I was initially exposed to Classical and Ecclesiastical music as a chorister when very young and then through history of music classes at school. As I grew I based my recognition of musical styles on what I recognised from the Classical repertoire so as I moved into genres such as Metal or Electronica I could still see the connection with past work. I’m not sure whether I can say that I “like” or “dislike” Classical music. It’s always been there and I listen to it. Whether this is simply a default setting or not I couldn’t say.
My experience with Contemporary classical music only really extends to the tonal work of composers such as John Adams, John Tavener and Philip Glass. I’m very aware that there’s a whole body of work that has extended from the Minimalist to the almost atonal abstract but I’ve always had a problem with concentrating on it.
Country has played a small part in my listening over the past ten years or so after exposure to Southern Rock bands like The Allman Brothers (via Zakk Wilde) and as Country has come online to mainstream music radio in the UK. I think that the genre suffered from a lot of bad press until being revitalised by the likes of Garth Brooks and Alison Krauss with Union Station. I really feel that a coming together of a stronger European Folk sound and Country would be a winning combination.
I listened to a lot of Dance music during the 90s, especially Goa Trance and Big Beat. Dance really came on during the 80s as an extension of Disco but it has seemed to have lost its way a little over the last ten years. It really needs a new youth movement and to leave behind the undertones of violence and drug culture that have come to the fore in genres such as Grime and D&B.
I have listened to quite a lot of early choral music and it will always be a part of my listening experience. The harmonies written as music moved towards Baroque are absolutely exquisite.
I listened to a lot of Folk in the 80s and 90s as a result of exposure to Mike Oldfield and bands such as Steeleye Span and Jethro Tull. I enjoy the pastoral sound very much and expect it to grow stronger with the new wave of Folk bands such as Bellowhead and Mumford and Sons.
This is an area where I’m really weak. I listened to George Benson in the 80s but by then he was moving into Soul. There’s very little Jazz that moves me with the exception of the Jazz at the Pawnshop album. It’s an area that I need to work on as I’m aware that I’m missing out on a lot of good music.
I enjoy this very much in when context. I find it hard to listen to as pure music as the lyrical content is so often pushed to the front of the mix to help the storyline (which I suppose is the point of the thing). Gilbert and Sullivan are an exception this for me. I truly believe that Sullivan was extraordinary and it’s a bit of a shame that he’s best known for his Comic Opera.
Opera for me has only really meant Mozart. It suffers the same fate as Musical Theatre with me as there is too much focus on acting, story, vocals, costumes, lighting, etc. I like the music to be able to concentrate solely on the music.
I’ve always listened to a lot of pop and have been happy to go along with whatever trend is happening at the time. My only reservation would be Bubblegum or obviously commercial output. I still listen to a lot of Pop from the 70s and 80s.
My only exposure to R’n’B has been through the UK Chart. I’m afraid that I find it self-centred and uninspiring.
I’ve listened to a lot of Rap from bands like The Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, The Beastie Boys and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Although I’ve listened to Eminem and can appreciate the sentiment I just don’t get on with the culture of violence that seems to pervade Rap and gang culture glorified by groups such as N.W.A. and Ice-T.
Bob Marley made a big impression on me when I was getting heavily into music in the 80s. Like The Smiths, I found his ability to speak for a generation to be inspiring.
Rock and Metal have been the mainstay of my listening for most of my life, particularly The Cult, Fleetwood Mac and Jethro Tull from the UK and bands like Mountain and Van Halen in the USA. I believe that it’s important that bands like Nirvana, The Stone Roses, Alice In Chains and Primus keep mainstream Pop on its toes.
My experience with Soul only extends to performers like Luther Vandross, Cameo, George Benson and Sade. I’ve found that the Motown and STAX sounds became a little contrived after a few years with people like James Brown. An exception would be Billie Holliday’s “Strange Fruit” episode but, as always, I’m more interested in the music than the vocal.
Sorry about the long post. Have some Fleet Foxes by way of gratitude: Mykonos