Here’s a game I used to play in college when my friends and I were killing time before class. All it takes is a piece of paper, a writing utensil and some imagination.
Start with a topic everyone is familiar with (let’s do actresses). Now draw two intersecting axes and pick different adjectives that apply to that topic (say, acting ability and sex appeal). The finished product is a bastardized Cartesian plane that let’s you describe the topic using two different qualitative variables (is this getting too math-y yet?). Now here comes the fun part: start plotting points. You’ll get something like this:
Don’t agree with the graphic above? Of course you don’t. That’s the whole point of the game. Get prepared to spend hours arguing. Switch around the topic and adjectives until you run out of ideas. Some topics that have worked well for me include fast food restaurants, movies we’ve all seen—especially Disney movies—and (everyone’s favorite) the opposite sex. You can also try expanding this game into the third dimension (it gets very hard to draw) or even an arbitrary n-space (virtually impossible).
It’s fun to think about music this way, too. Imagine you’re trying to describe the sound of the Bloody Beetroots to a deaf person. What would you say? It’s hard to accurately describe music with words. And it’s impossible to do so using the method I explained above. Still, if I had to put the Italian duo’s sound on a made-up coordinate system, I think I’d draw something like this:
These guys perfectly straddle the line between music and noise. I don’t mean that as an insult or a compliment, just an observation on their style. Someone actually once said to me “Is your computer skipping, or is the song supposed to sound like that?”
Below is a song from their recently-released Christmas Vendetta EP. It’s a perfect case study. The first seventeen seconds are just distorted guitar whining noises. The song itself is heavy, screechy and repetitive. You can tell Bob Rifo grew up listening to a lot of hardcore punk music. I think it sounds fantastic, but I can totally see why someone else might think it sounds like a broken computer. Love it or hate it, I definitely wouldn’t recommend listening to it after a night of heavy drinking.