Supertramp, The Cure and Arvo Pärt : Where’s the new sound?

ONE

“Hey Arvo! What’s up?”

Today my colleague who is in her 40 pointed her finger at one intern next to her, who is in his 20 : “He doesn’t know The Cure!”.

I asked : “What about Supertramp?”. Never heard of it…

Well…

“History recalls how great the fall can be
While everybody’s sleeping, the boats put out to sea”

Fool’s Overture : 1977. I was 11 and get out of here : it was AMAZING!

TWO

In a way I understand! And in another way, it’s a proof of non-curiosity, and it’s sad. You don’t have to love Supertramp, or Genesis, or Talk Talk, buddy, but you should know about these…

In the end of the seventies, I knew about The Beatles, and Beach Boys or Cream, or Led Zeppelin, or Doors. Not my music, but I… knew about them.

I loved Supertramp, and Breakfast in America was a hit, and I was in love with some inaccessible girl at this time, and today when I hear Hodgson’s voice, my heart is pinched : someone didn’t care much about me.

THREE

I said to the little guy : “Supertramp is a pop group who understood the tools of Progressive Rock and made hits with them. Long songs, complex arrangements and harmonies, fractured forms. It worked pretty well!”.

In Fool’s Overture, the voice begins to sing after… like almost 6 minutes of music.

I wanted to tell him about Dreamer. Or about the choir, Churchill’s voice, the harmonica, or the pulsing rage of the end. Or how Faith, by The Cure, was incredibly grey. And the bass! But… I said nothing. Shup. I just wrote a few names on a paper. “Explore YouTube it!”.

Yes? Close to the Edge? Later…

FOUR

Deleuze says, and I agree : in Art, the only real question is “What’s new here?”.

I’m 52 tomorrow. I heard some violins in the radio tonight and my brain said “Arvo Pärt?“, and I was right.

Arvo Pärt was a new sound. ECM…

Supertramp too (this voice!!). Like Sting in Police. Or Disco music. Saturday Night Fever was a great new sound. Moroder. Then Marrs, or Frankie Goes to Hollywood : Relax. All were like : Oh oh oh I NEVER FUCKING HEARD THIS BEFORE!

What’s NEW. This is what we need, right?

“Dreamer, you stupid little dreamer
So now you put your head in your hands, oh no”

FIVE

I have to say I kept the pattern. I was and stayed HUNGRY of the what’s newn-ess. Then I explored, trying to find what was NEW in the Beatles, Mike Oldfield, Weather Report, Stravinsky, Brian Eno and Art of Noise and others.

SIX

Of course I sound like an “old fool”!

Now I hear big groups and I ask every lover : “Well, listen to me : what’s new here? Radiohead? Björk? What??”. I understood about King Crimson, and Kate Bush, but I don’t get it about Arctic Monkeys or… Drake.

Real new sounds are rare. Royksöpp. St Vincent. Who else?

Salve! Thanks for reading!

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Vincent Giarrano

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Artists Unawareness & Prolificity

The single idea of “How we all create” and invent in art is fascinating. It’s a territory, where we can discuss about genius, work, inspiration, ideas, seeds, growing, building, speed, movements, failure, discoveries and bliss.

I could invent a whole blog about this – but it seems I like my “constantly random” thing. My French Toolbox is not a blog about this or that, but a state of mind…

I just read a Simenon interview (he’s a Belgian writer) who talks about “states” he crosses when he’s about to write a novel. He says that the story and the characters grows and simmers in himself for days, weeks, until he can’t restrain anymore and has to write.

Then he has to stay in that state for days, without interruption. He says that he has to be the more empty possible. Not thinking. As if he had to “receive” the story, without using his intelligence.

Simenon is considered as a master of crime novels. He wrote almost 200 books, and was said to be able to write 60-80 pages a day.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Simenon

Well, prolific artists (like Picasso or Victor Hugo) are maybe linked to this fast-non-thinking process, a trance. I have also often seen the other side : where “inspiration” is like a necessary wind which have to be used, criticized, canalized and judged during the whole process of creation. The critic inside the writing poet, says Baudelaire…

Also, we all confusedly know something else : there can be no start, in creativity, without a little burst, a little rush of EMOTION.

Thanks for reading!

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Herb List / Todd Hido

The painter paints then steps back to judge then steps forward to paint then…

The painter paints then steps back to judge then steps forward to paint then…

All this in a loop.

As a perfect metaphor for creativity, which could be defined as :

a dance between effusion and lucidity

Every thinker-creator is aware of this dance of focus/de-focus, and this is a splendid territory to explore in its lightest nuances, its thinnest articulations.

I give you three examples I found from a book from Michel Thévoz :

  1. Artaud talked about an intellectual eye in the delirium : intelligence and folly never don’t merge, they revolve around each other.
  2. Dubuffet, a painter, advised practicing “alternated construction works”. One day on a painting, the day after on another one. A way to disembark as a visitor each morning.
  3. Michaud is famous because he tried drugs to create, but he was very clear on this : everything he wrote was after the dissipation of drugs effects, he wrote in the lucid phases of oscillation, and talks about “miserable miracles”.

 

There’s a need of a “New Eyes” state. Monet wished at times to be born blind and suddenly discover vision, to have a wished freshness…

Baudelaire and Valéry both talk about the urging need of having a critic inside a good poet.

Maybe one secret tool of every creator is disenchantment, is to surf on this descending wave which follow the “miserable miracles” of the fast defocused “inspiration”.

 

Tools :

We could go further, right? How, in your field (blogging, photography, poetry, teaching, management, advertising, writing?), do you articulate this necessary dance? Do you need external things to lose focus? Are you aware of useless rushes when you’re fast, effective and proud… to get nothing good at the end? Where and who is your inner critic? Is this person inside you too powerful, too weak? How is it activated? What would you add? You know what inspiration is, but how do you “fix” it? Do you need to? How do you canalize?

 

Thanks for reading!

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Poiesis & Craftman’s Task : two seeds for bloggers (and others)

In philosophy, poiesis is :

“The activity in which a person brings something into being that did not exist before”.

So what?

In itself, nothing, but I sensed around it a possible source of tools.

Paul Valéry – a French poet – in 1937, used this word in a more precise way :

To study the conditions of the generation of a work of art.

Ain’t it interesting? There’s meta here, of course. And I love to blog about… how, when and why we blog.

 

On Wikipedia I found this intriguing thing :

Dreyfus and Dorrance Kelly urge each person to become a sort of “craftsman” whose responsibility it is to refine their faculty for poiesis in order to achieve existential meaning in their lives and to reconcile their bodies with whatever transcendence there is to be had in life itself:

“The task of the craftsman is not to generate the meaning, but rather to cultivate in himself the skill for discerning the meanings that are already there.”

 

Ooohhh! Well, this could be one string of my harp, here, right? Seeking patterns and showing/sharing them is this.

 

Tools :

What do you think? Where is your “skill to discern meaning that are already there”? Do you use it? Why? What can it bring? Why is it interesting to study the way you work? Progress of course, but what else? Extension? Limitation? Effectiveness? Teaching it?

Thanks for reading!

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3 Quotes from Manet : a toolwaltz for artists, painters, thinkers…

“It is not enough to know your craft – you have to have feeling. Science is all very well, but for us imagination is worth far more”.

 

“There is only one true thing: Instantly paint what you see”.

 

“But to have spontaneity, one must be master of his art”.

 

Edouard Manet

 

These are good little seeds for artists, thinkers, and artists thinkers.

The middle one is linked to the 1st & 3rd.

The pack is like a loop, right? 1 – 2 – 3 then again. A braid.

Tool :

What’s your braid? When you write a poem, do you tell a story, do you picture a place or a mood, do you work on words as elements : jewelry or photography? If you’re a teacher, what do you weave? Watching the class, the students one by one? Do you invent, or do you follow? In jazz, do you listen to others or do you lead? What about sex? Marketing? Leading a battle? Politics? Making a speech? Being an actor? Conversation?

As always, it’s about

  1. thinking about what you’re doing
  2. draw or find lines, frontiers (spontaneity/mastering, freedom/constraint, casual/focus, one tree/the forest, respect rules/mind of your own, etc)
  3. choose how to balance
  4. move cursors (and pan scales) is necessery
  5. be aware of all of it
  6. or not

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Some examples :

 

 

“An artist should be a spontanéiste. There’s the right term. But to have spontaneity, one must be master of his art. Undirected groping never leads anywhere. One must translate one experiences, but translate it instantaneously, so to speak”

Manet

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Juxtaposition & Continuity VS Instant Nuggets : an efficient Art Pattern

When I find a structure like this, an Art-Pattern, I’m as happy as a kid who found a colored beetle under a rock. Here it is :

ONE

In the bonuses of the war movie Dunkirk, C. Nolan explains that he want to puts tension and stress in the audience. Firstly, he does it the normal way, with the story and its continuity/proceedings (suspense, following action, etc). Secondly, he wants that every little part of the movie to be stressful “in itself”, in the way it’s done at the moment (with sound, music, cut, etc). Cut 5 seconds randomly in the movie and bite your nails!

Dunkirk as a MAYA & Strangeization sensorial experience

TWO

The day before, I was reading an article in the train (there’s some bliss to read in a train) written by Paul Valéry about Marcel Proust‘s masterpiece “In Search of Lost Time”. He says something I already noticed & told you about : if the novel is great from its “stories”, you can pick ANY PAGE in the thousands, you’ll find a great idea. In each page, there’s a seed…

Proust was a blogger…

THREE

I bought two photography books last week. Stephen Shore‘s Uncommon Places (in USA) and Raymond Depardon‘s Habiter en France (“To live in France”). At first I was not that impressed by Depardon’s work. Shore’s photos are so gorgeous you can melt your brain into them, like in front of a painting. With Depardon in France, you have a little parking place, a road, a church. It’s touching, but it is almost “just ordinary”. BUT…

Watching many of them, though, you begin to understand there are patterns (like juxtaposing modernity and “old France”) : the pleasure is not in each photography, but in what you find when you watch many of them…

“Why do you live in this place?” – Shore & Depardon

Stephen Shore, mesmeric #Photographer

PATTERN/TOOL

How could we call that? There are two tools presented here, and I admit I’ve been amazed to notice them in a single week, in three differents Arts (Movies, Literature, Photography).

What could we say about this in Architecture, Poetry, Teaching? What about weaving them? Are artists aware of that? What could it bring them to be aware? Where is the efficiency? Can the artist offer a clue on more discreet propositions? What do you prefer? What is the more satisfying? To focus on each little part (moment, second, page, verse), or to focus on the proceedings, the long development of a piece? What other questions does it trigger?

Thanks for reading!

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Instagram : beautifulbizarremagazine

Coding & Composing : What are your lost Kingdoms?

I call a Lost Kingdom an activity you loved in the past, and you don’t do anymore today.

For me it’s coding (I programmed a lot when I was maybe 15) and composing (from 20 to 25). Today, it’s over.

But :

  • In 1993 I had to learn HTML because I wanted to have a clean code for my http://www.maison-page.net – it was delightful, and I have to say I felt this really weird feeling to put on these old shoes. Coding is building something, with immediate tests and gratifications. It’s a little mathematics too. Logic. It puts your brain in a grid of logic, building, making tools. I love it so much! De facto, my page was and stays very fast. Sorry, no PHP or Java here…
  • Five years ago I bought a midi keyboard and began to work with GarageBand. It amazed me, gave me pleasure, and I composed maybe 20 or 30 new tracks. And I remember now… not the music, but the state I was in when I was working on them.

 

The idea of Lost Kingdoms leads me to this idea. Some activities push us in different states. You can play Lego, have a clever conversation for hours, write a poem, take your cam in the countryside, watch a mantis praying, build a cabin in your garden : it’s a “way of thinking”, and your brains knows and recognizes it. Your grow from this.

Lamenting on Kingdoms lost is useless, I agree. Go back to it. Or find new ones : learn an instrument, travel Italy, begin Chinese or horseback riding (question : why not simply “horse riding”??). Bake new cakes . Put your brain in new grids. It’s good, believe me.

 

Thanks for reading! Have a nice day!

 

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Instagram : teget