Listening to bad music can cultivate appreciation of art – Antelope

I love music. I think it’s one of the most important parts of our culture and the most effective way to express emotion to a large audience. I’ve never been much of a fan of dark or disturbing music, other than metal.

About a year ago I discovered Throbbing Gristle. They almost exclusively play disturbing music. Their songs often feature ambient synth noise, distorted vocals, or legitimate screams. Additionally, their themes are often equally dark. The first two songs I listened to were about a man who was disfigured in a car accident and a little girl in a concentration camp.

I wasn’t ready for the music and listening to them made me emotional. It makes me want to throw up and cry. Because of this, I think this band is just prog and try to forget about it.

It would linger in my mind like a bug bite, making it impossible to stop scratching. I showed it to some of my friends because I wanted to talk about it. They were almost as disturbed as I was. We discussed music and then avoided talking about it.

It became an inside joke between us. We would threaten each other to play it at parties, or add the song to a playlist to surprise us later. One of my friends started listening to them more and I think he started to understand the throbbing gristle because we started talking about them more. I also started actively listening to them.

The music is captivating. It sounds terrible, but when you listen to it, it can make you feel physically sick, sad, or scared. I have never experienced another piece of art or music that had the same impact on me.

I gained respect for the band and felt a little embarrassed that I didn’t know them. I also began to appreciate disturbing art and music more. I re-listened to The Caretaker’s “Everywhere at the End of Time” and started to fall in love with the paintings of Otto Dix and Salvador Dali. It feels like a whole new world of art and music has opened up to me because I’m more comfortable with being uncomfortable now.

I don’t think enough people appreciate the darker side of art because it’s harder to take the time to understand it and its history than to write it off. I know I definitely belong to that group. Go out and try to see, hear, or see something that makes you uncomfortable. Then try to understand it. Hopefully you’ll end up with a new appreciation for this art.

Also, context is important. Going into the abyss without any media message is brutal. Simple research, even just a little bit, can drastically change the feel of your piece.

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