On Music and Meaning
Essays and themes in this section deal with how we listen to sounds, and how they help us organize our lives.
The "responsible" artist.
So what is a musician’s responsibility, as an artist, to music before all else? Electronica, in musical terms, is a sort of textless world… The prospect of less politics may be what makes this seem so encouraging. After all, it captures the inspiration of so many solo music-makers, along with the immediacy of the process. […]
We are generally intolerant of things we don’t understand. And as musicians, we love to taunt and tame the limits of modern music consumers. Targeting the unreasonably short fuse is a viable place to start. We pervert sound, we make the unfashionable listenable. We suggest that anything that was formerly listenable is still exercisable as […]
Minimalism and experimentation.
Experimentation in the realm of audio as music, is certainly no new topic. Being experimental is of value to every artist, in all media. Sometimes it seems to lack relevance; we have seen pioneers championing electronic technology since the first half of the 20th century. As a topic for discussion, it is perhaps less relevant […]
Experimental music and the 60s.
Brian Eno, in his introduction for the latest edition of Michael Nyman’s “Experimental Music: Cage & Beyond”, makes some excellent points about the trajectory of 20th century experimental music and our intellectual fetishes.. The best books about art movements become more than just descriptions: they become part of what they set out to describe. I particularly […]
With an open mind and heart.
You open your mind, and this is where you experience the new. This is a fundamental element of wanting to enjoy myself as much as possible. If I judge while I listen, I tend not to find much to enjoy. Maybe, because I begin by assuming that I’m right first, and that if I don’t […]
I'm not listening.
OK, now that’s funny. I’m remembering now – perhaps due in part to recently taking in 24 Hour Party People – the very first time I remember hearing New Order and liking them. It was, of course, hearing Blue Monday on KROQ, which my father would let me play in his car – on the […]
The Percocet rush.
It’s funny how we choose to listen to music. Music people somehow fall into two vague categories, people who are genuinely interested in music and fans of the medium itself – and casual listeners, whose conscious efforts are often left out of the matter, but who enjoy their role as consumers. Fans of the medium […]
This one is justified visually, by the signage in big record shops, as a purported improvement over listening with your ears. This is the one that says listen with your beliefs. And, this is a form of compartmentalizing personal experience. Of course, most artists reject categorisation of their work. It’s insulting. It demeans and diminishes […]
Overstimulus is not a plume.
Could it really be important enough to discuss what makes music important? Yes and no. Other people who are genuinely interested in music will definitely join me on this one. “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Thanks to debatably, either Elvis Costello, or Frank Zappa for that gem. Or both. We aren’t really […]
I don’t know exactly what it all means, or what might happen next, but… I definitely like it. That has generally been the assessment, or ethic, of all Day For Night work produced, usually at the moment of completion. Occasionally, I make attempts to re-contextualise my finished results. So, too often, the work is finished, […]