Music Monday (and Rorschach tests)

(Back on the old diet. I haven’t had a decent night of sleep in two weeks, so I’ll probably be in recovery mode for another two weeks.)

I’ve never heard anything before that sounded so much like being chased through a dark funhouse by a nameless horror. This is “Ataxia” by Within The Ruins.

First time I heard this, I thought I’d finally found a modern metal songwriter who could illustrate an aesthetic idea through music. (Not that I’m really into that sort of thing as a rule, it was just a neat surprise.) I’ve since listened to more of their music, and it turns out this is just their normal style. Which is possibly a little unnerving, and here’s why:

If you aren’t familiar with the ink blot test, the Big Idea behind the psychologist’s interpretation is that you present a person with different stimuli and look for commonalities. The rest of the process is a mix of distraction and trying to get the subject to express as much emotional and imaginative range as possible, to filter out superficial consistencies. Seeing specific people in ink blots isn’t interesting, but seeing people in every inkblot suggests a person’s imagination is highly people-oriented.

Anyway, reading a person’s mind through their music is kind of like interpreting an ink blot test. The little bits that jump out at you might be important, but the consistent commonalities are far more so. A very simple example: people whose songs consistently “different” are probably a little different themselves, except insofar as they might be putting on airs. Good mind readers must always account for the fact that their subjects spend most of their waking lives trying to influence other people’s opinions of their character. But the more you’re around a person, or the more of their music you listen to, the easier it becomes to notice patterns that will seem glaringly obvious in retrospect.

About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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