Unappeased Brain Ardors : Chronicle 39

“Dress to impress”… those who need to be impressed by that.

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“This is a man who rests from some work which didn’t bore him”.

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“A possibility to act which doesn’t need the support of ideology”

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“Ardeurs de cerveau inassouvies” – unappeased brain ardors

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To arouse calm

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Shells in a little box

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Eno imagines an axis, a line, between :

  1. Things we don’t have choice on : to eat, to pee to poo, breathe and sleep (function)
  2. Things which have a choice on : to marry, do some abstract painting, wear lace undies (style)

Of course, some aspects of 2. are so rarely called into question that we think we don’t have the choice – until you understand or see someone making a choice, like when Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat.

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“You can’t cooperate unless you’re incapable to be, mentally, in at least two worlds at the same time – yours and the other person’s, with whom you work”

Brian Eno

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With food, the woman penetrates the body of the man

Oh!

 

 

Have a nice day!

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Eno & U2 : a freezing creative process

Brian Eno produced a few U2’s albums. I read one day in an interview that he had to restrain these guys’ creativity : they have too many ideas, all the time, and it’s exhausting!

Therefore, as the person in charge, he sometimes has to decide a STOP.

This is what he does, then :

As each musician is recorded on his own track, the freedom is total, which leads to infinite choices. At this time of the composition, Eno decides to pre-mix what he has, freezing the whole song in stereo. Instead of having for example 12 tracks you can move, mix and change all the time, he reduces all the pack in 2 tracks, left and right. From there, nobody can touch it anymore – then he trashes the source.

He transforms, this way, the big tree of possibilities into a “this is how it is now” song.

 

Of course you see it’s a tool : what are the consequences of this? Displacing creativity? (what do they do “from this”?). Is closing inventiveness from here allow people to invent elsewhere? Another thing? When do we need, in our work, to stop inventing and move forward? Why? When do we have too many ideas? What to do? What if you remove an element?

When do you need to have a thinker in charge?

You can also read : Fecundity of Limits

Thanks for reading !

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The warm haunted trumpet of Jon Hassell could suit your summer evening…

Do you know Jon Hassell? He’s an American trumpet player. Wikipedia says : “He is known for developing the musical aesthetic which unifies ideas from minimalism, various world music sources, and his unusual electronic manipulation of the trumpet”. He uses an unusual softer way of blowing into his instrument.

I chose here three albums which suit perfectly with your summer loving evenings.

  • Fourth World is the “easiest”. The trumpet is a veil, a triple breathe, a moanplaint, and Brian Eno (who produced the album) draws landscapes and mysterious sounds around it. It’s like a nocturnal African dream. Put it in loop and watch the stars.
  • Surgeon is more… like… drunk. Swampy (like the sleeve)? Some moments are haunting and gorgeous. Hide three candles in a room, in a hot night, and this album in loop. Be slow.
  • Powerspot is more urban, electronics are different here. Beatboxes build impossible architectures. Futuristic and sweaty, like Miles Davis in another century…

The first two albums are in the link. Powerspot : only a track (explore the others!).

Like it, or too much?

Thanks for reading!

 

Schmaltzy Frontier : quiet #piano music from Satie to Eno

Cucul la praline is a very common French “idiom” meaning schmaltzy, ludicrously & overly sentimental. You can put this “ass-ass the pralin” on a person in love or on a picture, or… some music.

Quiet Piano Music draws a line in brains. Before the line, you find it peaceful and great, and after it, it’s… schmaltzy!

Of course this line is personal. I love Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies (I chose voluntarily a neutral clip : if you search YouTube, you’ll find plenty of “beautiful” things with flowers and flying birds). On this side of the line, here are the Preludes from Debussy.

OK, let’s get closer to the line. Eno/Budd’s The Pearl is a perfect balance. Satiesque gorgeous piano and ambient sounds. Try Goldmund, or the much more “melodic” Tim Story, which is, for me, the “line”. I won’t go further. No thanks. Cucul la praline.

Funny game : try the other way. Go quiet-but-more-complex (Berg? Boulez?). Nope? Well, see, there’s another frontier.

Tools/Dials/Levers :

You advertise, you compose, you take photos? Do you think about the Schmaltsy Frontier?

Who will watch your work? Where is the audience? Pleased but comfortable? Disgusted by complexity OR by “two much sugar”?

Where is the risk to lose the audience? What’s the worst?

Is there a way to add “complex nuggets” or “ridiculous nuggets” in a comfortable piece of Art?

Where is sarcasm and how will you play with it? What line would you prefer to touch?

Why is something cucul la praline? Too simple? What could be surprising?

#orsanmichele #firenze #florence #gravure

 

Brian Eno & Steve Reich : Music to listen to while writing

When you write, you have to focus.

If you are one of these young people, you have to listen to the music you love, you put TV on, you check your phone and your Facebook Instagram Twitter whatever accounts, you open the window to hear the cars passing by and you Skype your best friend while you work on your exams. Perfect multitask.

I do not own this kind of brain. I really have to focus!

If you write, sometimes you need music, but music is too much. Music is CALLING you. It goes :

“Hey! Listen! I’m interesting! There’s a change here! Listen to meee!”

But no music and closed window, it’s silence. Sometimes, it’s too much. It’s a no.

I thought about this a lot. When I have to work, I ban singers, because, errr, they sing. Pfff. They talk to you, right? They talk about problems, mainly. OK : no singers.

I pick up instrumental musics for the mood. Röyksopp or any electro dancing music are great. Classical is a whole kingdom : I choose Brahms if I want powerful brown thick thinking, Prokofiev if I want triangles and fast drive, or Debussy if I wanna be impressionismistonic. You can push to Boulez (complex rotating-moving architectures) or Hindemith or Chopin for other “moods”.

  • Between watching TV and watching nothing, you can evolve around a painting.
  • Between listening to music and silence, you can write on Eno or Reich.

Both are enough “neutral” to let you work. Both are enough “full” to feed you.

Eno’s Thursday afternoon is a one hour piece. It’s not really music (and it NOT new age music), it’s more like a PLACE. Listen at a low level. Layers of sounds passing by. Quiet like a cloister, a convent. It’s a bit aquatic, slowly evolving like if you were watching clouds. You have a place to think, to work. You will notice it’s a set of loops. Some sounds come back. You’re in a fresh air coil…

Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians is a one hour piece. It’s a strong fast weaving of notes. They call it “repetitive music” because of the pulses, but it changes constantly. It’s also a “decor” for you to work, but more intense, with more DRIVE. Energy. The 1978 ECM recording is the best. It’s more like you were watching a land from a moving train.

Put them in “loop”. Eno has been in my place, sometimes, a whole day. It’s like a painting. Reich makes you wait, pushes your brain to fast mode. It’s more clever than that. Each piece makes you move. It triggers something.

Find your own tools (Phil Glass? JS Bach? The Field?).

Thanks for reading !

 

 

Wrong Way Up and… the game of “finding structures”

OK I’m french. My english is a frenglish, it’s rusty and wobbly, et voilà. Try me, though. I’ll do my best. I promise. If sometimes it’s too bad, just laugh at me or roll you eyes.

“Wrong Way Up” is the title of a Brian Eno & John Cale album. It’s not even the title of a song – and that’s sad because I would have liked to explore its cryptic lyrics to find a good quote ! Eno is a great artist, but his lyrics are délicieusement funny.

Most of us are tinkers
Some of us, tailors
And we’ve got candlesticks
And lots of cocktail sticks

This idea, “Wrong Way Up” – comment dire ça en France ? : se gourrer en montant ? – is a great little simple seed. Let’s pull every string attachée à cette idée :

You made a decision and you act, you move. You are sure it’s a “up” decision, a move for a good change. You aim Victoire et Progrès ! It’s not a retreat, no no no. Up.

You, or somedy else who pokes you, knock knock, realise that there’s a problème. Wrong Way Up. No good. What do you do ?

– You can go on climbing, because you want to explode the glass roof. Or because you’re a nihilist and you like the idea of headlong rush. OK. Go.
– You can try to fix the Wrong Way Up failure by une déviation du mouvement. Bypass the problems. Is it effective ? Isn’t it too late ?? What are the other ways up ? Did you prepare this ? Plan B trajectories ?
– You can just stop and stay immobile between your previous place and your goal. Into the air, in between. Then you’ll have to change something…
– Well, you can go back down but isn’t it a failure too ? Wrong (or Good) Way Down, retreaaaat !
– What about what we could call Incomplete Change ?

 

OK. Now enough paths and decisions. Stop.

Tools :

How to draw a map ? How come a map isn’t appropriate ? Who drew it ? Can you fix the map for later, or for other Ways Up ? What can you do with the differences between the map and the real territory ?

Dial :

What happens when you suddenly realise that what you’re doing since days is totally vain et absurde ? What if you’re kitesurfing or hunting or pray, and suddenly the dumbness of all this activité jumps at your face like a spider ? What happens when you sing on a stage and suddenly realise that you’d prefer write a novel in a cabane au Canada ?

More :

How stupid is it to call a simple failure a “Wrong Way Up” ? Isn’t it just a change of name ? How useful can it be to talk about a concept without its “name” ? Just to find the structure of it ?

Tool again :

Precisely it is. The point is here. Take a little event and find its structure, its skeleton. It will be, then, maybe, usefull to use this little tool to another part of your progress.

That is : If you think “failure”, your spirit is already full of ready-made-ideas. Means you’re “wrong”, you “have to stop”, etc. If you see that failure like a “Wrong Way Up”, you’ll find other ways to get out of this merde. Think weird ! Try other spectacles !

Again : What can you do with the differences between the map and the real territory ?

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