Friday, March 27, 2009

But what would the Mafa make of The Arcade Fire?

There are about a million things wrong with this study that lays claim to Western music's innate ability to convey emotion. I haven't read the academic journal article but on the basis of the Nat Geo report, I have about a million questions, starting with "where is the control study?" How exactly does Western music convey emotion in ways that, say, traditional Japanese music doesn't? I probably should track down the tracklist they used for this experiment, but a simple formula along the lines of "slow tempo = sad music, fast tempo = happy music" seems to apply itself quite well to music from radically distinct cultures, so how was this study able to distinguish the affectations of rhythm/tempo from those of melody?

Maybe they should have used the new movie trailer for and asked the Mafa if it represented a happy or a sad movie. Maybe they could help me figure it out, because I watch that clip and swing through a superposition of highs and lows that leave me essentially wrecked at the end of two minutes. The clips around 0:45 are the parts that suck out my heart the most, where Max is peering around the doorway in his animal suit, a lonely boy who wants nothing more than to vanish in the night and escape to a world that's his and his alone, and using Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" is the perfect choice for capturing all this childlike brooding and wonder, and do I ever want to see this movie after viewing the trailer and no, I couldn't give a crap that the book is like thirty pages long and so how are they possibly going to extend that into a full-length movie. I think the only way to ruin it completely would be to choke the movie with too much dialogue, because the book's magic lay in the wonderment of its images. Any convoluted plot that invents some sort of diabolical evil for them to vanquish could turn into a disaster because the book isn't about the conflict between good and evil, it's about the conflict between fantasy and reality.

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