14 thoughts on “The Function of Music, With Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad

    1. I always felt that sax bit at the beginning of the record was odd, like maybe they were making fun of sax solos. The fact that they used it for this particular video is even odder.

  1. What is the meaning of digital video editing? I can’t figure out what the heck he’s talking about with all the flashing lights and noises. It’s annoying. I’m sorry, but the Bell Labs movie they showed our 5th grade class in 1968 explained much better and they probably didn’t even win an award. Perhaps they would have, had they not edited out the f-bombs.
    Making a film shouldn’t be about the damn film. It should be about the subject. Some of us have an attention span able to focus more than a tenth of a second.

        1. i find nothing wrong with that statement though, perhaps you can be something without music, but I can’t.

  2. yeah liked it, the visual aspect and film manipulation where complimentary.For most “older” Synthtopia subscribers I think the cassette tape tapped into ancient memories , how as grubby fingered monkeys we would stick our fingers into the spools after the cassette player had gnarled up the tape and spewed it out.Then replaying the distorted tape stretched Btardized version later.
    Music is not just Audio and sound , It will always have many other associations which we experience .

  3. I loved watching this. I’m a big fan of Jad’s work on the Radiolab podcast. This was like a video equivalent. For me, the creative audio and visuals really enhance my emotional engagement with the subject matter.

  4. It is remarkable, when you think about it. Music is universal, but in a unique way. If you took a beautiful poem, written in German, but played the audio for someone who did not speak German, it might have a very different impact. A great example — listen to Tool’s “Die Eier von Satan” — Deviled eggs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htxZZKv4pMw

    But the MUSIC in that song IS universal. I’d guess that if I played that for 1000 people all over the world and asked them how it made them feel (assuming they did not know what the song was about) they might have a similar reaction.

    So — music as a universal proto-language?

    1. “universal proto-language”? I don’t think it is. I am of the firm belief, in order for humans to communicate the way they do they needed language, and to interact with that at a profound level we needed to find that to be a pleasurable experience. Like eating, our brains need a hit, so when dealing with timing and pitch of sound we get a small hit from that focus on the speech patterns of others. And I believe music is a super-use of those pleasure language skills. So I don’t think music is a “universal proto-language, but it is the primal working foundation and principle of us understanding and using language, it is super-language – they both come from the same base tools of the brain.

  5. Radiolab is the embodiment of gratuitous and senseless editing. It’s the audio equivalent of an aesthetically appealing photo made ridiculous with every filter and tool in Photoshop just because they are there (then mix that with “NPR voice”). It’s a shame, because some of the series has interesting topics. Unfortunately I get visceral repulsion when i hear it. And this is from someone who listened to Negativland, Plunderphonics and lots of noise. It is the opposite of elegance and economy.

    The last thing I want is this guy’s thoughts on the most important thing in my life: music.

    Have a nice day!

  6. Things like this remind me of those damn TED talks … people are so far up their ass they are looking at the world through their mouths. Stop overthinking things!

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