Some 2020 Pearls of Avant-Garde

I explored, methodically, the Quietus Top 100 Albums of 2020 (https://thequietus.com/articles/29302-the-quietus-top-100-albums-of-2020-norman-records), and found a couple of things I could love.

( thequietus.com ) is a magazine about intelligent music, movies and some other arts like graphic novels or architecture. It’s typically the chest-like website, full of possible discoveries.

Many (most of the) musics I don’t like here, but it’s always interesting, even when it’s awful or ridiculous. My brain is playing like a kid with colorbricks, analyzing how the artists push the cork a little or much too far.

Even the texts, the critics, are cool. Vocabulary gives a hint for each musician. “an album designed to both inspire calm as well as disrupt it” makes me want to listen.

What I selected here is, I agree, the less avant-garde possible. My pearls, emeralds and nuggets come often like this, digging, finding

I’ve been amazed by Hen Ogledd (26), who begins like Robert Wyatt then develop a… splendid pleasure of making music (I’m probably influenced by his great eyes). The most adorable guy of the list?

Katie Gately (49 )surprised me with her Waltz. I loved, immediately, the way she marked the first beat of this dance. Then, it’s a crescendo, weaved with surprises, sounds, breaks. It puts her into the territory of Björk, Kate Bush, even Dead Can Dance. Lyricism! Modulation under a bridge, responding voices, changes, this climbing. Fascinating, right?

I found another clip (same musician), which frightens me a bit more, but the clip is so fantastic that I had to keep listening. She explores limits, between pleasure and chaos. This music is like… growing like she’s alive.

I listened the broken things of Malibu Liquor Store, the swarming The Homesick (try The Pawing), the floating pedal steel guitar or Susan Alcorn, the acid synth loops of Lorenzo Senni, the rotating sickness of Sex Swing, the laments of Keeley Forsyth, Nadine Shah, the strange clips of UKAEA, the silly repeats of Horse Lords.

Then Memnon Sa (76 ), an insisting music with synths. Simple and haunted.

Mary Lattimore (35)? Quiet, but neve too much (which is always hard to achieve). Try Ana Roxanne too.

Thanks for reading!

Next to this I found two names you can explore : Chapelier Fou & Olafur Arnalds. Good day!

“Intentions and Elegance”: Overthinking about Art

I read a good book about a… harpsichord player. I found ideas. Here they are.

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The easy question is “What is it?”. Another question is “What does that mean?”, therefore “What does the artist want to say to us?”. This is a totally higher question, right? Instead of the work, you ask about the artist’s mind, and their will. Does art need a meaning, after all?

Where should we, instead of focusing of things in front of us, focus on what the maker wants?

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If you are a Bach (b 1685) specialist and you want to study or play Mozart (b 1762), you have to make a jump in time and music, and Mozart will appear very modern. But if you come from 19th Century, it will feel like a loss.

From where will you come, to study this or that?

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If you’re enthusiastic, do you master your work?

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Does elegance need the existence of another person? What about the idea telling that real elegance consists in not getting noticed. And Balzac says that to reveal some economy of means is inelegant.

It’s from Latin “elegans”: who knows how to choose.

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A pretentious simplicity, does that exist?

Goethe : When an intention is too visible, it irritates

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Who plays – and how – the tango of strength/delicacy?

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Purity of the sensation, or of the landscape?

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When you touch the harpsichord‘s key, the note appears, that simple. There’s no possibilities of ppp or fff. It’s “the note”, always the same intensity, it’s a yes or no thing.

Without any possibity of nuances, of touch, the subtleties must come from elwhere: the phrases.

Where else do we have this?

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Deep understanding” and at the same time, “spontaneity” (or precision/passion). Both. Same time.

Where? Sex? Conversation? Acting? What kind of skill is this?

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When a rule emerges, its exceptions appear at the same time.

In French: “Déroger à la règle” (The English “to contravene” and “to infringe” sound “to go against”, to fight, but the French one sounds “to take a hidden door”, to depart from, to invent my own path).

An artist who knows enough rules to depart from them: to explore/invent.

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What is a work of art with simultaneity of significations? Sorrow and courage at the same time; violence and sweetness; pride and vanity. What kind of richness is that?

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To admit” (it’s the same in French, admettre) is a curious verb: to confess, to acknowledge, to allow entry, to accept validity, to place, to permit, to conceide or recognize.

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A style emerges, how?

  1. Origin.
  2. Development.
  3. Blossoming.
  4. Refinement.
  5. Saturation.

Where? Examples?

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When can’t we prevent aggravation (or stop worsening)?

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Baudelaire: The restless crowd, whipped on by pleasure

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Do you produce differently (by other means) or something else?

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Is the existence of the past Law, or Force?

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Acknowlegment or recognition? Even gratitude, if you push?

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Which one is the most interesting? Beauty created by nature, or beauty created by men?

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Could you go that far, without the resistance of it?

Thanks for reading!

And what about Japanese Post Rock?

It is the moment to explore Japanese Post Rock because why not.

So what is “Post Rock”? Let’s Wiki:

Post-rock is a form of experimental rock characterized by a focus on exploring textures and timbre over traditional rock song structures, chords, or riffs. Post-rock artists are often instrumental, typically combining rock instrumentation with electronics.

Good! The tool here is easy:

  • Find a field you don’t know at all
  • Explore a micro-part of it

It can be Hungarian jewelry, or Italian photography, and then you choose a century, or a single artist…

The game here is to listen to things, randomly, like a kid picks up shells on a shore. Here we go:

A Picture of Her is a bit boring with their jazz-rock, technical and with a always-the-same guitar sound.

Anoice: Quiet music with piano, sometimes a little dissonant, sometimes a little “japanish”. Climates, like sad movie music. Some violin. I like it, and some colors are interesting, but… too shy.

Behind the Shadow Drops: simplistic naive melancholia is terrible, right? It is! There’s a laziness, here. Dumb ideas stretched for too long. Not a single harmonic spark. Shame!

Floating in Space has the same problem, but it’s a little better. Too much sugar, and no colors. I couldn’t find a single good track.

Gargle is mildly more interesting, because of the accordion. But, well, sigh…

Kukangendai is Math Rock (a subdivision of Post Rock, more complex). This music is pulsating, it’s like watching fabric, or machines. I find it boring but interesting. Brain, brain, brain. No body.

Lite is much, much better. They’re good, fast, intellingent, complex :

Mono seems the most prolific band on this list. Plenty of albums, between prog rock and film music. They take their time, and they like big badaboum crescendoes. It sounds sometimes like Joe Hisaishi. It’s too conventional for me, but many people love them! Here’s a best of :

Mouse on the Keys, two keyboards and a drummer! More dynamic, more jazz, I like it with a but, always. A bit too… disheveled, maybe?

Nabowa? Cool! :

Ovum seems to like loud music and electric guitars, hmmm.

Qujaku, dark, intense, too much.

Toe, math rock, it knits! :

World’s End Girlfriend, the lone young genius type. First album, 15 years old. Devilish energy in the 1st vid, and a cool waltz to finish this page.

Thanks for reading! What did you like here?

(For this last one wait until 5:20 for a cloud of fantastic harmonies)

What did I shazam recently?

What did I shazam recently?

Most of the time, I don’t listen to my Shazams afterward. I did it because of “an element”, a sound, an idea, something which made my eyebrow upping up. If I “like” the YouTube film, I’ll find them back one day. Maybe.

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S. Decoster, because it was the end credit music of a great quirky French movie called “Perdrix” (“The Bare Necessity” in English). Nothing great here but I Shazamed it though, probably because the movie was hilarious and balanced.

The loopy “Je veux être à vous” means “I want to be yours”, BUT as you know, French has two “you”, the you for the persons you know well, and the you for the persons you don’t. Thus “I want to be you” with the “polite you” is charged differently, because it’s adressed to someone you don’t know from a long time.

Poltrock, Mute #2, navigates in interesting waters. Quiet piano music can easily be sugary – here it’s not because of the modulations of course :

Bon Entendeur, Basta Cosi, a sound, and a singer who does not sing but speaks.

Portugal The man, Fell it Still, the groove?

Lana Del Rey, For Free, a Joni Mitchell cover??! The song is splendid, and Del Rey has a good idea to sing un-reverbed, it whispers in ears. It modulated all along like smoke. Joni’s version stays much better of course. Here are some of the lyrics:

I slept last night in a good hotel
I went shopping today for jewels
The wind rushed around in the dirty town
And the children let out from the schools

I was standing on a noisy corner
Waiting for the walking green
Across the street he stood and he played real good
On his clarinet, for free

Nobody stopped to hear him
Though he played so sweet and high
They knew he had never been on their TV
So they passed his music by

Sting, Mad about you. Great song, right? Production is strange, it’s like… rustling, quivering:

Mahsa Vahdat & Mighty Sam McClain, Ambassador of Hearts.

Naïssam Jalal, Un sourire au cœur.

Duran Duran, Save a Prayer, and old thing I listen today with new ears, the bass line, the attemps for vocal harmonies, the chorus which climbs then falls back, modulations like stairs.

Mansfield. TYA, Ni morte ni connue, for the “old French new-wave” sound. Neither dead neither well-known.

Celeste, Love is back, because the vintage sound, the smiling desire to compose a similar base, and the broken Amy-like voice.

Colman Jones, Kiev, a dreamy walk in an unknown city under lukewarm clouds:

Ophélie Gaillard, Dos Gardenias, makes me ask someone to dance in the dark:

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(…)

Have a nice day! Je vous souhaite une très belle journée.

The Binomial Tango

This little article is about the fact that between two artists you often choose the “obvious” one, but sometimes you come back to the choice and pick up the other one, because… Let’s see.

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When I was 30 I watched Fellini‘s movies in awe, with a smile, and a question mark above my head. He looked like a clever silly artist, full of exaggerations and weird images, cf Satyricon. And I also watched Antonioni‘s movies, like Eclisse. This guy seemed much more serious, full of clever questions about incommunicability in couples and deep thoughts about the sense of life.

More than 20 years later, I still adore Antonioni and I often watch his movies, but I prefer, by far, Fellini today. I explored his worlds, read a lot about his work, analysis, and interviews, and I realized the… richness of all of it. The baroque, the myths, the fragmented aspects of reality. It’s vast, clever, sensitive…

So, I see the “obvious” choice in many things, today. Because we change and we age, of course, we go deeper. We understand deeper the idea of efforts, which lead to extensive discoveries.

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I have another example with the double-headed Beatles, Paul McCartney and John Lennon. I read a lot about them, I listened and dismantle their music. And of course, I preferred Lennon! He’s stronger, takes more risk, he’s the fool who wrote the Walrus (while McCartney wrote Yesterday). Lennon is spicy, Macca is sweet. Voilà.

But the more you dig, you realize that McCartney is stronger, is a better musician. He wrote Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, which is a splendid masterpiece, very quietly though.

So I always loved Brahms, who is strong, heavy, very Taurus, with earthian symphonies and concertos, and I didn’t like Schubert, whose music is closer to Mozart. But today Schubert’s Great is unreachable. I eventually found out the nuggets, the colors, the subtleties in this…

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The structure here is simple:

We often have choices between similar things. One seems obvious, and we choose this one. But sometimes we reconsider things and we bend over the other one, to find out that its treasures were maybe hidden, too subtle, or complex/difficult. It’s a tango!

What are your examples?

Thanks for reading!

Music Chronicles 4: Little White Behind, and a Sad Violonist

I heard some music from Brazil, but I did not want to learn about their rhythms or about their scales, thus I wrote stupid lyrics about a guy in love with a contrary of a Brazilian girl : slow, pale, with a small behind. Found a beat, a big Liverpool bass (because why not) and played with bars where the 2nd bar is dissonnant.

I added “my idea” of an Elton John’s piano, sang (4 layers!) in Portuguese (like a Spanish cow), added a storm, a crowd, whistles, and voilà!

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I saw this violonist, walking, a sad Hungary figure, on a Sabine Weiss photography. I wanted to build a Tom Waits’ like waltz, a slow one. I sing very badly, so I added this sad harmonica, a crazy fly-like Chinese violin, and silly noises of a dog and cars. The waltz itself is broken, not following the 3/4 at times.

Totally drafty, but I posted it eventually. Non Finito.

Thanks for reading!

Music Chronicles 3: Silly French blursed song

I don’t know how to write a song, therefore I wrote one!

I wanted to talk about Pop Figures collectors. The title is “Faut qu’j’aille en ville” (must go to town).

I must go to town to buy my figure it’s a limited edition, etc.

I added silly voices, noises and whistles to this reggae-like “thing” based, again, on transposition.

My pleasure was to disturb the “idea of a song”, breaking the normal structure, adding random chaos in the end, putting the chorus in no matter what places.

Primitivism is an energy you can insufflate in things. It comes from prehistoricness, silliness, childhood, savageness.

One little jab (or two) of untamed elements.

Have fun. Thanks for reading!

Music Chronicles 2: “Déguisée” – the dress the night the house before the ocean

The sea, the waves in the night, Pacific. A tall woman, in an evening dress, solitary. It’s all blue-gray.

So, I wanted to write a song, but I’m not a lyricist, and I’m not a singer. I tried many things, then I made it an instrumental.

It was made to be “De Façon Déguisée”, in disguise. For Dominique A.

A slow dance, with a big pensive bass, marimbas in echo, brushed drums and a mattress of strings.

For chorus I wanted to add an… irritation. Thus I added a too-loud snare drum, an insisting piano, like an itching.

She dances alone, therefore I added flutes, and doubled the marimbas with a sound on the left.

But maybe she sleeps now. It stops. Birds in the morning patio give her the sun.

Music Chronicles 1: “Sharp Bent Dervish”, or how to weave on one note only

Hey!

I’m having fun composing music on GarageBand. I draft little things to get used to the interface and tools.

For this one, I chose a limit, the “one note only“.

I struggled a bit to find a dry sample of the Art of Noise “Moments in Love”, but… I found it.

It is my note, like a synth-voice, “AAAH”. There’s like silver in it. I like it.

I’ll just repeat it, like a broken machine, a breathe maybe… Ahh Ahh Ahh…

Four bars, strings, and a cringy modulation in the last one (of course). Then, well, I loop, I weave!

Strings (see the ##?):

The bass:

I like the idea of a loop, a non-developping “machine”, something like a little robot dancing on a spot.

Do you like it?

Have a great day!

What did I shazam recently?

What did I shazam recently? Hmm let’s see…

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For this one I know: the immediate modulation (on “from by bedside”)! I just discovered the lyrics, which are delightfully ambiguous. Why would someone say “go away from my window my door my bedside”?

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For Voyou, hmmm it’s because of the end. The guy is not afraid to wax…

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For colors, of course. YouTube Balulalow for other versions.

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I often Shazam in the Fnac store, where my colleague from the Vinyls section has fun. This one is not terrible but it gave me the “walking-dancing on it” illness.

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Because of uncertain harmonies?

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Because it searches, and climbs?

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Vectors & North Star: Chronicle 67

I love to explore Springsteen or Dylan, though I really don’t like their music!

I tried to listen to Blonde on Blonde – I’ve been completely bored. I will try again with headphones and articles about the music, but I already know I’m not really interested, because I find it harmonically lazy. I need strange chords to trigger my pleasure!

Nevertheless, when I have a huge book about these guys on my lap, I feel like a child in front of a toy chest. I love to read about what they did, how they did it, and why. Intentions. Attempts. Codes. Changes. Etc.

oOOo

I found this draft, for this blog, a sentence: “She’s organized and he’s messy, but, and other positive “buts””. Haha! I don’t remember what it was about! The “Positive Buts” (one “t”, please). So what is it about? Complementary characters? A need for balance?

oOOo

Ordered a microphone for my Macintosh. A USB one. I’ll music this year, voilà.

oOOo

Poe’s Law is “Poe’s law is an adage of Internet culture stating that, without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers for a sincere expression of the views being parodied.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law

oOOo

I also wrote (or found) this: “The world’s most faithful and unreliable friend” (oh), near to “The North Star. You can navigate by it.

I wonder if, when one is creative, if they have a North Star. I like the metaphor! The idea of Muse (someone is there for you, even an “idea” of them). The Golem (a figure you invent from clay), who is like a statue you work for, an archetype, a friendly aim.

The North Star is a landmark and a point, you draw a vector from your point to this other point. Direction. But also a light, right? Maybe a sign? Glow, Glim, Glimmer, glimmering (for a reason).

The watcher needs it, he’s thankful, he smiles, he travels, thanks to the North Star.

oOOo

I found Honorary Astronaut, a great little song with surprises each minute. Had to explore a bit before finding it’s a lateral group from The Dear Hunter, plenty of music to discover, like this one hour long “ACT IV: Rebirth in Reprise”, which is like someone says in the comments: “Indie Prog Orchestral Rock”.

Then I found Hold Salted Wind from Einar Stray Orchestra, from Norway (again). This music gets my attention immediatly: harmonies, doubled voice, organ, drama, some dissonances, surprises, broken structure.

Voilà, pour finir :

Thans for reading!

Complex Water vs Simple Delights

Found this idea while listening to many new Progressive Rock tracks. From oldies to new things, I listened to a dozen albums (it’ll be another article), until something materializes

…between four “poles”, inside a square, showing me what I seek in this music.

ONE

The first pole is Esthesis. A very clean sound, changes, interesting instruments. But there’s a weakness, a strange one: chords and harmonies are static, and they are… simple. And if they change, it’s to come back immediately into “simple”.

It’s quiet, pleasant, harmless, it’s “simple water”.

TWO

The second pole is Dream Theater. Take any track. It’s fast, powerful, always changing, fireworky (listen loud!). But they build nothing! Watch the drummer…

It’s “complicated water”. No taste, bland, nothing-music, only energy. Technicians virtuosity, “things”…

THREE

The third pole is Fish on Friday. Suddenly more… comfortable. Much more quiet, like the first group, almost bland. But, like in the last Pink Floyd albums, they know something about giving pleasure harmonically.

It’s a good little thing. Like a petit four.

FOUR

The fourth pole is Flower Kings. A 27-minutes piece where they try to build something. Forget the nincompoopy lyrics, go to 20’20”, and watch them building something. They have pleasure! The bassist knows how to wait or accelerate. The drummer is present (instead of pattering like an idiot). And at 23′, the infinite modulante Puccini-esque crescendo gives me goosebumps.

Well this is a square, a four-points machine, a structure. You can study poetry or photography, love or sex, anything with that.

  1. Simple bland?
  2. Complex boring?
  3. Simple tasty?
  4. Complex tasty?

Each one has advantages! A good glass of water is great. Dancing on big DJ music is cool. Enjoying a complex whisky in winter is perfect. Having a 6 hours conversation with someone who likes it is fantastic.

But everywhere, a little tenderness, OK?

Merry Christmas, thanks for reading!

Complex Tasty “too much too much more more I like it” example:

Risky suites of chords (and how to get them) ?

I downloaded French magazines like “Best of Music 2016“, and I dig, je creuse, through torrents or YouTube. I trash everything (rolling my eyes), but, well, I keep digging.

There’s a very lazy Radiohead album (A Moon Shaped Pool), an “I see what you’re doing, sillies” with rolled-out vowels I pfffed all along. But there’s this one: Burn the Witch, propelled by unstable harmonies, I found it… interesting (I try to forget the rolled out vowels). It floats in some uncertainties.

So there’s a lack, everywhere, I think, in the pop-rock field, of a producer saying: “No, dear, this is not good enough”.

This morning I listened to Paul McCartney’s Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, which is curiously entirely good. It was produced by Nigel Godrich (the, hmmm, Radiohead producer), who was tough enough to fight the myth, to push and jostle the singer:

According to McCartney, Godrich was at times blunt in his appraisal of McCartney’s songs-in-progress during the making of Chaos and Creation in the Backyard:

“Nigel… refused to allow me to sing songs that he didn’t like, which was very cheeky of him.”

Ah ah! I like this! Well, today (and then), the whole profession says it’s a masterpiece, an instant classic.

So I played the game of listening to the previous album and the next, entirely, and hmmmm, nope, it’s not that good, by far (but there’s one exception, a song names : “I do”.

I know exactly what Godrich did. Because what he got in “Backyard” is… harmony complexity (and surprises), which come from risky suites of chords and the subsequent modulations he has to make to follow).

Cf Friends to Go, very John Barry-esque (and oh, the lyrics!)…

This is such a good lesson. Good things appear when sometimes… we need someone we trust to say: “Hey, silly: not like that!”. Cheeky but lovely, right?

How do we find someone like that? Someone we trust enough? And more: when do we need this “coaching”? What kind of “producer” relationship is it? A superior? A lover? A Friend? A collaborator? A “push-me-out-of-my-comfort-zone” guy? What if we need this and we don’t now it?

Have a great day!

“OK, that’s good, why?” and how we look into it.

What do you listen to in a song?

  • Melodies, harmony, structure, voices, bass, guitars, keyboards, drums, originality, energy, lyrics, production?

What do you watch in a photography or a painting?

  • Colors, details, meaning, characters, originality, lines, atmosphere, size, composition?

What do you watch in a book?

  • Progression, story, characters, style, words, originality, phrases?

What do you watch in a movie?

  • Scenario, editing, characters, frames, camera work, action, sense of place, composition, music?

And in architecture, poetry, marketing?

It’s not exactly how we “watch” something, but how we stop in front of something and try to understand where the pleasure comes from. A little bit more like:

“OK that’s good, why? – let’s look into it”.

My choices upstairs are bolded. Lyrics are probably important when I discover a track, BUT I always try to understand the structure, I listen to the bass player, and harmony progressions and changes. More than melodies, or the song’s energy.

In front of a painting that stops me, I want to know “what did the painter want?”. Same from photography, or movies. I dig into (or try to imagine) how the artist dealt with the audience.

So, well, it’s a matter of empathy, or structures/skeletons, of what’s hidden. Nobody listens to the bass, nor really cares about a photo’s composition. It’s all about the singer or the lead guitar, it’s all about colors and “events”.

What I choose to look into tells a lot.

Therefore I think that it is a good exercise when we meet someone, to watch and listen and ask: “What do you like in this? Why?”.

This “says” something about the person. If they are an empath or not, if they’re a thinker or not, fast or slow, surfacing or diving, heavy or light…

Thanks for reading!

The U2 Syndrome – What do you do with a bad song?

Hi! I just found this title in my big list of more than 400 article-drafts, and I loved it. So there it is. Let’s find a tool.

I probably read an interview of Bono, telling about a big “problem” with songs : What do you do with a bad song?

  • You can trash it, or just keep the bits somewhere and wait.
  • You can try to heal the song, like a doctor, finding what is wrong or ill or boring here. Ask someone maybe?
  • You can take two or three bad songs and operate a graft, transplanting ideas on others – with the secret hope that some shocks, weirdies and surprises will come out of it.
  • You can rush and be casual and make is worser… then interesting? Hmmm…
  • You can keep it like that and hope someone will love it!

These tools applies to : “What do you do with a bad …?” (book, marriage, team, president, etc).

It’s option 3 that I often choose, like for my Chronicles these days. I pile drafts, and that’s all. If I entertain someone somewhere on the planet, I’m happy, though I’m a bit sorry for my bad English.

Thanks for reading!

A Note of Love & the Traveler’s Castle : Chronicle 58

Opening up your lunch finding a note of love inside.

oOo

oOo

Nasreddin Hodja was a Sufi in the old times of muslim countries. He is well known today as an Archetype of the Wise and Silly.

He appears in thousands of stories (you’ll find entire books of them, and a few on his Wiki).

oOo

There are so many ways to be a tourist. You can follow orders and fall in every tourist-trap, travel in groups like sheeps, or you can be an explorer, a samurai, or you can be the philosopher, drifting in the world, the nose in the wind.

But one traveler is always in his castle: his mind.

oOo

When someone wants to hurt you, he will define you, that’s a rule of non “nonviolent communication”. Someone defines you and you’re angry for two reasons :

  1. It simplifies you, putting you in a box
  2. It places you “under”, like you’re not enough this, or that

“You’re lazy!”, or “you’re like your mother!” are good example. It’s a great way to be mean!

Always answer with “It’s your opinion”. Nobody can “define” me.

oOo

Do you prefer movies which tell or movies which show?

oOo

In the infinite game of separating human beings in two parts (Sugar or salt? Introvert or extrovert? Tea or coffee? Cat or dog?), there’s one I love :

Do you focus on details or on the “big picture”?

This simple question tells a lot about someone. Do you like textures, or a landscape? A gesture, or a project? Do you watch what happens know, or within a whole life?

oOo

What is a year ending like this :

oOo

Are there some disapproving glances in your life? How to shield?

oOo

I can begin with a game : I Google “Find Happiness”, and read a bunch of plywood advice from smartasses like :

“Find happiness inside of you, not with others”

Awww!! Inside of me? Where?

But also we read that the real wisdom is :

“Real happiness is found in action and absorption in the Now, rather than endlessly worrying how to be happy”

Hmmm, sounds good too. Okay.

oOo

“Be free, a way”. OK, but which way is it?

The rhythm changes at 1’36”, comes sayin’ : go walking, watch around, try. No?

This is the same music played by Flaming Lips (thanks to YouTube) :

Hmmm lyrics :

Did good, baby
So we can go
The time right now
Thing is

The sun shines now
But we’re so alone
It’s not, tis not
The light
That shines

The way, away
My heart can beat
Be free and go
Our days
Are empty

Is the love the god
That we control?
To try to trust
The pain

The sun shines now
But we can’t…

Thanks for reading!

Radioactive Bees & a Conquistador : Chronicle 56

Who are the musicians you always come back to? Genesis and Mike Olfield, Pink Floyd and King Crimson, Blonde Redhead and Röyksopp, Brahms and Schubert. Like… if I had to “check” something, each time.

oOo

oOo

And there are some you keep coming back to… to explore, like Mahler (Sy 2 Part 2 as a cursed Waltz, Sy 4’s strange violin), or the ECM label : these are like continents to never finish to explore, discovering parts or mapping them, or deepening, digging, reading about to understand.

oOo

Currently with Egberto Gismonti‘s discography. Hmm… no. I go back to Eno’s Thursday Afternoon as a place of feather.

oOo

Conquistador is pierced, explorer lost, betrayed or imprudent?

oOo

In my “French toolbox”, I present tools for the mind, little tools. I really like to find structures, and patterns. You’ll find many books about tools. Some of them are from spirituality and self help, some other about manipulation and power. How to “win”. How to become a shark

Sun Tzu, for example, or “The Power” (Greene) are all about power, how to win, destroy an opponent. The war like an Art, a way to unfold invention, with tricks and knacks.

I should article about these, maybe one day – could be called “Mean Tools“, though this sounds unfair. Hmm. “Mean tools to use gently”?

oOo

oOo

In France when you write down a shoppin list you’ll add PH for Papier Hygiénique (for toilet paper – maybe you write TP in English?), or more often PQ, and why is that? We call it “papier cul”, ass-paper (AP?). Thus, we say : “Pécu”.

oOo

Thinking about Talk Talk‘s Shame and Tears for Fears‘ Shout, two “hymns” I had in ears when I was a young man. I remember that for Shout, the composer wrote all night long, knowing he “had something”.

The tropism : “I work and suddenly I know I have something big” is something to explore in the history of arts. What if it was a mistake? How to read it, as the result of big work? Chance? Acuteness?

oOo

Sshhh…

oOo

There’s an old classic in self help and psychology, which is that abandonment in childhood becomes dependancy in adulthood. These sound very much too easy (and it’s vague enough to be applied on every life), but, well…

Dependancy becomes here a mask, an armour against the fear of feeling the fiery bite of abandonment. It provides a frame. It can be cigarette, a constant need of approval, sex, sports, any dependancy, seen there has almost a shelter.

oOo

what happens when we seek coincidences

oOo

Words are “radioactive bees”, they move all the time, they irradiate meanings. When a bee watches herself into the mirror of another language, her image is blurry, multiple. She flies away, and the image hesitates to.

Yesterday I watched a bee : “Incentive“. Inducement. Motivation. Reward. So I was a bit lost. I wanted to write something about the fact that a good motivation, in life, was a genuine curiosity from the person you love.

But I wanted to express something about stimulation. It’s not even “seeked”, it’s a rush in a work one can get because you have someone in front of you asking actual questions. You get a fire, a light in eyes, because of the bond, and all, etc, etc.

Bzz bzz bzz.

oOo

Like a dream
the butterfly
in my fingers

oOo

To follow my previous article about carpentry/marquetry, I’d add this tool, which is to choose the other art, as a source of lateral thinking. If you’re blocked, stay on it, but choose a tool you don’t know very well. You’ll find, there.

Here are my articles tagged “Change” :

https://afrenchtoolbox.wordpress.com/tag/change/

Thanks for reading!

The Uncle Albert’s trick – juxtapose, juxtapose, juxtapose

ONE

“Uncle Albert – Admiral Halsey” is a Paul McCartney’s song from the album RAM (1971). Here’s a little text I found on songfacts :

McCartney combined pieces of various unfinished songs to create this; in the later years of The Beatles, they did this a lot as a way to put unfinished songs to good use. As a result, “Uncle Albert – Admiral Halsey” contains 12 different sections over the course of its 4:50 running time. This jumble of musical textures, comic character voices, sound effects and changing tempos turned off a lot of listeners, but many others thought it was brilliant. The song wasn’t released as a single in the UK, but in America it became McCartney’s first #1 hit as a solo artist.

Oh, lovely, isn’t it?

I love this song, because it prevents you from drowning after one minute of a “cool seventies slow” with noises, surprises, changes. A big smile gets bigger all along : “Is Macca silly?”. Yeah!

TWO

There’s a famous Medley at the end of the Beatles album “Abbey Road”. McCartney says that they wanted to create a sort of “opera structure”. Lennon despised it, though. It’s considered today as one summit of the group.

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

THREE

When you listen to that (structure, noises, guitars), you think about Pink Floyd, who created in the Seventies like the epitome of this structured, fractured tracks sticked together in long classical-music-like “movements”.

Some examples : Pink Floyd “Pigs” (11 mn), Supertramp “Fool’s Overture” (11 mn), Genesis “Firth of Fifth” (9 mn).

FOUR

The pleasure is bigger than the juxtaposition of tracks, you get pleasure in transitions (closing door, opening door), in contrasts, you get it in subsequent modulations, you build like a “little travel”, like through the rooms of a big surprizing house…

Lennon is funny, when he says it’s a very practical to dispose of music you don’t know what to do with!

Lennon is COOL because he uses this game, in a fractal way, in other songs like Did A Pony, sticking words together (like Dylan, he says) to see if something appears, AND sticking two different song together to make a new song.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juxtaposition : Throughout the arts, juxtaposition of elements is used to elicit a response within the audience’s mind, such as creating meaning from the contrast, an abrupt change of elements. In film, the position of shots next to one another (which montage is) is intended to have this effect.

FIVE

So here we are, on the path of Progressive Rock! But there are differences. Prog rock wants to build long pieces – maybe with “parts” -, and they are damned serious!!

McCartney and The Beatles constructions are more like… medleys. This + this + that. And they have fun!

https://afrenchtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/05/07/the-juxtaposition-principle/

SIX

My principle/tool is :

  • Choose the elements you already have and want to get rid of (things must probably be of the same nature (music + music))
  • Juxtapose – stick!
  • Be conscious of transitions
  • Choose the order of parts
  • Don’t take it too seriously
  • Try, try, try

Whether you use it in poetry, novel writing, music, have fun!

Thanks for reading!

Here’s MGMT, 12 minutes of

Mike Oldfield, 24 minutes :

Autodidact or else-taught? Rules or whatiffing things?

Autodidact or else-taught? Rules or whatiffing things?

Big laugh hearing Paul McCartney he can’t read music nor name the complex chords he uses in music.

Explaining that he and John Lennon learned a bunch of new chords (and some complex ones!) watching other groups in Hambourg, or the guitar salesman’s hands in a Liverpool music instruments store, or playing other groups music.

They made a “chords stock” – and more : learned how to combine them into songs!

Lennon is said to be a composer who were used to “stack bits of songs”, even dangerously.

How does this evolve? What’s the structure of A Day in The Life? How many songs here, into one? :

Macca helped creating an Art School called LIPA in Liverpool, where he “teaches” music sometimes to some luck students.

He said in this conversation that he can’t teach music, because he knows no “rules” in making a good song – that makes people smile! He just helps the students to quit the normal, ordinary, boring, predictable ways.

Here’s a cool example, an ordinary Macca song, not a hit, it’s the first song from “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard” (which is a title I love). Fine Line :

Boring ordinay until 1’06”, where the piano wrings the song in risky harmonies like in a bridge (that soon?). When the second verse begins at 1’19” the rhythm is slowed down already. Strings come, and at 2’09” there’s another cool part, before coming back to the strange piano pulsation, ending in an oblique obsessive modal repetition…

It’s not even a great song! But I find it elegant, casual, there’s a freedom here, in the way the song unfolds into unexpected little ideas. I can almost find the “what if I do that?” pleasure into this music…

All this not in avant-garde craziness, but in a small song!

The tool is structural : Follow rules or try things? Stay on the road or try little paths? Go on a line, or draw yours? Where to do that : life, love, poetry, writing, marketing, photography?

Sorry for my frenchy English, sorry for the Beatles obsession, it’ll go soon, probably. Have a nice day!

Thanks for reading!