Genre: Electronic / Pop
License: CC BY-SA
Label: Better With Music
I’ve been trying to listen to Jahzzar: Kuddelmuddel for several weeks now. And, in fact, the only way I have been able to listen to it is while driving to work in the morning. That’s not an aspersion on the work itself, it’s just a statement about how this kind of work does or doesn’t fit into my listening habbits.
So this release is a bit different from most of the music that I write about. Why? ‘Better With Music’ has a specific purpose: to be used for multimedia projects. In fact, one of the places that I have heard Jahzzar before was as part of the suondtrack for “Obey This Film” a short documentary about artist Shepard Fairey who is best known for his Hope poster for President Obama.
I’ve generally stayed away from music that has a specific intent, such as Kuddelmuddel before. Why? Well, first there are several sites on the Internet that are dedicated to producing music for just this purpose, and they tend to not have specific releases. You just license the work that you want to use in a project, and that’s all.
The second reason is the songs themselves don’t tend to have what I consider to be a typical song structure. Most of these types of songs have a tendency to build to a point, and maybe have a bridge, but then they kind of just go on until they fade out. There frequently isn’t a point of resolution, or a feeling that the song is building to a peak of some kind.
Which makes sense really. Music that is used as part of a soundtrack will tend to be used in the background to set the mood, or help define the mood for the visual elements of the piece. Music in this setting shouldn’t compete with the narrative and visual aspects of the film.
But what remains a point of frustration for me is that really on their own, the music needs to be more than just a semi-flat tune with a rhythm and harmony track. If you think about the movie soundtracks that you’ve listened to over the years, they generally haven’t just been a simple set of musical queues. They have been whole songs that evoke memories of the film that you watched.
In fact, there are even times when the composers of music sound tracks have gone back and taken the queues and written full compositions to be recorded and used for the sound tracks to make a listening experience for the audience. But that’s not what is happening with this music. It’s more generic, kind of a one-size-fits-all approach which definitely does work for artists that don’t have a large budget for hiring a composer to write a sound track for their film, video, or presentation.
Of course, this isn’t to say I don’t like any of the songs on this release. “Invisible” stuck in my mind for quick some time, with it’s staccato melody, and rolling guitar lines. And, “L&H” somehow reminds me of something from the move Local Hero even though I know it doesn’t bear any resemblance to that work.
So this really isn’t the kind of work that I find myself wanting to listen to. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just that it’s designed to be used in a different context, and doesn’t really hold up all that well to repeated listenings when it isn’t part of a soundtrack. There are tracks that I do like, like “Invisible”, but even the tracks that I do like aren’t really enough for me to want to listen to the whole release.
I would recommend this work, and Jahzzar’s work in general, for anyone that is working on putting together a sound track, or needs background music for a presentation, etc. His work is well written for that purpose, and is definitely a step above the other sites I have checked out in the past.