Think vs. Animal vs. Daniel Levitin

Just finished This Is Your Brain On Music.

Very excellent book. For my own purposes, this is my favorite quote: The coming together of rhythm and melody bridges our cerebellum (the motor control, primitive little brain) and our cerebral cortex (the most evolved, most human part of our brain).

A criticism, though, on referring to the cerebral cortex as the most human. I understand what the author means, but at the same time hate the Western concept that to be human is to be not-animal. This concept is essentially my enemy in life as well as simply in music. To deny the animal is indeed to deny a large part of what it means to be a human-in-the-world.

Still, Levitin essentially explains scientifically the concept I came across in my compositional philosophy (wow that was kind of a douchy turn of phrase) which I referred to as ‘think vs. animal’. Musically, it means good music should use both big heavy primal funky rhythm and bass, but still have complex melodies and harmonies, both sonically and figuratively full from bottom to top.

What I’m discovering, honestly, is that this presents a problem in production. The sound gets so full the volume has to go down to compensate. I think one of the reasons club music is so boring is that you have to turn everything else down to get those booming, dancy drums.

Well, fuck that anyway. I’ll figure it out. Here’s a mashup of think vs. animal by the esteemed DJ Earworm.

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