Saturday, October 08, 2011

Events, Altered by Observation

Simplicity and ambiguity sometimes embrace to confound the intellect and charm perception.

A swirl of fireflies in deepening dusk, creak and groan of ancient maple limbs in still air, peppering of sleet against the windowpane.  The odd coincidence on a downtown avenue, laughing inwardly at sensing what a more "primitive" mind might call an augury, the appearance of someone or something that simply should not be there.

Capture such things as these in sounds that evoke their presence.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Speculative Music II

Collage, fragmentary combinations of images and words, and experiments with tape splicing and manipulation of electronic sounds are elements of the contemporary perspective, yet they have been in existence as art forms for quite some time, and in some cases for well over a century.

Art, obviously, does not replace reality, but rather represents aspects of it. 

While imaginary worlds and artificial sounds, as products of artistic vision, become more sophisticated with developments in technology, it is not the imaginary environment with which we are concerned here.

By design, sketch and transformation ambient music follows a progress similar to that of the consciousness of the dreamer, in which any sound may be music.  Such musical elements as define linear time or particular types of structure are not of paramount importance, but neither are they intentionally subverted for mere effect.

Arising in the environment of the mind, any vibration may be followed to realization in some form, and the intention in combining these sounds is to create an atmosphere that suggests or evokes experiences any listener may associate with the sound and movement of the work. 

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Four Minutes, Thirty-Three Seconds

The well-known work 4'33" by John Cage is, to this day, more often than not described as four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence.

The point of the piece is that it is not silence, but the establishment of a context for the perception, on the part of the listeners, of the sounds of the environment itself.

Audience reaction varies, but neither is it the response of the audience to the piece that is important, and one might rightly question the legitimacy of the performance if it is staged solely for purposes of condescension or to exasperate listeners.

Rightly understood, 4'33" is an awakening.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Sketch and Transformation

Sound, form, proximity, and movement.

These elements (among others) order perception in time and space.  A great deal of this focus is visual, but conscious concentration on listening reveals a richness of shades and textures as well, whether in an exterior or interior environment.

Drone, hum, distant roar, voices both directly spoken and reproduced, rumbling, noises of animal, bird and insect, automobile and aircraft, timepiece, hiss and rush of air, movement of water, sounds made by metal, glass, leather, plastic, electronics, doors opening and closing, gravity settling and shifting  walls and foundations.  Just now, a siren, approaching and finally fading in an eastern direction.

The sound of musical instruments will be heard as well, and songs, whether fragmentary or complete, but setting those particular cultural artifacts aside, consider an approach to music and listening based on the seemingly random but perceptually ordered nature of sounds, tones and patterns within environments.

Excerpt from "The Celestial Way is Like Water" (30:11)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Perception and State of Being

The mind interprets.  It will come to terms with perceptions outside its scope of knowledge by making connections to those things within its range of experience.

Such connections will be personal and cultural in nature, and may also involve abstract knowledge gained from a number of sources. The resulting interpretation, then, may or may not be reasonable or accurate, particularly in coming to terms with the creative arts. 

Still, the direct experience of an artistic work and one's subjective response to it is of great value.

Setting aside the impulse to narrowly define or place a painting, for instance, or sculpture, or piece of music, in one specific context or another may ultimately enhance the perception of the work, while depending on the interpretation or approval of others may spoil it. 

Monday, October 03, 2011

Between the Idea and the Act

Among the things that come to our attention in the world around us, some enter our awareness by conscious choice. 

These things must be actively sought out and actively encountered, and among them are the finer points of the arts and sciences, the philosophical viewpoints, and the abstract cultural concepts.  They may be met with serendipitously, but otherwise they must be pursued.  They are not in common currency, and will not be passively gained.

Expression means risks must be taken, or it will not be.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Glance, Listen, Question

What appears fragmentary may yet be linked to a greater whole.

The separate notes and tones in music, the separate colors of the spectrum, the separate molecules in a cell, the scattering of raindrops and stars and words on a page have an existence unto themselves, it is true.  But in combination they become anything and everything.