle music industry has a HUGE abundance of this kind of music so it only makes sense to grow to understand, appreciate… and record it (LOLZ to my Multitrack #1)

  2. Rachel,
    Nice post. You do a great job describing your connection to the first piece. I like that you touch on musical elements as well as the overall ethos of the piece and how it fits with your personal cosmology. As for the metal! Yes, other end of the spectrum. Be careful of stating that the guitars are “intentionally” out of tune, unless you did research to verify this fact, and if you did, then it would be good to cite that research. Otherwise, you have the danger of being written off for making generalizations. I also think it’s interesting to ask, who does connect with this music, and why? What elements can you see as attractive, perhaps not for yourself, but for someone else? Nice work. PK

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