THE MESHUGGAH QUARTET
Applying Meshugga’s composition techniques to a quartet.
It seems that a big gap exists between some kinds of music. It’s probably
difficult to imagine a cross-over made out of a mix of two styles that appearently are
very distant at a level of culture, sound and places of existence. Despite appearences,
it is possible to bring back from a totally different musical environment, rich
elements that would help us to renew our language and progress on an original
Meshuggah is a Swedish extreme metal band, formed in 1987 in Umea. They
have succeeded in obtaining a personal sound due to their relentless work throughout
the years. Their music can appear to be hardly accessible because of the violence
released in both the music and lyrics. However, someone who can take some
hindsight, can appreciate the incredible hard work of their composition expecially in
terms of their composed rythms which are very relevant for a jazz musician.
Jazzmen as Dan Weiss, in his Ode to Meshuggah or composers as Derek Johnson in
his composition Frozen Light or Infinite Plunge have been inspired by Meshuggah, for they are
working on the same idea in terms of the rythm and construction of the songs. It is
therefore common for a jazz musician, who is usually open to a lot of different
cultures, to at least have heard about this band.
In this thesis, I’ll will try to show what conclusions I made. I will
briefly resume the different techniques extracted from my transcriptions and explain
how I applied them to my arrangements and compositions, but also how I deviated
this language to create a different one, straddling Meshuggah’s language and my own
composition techniques and visions of harmony.