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March 2020
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

"I Suspect My Tastes Are More Esoteric Than Yours."
Said a show attendee to me during FLAX 2020.
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin


"I Suspect My Tastes Are More Esoteric Than Yours."


  Like many comedians, audio journalists get great article (joke) ideas during our experience within the world we experience around us. Am sure our readers know that the Florida Audio Expo (FLAX) the past month was a resounding success! Exhibit rooms were up ~50%(!), from around 44 in 2019 to 61 in 2020 as I recall. The mix of attendees are also perhaps one of the most vibrant and varied of any American event too! While overly oppressed and deteriorating US States are seeing a decline in residence, Florida is one of, if not the highest rated US State for new residence. Within my location here in Florida, only an hour from FLAX, the immense growth and wealth coming into the area boggles the mind!

If you're a company seeking to expand your business in custom home and business audio/video installation, we need you here NOW! Freestanding homes are relatively reasonable, too, at $400k to well into the many million$ depending on location and square footage. Warm weather all-year long, clean beaches, tropical waters, and as Pitbull says "Sexy beaches, hotels".... Florida is right now bucking the trend of other States that are experiencing high crime, high taxes, and a decline in citizens.

As you have probably already surmised, Florida has a divine diverse culture too, which brings with it some amazing food and music choices! Enjoy the Musc.com is still posting room coverage from FLAX 2020, as am personally hoping to cover 40 or so of the 60 exhibit rooms personally while also juggling day-to-day tasks. To satisfy you, our longtime and newfound enthusiasts, we desire having the highest word count, and photos, of any site online. Remember to check back daily, Monday through Friday, for more FLAX 2020 coverage so you don't miss some great info we have online!

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And now to the topic at hand....


"I Suspect My Tastes Are More Esoteric Than Yours."
That is word-for-word what an attendee of FLAX 2020 sad to me. Yet let's back up the truck and not get ahead of ourselves. The day started waking up in bed next to my Muse, wife, and musical inspiration Heather. She looked so radiant in bed wearing only a satisfied smile, as her silky soft warm skin felt.... Oh, wait. Ok, let's fast-forward a bit!


During FLAX 2020 Heather and I had breakfast at the event's hotel and then visited many rooms during the show. Generally it goes a bit like this:

1) Walk into the room

2) Greet the exhibitor

3) Schmooze a bit and if there are many attendees within their room, either wait on schmoozing or point that we should head outside the room so as not to disturb the attendees from carefully analyzing the sound within said room.

4) Discuss with exhibitor....

5) Take pics, listen, and write listening notes.


An oversimplification for sure, yet the above are some good basics of how I roll. YMMV. Of course there are times, such as this one room during FLAX, where it was myself, the exhibitor, and one other older than myself attendee (am in my mid 50s, yet some say I act childish, or is that child-like?). Upon entering the room, the exhibitor asked me what I'd like to listen to. As am sure many longtime readers know, during shows we hear plenty of Gwendolyn DuPree and her Magic Singling Lute music. Sure I admire Mrs. DuPree's talents, yet after 20, 30... 40 rooms you can get a bit tired of it. So when the exhibitor asked me what I'd like to listen to my reply was something non-audiophile.

Thus asked for bands such as / along the lines of Rush, King Crimson, Tool, Porcupine Tree.... For me, it is a much-needed pause from hearing yet another room (again) playing Gwendolyn's excellent recordings. Upon my asking for something less than audiophile, the older-than-myself gentleman said to me, and I quote word-for-word here as have one of them-there newfangled doo-hickeys called a tablet computer, and he said "I suspect my tastes are more esoteric than yours".

While some might take this as... I took it as a good thing. As a musician specializing in percussion and drums, am always a proponent of musical diversity. This is not to say I love and/or 'appreciate' all genres of music mind you, and to hear them over and over and over again during the day, yet very much do appreciate the vast styles of music humans have created since the dawn of time. So in the name if seeking some musical diversity within my day at FLAX 2020, it appears an attendee has a "more esoteric" style(s) of music he prefers. To you sir, I celebrate your musical choices! In fact will defend your ability in having said choice until the day I die.


Which Brings Us To...
Popular music back in the day, whatever day that may be depending on your age, probably also had more diversity and (dare we say) talent. The older you are, the more talent it took to produce the background music (am sure there are exceptions, and remember that all generalization are wrong on a long enough timeline). Of course how does one judge the talent of, say, Jimi Hendrix or Les Paul to Andrés Segovia or Earl Klugh? If you listen to 2020 popular music on the radio, perhaps hip-hop heavy auto-tune enabled electronic drum beat laced tunes are not your preference. While all generalizations are wrong 100% of the time (eventually), I generally find today's overly computer composed and effects driven music to be far too repetitive and not that which 'challenges' a human's nearly infinitely creative mind. Sometimes I wonder if the music we heard within cartoons / animation as a young child has an overly high effect to that which we choose as an adult.

For me, it was Bugs Bunny and the like with fun classical music performed by a real / human-performed orchestra. For recent young adults, it seems to be techno and electronically-based, with virtually never an humanly-played acoustic instrument or orchestra. Not even a fun jazz band as I thoroughly enjoyed when watching the Jetsons. It's silly, it's fun, and the message is of love. Here's one of my fave Jetson's songs during an episode, and yes it features George doing a drum solo. Go Boom-Boom, go get 'em dad! Zoom!



And just for the heck of it, will post the 1995 Violent Femmes cover / interpretation of the above song.



So getting back to the esoteric nature of one's musical preference, it also might depend on which country you grew up in. Here's the theme song to the original (and best in the series imho) Ultraman. Love me some of the Japanese jazz music! Notice the positively powerful, Superhero-like, acoustic orchestration too!



If you listen to cartoon / animation / anime music of recent, it is very diverse yet ask yourself how much of it is created by MIDI / pure computer composition versus real human performers?



So I pose this food-for-thought question to you, is one of the higher factors for your love of certain "esoteric" styles of music partially a product of your youth from say 5 years old until you're 25 or so? Is your chosen musical esoterica partially based on which generation of human, and location, you experienced? Am truly glad the gentleman at FLAX said what he did, as it would not have been the inspiration to scribble out this editorial piece. It also might highlight the fact that the (overly) electronic music human youths experience today globally has resulted in today's popular music as a dominant force, with lack of real / live (dare I say talented versus computer-based and auto-tune dependent vocals) human musical artists as a result.

As for me? Am a fan of Schoolhouse Rock Twelve Toes. While the video below is decent, please listen to "Little Twelvetoes" by Bob Dorough on Qobuz in FLAC for better sound quality.


As always, in the end what really matters is that you...


Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

























































































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