"…and aren't you glad it did?"

“lifted with thanks from Royal’s World Countdown Music Newspaper
gestetnered by The communication company (u.p.s.) 3/25/67”

HOW DID IT HAPPEN?
by Doc Stanley

The Electronic Age is upon us and magnificent and fantastic changes occur with alarming rapidity. As a poet frind of mine said, “The name of the game is CHANGE” and change it does. The rate of change is so greatly accelerated that some pessimists whisper that the only constant is change itself. News and information is transmitted with the speed of light and everywhere has become the same place. The interaction and inter-change at the speed of light has altered the nature of time and thus there is only HERE and NOW when it comes to the eternal questions of where and when. The level of information available has become so high that it is impossible to contain it all within words and pictures. No man can keep abreast of even the front edge of man’s knowledge and thus he must emply another method of understanding his environment. The other method of learning or developing understanding is feeling. When you can’t know, all you can do is feel. And this is the job of the contemporary music. Music makes you feel, and our brothers in Tibet go further and hold that music is a liberation. Music that contains life gives life to the listener. Music that contains love gives love to the listener. Whatever the music contains, this will be experienced by the listener and with the techniques of High Fidelity Sterophonic Recording every nuance and shading of emotion and feeling can be captured and reproduced anytime, anywhere. This is the magic of popular, contemporary electronic music. It is perhaps the strongest magic ever to be commonly available. It furthers one to view the changes which have occurred in our music, which is the standard of the world, from the point of power, poetry and presence. Its power is that of Hoover Dam. The waters of the Grand Canyon turn the turbines and distort the magnetic field of the earth and send as many kilowatts of power direct to as many stages of amplification as you care to put on the otherside of that precision keyfield which is your guitar. You can have as much power as you care to pay for. Poetry has been fused to power and the strength of the muse has been added to or mutliplied by the power of Hoover Dam. There is no better lyric poetry than modern lyrics in contemporary popular music. The greatest poets of this age are writing songs because the rewards are too great not to. A nickel a band on a million seller is a greater chunk of money than most poets of former generations ever saw in a lifetime. The presence is the immediacy, the here and now, and the ability to reproduce, not only the simular of the music but nine nines of reality, with every fraction of sound intact and distortion free. The key is in the feeling. That’s what the music does–it programs feeling. Harvey Miller said this when he said thet kids use the music to communicate with each other. Not the words or the ideas, that of course, but the feeling. It takes a lot of young girls calling the radio station to push a song on the play list into the top ten. There must be something in the song to motivate such a large number of persons to place a sufficient number of calls to make this thing happen. This something is the feeling produced by the song. Record executives, promoters, A & R men, DJs all have a saying, “If it has it in the grooves, it’ll be a hit.” That “it” in the grooves is the generation of feeling which is sought by the listener. Particular feelings arise in life; like all other similar vectors they will sum and the radio will feed those feelings which emerge as part of the common whole back into the listening populace, in phase which will produce an emotional resonance which is a breakout hit. Plato said it well in Book III of the Republic, “. . . Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward pieces of the soul on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace…”

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About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in the rural wilderness of Joshua Tree, California, where I am a partner in JTHomesteader.com with Stephanie Smith.

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