What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Old Skool chat, tune discussions.
No tape packs or mix tape posts in the forum please!
User avatar
ian saunders
Old Skool Don Daddy
Old Skool Don Daddy
Posts: 4134
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 7:40 am

What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by ian saunders » Tue May 21, 2013 1:08 pm

What makes a tune "intelligent"? I'll be honest I usually run a mile from any tune described as "Intelligent" or "progressive" as it usually means they're a bit limp.

With stuff like the 1994/95 DnB, were they intelligent tunes, or was it just the type of sounds used and a tag used to differentiate it from the ragga style jungle?

It always seems to me to be easier to make "intelligent" dark music. You can twiddle all the knobs and make horrible noises, whereas it's more difficult to make intelligent happy music that generally relies on piano, strings, vocals to make it happy.

Any thoughts? Or is this a shit topic? lol

Was Bukem's stuff intelligent? Even though he was sampling huge chunks of techno tunes? How was that different from SL2 sampling huge chunks of The Night Writers for DJs Take Control?

User avatar
dj jedi
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10142
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2001 12:00 am
Location: London
Contact:

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by dj jedi » Tue May 21, 2013 1:15 pm

My personal definition of intelligent is based almost purely on the Good Looking sound which generally meant chilled, atmospheric jungle/D&B. I think atmospheric is probably a better description than intelligent.

A lot of other stuff is considered intelligent eg Gachet's Audio Maze stuff, but to me that was just very early minimal/tech D&B, in response to all the wank jump up.

User avatar
dj_yt
Old Skool Master
Old Skool Master
Posts: 2153
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2003 3:30 pm
Location: 1988
Contact:

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by dj_yt » Tue May 21, 2013 1:17 pm

I'm sure a lot of people would disagree, but I swear it's more of a skill to write a deceptively simple and catchy dancefloor destroyer, than it is to create an 'IDM' Aphex Twin inspired track.

If you don't have to keep people dancing, your life is a whole lot easier.

In terms of 'intelligent' drum and bass, I think it was simply a label to differentiate it from the ragga reverb gunshot brigade that was popular in 1994.

User avatar
ian saunders
Old Skool Don Daddy
Old Skool Don Daddy
Posts: 4134
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 7:40 am

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by ian saunders » Tue May 21, 2013 1:21 pm

dj_yt wrote:I'm sure a lot of people would disagree, but I swear it's more of a skill to write a deceptively simple and catchy dancefloor destroyer, than it is to create an 'IDM' Aphex Twin inspired track.
I tend to agree. I love Aphex Twin, Squarepusher etc and the talent that they clearly have, but I think it's a lot harder to work within the rules and come up with something fresh, as opposed to breaking all the rules and making a track.

User avatar
dj jedi
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10142
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2001 12:00 am
Location: London
Contact:

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by dj jedi » Tue May 21, 2013 1:43 pm

Yes you're right, it doesn't take a genius to loop an amen and put some dreamy strings/pads over the top :lol:

User avatar
RonWellsJS
Oldskool Raver
Oldskool Raver
Posts: 528
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:09 am
Contact:

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by RonWellsJS » Tue May 21, 2013 2:10 pm

Timing, dynamics, melody and harmony and the combination thereof.

User avatar
Traffic Cone
The Messiah of the 21st Century
The Messiah of the 21st Century
Posts: 8538
Joined: Fri May 06, 2005 5:56 pm
Location: London

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by Traffic Cone » Tue May 21, 2013 2:10 pm

dj jedi wrote:Yes you're right, it doesn't take a genius to loop an amen and put some dreamy strings/pads over the top :lol:
yeah, basically!

i think that it just reflects our culture in general, which associates intelligence with restraint and subtlety. music that's mellow and uplifting is more respectable than something more direct and energetic. i think the subtext being that it's too "obvious" to go for something quite direct, that preferring something more subtle shows more intelligence.

same with IDM - it was after all just supposed to be electronic music not strictly for dancing, and with that is "intelligence" apparently.

it is quite odd when you break it down really. i mean there's plenty of music that is made with complexity, or creativity, that will never be "intelligent" if, for example, it's still quite dancefloor focused, or too noisy/happy/dark/ravey/whatever. Whereas there's plenty of atmospheric stuff that follows a formula.

but mainly - surely the point of music is just the feelings it inspires? and not only are they quite subjective - but how can you say one emotional response is more intelligent than another? is the happiness from a big piano somehow less meaningful than the happiness from some dreamy atmospheric pads? :lol: that's what makes it kinda meaningless for music, i think.

and in fairness i've heard both producers of intelligent d&b and idm say they hate the description "intelligent" :D

(might be looking into this too deeply but i find it interesting :))

User avatar
RonWellsJS
Oldskool Raver
Oldskool Raver
Posts: 528
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:09 am
Contact:

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by RonWellsJS » Tue May 21, 2013 2:16 pm

I forgot to add harmonics / synthesis.

So, Timing, dynamics, harmonics / synthesis, melody, harmony and the combination thereof.

Agree about atmospherics in some cases but it depends on what chord structures are in use. In pure music analysis terms complex chord structures usually define intelligence in music.

I used to use the word alot (probably too much) but I needed to distance myself from 10,000 versions on Amen with out of key noises on it.

;-)

User avatar
ian saunders
Old Skool Don Daddy
Old Skool Don Daddy
Posts: 4134
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 7:40 am

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by ian saunders » Tue May 21, 2013 2:28 pm

I can understand producers/engineers wanting to break away from the sounds/formula used on other records, and also that "intelligent" may not be how they themselves would like to describe it.
One of my bete noires was the jazzier end of DnB. In a lot of cases it seemed to be just sticking a bit of sax on a tune, rather than incorpating chord structures/jazz process etc

Then again I am a philistine who would prefer to listen to Dougal though :) lol

User avatar
electric tribe
He never locked his car door
He never locked his car door
Posts: 6257
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2001 12:00 am

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by electric tribe » Tue May 21, 2013 2:29 pm

from the missus's point of view it all sounds like noise that makes her brain bleed....so perhaps none of it is intelligent. lol.

I think she may have a point .... to a certain degree, although of course I would never concede this to her or admit outside of this forum. :-D

User avatar
Paul Zykotik
Old Skool Don Daddy
Old Skool Don Daddy
Posts: 2734
Joined: Thu Oct 17, 2002 2:55 pm
Location: Kingston

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by Paul Zykotik » Tue May 21, 2013 2:52 pm

I could be wrong but I always got the impression that the intelligent term derived from the Artificial Intelligence albums on Warp, and the noodly electronica that featured on those. They of course weren't claiming to be intelligent, it was just a good name for an album.

I can kind of see what the term is getting at, in that on the face of it there might appear to be more thought put into those kinds of tracks, but as has already been said it doesn't quite stand up to scrutiny and it ends up sounding pretentious.

User avatar
dj_gyr8
Old Skool Don Daddy
Old Skool Don Daddy
Posts: 3701
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 3:45 pm
Location: southcoast

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by dj_gyr8 » Tue May 21, 2013 3:23 pm

Hi,

BITD, the word "intelligent" was what basically described the 'boring' music that you couldn't dance to... Work better in clubs and cars, not a big raves.

Some of it was OK, but too many DJs and comps jumped on the wagon, and before you knew it, it pretty much destroyed the jungle rave scene, as too many DJs were playing whole sets of music you simply couldn't dance to.

User avatar
LOON-E
Old Skool Don Daddy
Old Skool Don Daddy
Posts: 3268
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 7:01 pm

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by LOON-E » Tue May 21, 2013 6:47 pm

Having Gabba/hardtek as my 1st love..the "intelligent" sound missed me out completly lol :)

LOON-E

User avatar
Traffic Cone
The Messiah of the 21st Century
The Messiah of the 21st Century
Posts: 8538
Joined: Fri May 06, 2005 5:56 pm
Location: London

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by Traffic Cone » Tue May 21, 2013 7:06 pm

dj_gyr8 wrote: Some of it was OK, but too many DJs and comps jumped on the wagon, and before you knew it, it pretty much destroyed the jungle rave scene, as too many DJs were playing whole sets of music you simply couldn't dance to.
Really? i thought that intelligent stuff wasn't really played at big raves as much (for obvious reasons).

User avatar
1992
Old Skool Master
Old Skool Master
Posts: 1286
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2002 8:41 pm
Location: Snookieland, USA
Contact:

Re: What makes a tune "Intelligent"?

Post by 1992 » Wed May 22, 2013 7:02 am

dj_gyr8 wrote:Hi,

BITD, the word "intelligent" was what basically described the 'boring' music that you couldn't dance to... Work better in clubs and cars, not a big raves.

Not true. I saw LTJ at the DC Armory in ~1998. Its a warehouse so big you could fit a few C-130s in there. It was a really nice time, I even hugged him and Conrad after the set.

Locked