How did you come up with the idea for greyscale?
Alex: So I’ve been playing around with the idea of creative music criticism for sometime, and last fall before I went abroad I tried to write poetry to new albums to explore how the mind takes in new music, especially the album as a unit, how the mind adapts to an album as it’s listening to it, and how my poetry specifically would adapt to that. That’s interesting, but it’s just my perspective. So I revisited that idea this summer and decided that it needed a broadening of perspective, so I reached out to a lot of artists on campus who I’ve seen perform, just have a passion for music and their own art, or I’ve been impressed by, and they all seemed very interested. So I’ve just been working from there to create a sort of portfolio around new music.
What is the format of a typical meeting?
It’s a two week cycle for any given new album that has been released about a month or two from the date of the meeting. There is a listening party at the beginning of the cycle, and we just have fun, listen to the album, and then talk about it and give our initial reactions. Then you have two weeks to produce something. We want it to be timely, both to encourage each other to just put our work out there and not sit on it and also to play into the idea of music criticism responding to something in a timely manner. It’s new music; we want our responses to come out in accordance to when the music is coming out. After that two week cycle we publish the work in a digital format. We might start having live shows for the artists who feel that their work is better suited for a live audience.
Greyscale’s first cycle ends Monday October 5th. The club is responding to Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion. There have been poetic responses, musical responses deconstructing her music, and other visual art.
How did you pick Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion? How do you decide on the album for each cycle?
My goal far down the line is to have several albums going at once, because choosing just one album can be limiting for people involved, and also for the the readers who want to see a multiplicity of albums and music. I chose Carly Rae because I knew it would be challenging for people. I knew it was an album that a lot of people already had preconceived notions about, but hadn’t actually listened to. Also, by challenging them, I wanted the artists to explore their reactions to the album whether they be negative or positive. So if you don’t like the album, why? What are you seeing in yourself that is reacting to this negatively and in an almost instinctual way? How does that come to be?
A lot of people I’ve spoken to aren’t used to listening to new music, which is in itself a pretty new experience for people because they are seeing parts of themselves that they aren’t used to. And on top of that, forcing yourself to listen to something that you don’t think you’ll like brings out even more of that underneath part of yourself where your music taste develops.
Where are meetings held?
We had our first meeting at music house, and listening parties are at 65 pearl. Right now we are playing it by ear, and locations are changing.
I think it is a really good thing to have on campus in relation to the other publications and it can work along side auralwes and Method. It also provides a unique exploration of music criticism with the addition of art by artists on campus.
How did you come up with the name?
We went through a few names but everyone really liked the sound and the tune of greyscale. Scale is for music scale, and also the tradition style of rating on a scale. So it’s interacting with both music criticism as a form and music as a form. “Grey” is the grey area of music criticism which isn't really talked about, but a lot of it stems from my person issues with music criticism trying to be objective when it is so extremely subjective. Every listener is so different in what they bring from their personal history and background that it is not black and white. An album can’t be decided by one listener. As a group of artists, we’re not trying to say “No, this is the right way to think about it.” We are embracing the opposite. We are embracing the subjectivity. We encourage you to respond to that too.
- Meg West '19