I had the privilege of seeing The Dillinger Escape Plan perform at the Masquerade in Atlanta earlier this week. They’ve been touring in support of their new album, Option Paralysis, which is my favorite record of 2010 (so far). To many, Dillinger’s music is discordant and sonically overwhelming. While that is largely true, there’s a lot to discover beneath the abrasive exterior of their music.
Most people initially get into The Dillinger Escape Plan because of their incredible technical proficiency and wide array of influences (jazz, punk, metal, etc), but beneath the precise mathematical playing, the music has a substantial artistic and musical subtext. Many of Option Paralysis’s themes refer to the wide array of choices and information we have in a world of technology that often cripple us from creating anything of value. Watching the members of the D.E.P. perform with reckless abandon while still nailing all the parts technically was nothing sort of jaw-dropping. Aside from being the most intense live music experience I’ve ever had, the show left a substantial impression on how passionate the guys in the band are about what they do.
Whether you like the music or not, I think we can all agree that lending our own creative and passionate instincts to whatever we do in life is a rewarding and productive thing. One of the reasons I love technology is that it simplifies many aspects of my life and generally enables me to do more with less. However, every so often I catch myself checking Twitter or posting a relatively banal Facebook update out of habit rather than because I have something useful or creative to say. This is a reminder that technology can sometimes deprive us of the opportunity to unlock our own creativity if we lose sight of its role as a means to an end rather than the end itself.
When we use technology, let’s not forget to harness its power for creative ends. It’s important to stay connected to those around us and learn about new technologies, but not at the expense of creating something meaningful and contributing to the world around us with passion. And whether you enjoy The Dillinger Escape Plan’s music or not, hopefully you can agree that the statement they make on their album, Option Paralysis, and live, on stage, is an important and valuable one. In a world without originality, creativity and passion, we’re left saying "Farewell, Mona Lisa."