The second and final part of our investigation into musical genres and their corresponding tattoos. Last time we looked at the more commercial side of music, this time we aim to get more specific: so, One, Two, Three… take it away!
These days we seem to have a constant, insatiable appetite for music. Music puts us in the right mood, brings our dreams and fantasies to life, briefly transports us to a problem-free place where everything is just perfect, a place without past or future where we can enjoy an intense present of energy and passion – and tens of thousands of decibels. Concerts are the apotheosis of the experience: for years you dream of seeing your favourite band and once you’re there all you can do is let yourself go and sing at the top of your voice: you don’t even realise you’re doing it and you feel oddly at one with the thousands of others in the crowd… and in the end, perhaps only a few days later, you realise what a magical moment it was, the sheer pathos of that moment.
Music & tattoos: both remarkable, eclectic art forms, both life-affirming expressions able to draw on our most human, subtle inner feelings, both synonymous of freedom in its purest form: of expression, thought and of life itself.
Trip Hop began in Bristol (United Kingdom) in the ‘90s. An offshoot of electronic music (hip hop and house), it stands out from the latter on account of its slower, dream-like rhythms. Lyrics might be sung rap-style or softly; in any case, in both music and vocals, the defining quality is the focus on dreams. Trip hop is a sort of psychedelic electronic genre, played with both samplers and classic instruments such as string and wind. The biggest names in this genre are undoubtedly Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead. Cult albums: Mezzanine by Massive Attack.
Corresponding tattoos: American-style Japanese designs, geometric figures with intense colouring-in.
New Wave arose from the ashes of punk at the end of the ’70s. As early as the late ‘70s there were already groups that would give a clear idea of where this genre was headed: with the appearance of Joy Division first and then New Order, the cradle of the movement was, in many ways, Manchester. Dark lyrics, a deep bass, the first electronic influences and decadent characters have given rise to a transcendental genre that still has millions of fans today. Ian Curtis of Joy Division, Robert Smith of The Cure, Peter Murphy of Bauhaus were, perhaps, its most charismatic representatives. Cult pieces: Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division.
Corresponding tattoos: portraits and floral-style decorations.
Jazz originated out of the tales of the African slaves who had been deported to the United States. While some refer to it as Afro-American music it is clear that jazz is now composed, listened to and played by people all over the world. It was originally based on a fusion of elements of African music with cultured European music. One of the peculiarities of jazz is undoubtedly improvisation: this started out as a simple variation on an initial theme and has since gone on to acquire ever-greater importance.
Corresponding tattoos: musical instruments belonging to the genre.
In most cases this kind of music is produced by a DJ with the aid of specific programmes. One of the key features of techno is its throbbing beat with violent bass, percussion and rhythm at 4 quarter note pulses per bar (4/4). The main feature of techno is, though, its linearity: the tempo of the entire piece essentially remains unchanged. Techno is often confused with trance simply because the two genres are often hosted at the same venues, such as rave events. In truth they differ enormously in terms of both characteristics and the type of sounds used.
Corresponding tattoos: Polynesian tribals and traditional.
While heavily influenced by hip-hop music, nu metal is not a genre that lends itself to easy classification. On the one hand, heavy metal fans do not consider it a derivative of their genre: if anything they scathingly refer to it as “aluminium” to highlight the contrast with pure “heavy metal”. Then there are fans who take a completely different slant and see a strong affinity with other genres, mainly rock and hip hop. Deftones, Korn and Limp Bizkit are generally cited as the more eclectic NM pioneers, while bands such as Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against The Machine are considered their forebears. Cult bands: Korn.
Corresponding tattoos: Japanese, comix, traditional.
Of Irish origin, country is, today, the most widely diffused genre in the United States of America. Nashville (in Tennessee) is considered the capital of country, with Tennessee and Texas being the states where it’s played the most.
Corresponding tattoos: portraits of American Indians, horses in realistic style.
Come back to Rock & Tattoo part 1