How i develop taste in music

been meaning to write this for a while but wasn’t sure how to approach it

i was about 15 when i realized that old people suck. they are just not cool. all their tastes are stale. the music they listen to is cringe as fuck and any new, fresh and exciting music only gives them headache. i resolved then i would not become one of these boomers.

a few decades later, older now, i can say that to a large extent the reason old people suck is inevitable result of aging and associated cognitive decline and reduction in energy and sex drive.

but you don’t go directly from low energy and sex drive to shit music taste. instead low energy and sex drive cause you to lose interest in music and that in turn causes your taste to go to shit overtime.

so, with effort, probably about 80% of that decline in music taste can be prevented.

much MORE so than decline in physical strength can be prevented by exercise.

as you get older you need to learn to leverage your experience, knowledge and skill rather than brute force. so in the gym for example i am focusing on extremely high-skill exercises such as Snatch and in the pool on Butterfly. this is because as you get older you can’t compete with 20 year old juiceheads on brute force - you have to take them to deep water and drown them.

likewise with music just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you have to have music tastes that suck. your brain chemistry may not be what it once was but if you spent the last couple decades developing your taste systematically you can still embarrass young kids.

so how do you do it in practice ?

the hard part for me was to decide what to talk about here because i used different methods over the last 25 years but i will just focus on what i consider the most important techniques that i am using currently.

though i have used different strategies in the past currently i am relying solely on Spotify ( premium $10 / month ) for all “development” …

what makes Spotify work for me is that it is basically two things:

1 - algorithms
2 - people

either one of those would not have worked, but together it works like magic.

basically people and algorithms both have limitations and you need to learn how to use them to balance each other out.

spotify algorithms are quite good, but the very same thing which makes them good is also the main issue with using them. namely their job is to find music that you will like and they are so good at this that they will never really find music that is outside of your comfort zone so to speak.

and as we all know if you want to develop you need to be spending most of your time outside of your comfort zone.

luckily spotify also has playlists. it has playlists generated by spotify algorithms but it also has playlists made by regular people, and those are the ones that are of interest to us.

think of it in terms of breadth vs depth.

algorithms will zero in with laser precision on your taste and will find the best music that is in that narrow range of your current tastes - this is depth.

or to use the nomenclature from algorithms this is a local maximum.

by analogy to geography a local maximum is the top of the hill that you’re already on. it’s the point where you end up if you always go up until you can’t go further. but this isn’t the highest mountain on earth ( which would be called global maximum ). to find the highest mountain on earth you will need to travel … a lot. and that’s where user generated playlists come into play.

spotify’s algorithmic suggestions are based on the music in your library, but user playlists can only be found using boolean search / text prompt.

the searches i used most recently are:

“avant garde”
“experimental bass”
“experimental dance”
“experimental electronic”

once you do such a search you get about 50 playlists each with about 200 tracks that were created by regular people like myself. the point of these playlists is that they are NOT based on your tastes !

if they were based on your tastes you would still be stuck at a local maximum, but instead you are making an effort, investing time into traveling to explore different landscapes …

i then go through these playlists one by one, sorting each by date - most recent first. if the latest addition to playlist is more than a year old i simply skip to next playlist. most playlists will have additions to them within the past month if not week or even a day.

i listen to these playlists in reverse chronological order ( starting with most recent track, which was hopefully added in the last month ) and i try to judge whether the playlist is worthy or not …

i will typically skip straight to the middle of the track and sample 3 or 4 parts of the track at about 5 seconds each … so i will spend about 20 seconds per track to see if it’s any good, and try maybe 3 or 4 tracks in a playlist before determining if the playlist is good or not …

so it takes me no more than a minute to evaluate a “bad” playlist and move to the next one …

if the playlist is good i will then go through the whole list ( or until i get bored ) and sample every track at about 20 seconds per track. i will add the ones that are good to my favorites.

typically after going through about 50 playlists i will add maybe 10 - 20 tracks to my favorites. and i do this once or twice a month or so.

this is breadth.

from this breadth i can then leverage spotify algorithms to reach depth. how ?

once a week or so i create MY OWN playlist using about 10 tracks, and then spotify uses its algorithms to suggest several hundred other tracks that could go into the same playlist …

so it’s a two-step process like tacking a sailboat:

first you go wide then you go deep, then you go wide again and deep again and so on …

the only remaining question is - how do you know when a track is is good ?

a good track is one that is at the edge of your ability to understand what is going on, yet gives you an indication that if you spend some time with it - you will learn to enjoy it.

art is a combination of order and chaos.

chaos out of order.

your job as an intellectual is to build up your tolerance for chaos. not because you are against order, but because you can see order in chaos, while others can not.

this is the main “filter” i apply when choosing tracks and playlists …

the other filter i apply is simply recency. the more recent the better.

something like this:

40% of all music to evaluate should be not more than 6 months old.
60% not more than 1 year old.
80% not more than 3 years old.
anything older than 3 years old is a classic. you need that too, but 20% is enough.

when your music diet is engineered as described above your brain will begin to gradually develop abilities to recognize patterns in music and enjoy them, whereas a typical boomer will only get a headache from them.

it will also learn to recognize older music as stale.

do this long and hard enough and you can basically turn the tables to the point where you begin to look at kids as being lame, stale and out of touch compared to yourself …

i literally now look at teenagers wearing a shirt that says “Nirvana” or something like that and i think to myself “Boomer LOL”

don’t be a Boomer ! apply my advanced techniques !

this is especially important for @kanyewest because it doesn’t matter how good your speakers are if you put on Britney Spears to demonstrate them you now lost whatever respect you could have generated for yourself …

well, unless you are demonstrating your speakers to a Boomer who loves to masturbate to Britney Spears, but why would you let him in your house anyway ?

and as for how do i get into the mood to listen to music in the first place given that i’m now in my 40s ?

i explain that here:

basically i add tracks to my library after jerking off and i listen to them in full ( beginning to end ) in the gym or while driving.

basically you need to leverage the moments in which you feel most like when you were young for this.

the time window after an orgasm is pretty short so i use it to skip though tracks at a rate of a few tracks per minute as explained above. i have to use this state of mind to evaluate as many tracks as quickly as possible. i will have plenty of time to listen to these pre-selected tracks in full while in the gym.

this would all be easier if i was still using drugs. if i did, the same basic principles would still apply - only the details would change.

i would also make sure to use different types of drugs to get maximum breadth. the kind of music you listen to on Weed, LSD, MDMA, Cocaine and Alcohol would all be very different and you would want to put yourself into all these different states of mind to cover all the possible corners of the music landscape to develop as wide a taste as possible.

not saying this is the only or even best way, just what i’m currently using.

if you’re some kind of a DJ that travels internationally or whatever maybe you have some kind of channels that are way better than this and so on.

obviously use the best tools available to you.

but the key points that should be applicable to any situation are:

  • depth X breadth / sailboat tacking
  • lean on both people and algorithms
  • recency
  • maximum utilization of various states of mind resulting from drugs, sex, training, whatever …

furthermore it would be great if you could experience music in various ways, so for example you will experience it differently in a dance club, in the gym, in the car and in headphones at home. hit as many bases as you can.

so if we’re talking about a dance club for example it doesn’t just put you in a different state of mind ( as what i was talking about previously ) but also the way sound works in a club is different, the way you move affects the way you experience music and so on …

it is conceivable that i might put myself into the same state of mind somehow at home using headphones, and i might even be able to dance here and maybe imagine other people dancing but i certainly won’t be feeling the bass in my chest for example … so it will never be completely authentic.

what i’m saying is don’t use my method literally, rather understand the logic behind it.

then do whatever is the most epic thing you can swing.

I am a musical genius. I was born with taste in music. I listen to music on Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, etc. but I skip through or forget 90% of the music because it is pedestrian trash.

Very few people have the ability to write good music. Anyone can learn the tricks of the trade and study existing music and music theory and all that and make competent music. “Self-taught” musicians, which is a lot of them these days, can dick around with instruments and computers to make something that sounds cool to them but lacks any sophistication or depth because it is so primitive.

Do you know why we only listen to Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, etc. for classical music? Obviously they weren’t the only classically trained composers writing music at the time. There were many many more composers with the same training as these guys writing music at the same time, but it’s completely forgettable and boring, so it has all been forgotten. It’s remarkable to think that at any given moment in history there were very few men alive writing music that would be worth a fuck after they died.

The same is true today. There is an endless amount of music out there. Some of it is good. Very little of it is great. Truly brilliant pieces of music are diamonds in the rough.

being a composer in the 18th century was like being an astronaut in the 21st century

regarding Mozart:

Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five

how many children in the 18th century do you think had the luxury of having enough musical practice to be “competent on keyboard and violin by the age of 5” ?

i didn’t have a computer until i came to America. i got my first computer when i was 15. today every kid has a smartphone.

the reason we only remember a handful of composers from the times of Mozart is because there weren’t that many to begin with.

how often do you listen to live orchestra versus Spotify ? you couldn’t record or distribute music back then. how would you make money if you couldn’t sell records ?

to be a composer then you would have to come from a well off and supporting family, show talent early on and be lucky to get attention of the right people so they would arrange for you to perform in front of somebody important, then that somebody would have to like your music and then it would be up to word of mouth for people to learn about you and even after all that only the aristocrats in major European cities would ever hear your music …

even 20 years ago if you wanted to be famous like Britney Spears you needed to have a daddy with connections in Hollywood who would prostitute you out to producers and after they all nutted in you when you were 12 years old you would be put on a track to where if you didn’t commit suicide by the time you were 16 you would become famous by 20 …

today you don’t need anything except a knack for making catchy tunes. that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

the more people make music the more they can take ideas from each other. that’s a good thing.

there is frankly no reason to listen to any of them, any more than there is a reason to ride a horse to work. were they geniuses ? of course. but even the fastest horse is slower than the slowest car.

the reason people listen to classical is because they have no taste of their own so they are forced to listen to what has been pre-selected for them by the mob.

it’s like women will only date a man that other women want. it’s called pre-selection.

women know they are too stupid to know what makes a man worthy so they simply wait until they see other women fighting for some man and they join that fight.

so you get a first woman by lying to her about how you have some projects that are about to make you rich and famous, then you let her catch you cheating with another girl who you told the same lies, then other women see these two hoes fighting over you and they want a piece of the action and so on …

people who listen to classical music are like these hoes.

i don’t listen to classical music because i don’t need music to be pre-selected for me by others.

i go in the exact opposite direction and try to find music that came out in the last few weeks because i trust my own judgement and waiting until others make up their mind on a piece is a waste of time for me.

If you want to develop a real critical appreciation for music, take the music redpill by learning music theory and composition. When you understand how music works, you will notice that almost all of the music out there has the sophistication of a toddler doodling with crayons. That is what happens when you try to teach yourself something that is way too complex for even musical geniuses to understand intuitively. Understanding how it works is also how you summarily dismiss most of the crap out there. You immedietely get it and realize how tired and pedestrian it is.

Then you can go listen to music by geniuses like Maurice Ravel who brought the artform to its peak. No human being alive today can even come close to what guys like that were composing with the depth of musical understanding they had at their disposal. It’s sad that nobody today really bothers to study and master music with the respect it deserves. It’s treated like fucking cooking or something.

Morons today actually think they can make good music by dicking around on a Macbook and a DAW to see what “sounds cool” or whatever dumb shit. Maybe truly gifted artists like Kanye West can do that. It rarely works though.

learning musical theory is one of those things that i dread but will probably have to do at some point.

so i checked this out:

i remember watching this type of stuff on TV in Soviet Union as a kid and it didn’t seem that odd to me at the time.

compared to the pop music of the time it was a bit chaotic but certainly not inferior.

i was never impressed with pop trash like Beatles or Bee Gees even as a small child. it was too retarded for me even when i was like 7 years old.

my pops used to be in some kind of faggot band that made that sort of music, and that’s probably what fucked my older sister up as she still listened to garbage like Beatles, well, or maybe because she thought they were cute or “cool” … or more likely because she was a hippie. an actual, literal, unironical hippie. i remember asking my sister who “punks” were and she said punks were the enemies of hippies.

although i used to fight with my sister a lot in retrospect she was still the best person i have met in my life. anyway, she’s dead.

so i didn’t lean towards punk to spite my sister - not at all - simply it was more in line with my personality. i guess i was always an edgelord on the inside.

pretty much the ONLY music heard in our house that i liked was Jean Michel Jarre, The Doors and Eurythmics.

my own musical interests began to separate from that of my parents and sister when i was around 12 or so. i listened to Metallica, Nirvana, Slayer, Sepultura from about 12 - 16, then to stuff like Korn from about 16-18, then to Trance from about 18-19, then Psytrance and Industrial from about age 20 …

then the RIAA lawsuits started and we entered a dark ages of sorts for music … CDs and File Sharing were already dead by that point … but Streaming was not yet a thing. this was a lost decade for me and probably many others …

it was basically a time when the music industry and people who listen to music both said fuck you to each other … the people have figured out that the only reason physical medium existed was to justify charging people more money …

having tasted mp3 downloads the people refused to continue buying CDs and the industry refused to give away music at what people now perceived would be a reasonable cost … the people wanted to pay $1 per MP3 album download while the industry wanted to continue to charge $15 per physical CD …

then Pandora came out and later Spotify etc. and i eventually returned to regularly trying new music and the period of stagnation has ended and it was renaissance for me, musically.

but yeah so basically i haven’t looked at classical music since i was like a small child and it seems way more ridiculous now then it did then. because compared to the Beatles and Bee Gees it was looking pretty good. classical certainly seemed archaic even then, but at the same time it had a certain air of sophistication to it. it wasn’t a bunch of retarded monkeys jumping around with guitars …

on other hand compared to Jean Michel Jarre …

i definitely preferred and was much more impressed by JMJ than by symphonic orchestra but in retrospect i now see that it was more due to the novelty of what JMJ was doing at the time - he was an innovator. his music in retrospect was not timeless, but quite the opposite - it defined the times. and it wasn’t all that complex - it simply sounded that way because our ears were not accustomed to such a sound so it appeared more impressive than it really was …

and compared to what i listen to now even stuff i listened to 2 years ago is already sounding dated to me.

JMJ sound to my ear is now super specific to that era. i remember it seemed like the sound from the future now it is definitely like some kind of archeological artifact.

and that Maurice Ravel stuff is really good, but it isn’t music at all - it is a performance. it’s like the difference between a Hollywood movie and a Broadway show. they cannot be compared at all.

i admire the skill and talent of everyone involved but it is 99% wasted. just like i am impressed by the amount of work ( and to some extent skill ) that went into building the Egyptian pyramids but it was the most colossal waste of energy in history.

whether it is a Broadway Show or Symphonic Orchestra or Egyptian Pyramids - it is certainly fascinating stuff. but what is fascinating is the sheer scale of waste of human potential.

in case of the Symphonic Orchestra you have 100 people ( not counting any artisans who possibly hand crafted their instruments ) dedicating their entire life to doing the job that a single made-in-china Macbook Pro can do better.

people be like “wow it’s crazy how Beethoven composed while being deaf”

what they don’t realize is all the other composers were almost equally as handicapped by the fact they couldn’t listen to what they were composing either ( unless it was just Piano )

it’s not like they had an orchestra in their room …

they had to write using their imagination and then only hear what it sounds like maybe a year later …

today electronic artists probably don’t compose music at all - they probably go straight to making it - they find out what it sounds like in the process of making it - if it doesn’t sound right they just keep changing it until it does - they probably have no idea why it sounds the way it does and it doesn’t matter …

does this require only a tiny fraction of the skill that guys like Beethoven had ? yes. but so what ? it is the result that matters.

archery probably requires greater skill that piloting a drone does - so what ? does that make archery superior to a drone ? no, the opposite.

we have to be clear - are we admiring the skill of the artist / performer or the result ?

i always focus on the result because focusing on the effort is COMMUNISM.

capitalism rewards results regardless of how they were achieved.

in Artificial Intelligence this would be called End-to-End optimization.