It’s simple really – there’s more than one beat.
The music of western popular culture – millions of songs, millions of compositions, in all kinds of styles – uses a 4/4 rhythm to an excessive degree. As if every painting had to use one colour.
Some would say that rock and pop music needs to use four beats to the bar in order to be enjoyable. Many musicians haven’t a clue how to express themselves outside of the tyranny of 4, having gone through their lives without hearing an example of anything else. Some would say that breaking out of these rules are too ‘difficult’, an exercise in hard work for both creators and listeners.
Meanwhile, children exposed to traditional music in Spain and India and elsewhere can sing or clap along in all manner of time signatures. All of us are subliminally exposed to complex composing via film and TV music. And the handful of chart pop singles that have used 5/4, 7/8 and odd dropped-in bars testament to the myth that there’s something intrinsically ‘difficult’ to it. Plus we’re all familiar with waltz time.
The Other Rock Show seeks out music that has dived right in to the other colours. It’s about music that is experimental in structure rather than sonics. Until recently, much of the playlist has come from the rich experimentalism of Progressive Rock, together with the few obscure, barely-surviving bands rare as hen’s teeth, scattered across the globe. But the last few years has seen the ideas break free from the ridiculous stigmatization of prog, and be embraced for what it is – another colour, simple freedom.