13. May 2011 · Comments Off on Ah Classical Music — A “Serious Buzz-Kill” · Categories: Read Online

My name is Kissy Sell Out. To quickly clear up a couple of things, I am not a girl and I haven’t sold out yet. I am, however, a record producer and international DJ who runs an independent music and design label called San City High. I also host a weekly show on BBC Radio 1 called the Kissy Klub.

The debate is entitled “This House Believes Classical Music Is Irrelevant to Today’s Youth”. It’s taking place tonight and I shall be arguing in favour of the motion. The idea of speaking at a posh university my mother once attended is a terrifying prospect, but if they were going to ask anyone from the new generation currently tearing the music industry rule book to pieces, I guess I’m as good a choice as any. I know that sounds bold and a little naive on paper, but it’s not often that the unique quirks of my life make me the most appropriate person to call upon for a formal debate.

My music has gained a reputation over the years for being as heavily influenced by classical music as it is by modern electro and Nineties speed garage records. I love the idea of danger and risk-taking in music. Many famous classical pieces by Vivaldi, Bach and my favourite composer, Luigi Boccherini, frequently appear in my DJ sets and much of my new album centres around compositions I have written and played on instruments such as cellos, oboes and plucked violas. Mixing all that together is a difficult thing to do, but something I practice doing every day, so hopefully my live DJ shows are as technically tight as they are entertaining.

My knowledge of classical music may seem amateurish in comparison to Stephen Fry; however, it’s not for lack of trying. I have spent hours, days and weeks of my life researching classical music, trawling through compilation CDs and watching the credits roll at the end of a good film to find those precious minutes of heaven. It did occur to me rather quickly that it may well be that the efforts of obsessive record collectors like me (now mp3 download addicts) that prove just how irrelevant classical music really is. Even the arrival of efficient online music stores hasn’t made classical music any easier to get into. Music titles featuring so many numbers in are also a serious buzz-kill.

RTWT by DJ Kissy Sell Out. Or don’t.

I guess it’s good I’m nearing 55. I think classical music’ll last just long enough that I’ll be employed until retirement. After that I’m assuming I’ll be listening to tons of DJ Kissy Sell Out. Oh well.

On the other side is Stephen Fry (man, I love that guy!):

He says it is “a preposterous idea that young people should somehow be denied any particular kind of music”.
“The word ‘relevant’, in itself, is probably one that is like nails on a blackboard. The idea that music should be relevant is an extraordinary idea – relevant to what?”
“Classical music is full of complex changes of beat – it is not about dance, it is about listening,” he says.
“It is about putting your mind inside an aural world and making a journey with your mind – that’s listening, it’s not just about jigging your body – which is fun, don’t get me wrong.
“It’s fine to jig your body, it’s fine to tap your foot, but it’s a different experience to take your mind absolutely on an extraordinary emotional journey, and that’s something that I wouldn’t deny anybody.”
Fry even goes so far as to defend the perceived difficulty of classical music, calling it “a lifetime’s exciting thing”.
“Not everything should be easy and accessible. Not everything is an injection of heroin. Sometimes things are slow and exciting and difficult and ambiguous and challenging.”

RTWT

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