About my ratings.
A highly complex work is aesthetically worthless without (at least somewhat) commensurate depth; i.e. coherent and meaningful structuring of the material, which is required of all forms of expression to be of any real value. The magnitude of the depth is dependent on the complexity of a work; with zero complexity there can be no material at all, but complexity without depth, that is to say without meaning, is just boring, or even nonsensical (or as in the case of negative depth--material made with the dickless ambition to sound 'challenging', because the composer is a pretentious hipster, and this is how subhumans compete socially with one another--which by all healthy accounts sounds just fucking atrocious).
Listening to 'progressive' (a term which in modern times has come to designate almost its antonym) music that amounts to mere technical demonstration is comparable to reading a thesaurus, which can be relatively instructive, but when these masturbators take themselves so seriously that they elevate their aesthetically useless shred above all other--or actual--artforms, they are more akin to the pseudo-intellectual, spewing meaningless hard-word drivel in order to appear as something they are not. While there undoubtedly is some power in spouting difficult nonsense, it does not make it aesthetically meaningful.
"...every new artistic means that is evolved (instrument, technique, mechanic) expands an artform's possibility space, thereby increasing — not only the potential for a higher, more complicated and more aesthetically pleasing work, but at the same time the potential for a more wretched work than has hitherto been possible." -- Alex Kierkegaard (On the Genealogy of "Art Games": A Polemic*)
That is why the most banal punk song will always be superior to infinitely more technically advanced garbage (even if it's an abortion of a punk song, it can not possibly be more terrible than the greater abortion), like most Technical Death Metal; it is called 'technical' precisely because that's about the only way one could describe that unaesthetic wankery; the coinage is in itself a euphemism to divert one's attention from the fact that it is absolutely appalling to listen to. This is the same trick that talentless, degenerate artists have employed since the impressionists began ruining painting, by claiming to be making 'impressions' rather than very poor paintings (now compare that clutter, unworthy even of a child's doodling, to what real painters were doing at that time). It's the same thing when pseudo-artists resort to the artspeak tactic of externally embellishing their pretentious garbage with flowery buzzwords that might help them make other people take their abortions seriously (specifically, to make people suspend their judgements and surrender in the face of affected authority), the word "art" being imbued with downright 'holy' connotations.
"It is the strict equivalent of the Christian cross, which the believer displays prominently and at all times in order to ward off the forces of the Devil. And just as the Christian has a set of stock phrases that he is ready to mouth off whenever the need arises (the prayers), many of which can fill up entire pages or even entire books, but all of which, after you peel away all the layers of absurd dogmas and retarded arguments, basically boil down to 'Please God do this for me', so too the abortive fends off attempts at critique of his bungled efforts with some variation of verbal swill which, once you peel away all its absurdities, obscurantisms and self-contradictions, boils down to 'Hands off! — for I am (wait for it)... an artist!'."
-- Alex Kierkegaard (On the Genealogy of "Art Games": A Polemic)
While we all have preferences, our tastes are not in any way arbitrary, but grounded in our physiological needs; just as the body requires nutrition, so do we seek to satisfy our aesthetic needs through consumption of simulacra; we consume these representations, these artifices for the sensations they trigger. Sensations we, for one reason or another, can not (or will not) actualize in the real world (though that is not to say that these representations aren't themselves real--it is precisely because the mind recognizes the artifice as real that it can be a substitute in the first place). Apart from the complexity and depth parameters, the value of a work for any given individual ultimately depends on the subjective factor (one that is intersubjectively meaningful to speak of): whether or not I have need of and [can therefore] enjoy the subject matter determines whether a work has any value, for me. Such is the case for every sincere critic, whether he realizes it or not--all else is mendacious idealization. To what extent I enjoy a material is revealed in how much I actually use it (or rather, how much I desire it, truly desire it, since people often make use of some material, not because they have an actual need of its contents, but rather because doing so is something that is congruent with their self-image, and the whole experience is idealized), and my evaluations are merely stating how much I de facto enjoy a material.
The hipster, however, is only interested in social elevation. The arts are mere accessories to him; he is an unwitting charlatan for whom everything is a cosmetic means for asserting his apparent social status, because he lacks the decency to do so in an honest manner, and he lacks honesty precisely because it never got him anywhere--this sort of subterranean cunning grows out of weakness; it is the weakling's will to power, finding underhanded ways of advancing his interests by way of simulation, so as to produce in others the impression of status and power.
Disparity in taste tells upon disparity in need, reference and capacity: unless I have need of a material, I will never be able to enjoy it, and it will be lost on me; if I no longer enjoy the material I enjoyed long ago, it is because I've grown bored of it and sought better, more potent stimuli (the old material may even seem bad to me then, as much material others genuinely enjoy seem bad to me now); and unless I am capable of sensing, of perceiving and processing the content of a material and relate this human universal language, I would not be able to make anything of it at all, because the value of all real art lies in sheer face value, i.e. the way we respond physiologically to the material upon processing the sense data (as, for instance, with pornography). This constitutes the value of the work for each individual, in capacity of being human, with innate, functioning (and varyingly sensitive) human perceptive and cognitive abilities.
Consequently the arts are not for everyone (as they clearly are not for the hipster, for if they were he would have displayed an authentic appreciation for them), and even those whose joy in life depend on them will not be able to cherish every single work, on the contrary; just as our bodies need different sustenance depending on our situation (age, sex, the amount of energy we expend, enviromental factors, genetics and overall biological constitution), so too does our psychological disposition (which is only another aspect of our physique) make our tastes specific, it makes them narrow, and the greater the need the more discriminating do we become--for it would be contrary to our tastes, to our very nature to waste our time with unsatisfactory material.
But the hipster hasn't got taste, he has something altogether different--an implicit sensibility for signs. By arraying himself with "the correct" cultural artefacts he elevates himself--at least in the eyes of his fellow subhumans (and anyone he can successfully debase to his revolting condition)--to the fucking paragon of humanity, and a position of absolute moral authority; indeed, his garbage will always be the crown of creation, whatever he should pretend to compare it to--because it's not a comparison of the actual qualities of the works (for that would be admitting that these qualities do exist, consequently his have none whatever, or at best they are laughably banal)--the hipster will instead attest to the superiority of his blue smear on canvas by referring to the author's intentions, political/religious/moral gimmickry, 'originality' (which does not exist in a universe of perpetual flux), or some other external evidence.
My ratings reflect my nonidealized enjoyment of the evaluated material.
5.0 -- A model of excellence.
4.5 -- Outstanding depth, the subject matter is very much to my liking.
4.0 -- I liked a lot of the material very much.
3.5 -- I liked a good portion of the material very much, or I found the whole work somewhat satisfactory.
3.0 -- I liked something about it: a song, parts of songs, an opera prelude or overture, a theme, a scene, an actor, or I found it passable altogether.
2.5 -- I'm indifferent towards the material, I didn't mind it, or it bored me to tears.
2.0 -- I disliked the material; poor execution, content or production; aggravatingly unaesthetic tech demo wankathons; an unpleasant degree of pseudo-artistry.
1.5 -- I strongly disliked the material; terrible execution, content or production; atrociously unaesthetic tech demo wankathons; a revolting degree of pseudo-artistry.
1.0 -- lol (alternatively "3.0b", because lol)
0.5 -- Failed experiments, 'experimental experiments', masturbatory 'free' form (i.e. formlessness),
theoretical idée fixe, horridly decadent modern abortions, political WMD's (lol), random paint splotches
relying on external evidence and subhuman politics, pretentious avant-garbage, pure noise
and kvltster garbage; in short, symptoms of cultural degeneration in the sign-value society.
Most modern jazz belong here as well, as far as I'm concerned the scene has become a circlejerk for faux-virtuosi with little to no musical aptitude, no sense for substance (or style for that matter), no musical ambitions whatever.
I make exceptions for works with mere tendencies towards such decadence, like The Face of Another [他人の顔] or Made Flesh (as long as it doesn't ruin the actually artistic material), in which case the pseudo-artistic garbage merely subtracts from the overall rating.
"- Music is the true universal language which is understood everywhere, so that it is ceaselessly spoken in all countries and throughout all the centuries with great zeal and earnestness, and a significant melody which says a great deal soon makes its way round the entire earth, while one poor in meaning which says nothing straightaway fades and dies: which proves that the content of a melody is very well understandable. Yet music speaks not of things, but of pure weal and woe, which are the only realities of the will: that is why it speaks so much to the heart, while it has nothing to say directly to the head and it is a misuse of it to demand that it should do so."
- Arthur Schopenhauer (On Aesthetics)
"- Subjectivity, which is an error of style in German literature, is, through the deteriorated condition of literature and neglect of old languages, becoming more common. By subjectivity I mean when a writer thinks it sufficient for himself to know what he means and wants to say, and it is left to the reader to discover what is meant. Without troubling himself about his reader, he writes as if he were holding a monologue; whereas it should be a dialogue, and, moreover, a dialogue in which he must express himself all the more clearly as the questions of the reader cannot be heard. And it is for this very reason that style should not be subjective but objective, and for it to be objective the words must be written in such a way as to directly compel the reader to think precisely the same as the author thought. This will only be the case when the author has borne in mind that thoughts, inasmuch as they follow the law of gravity, pass more easily from head to paper than from paper to head. Therefore the journey from paper to head must be helped by every means at his command. When he does this his words have a purely objective effect, like that of a completed oil painting; while the subjective style is not much more certain in its effect than spots on the wall, and it is only the man whose fantasy is accidentally aroused by them that sees figures; other people only see blurs."
- Arthur Schopenhauer (On Authorship and Style)
"- Under fame of rapid growth is also to be reckoned fame of a false and artificial kind; where, for instance, a book is worked into a reputation by means of unjust praise, the help of friends, corrupt criticism, prompting from above and collusion from below. All this tells upon the multitude, which is rightly presumed to have no power of judging for itself. This sort of fame is like a swimming bladder, by its aid a heavy body may keep afloat. It bears up for a certain time, long or short according as the bladder is well sewed up and blown; but still the air comes out gradually, and the body sinks. This is the inevitable fate of all works which are famous by reason of something outside of themselves. False praise dies away; collusion comes to an end; critics declare the reputation ungrounded; it vanishes, and is replaced by so much the greater contempt. Contrarily, a genuine work, which, having the source of its fame in itself, can kindle admiration afresh in every age, resembles a body of low specific gravity, which always keeps up of its own accord, and so goes floating down the stream of time."
- Arthur Schopenhauer (On Reputation)