songofcopper: (Cosmériffick)
This afternoon I’ve been doing a little art experiment. (I have no formal skill in this area, so any success - define the latter as you will - is largely down to serendipity or Divine intervention!!)

01_setup

Recently I acquired some kyogi - these are wafer-thin sheets of pine wood, traditionally used in Japan for serving food.

Writing on kyogi )

Anyway, whimsical penmanship aside, seeing the wood grain pattern on the kyogi reminded me of those Edvard Munch woodblock prints called ‘Towards the Forest’ - obsessive iterations of the same image, produced and reproduced, the texture of the wood being called into service as part of the composition.

Brooding menace )

Recently, I’ve been enjoying discovering various artists who are new to me: they fall into several categories.

Archetypal Artists )

Aside from meeting these extraordinary artworks, I’ve also been finding much enjoyment in many of the things that have inspired them. Some of these are long-standing loves, some newer.

Gleeful Gloom, in painting, word and photograph )

All around, so many proofs of possibility: at some point, looking at other people’s genius-born meisterwerks ceases to be off-putting, because you know full well you can’t emulate or equal them. There is no tension then - you can’t feel intimidated by the foregone conclusion of your own lack of skill. Somehow it becomes possible to just have a go, without worrying about the outcome.

02_light

Crepuscular Encounter )
07_full

Now that I know this works, perhaps I’ll make other things - time will tell. Anyway - clearly I’m no kind of skilled artist, but it is inevitable that buoyed in the tidal wake of those blessed with great artistry there will always be happy accidental amateurs bobbing about. What can I say else but ‘come on in - the water’s lovely’.
songofcopper: (CAKEZ!!!)
Thinktide.

"Music (of quality) provides nutriment - spiritual calories. We all need these and are actively, though often unconsciously, seeking them out."

That thought from the other day has not left me alone since. Food, I think, is the only useful metaphor (that I've yet encountered) for the Substance of Music.

(Yes... the Substance of Music. It can be present or not-present, it can be perceived, it can be made and it can be contained. It can only be destroyed in the way that anything can be 'destroyed' - by being broken down and remade into something else.)

I've always felt that the only helpful way to describe music is to invoke food-language. You can't get far by explaining that the Joe Bloggs Band sounds a bit like the Fred Jones Group crossed with the Mary Smith Quintet - this is of limited help to anyone who hasn't heard Fred Jones or Mary Smith... or indeed to anyone who dislikes Fred Jones or Mary Smith.

But if you say that the Joe Bloggs Band combines richness with astringency, or spiciness with a lick of salt, that gives an immediate, visceral notion of what it might be like. Most people eat food, let's face it.

So there's that.

But it struck me suddenly, powerfully, yesterday, that how we make, share and consume music - how we prepare it, how we give and receive it - is exactly like our behaviour around food. Going way beyond the dotty linguistic tropes favoured by yer hapless scribe (*waves!*), our music, culturally, exhibits the same tendencies as a cuisine.

It was the word 'hobby' that got me to this thought. I had read two people's remarks on 'music as a hobby', and somehow that word rankled - it felt incorrect from my perspective. When I'm making music, it's not something I do to pass the time or to give me something to talk about at parties. (I'm not suggesting that this is really the aim of many people who make music, by the way - just that the word 'hobby' is not quite apt.) There is also this idea of separation between 'work' and 'hobby', and a thought that for each participant, music is one or the other. We have, alongside that, this notion of 'turning one's hobby into a career' - which tends to be characterised either as The Ultimate Ideal or Utter Blinkin' Sacrilege.

When I put this dissatisfaction with the word 'hobby' next to thoughts on music-as-food, suddenly it became obvious.

What I am doing is not an optional entertainment activity - it's as necessary and automatic as cooking a meal.

Breaking Bread )
songofcopper: (peter hammill)
[Notice To Patrons: there is a lot of ‘I’ in this entry.  Look Away Now if self-referential rambling is not yer glass o’tea...]

So apparently, last night saw a gathering of the luminaries of the Progressive Rock world, and prizes were handed out to the sparkliest amongst them.  Yes, lads ’n’ lasses ’n’ leftovers – it was none other than the Progressive Music Awards.  This scintillant conventicle of caped crusaders convened under the auspices of Prog Magazine – a glossy, overpriced periodical that I, for one, have failed to buy in several railway stations.

Prizewinners (really, it’s too like Speech Day at a minor public school) included Rick Wakeman, who was hailed as ‘Prog God’ (which presumably equates to Victor Ludorum) and Peter Hammill, who took laurels in the ‘Visionary’ category (…I dunno, is that like Scripture Knowledge?!).

The above intelligence gives me furiously to think.  For it seems that Progressive Rock music, after decades of being considered unspeakable, inscrutable, an under-the-counter brown-paper-bag habit of the stubborn few (‘On entend le prog, on ne cite pas’ to misquote a Frenchman), has suddenly been deemed… ok.  Venerable, perhaps.  And even somewhat hip.

This astounds me, and slightly worries me as well.  I’m astounded because generally, anything that seeks self-consciously to be intellectual, earnest, extravagant and emotional is given short shrift by approximately 80% of British citizens.  (Sincerity and cleverness make them uncomfortable, don’t you know.)  The worry comes because… if these scary and outré creatures, these wide-eyed pioneers, daring to dream of hydraulically-operated mushroom-shaped stage architecture and unfathomable wells of lonely lyrics composed upon esoteric topics and giant synthesisers, if These People are now part of Thee Establishment... well, thusly are they rendered toothless.  The really excellent thing about prog rock, in my opinion, is its ability to make people uncomfortable – its propensity to needle otherwise rational beings to outbursts of apoplectic discomfiture.  “But you can’t do that!” they splutter.  “You mustn’t!  It’s -- it’s not decent!”


Beneficent Aneurysm )
songofcopper: (peter hammill)
[Notice To Patrons: there is a lot of ‘I’ in this entry.  Look Away Now if self-referential rambling is not yer glass o’tea...]

So apparently, last night saw a gathering of the luminaries of the Progressive Rock world, and prizes were handed out to the sparkliest amongst them.  Yes, lads ’n’ lasses ’n’ leftovers – it was none other than the Progressive Music Awards.  This scintillant conventicle of caped crusaders convened under the auspices of Prog Magazine – a glossy, overpriced periodical that I, for one, have failed to buy in several railway stations.

Prizewinners (really, it’s too like Speech Day at a minor public school) included Rick Wakeman, who was hailed as ‘Prog God’ (which presumably equates to Victor Ludorum) and Peter Hammill, who took laurels in the ‘Visionary’ category (…I dunno, is that like Scripture Knowledge?!).

The above intelligence gives me furiously to think.  For it seems that Progressive Rock music, after decades of being considered unspeakable, inscrutable, an under-the-counter brown-paper-bag habit of the stubborn few (‘On entend le prog, on ne cite pas’ to misquote a Frenchman), has suddenly been deemed… ok.  Venerable, perhaps.  And even somewhat hip.

This astounds me, and slightly worries me as well.  I’m astounded because generally, anything that seeks self-consciously to be intellectual, earnest, extravagant and emotional is given short shrift by approximately 80% of British citizens.  (Sincerity and cleverness make them uncomfortable, don’t you know.)  The worry comes because… if these scary and outré creatures, these wide-eyed pioneers, daring to dream of hydraulically-operated mushroom-shaped stage architecture and unfathomable wells of lonely lyrics composed upon esoteric topics and giant synthesisers, if These People are now part of Thee Establishment... well, thusly are they rendered toothless.  The really excellent thing about prog rock, in my opinion, is its ability to make people uncomfortable – its propensity to needle otherwise rational beings to outbursts of apoplectic discomfiture.  “But you can’t do that!” they splutter.  “You mustn’t!  It’s -- it’s not decent!”


Beneficent Aneurysm )

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This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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