Radiohead Videotape

January 12, 2018


Super interesting video courtesy of my pal Josh Axelman... from the Vox Earworm series that discusses some of the intricacies of music making.

I think the takeaways for a designer, creator, or developer are that:

  1. The crowd clapping off beat is every human being that doesn't know why they like something. There is wisdom in crowds - it is a great song - and sometimes profound ignorance or in this case a mental wiring that makes them literally deaf to the structure underneath. I think there is a takeaway about how much criticism one should listen to.
  2. It is perfectly fine that people don't know why they like something. I don't think the job of the creator is to pull back the curtain or explain the superstructure, and you can like a beautiful app without appreciating the thousands of hours of tedious animating and coding. That is what critics and teachers are for. Some of the mystery and magic are arguably good for a creation to keep around. Otherwise you take the thinking and impact away.
  3. Masking complexity is required to emotionally connect to people. What matters to a listener or generally a receiver or observer of a creation is the gestalt. That is part of why prog rock sucks and why hair metal lost out. The self-indulgence of the artists - long solos without a payoff. Musical interludes that didn't advance a narrative or emotion. Soulless wankery that as a human being you can only care about if you get excited about craftsmanship for its own sake. I could never get into music for musicians, though I do enjoy maniacs like Gilbert Godfrey who is billed as a comedian's comedian. Maybe I just don't like Rush and Cinderella and am wasting mental cycles rationalizing my dislike.
  4. Keep lists to 3 items.

The video (note: it is 10 minutes long).

And the article.