|Bob Thompson Music|
Bob Thompson's arrangement of "Moonglow" is nothing out of the ordinary, other than that it appears in one of the hottest scenes in movie history--William Holden and Kim Novak dancing in the movie Picnic (1955).
"Chemistry" between people on screen is something that audiences can feel, but it is so elusive to pin down visually. You can say it is "how people look at each other" or "move with each other" but it cannot be measured by computers and I hope it never can be.
Some music is elusive to me in that way. I can tell I am responding to something special in a song but I don't know what exactly I am responding too. It wouldn't be visible if I looked at the sheet music. But to hear the music in the hands of certain people is true magic because it creates something out of what appears to be very little. When hearing certain bands I will turn to my Muse and say "these guys have the intangibles" and what others probably mean by feel, swing, or even groove.
William Holden and Kim Novak were definitely in the groove. Scanning Wikipedia, there really is very little agreement on what "groove" means, and I like that. Some say groove is entirely subjective, and some say it is measurable and has to do with being slightly ahead or behind the beat. (You can actually program 'swing' into drum machines by putting milliseconds before or after the beat.) The more mechanical a rhythm is the less it swings and the less soul it has, unless you are a really clever person in Devo.
Here's someone that did try to explain Groove:
Groove is a cognitive temporal phenomenon emerging from one or more carefully aligned concurrent rhythmic patterns, characterized by...perception of recurring pulses, and subdivision of structure in such pulses,...perception of a cycle of time, of length 2 or more pulses, enabling identification of cycle locations, and...effectiveness of engaging synchronizing body responses (e.g. dance, foot-tapping)"
One definition of Groove I particularly like, by someone called Steve Van Telejuice, says that when the groove is in effect: "even the people who can't dance wanna feel like dancing..." That would be me.
I can't tell you why, but I think the Black Lips make music that is light on sophistication and heavy, heavy, heavy on the intangibles. It's wild, drunken and twisted.
I imagine Bob would say groove only can be felt and don't worry at all about trying to explain it...Boy, you worry too much!
Spenser Thompson shares anecdotes, music, and videos from Bob Thompson's music career plus thoughts on artists from Duke to Devo.