Purposed Mistakes & Vague Intensitites : Chronicle 55

OOOOO

I found a great Facebook page, I had to ask them how to sign up, and then they asked me three questions before accepting. The first one was simple :

“Who are you?”.

I thought about it for a few seconds then I answered : “An haecceitist”

– which mean nothing, I agree, but I explained.

What is asked here? My job? My age? Who am I, really? Along the day, I’m

  • a dad
  • a mammal
  • a solitary man
  • a watcher
  • a photographer
  • a musician
  • an heterosexual
  • an ex
  • an internaut
  • a walker
  • a reader
  • a blogger
  • a hungry man
  • a reader
  • a quiet guy
  • a sleeper
  • a lover
  • a bookseller
  • a cook

…and many other things, right? Plugging to possibilities. See “Haecceity”

When one answers to the question “Who are you”, one lies. We are legion.

OOOOO

When I hear someone who has a job and makes plenty other things than what the job should be, I’m in alert mode. I don’t know why. There’s something wrong. The accident is near.

OOOOO

Dominique A is a French singer who has a trait I love : his chant sometimes gets out the harmony, which creates a tension before it “comes back” in proper harmony. Chords live their life, they do what they should do. The voice dances with and into it, but a single word can, at times, places itself out of what it should be. It’s like a smart and slightly irritating way of modulating…

I’m obsessed by that.

  1. My musical brain suffers a bit because it’s wrong, and at the same time wishes and craves to fix it – thus I often hum the “correct” note over the singer. I like this movement.
  2. My musical analysis flow stands up, listens carefully and wait, kind of desperately, the return of “harmony”, the… resolution of this.

It’s the last word of each verse’s first sentence here :

I’d like to think about this as a tool. How could I pattern it?

Take a classic form (a photo, a poem, an advertising, a recipe, a song, a painting). Add a… purposed mistake, which “annoys” the form and the frame, then resolve it.

It’s just an example of strangeization.

OOOOO

The pleasure in Proust is : he knew how to define everything.

OOOOO

It’s true. Some musics you listened too much become flat, no taste. Some months later, you take a CD (or you just find the folder on your Macintosh), and the weaving is magic again. This just happened to me with Röyksopp’s

OOOOO

The music we play / The music we listen to.

OOOOO

Were the Romans the Americans of Antiquity?

OOOOO

Charles Baudelaire :

Que les fins de journées d’automne sont pénétrantes ! Ah ! pénétrantes jusqu’à la douleur ! car il est de certaines sensations délicieuses dont le vague n’exclut pas l’intensité ; et il n’est pas de pointe plus acérée que celle de l’Infini.

How penetrating is the end of an autumn day! Ah, yes, penetrating enough to be painful even; for there are certain delicious sensations whose vagueness does not prevent them from being intense; and none more keen than the perception of the Infinite.

Have a nice day! Thanks for reading!

Trent_Parke_Jurien_Tree

Trente Parke

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Prog Rock Ecstasies

Traumatized by Mike Oldfield as a teen, I since explored many musics (and I’ve sold records for 12 years). Today I can spend weeks listening to Mahler, then ECM, then icy electro like The Field, Math Rock or Indie musics.

Pushing a lever in music : The Field

I often come back to prog rock, Progressive Music, things like Genesis, Yes or Pink Floyd.

Wikipedia helps me :

“Progressive music is music that attempts to expand existing stylistic boundaries associated with specific genres of music”.

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

Yes there’s some Progressive Jazz – you can put that anywhere : intelligent techno, post punk or math rock, progressive house. And isn’t Stravinsky’s some progressive music?

OK : sophistication.

I always read that punk rock appeared “against” sophistication of Symphonic Rock, with often came with boring elements : endless keyboard solos, dumb mystical lyrics and so on. Simplicity came back with a hammer…

What if Pixies or Talking Heads were… progressive energy into punk energy?

So from time to time I plunge. An old Yes or Genesis album makes my day. Or some pearls from King Crimson.

OK. Listening to Stan Kenton now (progressive big band, hmmm?).

A good start : http://www.progarchives.com/

 

What would be progressive (…) (poetry, teaching, marketing, photography) – which doesn’t mean avant-garde… ?

Thanks for reading!

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Oldfield’s Amarok

To talk about Mike Oldfield‘s Amarok makes me feel I have to show a metal rock lover that Puccini’s Manon Lescaut is amazing. Therefore I try.

Oldfield is known for Tubular Bells (1973) and one hit (Moonlight Shadow – 1983).

His wiki talks about Virgin, Warner then Mercury years, but I see this career as a struggle between the Tubular Bells source (long complex and rich progressive instrumentals) and the… need to sell more albums.

His greatest albums are the first ones, with little good things in Discovery or Tubular Bells II & III. The whole pack, since, is absolutely bad (and it stays a mystery to me, harmonically, I mean). The good albums :

Tubular Bells (1973)
Hergest Ridge (1974)
Ommadawn (1975)
Incantations (1978)
Platinum (1979)
QE2 (1980)
Five Miles Out (1982)
Crises (1983)
The Killing Fields (1984)
Amarok (1990)

Amarok was the last album he had to do for Virgin, which he… made it a sabotage (it’s all explained in the wiki) :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amarok_(Mike_Oldfield_album)

“a single sixty-minute track of continuous, uninterrupted but constantly changing music”

  • Yes, a bit like Puccini’s music (hundreds of little facets of music).
  • Disturbing or crazy events and noises (hits of orchestra, beer can opening, teeth brushing).
  • Complex and even sometimes difficult harmonies.
  • Gigantic crescendos, like the one in the middle, Ommadawnesque.
  • Fabulous harmonies, reverse sounds, and other chaotic pleasures.
  • Spoons, shoes, a vacuum cleaner, next to acoustic bass guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo, bass guitar, bass whistles, bouzouki, bell tree, bodhran, bowed guitar, cabasa, classical guitar, electric guitars, organs, Flamenco guitar, glockenspiel, high-string guitar, jaw harp, kalimba,mandolin, marimba, melodica, Northumbrian bagpipes, penny whistles, percussion, piano, psaltery, rototom, sitar guitar (a Coral electric sitar), spinet, timpani, tubular bells, twelve-string guitar, ukulele, violin, vocals, and wonga box.

 

So imagine a one hour record, made of 784 little pieces of great music, sewed with disturbing machines, almost impossible to listen – but if you do, you reach a pile of as many music orgasms as the number of fingers you have.

Yes it’s cousin to Royksopp. Harmonically, I mean. This is a science.

 

The pattern is :

“A great artist is about, in a crazy move driven by huge work, to build a BIG SICK MASTERPIECE that almost NO ONE can appreciate, except a handful of connoisseurs”.

 

Well, you can try the end, which is a triple monster crescendo. Go to 44:15, put your headphones on, and listen loud.

Tell me what you think in the comments.

Have a nice day!

 

 

Hello everyone
I suppose you think that nothing much is happening at the moment
Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha
Well, that’s what I want to talk to you all about; endings
Now, endings normally happen at the end
But as we all know, endings are just beginnings
You know, once these things really get started, it’s jolly hard to stop them again
However, as we have all come this far, I think, under the circumstances
The best solution is that we all just keep going
Let’s keep this going in sight, never an ending
Let’s remember that this world wants fresh beginnings
I feel here, in this country, and throughout the world,
we are crying out for beginnings, beginnings
We never want to hear this word “endings”
I know we all want to sit down
I know you want to take it easy
Of course we’re looking for the good
Of course we’re looking for the fresh start

 

 

Strangeization of Mainstream : Soldiers (ABBA song)

Eight and final studio album : The Visitors.

“Soldiers” is a strange song, a frightening one. A strange 6/4 drum beat, gorgeous and modulating synth strings (appreciate the fantastic out of tonality/back to it B -> Bm while “In the pale moonlight”), a haunting guitar, a splendid round bass line…

Well, it’s the best Abba album for me. A twilight. They knew it would be the last. It’s this fantastic braid of abba-istic gorgeousity AND risky or sad harmonies and lyrics. Sick songs…

The tool here is a recipe :

  1. Take a mainstream form : people expect something
  2. Add complexity or unexpected moods you never find normally in THAT form

 

It’s an old structure : do not add intensity, but complexity. Where will you do that?

Thanks for reading!

 

Let’s call this Strangeization of Mainstream…

A Matter of Levers

Sick Songs of Abba & Bee Gees

Fm Do I hear what I Cm think Im hearing
Fm Do I see the signs I Cm think I see
D Or is it just fantas E y  Fm
Is it true that the Cm7 beast is waking
Fm Stirring in his restless Cm7 sleep tonight
In the pale moon B light Bm
Fm In the grip of this c Cm7 old December
Fm You and I have reasonE to remember
Do I hear what I think I’m hearing
Do I see the signs I think I see
Or is this just a fantasy
Is it true that the beast is waking
Stirring in his restless sleep tonight
In the pale moonlight
In the grip of this cold December
You and I have reason to remember
Soldiers write the songs that soldiers sing
The songs that you and I don’t sing
They blow their horns and march along
They drum their drums and look so strong
You’d think that nothing in the world was wrong
Soldiers write the songs that soldiers sing
The songs that you and I won’t sing
Let’s not look the other way
Taking a chance
Cause if the bugler starts to play
We too must dance
What’s that sound, what’s that dreadful rumble
Won’t somebody tell me what I hear
In the distance, but drawing near
Is it only a storm approaching
All that thunder and the blinding light
In the winter night
In the grip of this cold December
You and I have reason to remember
Soldiers write the songs that soldiers sing
The songs that you and I don’t sing
They blow their horns and march along
They drum their drums and look so strong
You’d think that nothing in the world was wrong
Soldiers write the songs that soldiers sing
The songs that you and I won’t sing
Let’s not look the other way
Taking a chance
Cause if the bugler starts to play
We too must dance
Soldiers write the songs that soldiers sing
The songs that you and I won’t sing
Let’s not look the other way
Taking a chance
Cause if the bugler starts to play
We too must dance
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Tissot, Pollock, Eno, Lovers : Sonic Places & Environments

ONE

It’s a bit strange these days in France : the weather’s like summer. I know it’s pretty common in California to wear tee-shirts in October, but NOT in the North of France. My scarf stays in her drawer, though : it’s hot here.

Yesterday I biked to work, and as it’s October, the sun is already low on the horizon. But the air was weirdly warm – like in August’s mornings.

So this sunday morning we did this : I took Isis the cat and put it outside of the bedroom (because she wants to explore gutters and the roof and we don’t want her to do that), I closed the door, opened the window and we stayed in bed bathing in the sun.

We could hear the outside warm autumnic world : a passing car, a quiet wind, a bird, church’s bells (strangely close, like happy sunny), a crying baby very far and… Isis putting her little cat snout meowing her dramadistress : “I wanna come in I wanna sun with youuu meaowwww”.

Delightful quiet sunny sonic place, all these at the same time : bell, wind, birds, cat, baby… and a little moaning (but it’s a secret where it came from).

 

TWO

For no reason, let’s watch this movement between figuration and abstract. It’s a whole thing to study, but today let’s do it in two paintings, Tissot and Pollock :

 

 

Picasso said that abstract art doesn’t even exist, because if you see green things on the canvas “then the subject is the color green” (which is true, right?).

If Tissot’s painting shows a thoughtful lady, Pollock’s a bit more complicated (it’s made of painting drippings). Nevertheless : you’ll watch Pollock work closer and your eyes will immediately look for something which “makes you think of this”, or “looks like that”.

Then, well, it’s called “Autumn Rhythm“, then your mind, guided by these two words, imagine leaves, or movements, I don’t know.

It’s abstraction BUT your brain wants a track, a clue. Or you watch color’s games. Or you ask yourself about the artist’s intentions

Our intelligence is made of analogies. We want to link what we see WITH what we already know.

Here’s a close-up :

 

pollock-autumn-rhythm-No-30-1950-detail

 

THREE

Musics has many forms, from Bach to MGMT, from Miles Davis to Brahms. But it’s always this :

Music is a combination of notes following time.

So : music progresses, moves forward, it goes. You follow, your brain follows. It’s linked to time. It’s like a line, right? Sing along…

Now here’s Brian Eno, who made normal music (and produced David Bowie and U2), but also what he called sonic places.

The idea is simple : to stop “following time”. So instead of having a path to walk your ears on, you have non-chronological sounds, coming and disappearing, like if you opened a door and were in a place where “sounds happen”.

Not a line anymore, but a place, an environment. Somewhere with “no time” (which is so good at times). There’s a good example with this album : Shutov Assembly :

 

In a way, the sounds of life doesn’t or rarely look like music. They look more like Eno’s music, “places” :

…a baby, the quiet wind, a cat, a bird in the distance, a passing car, the leaves of a tree in the breeze, et la respiration de l’amour…

What about Tissot and Pollock? What if this thinking lady was watching a pile of dead trees, her gaze blurred by souvenirs and melancholy, her gaze like Pollock’s Autumn, curved brown movements in the low angled light of the fall’s sun…

 

Have a nice day!

 

young-woman-in-a-boat-1870-james-jacques-tissotarnew

“Pick the Quarter Best”, a Quincy Jones pattern

Listening on the radio to old stuff you didn’t hear for years, I fell off my chair with Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson). Since, I can’t put it out of my mind.

I remember an interview (maybe exaggerated) with Quincy Jones, who produced “Bad”, who said that the team wrote, recorded and produced forty (40) songs, to choose finally 10 of them, the “ten best”, right?

I should find the interview to check numbers, right? But like they say in this John Ford’s movie, let’s print the legend.

 

That’s a tool for workers. An unusual one maybe :

“If you need great stuff, build 4 times more then pick the quarter best”

(hmm is this even English?)

An exhausting/expensive tool, right?

 

Have a great sunday!

 

Listen loud, extract : the bass (sound and holed line), the snare drum games, the voice production, the building in “double stereo stairs” (synth-strings), the up modulation for the chorus.

Annie, are you ok
Will you tell us that you’re ok
There’s a sign at the window

 

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