August 26, 2014


by Chris Randall

The video above is outstanding. There's no other way to describe it. I'm not a big Goldie fan, being more on the Roni Size side of the fence when it comes to rollers, but the Heritage Orchestra performing Goldie, with that level of musicianship, and the joy the proceedings bring to the table, is a prime example of the Perfect Storm, where everything comes together, and the energy that it gives off is greater than the energy that went in to making it. (And that, in my opinion, is the definition of art, overall.)

I don't really have anything to say about the performance, because it is both objectively and subjectively outstanding. I do have something to say about this, though:

Here's the thing: it is perfectly acceptable to not like something. It's even acceptable to voice that opinion. Music, like anything creative, is a subjective endeavor. But that comment is a prime example of the form of Internet Fuckwittery we've come to learn is a byproduct of making cool shit. The Dunning-Kruger Effect in full force. (The tl;dr version: the Dunning-Kruger effect is a scientific study that proves the old saw that a fool is certain, while a wise man is full of doubt.)

In my various careers, I've run in to this a lot. There's the pedigreed version, in the form of the guy that writes reviews of records and live shows. There's the semi-pro version, where someone has enough knowledge to make music, but not enough to do it well, and becomes a self-taught expert on gear, but not its use. There's the fan version, wherein lyrics that were generally chosen for their ability to fit in to a rhyming scheme become the subject of debate and broad declaratives about an artist's state of mind. There's the Agile version, where stakeholders and user stories substitute for actually having a vision. It goes on and on.

Chris Killer is phrasing his comment in this form: "I am an expert on the live orchestration and performance of 90s drum 'n' bass, and this fellow needs to work at things a little while in order to properly meet my exacting specifications of what, exactly, constitutes same." Chris isn't, however, an expert on anything having to do with this performance. He isn't even a semi-expert. As far as I can tell, the only relationship he might have to this performance is that he bought a Goldie record once.

And there's the rub: it's okay to just say "I don't like this." Leave it at that. "In my opinion, this isn't done the way I like to see Goldie's music done." That's totally fine. Everyone's okay with that. But when you're all "I KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT THIS THING AND YOU DID THIS THING WRONG EVEN THOUGH IT'S YOUR THING AND NOT MY THING" you're running a serious risk of coming off like a fuckwit.


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Aug.26.2014 @ 2:18 PM
Awhile ago, I saw a video of Phil Anselmo from Pantera gush on and on about how much he loved The Smiths. At one point, he got to a song that he didn't like and just shrugged and said, "That one's not for me."

In my mind, that is as far as you need to take a negative criticism of something as subjective as music. Any piece of art has some kind of value to someone, even if that person isn't you.

As far as Chris Killer, I'd take his opinion a lot more seriously if he stated it as just that: an opinion. To pass something like "the drums need to be a bit tighter" off as fact just makes me roll my eyes and not care what you have to say. Had he said, "I'd like this more if the drums were a bit tighter, and the snare seems a little off to me" I'd probably take him a bit more seriously. To state it the way he did just comes across as flippant and a bit smug.

That aside, I've always loved reading music reviews, discussing lyrics and talking about the merits of a particular performance or recording. I've definitely gained more appreciation for certain works than I would have without the conversation. I think it's just about having a certain awareness of your place in the grand scheme of things..

Aug.26.2014 @ 2:52 PM
The "Good start though." at the end is such a perfect distillation of misplaced condescension, it honestly makes me laugh every time I read it. That it's directed at the guy that wrote the song in the first place is just gravy.

Aug.26.2014 @ 3:08 PM
Chris Randall
I know, right? If it was just the other part, I'd have let it go. But that "good start..." put me over the fucking edge. Keep at it, Goldie! I know you pretty much invented this genre, and have the best-selling record in this style of music, but if you keep practicing, you might actually go somewhere!


Aug.26.2014 @ 3:13 PM
"We should speak words that challenge people to reach for new heights and challenge them to press on for greater things." -Joel Osteen

Part of the inherent problem is that our written/spoken languages (with their many usability flaws that lead to miscommunication and even rage) aren't constructed in a way to implicitly allow for more generalities and flexibility -- we must often prefer "in my opinion" or "I'm generalizing" to make this point clear, which brings to mind the many repeated patterns/loops I've seen on various forums.

I read music reviews for the witty writing, not to gain enlightenment about the creation or the creator, that's what interviews tend to do better.

I remember listening to "Inner City Life" on an old bootleg cassette and being astonished at that gelled juxtaposition between silky-smooth soaring vocals and the acerbic breakbeats. And I'm delighted to see this bridge between the electronic and classical worlds. I have a lot of respect for unifiers between various "cultures", be they ethnic or musical-stylistic.

Chris, can you please share with us more about what you mean by "There's the Agile version, where stakeholders and user stories substitute for actually having a vision."? Seems like there's an interesting context to that, but I don't want to speculate without clarification.

Aug.26.2014 @ 3:55 PM
Chris Randall
Talking about Agile is a conversational black hole, from which there is no escape.


Aug.26.2014 @ 4:39 PM
Some people won't be happy until you just hire a DJ to play the actual record. Then there'll be something else they'll find to bitch about.

I'd kill to mix a show like this - love the crossover stuff, of any genre(s).

Aug.26.2014 @ 5:53 PM
That comment reminds me a bit of the Kanye/Swift incident.

Aug.26.2014 @ 10:40 PM
Is it ok just to say I'm glad I discovered Heritage Orchestra performing Goldie ?

Aug.27.2014 @ 6:54 AM
Chris Killer's comment reminds me of that scene from Amedeus:

Emperor Joseph II: My dear young man, don't take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It's quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that's all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect.

Mozart: Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?

Except Chris Killer doesn't hold a position warranting such condescension.

Aug.27.2014 @ 8:26 AM
I don't think I've seen a drummer work that hard in all my life. That was a great video.

It does occur to me that Chris Killer might be getting exactly what he wants here, excepting the possibility of more dead Chris'.

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