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๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ - this week: The Exception - bigbaldbenmusic

Welcome all to ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connollyย - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of ๐™‰๐™š๐™ฌ ๐˜ผ๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ฉ๐™ก๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ playlists.


๐™๐™๐™š ๐™€๐™ญ๐™˜๐™š๐™ฅ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ - ๐™—๐™ž๐™œ๐™—๐™–๐™ก๐™™๐™—๐™š๐™ฃ


Charles theorisesโ€ฆ


What is music? โ€œWait, wait, wait a secโ€ฆ Youโ€™re actually going to talk about music??โ€ - I know. Youโ€™d think Iโ€™d be sick of music by now. But no, I ainโ€™t the blasphemous kind. โ€œBut you NEVER talk about music in your intros.โ€ - Yes, I know, I usually write about something like โ€How to overcome the pressures of the worldโ€, or โ€œWhat came first, the chicken or the duck?โ€, or โ€œHave you noticed the increasing presence of the hip flask lately?โ€โ€ฆ But this time I thought Iโ€™d go all out and speak about music. It is, after all, the time and the place. So. Back to my initial questionโ€ฆ What IS music? This is something about which people will argue forever. But Iโ€™m not going to go into avant-garde nonsense that in my eyes (ears) is simply not worth bothering with. I am talking about REAL music. Ya know, instruments and all that. Something that doesnโ€™t make one scratch oneโ€™s head, and something that one actually enjoys, as opposed to reluctantly putting oneself through, for the sake of being kind to the โ€œartistโ€ or in an attempt to broaden oneโ€™s horizons. Oneโ€™s horizon is probably quite big enough, and does not need broadening. So youโ€™ve got your instruments, be them analog or electronic. Youโ€™ve got yourself a singer. Bravo! Thatโ€™s basically done, right? Well, youโ€™ll need a place and a means to record. Okay then, CHECK! Got all of the above. Hit record, weโ€™re ready! โ€œOkay guys, whatโ€™s the name of the song?โ€, the engineer says through the studioโ€™s intercom.


Name of the song? What song? Christ, we need a song! Okay, weโ€™ll do 'Blah-Blah' by Blah-Blah. โ€œNo, no. You didnโ€™t get this time in the studio just so you could record a cover of a song that has already been recorded. We need an original songโ€. Okay, well that shouldnโ€™t be too hard. I mean, there are millions of artists in the world. They donโ€™t seem to find it that hard. Letโ€™s try a few chords. But how do I know what goes with what? Well, you can either use your ear (nice vs not nice) or use a bit of music theory. But whatโ€™s THAT?? Ah, itโ€™s like the guidebook for the whole of music. It shows you what works and how things work. Okay, so how do I learn this music theory thing? โ€œWell, hereโ€™s an 800 page book on the basics of itโ€โ€ฆ I donโ€™t think this is going to work. And you can kiss goodbye to that studio time!


โ€œKnowing music theory will help you achieve the ability to write music. In fact, it will GIVE you the ability to write musicโ€. This is what they say. And I suppose I sort of get that. I mean, say for example you have a 4-chord sequence repeating, and you want to write a melody over the top, music theory will help you work out the key of the sequence, and therefore give you the notes needed in order to write said melody. Great! Well that really is genuinely helpful then! But there is a but. A BIG but!! (no jokes please). Music is supposed to be an art, not a science. Writing a piece of music should not be like solving a simple (or complicated) maths equation. We are not supposed to be reaching for charts, grids and books in order to make art. Music theory really only works when you know it so well that you can afford to break the rules. Playing by the rules will give you correct music. Which can be rather dull, letโ€™s face it. But the greatest art is usually formed when finding the thing that works that shouldnโ€™t work. Where music theory tells you itโ€™s wrong, yet you tingle with its rightness. I call this, the exception to the rule. I have never known music theory. I think many of you think or assume that I know it inside out. I am occasionally praised by other musicians for my use of a certain mode or scale. And I have absolutely no idea what theyโ€™re talking about. When asked about the key of one of my songs, I cannot say. Partly because I donโ€™t know, but also because I have a feeling my songs change key throughout the piece.


So, if one is going to learn the whole of music theory only to break the rules, why learn it in the first place? Good point! I never learnt it, and my own music isnโ€™t that terrible. The thing is, music theory is an option. While it can help and has helped millions of people through the ages, it has also flummoxed many more millions. And to a great proportion of the worldโ€™s artists, it can be a hindrance. Rules are good, but I personally try to find the exception to the rule. Itโ€™s simply more interesting that way. Not to mention more fun. Music theory is not a must, and there are even people who flaunt their ignorance of it to great effect. Before getting into this weekโ€™s pick, I will leave you with this thought. Could music theory alone have given us Strawberry Fields Foreverโ€ฆ? I think not. It is all exception and no rule.


Speaking of freedom from the rules, I bring you bigbaldben. Yes, all lowercase, and all one word, because who said it HAD to start with a capital letter and have spaces?? You see, this man spends his life breaking rules. But he is not cryptic, and he is not subtle. He is brazen with his rule-breaking, and his personality in general. He does not hide. He does not mystify. He uses no smoke, he uses no mirrors. He is bold (as well as bald). For the conforms of informal formal writing, I will capitalise his name. He is Ben. And what a refreshingly fine and level-headed chap he is too! Ben makes rock music. Pure and simple. Itโ€™s rock. Thereโ€™s no other way about it. This is nothing but rock. Thereโ€™s distorted guitar, drums and bass. Thereโ€™s a natural squeal to his voice that lends itself perfectly to rock. Basically, he was born to rock. So thatโ€™s the sound aspect of his oeuvre. As to his songs, though, oh BOY. This is anything but pure and simple. This is NOT what one would expect. While everyone else is in agreement that we should turn right at the junction, Ben turns left. I think if Ben were to build a house from scratch, he would start with the roof. And it would work. Weโ€™d all be left staring, scratching our heads, asking each other โ€œHow did he do that? That shouldnโ€™t workโ€. But it DOES work. He made it work. And he does all this so naturally. He is not just being annoying. โ€œNormalโ€ music just doesnโ€™t appeal to him. At least in terms of creation. He is the exception. And this is The Exception.


On the subject of lyrics (which we werenโ€™t), someone so musically unusual would often not normally mind so much about the words. These words would very much come way down the list of priorities. But this is Ben. Ben who often starts with the words, or at least the lyrical theme. An unusual theme where he talks about the courting of his wife. Now, courting! THEREโ€™S an old fashioned pastime for ya! โ€œWhat you up to today?โ€ - โ€œIโ€™m a-goinโ€™ out courtinโ€™, yessir I amโ€. Time for a spot of courting? Donโ€™t mind if I do! For Ben though, it was more coaxing than courting. He completely failed, then gave up. Then the girl changes her mind, telling him she actually DID end up liking him in โ€œthat wayโ€, just as he had accepted she was a goner. I mean, REALLY!! I do feel sorry for men sometimes. The things we go through just for a spot of lifelong love. Ugh. Anyway, these lyrics of his are very clever, and very unusual. It is about that time between coaxing a friend in to being more than a friend, and that time she said she liked him. This in-between time was spent trying to forget about her. Trying not to see her. Trying to rid himself of feelings. He had had this before with other girls, and he had succeeded. But she was the exception. She just wouldnโ€™t leave his mind.


Until she did (or so he thought). By this point, Ben felt able to meet her again as the close friends they once were. On said meeting, she popped the unbelievable news that she had feelings for him. He then needed more time alone to digest this. Poor bugger. Anyway, in the end, it all turned out peachy. And we all like peaches. Well, I used to be allergic to peaches, but I always liked them. Although he does not mention this fruity ending, he does allude to it in a subtle way. I would like to make it publicly known that the line โ€œyou and me are a toxic messโ€ is somewhat artistic licence, and that the couple was never quite as malignant as the line might suggest.


Back to music. All those famous composers you can think of from the days of black and white and wigs and tights, were of course au fait with music theory. Otherwise we wouldnโ€™t have all those monotonous pieces by Mozart, or even those dramatic operas by Hitlerโ€™s fave, Wagner! Music theory was vital in those days. But I suspect this is simply because this was how it was done back then. Like how the great painters had to master drawing, perspective and proportion before even p-p-p-picking up a p-p-p-paintbrush. In terms of painting, I still agree with this method. But with musicโ€ฆ? Iโ€™m not so sure. Unlike Mozart, Wagner broke rules in music. Thatโ€™s probably why Hitler liked him so muchโ€ฆ But I always wonder how Wagner would have felt had he not been constrained by these rules in the first place. Letโ€™s ask him.


โ€œMr. Wagner, how would you feel had you not been constrained by music theory in the first place?โ€


โ€œWell, I was never actually constrained by it because I never actually knew anything about it. I just do what I do, and I like itโ€. This is a rather peculiar answer that I was not expecting. As I look up, I realise there is no hair on this big manโ€™s head. I also then realise that I am talking to a living person with an American accent. I further realise that I have in fact got the wrong Wagner. This is Ben Wagner aka bigbaldben. Bugger. I suppose this is why I am not a journalist.


So! What is it that Ben does, that makes him so alternative? He sets fire to the whole of music theory, and builds a thing of beauty from its embers. Heavy, head-banging, Foo Fighters-esque beauty. He stacks a cube on top of a pyramid, and makes it balance. He adds salt instead of sugar, yet we only taste the sweetness. Toxic sweetness, of course. Gotta stay in character. Ben turns dissonant into something positively sonnant. He takes out dis, and replaces it with dat. But whatโ€™s weird about his music is how flowy it is (โ€œFlowyโ€ being a technical term that youโ€™ll find on page 273 of Music Theory For Dummies). Ben leaps from unrelated chord to unrelated chord, with clashing harmonies galore, yet all so smoothly. Which means, he really does know what heโ€™s doing. He hasnโ€™t just got lucky. While he may not know anything about music theory, he evidently understands music and sound, and feel. Which to me is the most worthwhile music theory. Unfortunately though, this is not scribable. Which I love. All hail the new Wagnerian era!


I did wonder if Ben was actually related to Richard Wagnerโ€ฆ But I donโ€™t care too much for theory. Theory canโ€™t buy me love.


Listen to ๐™๐™๐™š ๐™€๐™ญ๐™˜๐™š๐™ฅ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ on the ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ Spotify playlist HERE!

Listen to ๐™๐™๐™š ๐™€๐™ญ๐™˜๐™š๐™ฅ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ on the ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ Apple Music playlist HERE!

Listen to ๐™๐™๐™š ๐™€๐™ญ๐™˜๐™š๐™ฅ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ on YouTube HERE!


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155 commenti


ZOLEON
ZOLEON
16 giu

Great to read this, really interesting keep up the good work ๐Ÿ’ฏ ๐Ÿ‘

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Boy HaNZY
Boy HaNZY
16 giu

A good read. Well put together. BigBaldBen is awesome

Mi piace

I can't resist a good love story, and Ben's is a great one. An unusual one I'm sure. Deffo the exception! :) I think it might make a decent romcom. ๐Ÿค“ bigbaldben is one of my favorite NASians. Always brilliant rocking songs WITH nice melodies, some unexpected riffs and chord changes - AND a stunning sound. I mean, the guitar sound is killer on this track. And the voice on here is just awesome. Sting says a song needs the element of surprise and bigbaldben would definitely get Sting's sign of approval (as if he'd need it... ๐Ÿ˜‚).


As for the old composers, writing down the score was the only way to save the work, to remember it and toโ€ฆ


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Ben
Ben
21 giu
Risposta a

Thanks for the kind words, Patrik!! You know I'm a big fan so means a lot!!

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AfamGold
AfamGold
16 giu

Your vast knowledge of music has helped me gain a thing or two. I will keep it in the loop when next am writing or producing. I wonder which is better: your writing skills or your songs. Both they are all both fantastic. Let the Exception play โ–ถ...... ๐Ÿ˜

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Risposta a

Thank you so much for this! I like to think that my music is better than my writing. I hope so anyway!

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It's amazing how each week you weave a wonderful web of words. Keep up the good work. As for BigBaldBen, a great voice. Can't wait to hear this one!

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Risposta a

Thanks, Ed!

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