Monday, August 11, 2008

rant music rant

Surrounded by music geeks as I have been for many years, it becomes easy to get complacent. There are always gigs and albums I have to listen to. There is always something I have to hear. People hand me things and steer me towards sounds that they love. Or that they think that I will love.

And I always seem to get some degree of interrogation about my 'complacent' attitude towards music. That I rarely hunt out specific albums or music. That the gigs and music I take in are not done in a deliberate "oh wow, so-and-so meant this to this genre / era and so i must see them" way.

So I talk in a waffley way about my 'kinetic' response to music, and how the different moods and genres make my body and my life move. And people tell me that that is somehow pre-intellectual. That I have an embodied response to sounds and music somehow transcends or buries below the connectivities and histories that populate their world of music.

And I want to start a whole new rant about the artificiality of the mind/body dichotomy and mentally start a po-mo feminist analysis of their own use of that construct to deconstruct me. But then I pause.

Because I think it has less to do with all of those things, and more to do with my love of the seemingly accidental. The random and miraculous moments of sound and audio swimmings that I bathe in when people hand me a CD that they believe I should have.

Especially what it says about what each person cares about, what our relationship is, and what they think of me.

The new directions that my body finds and the delicious and all-too-convenient coincidences of serendipity

The moments that it can create - like being plugged in to Japanese noise music in the Guggenheim exhibition that was here, to escape the crowds, and pausing in front of an enormous Lichtenstein as the droning hit a particular pitch of intensity, and the child in someone's arms next to me simultaneously making one of those noises of pure glee and pleasure that only people below a certain age can find inside themselves. Bliss.

Or like the doco on Wanda Jackson I found in Melbourne just days after a Cambridge-dweller gave me her music in London. And the extraordinary political nature of the words to that song that hit the top of the charts in Japan so many years ago, and what they must have meant then as compared to what they still mean now.

Or my head popping up and my heart all but stopping as I closed at Ray, and amongst the classic songs of lost love that Billie Holiday was crooning, slides in almost imperceptibly that immensely tortured and understated that her lazy vocals made even more striking and poignant than Nina Simone's version.

And I've just handed my player to a friend who's continuing this run, and adding more music to my life. And more serendipity.
I might go and collect it now.
Can't wait.

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