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Pondering the influence of non-musical influences on our musical tastes

Another example regular Backbeat readers might have picked up on is the influence of hundreds of hours in front of video games during my youth. There's no other explanation for my immediate embrace and deep immersion in the chiptunes sound, which utilizes the raw, simple and seemingly unmusical sounds of early digital synthesis as its building blocks. Thank you, Atari 2600, for helping me to see the beauty of those beeps, squawks and burps.

I'm equally as fascinated with Japanese pop. My initial intro to the genre left me disinterested, since I took it to be overly cutesy and saccharine, with very little redeeming musical value. Then came Katamari Damacy, the insane rolling-things-up masterpiece with a soundtrack of fantastic J-pop and J-lounge music. At first I found it kind of annoying, but as I played more, I began to appreciate the amazing variety of influences incorporated in the music.

In this saccharine pop, there were threads of everything from classical music to acid techno, not to mention familiar Western pop (as in Western hemisphere, not country-Western) influences, all bound together with cutesy vocals and hummable melodies.  And if I hadn't played the game, I don't think I ever would have spent enough time with the style to look past its surface qualities and see what it really had to offer.

So what about you? What forces outside of music have conspired to influence your taste in music?

[Ed. note: Eryc Eyl pondered this exact same topic from an entirely different perspective in a pair of March installments of his Mile High Makeout column.]


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