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Forgive me if some of this has already been said, I haven't been able to read through all of the comments yet, but some immediate thoughts struck me after reading Mr. Rubin's article. I found myself in the same place as him for many years, but I think that the sound that he hates so much is harder to pinpoint than this. The "fetishization" of precision comes a little closer to describing it, but it can manifest itself as a lack of originality in the players, the composition, the arrangement, the orchestration, etc... Maybe it's that when you try to force any element on the music, the music suffers. With the Big Phat Band, one could say that the centrality of tight, flashy, technique-heavy passages and playing destroys anything musical. The same could happen with an over emphasis on block-voicings, counterpoint, dissonance, political propaganda, emotion etc... Anytime you make the music (or any art-form) subservient to any one idea or technique, it's probably going to suffer.