I. CRITERION OF AESTHETIC VALUES
The music leaves little or no aesthetic impression, relying on a sparse range of means of sonic expression, which are used in a routine, chaotic way, lacking concept. The unity of the form and the content is upset. The arrangements are predictable and hardly varied. The sonic textures are unprocessed (or only slightly processed) if compared with the output of the factory settings of instruments (devices) and computer software. Instances of glaring and unwarranted stylistic incoherence, lengthy unwarranted/pointless loops and repetitions of sonic, rhythm and vocal motifs. The vocals don’t logically complement the sonic aspect (or do so to a limited extent), interfering with the composition structure. Obvious indications of neglect when it comes to the technical aspect of the recordings, which directly affects perception of the music.
The music periodically produces mono-dimensional aesthetic impressions, associated with relatively unsophisticated emotional states. It employs a range of means of sonic expression but they are used in a conventional and routine manner. The arrangements are varied, occasionally elaborate but the formal solutions seem overly accidental and ill-conceived, which as a result interferes with coherence of the narration and close unity of the form with the content. Multi-layered structurally on many instances, it involves sound textures processed in a routine and predictable way. Stylistically, the album is mostly coherent. Although the sonic palette is quite varied, the instruments/devices seem to have been used in an inconsistent, ill-conceived and conservative way, which results in a tilted balance between composition and free improvisation. The vocals logically and stylistically complement the sonic content, but fail to enhance the aesthetic impression as they are used in unvaried manner. The technical aspect of the recordings doesn’t leave much to be desired, and thus doesn’t affect the perception of music.
Throughout most its duration, the album produces intense and sophisticated aesthetic impressions. A wide range of means of sonic expressions used in a creative way. The arrangements are varied, involving multi-layered sonic structures of varied tonality. High level of compositional discipline aimed to maintain coherence of style and narration. The music relies on sonically rich, unconventional textures that determine the composition’s trajectory and dynamics. The correct proportions between composition and improvisation maintained. Motifs that are the main structural reference points are not protracted unnecessarily. Various composing techniques are combined, which doesn’t interfere with the pacing and stylistic coherence. No faults with the technical aspect of the recordings found.
II. CRITERION OF ORIGINALITY
The music is excessively derivative both of other artists’ works and previous works from the artist. Its aesthetics barely make it stand out from other productions, its composer failing to convey through his work traits of his/her personality and temperament. The musical content fits an already developed style, with no aesthetics to enrich the genre or give it any new qualities or characteristics. Numerous instances of self-plagiarism, of obvious and uncreative recycling of musical and sonic motifs. The non-musical content (lyrics, artwork) deals with widely known motifs and subjects in a routine manner, which doesn’t expand an already developed convention or the context for deeper artistic discourse.
The work fits the conventions of the genre, relying on its primary aesthetic qualities. It doesn’t contain any innovative means of expression that would make it stand out from other artists’ works and previous works of the artist. The music seems to show, to an extent, traits of his/her personality and to convey his/her intellectual and emotional involvement in the composing process. The non-musical content deals with relatively novel subjects, making attempts to show them in a new context, albeit in a superficial and one-sided manner.
The musical content, if kept within a given convention, is highly innovative with regard to generating, editing, and processing of sounds (pre-made textures), which gives the genre new qualities and makes the work stand out from the artist’s catalogue. The artist manages to make his/her personality visible throughout the album, also in its non-musical content. The artwork and the lyrics deal with subjects that are either entirely novel or already covered yet skilfully and creatively processed, owing to which the artist manages to find in it new cognitive elements and subsequently emphasise fresh and crucial aspects of their impact on the audience. Thanks to unique arrangements, musical narration, means of sonic expression, lyrics, and the artwork, the work is easily recognisable on each level of its physical presence.
III. CRITERION OF COMMUNICATION
The work barely makes a plane of communication between the artist and the audience, being devoid of cognitive functions. The musical structure contains no means of sonic expression able to send or at least attempt to send an artistic message in either intellectual or emotional aspect. The employed musical convention is not enhanced with any other means of expression or narration that could provide additional stimuli to evoke reflections or emotional states in the audience. The title of the album has no (or very little) relevance to the musical content. Moreover, there are no track titles or other information to give insight into the emotional and intellectual context of the music.
The stylistic elements necessary for establishing of the emotional or intellectual contact with the audience are there, but they are not developed. The course that the musical narration follows is not thought-through or is excessively eclectic, which affects the coherence of the artistic message and, consequently, communication on the musical level. The cognitive function elements can be found but their articulation doesn’t seem convincing. The employed musical convention is only marginally enhanced with additional means of musical narration, which only slightly widens the possibilities of artistic communication. The tracks and the album itself have titles but they don’t appear to provide more profound insight into the work.
A concept album with interrelation of sonic narration, genre features and non-musical elements enhancing and complementing the musical content. Coherent and consistent with regard to application of the means of sonic expression, providing a clear context for reception of the music. The cognitive function is easily identifiable and closely related to the applied formula of impact on the audience on the emotional and intellectual level. The title of the album is closely related to the subjects dealt with in the musical content, and the tracks themselves have titles clearly referring to the characteristics of the musical content as well as to the non-musical, e.g. literary and graphic, aspects of the work which reinforce the aesthetic impressions of the music.
IV. CRITERION OF ARTWORK
The artwork doesn’t convey the characteristics of the musical content due its minimalism and the artist’s negligent approach to the overall effect. Its technical quality is very poor. Standard packaging, no inserts/booklets or other elements of graphic enhancement of the musical content.
Regular or unusual design of the artwork meeting minimal technical quality standards. The cover relates to the musical content. No inserts/booklets or other elements of graphic enhancement of the musical content.
Unusual packaging; the cover and inserts/booklets or other elements of the artwork fully reflect or creatively complement the musical content. The artwork design and packaging meet minimal technical quality standards unless the packaging is clearly DIY.
Ratings: 1-3,9 (The average over four above ratings)
The release fails to meet basic standards of a valuable work. It is devoid of (or has very few) elementary aesthetic qualities appealing to the audience, able to initiate in them a reflection process on the emotional and intellectual levels.
The release meets basic standards of a valuable work. However, it fails to go beyond the genre characteristics, not having a set of formal assets strong enough to make the album unique within the genre. Little potential to produce the intended aesthetic impressions in the audience.
The release fully meets basic standards of a valuable work. It is unique relative to the artist’s other works, but more importantly, to the entire genre, giving it new qualities. It has significant and varied potential to produce the intended aesthetic impressions in the audience.