The WAVE. Yuppie elevator music. I can still remember vividly, listening around 1988, as KMET 94.7 FM, a hard rock station in LA since the early 1960’s, spent two weeks shutting down. The station played tape for two full weeks without any interruption except station ID, the best unrepeated rock ever. No announcers, no commercials, nothing but a countdown for two full weeks. “12 days.” “11 days.” then hourly for the last couple of days.
Finally. In the enclosed patio in the back of a rented house in Reseda, CA: “The WAVE”.
And it was, TRULY, yuppie elevator music. Smooth jazz, eclectic folk, trip hop at the beginning of the genre. My initial reaction was to hate it.
When you work in construction you hear “classic rock”. A LOT of classic rock. It is a middle of the road music, less offensive and abrasive than heavy metal or punk rock, less misunderstood than musica en espanol. It gets very old. Rock is not conducive to accomplishments in an office – invoicing, mailing lists, stuff you must do as a contractor and even as an artist. I find rock music, actually most music distracting, difficult to listen to and still concentrate on work that requires a lot of thought. At least, without having to work against the music and rhythm.
Rock and physical activity, yes. I recall working in the chill of a morning, as the dew evaporated from surfaces, and cranking Deep Purple’s “Highway Star”, or Blondie’s “Atomic”. Working becomes dancing – painting can become like that too, but there’s still too much concentration, thought even if momentary – jazz works much better, and trip hop.
But not for thinking, working things out, going through details.
I hated the WAVE, but I found myself fascinated with the eclectic nature of the music. It was NOT stuff I had heard over and over, and rather than communicating a deep tribal compelling rhythm, is brought across a serenity, a quiet. Susan Ciani, Enigma, David Arkenstone, Enya, Basia, Sade. Jazz, new age, even classic jazz. I found myself listening to it because I mentally hit a better concentration with this than any other style of music.
A fellow cabinetmaker and I had the same reaction when the WAVE first came out – just an instant dislike in the gut. Four or five weeks later he and I worked on a project together, and we confessed, both, to actually liking the station quite a bit.
I’m currently listening to Babble’s CD Ether, and liking it quite a bit. My current playlist on my
IAudio 4GB player is:
- Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew
- Babble’s Ether
- Aya’s Strange Flower and Blue Six’s Beautiful Tomorrow
- Bitter-Sweet’s Drama and The Mating Game
- Zero 7’s The Garden and When it Falls and Simple Things
- another Mile Davis (Kind of Blue)
- Supreme Beings of Leisure
- a Narada Music Bach Variations compilation
- David Arkenstone’s Valley in the Clouds and also Spirit Wind
- Rachel Z’s Everlasting
- Van Halen Women and Children First
- Kirsty McCall Electric Landlady and Tropical Brainstorm
- Jean Luc Ponty Imaginary Voyage
- Alannis Morrisette Acoustic Jagged Little Pill
- The Dandy Warhols, The Odditorium and Welcome to the Monkey House
It’s like the WAVE jarred musical preconceptions loose and twenty years later you have this list