Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Transformation Listening

Each piece recorded by Black Mountain School is oriented in such a way as to sustain mood over a length of time through a slowly evolving dynamic series of independent combinations of sounds.


These are sounds to be perceived as they are; it is not necessary to "follow" them, especially by the typical means of melody, rhythm, and beat, those being elements that commonly dominate the listener's attention.  While serving as enhancements to the environment, these recordings also exert a subtle influence on one's state of mind, providing atmospheric space in which to think outside the often frenetic pace of things generally given to be "normal". 

What these works are and what they do is unconventional, though accessible to everyone receptive to diverse musical styles and to different ways of listening to music. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Observe the ways in which the attention is directed to certain aspects of cultural reality, and away from others.

Through artifice, glamour and attitude are generated to fulfill needs and expectations of a consumer audience for atmosphere and a sense of connectivity and community.  Some would argue that this is an incomplete and unfulfilling arrangement, but that is not of moment here.  What is notable is that the context itself is often more interesting than the activity designed to engage the attention, for what it says about cultural conditions and the vision of those involved in producing or opposing them.

Postulate music that appeals to sound emotional temperament and invites reflection and creative reasoning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Technology and Technique

The studio process, and the studio considered conceptually as an instrument, have undergone change over time that rivals that of the evolution of other twentieth century technologies.

Beyond the elimination of financially prohibitive recording scenarios and esoteric equipment, the means of manipulating sound forms and reproducing aural textures has led to conditions through which the imaginative artist or producer can envision entire sonic territories that may be brought into being. 

With due emphasis on patience and meticulous precision, it is possible to develop a repertoire of strategies and methods to create works that have never before been possible.

The Wright brothers first flight took place in 1903.  In 1969 Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the lunar surface, on the Sea of Tranquility. 

People of vision are even now touching the future.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Form and the Formless

Visual and musical arts, like those of a poetic or tactile nature, may direct perception in unexpected ways.

Before we take notice of weather reports we are fascinated by the way raindrops dance on hard surfaces, the ways they form wide patterns while disappearing in a sudden flash of liquid silver; only later do we first think of carrying an umbrella.  With the acquisition of information and familiarity with the commonplace, it is easy to rely on the routine ways of seeing and being, hearing and thinking.  

Easier still is to become distracted by the pressures of responsibility or the popular diversions, losing, along the way, the sense of the unexpected or unknown.  But the beautiful and the marvelous are always to be found, sometimes in simple things and sometimes in complexity.

This is to explain nothing, but to take note, as always, of artistic ideas and intentions. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Art, Music, Poetry, Mysticism

Much of what is considered ineffable with regard to the arts has more to do with coming to terms with reality itself than with the mysterious or the paranormal.

"Who we are" is more than a function of society and culture, and more than self-image, persona, and intellect.  Measurements of character and integrity, and of the genuine or spurious nature of the appearances of things, convenient and useful as they are in navigating day-to-day experience, do not confer more than a deeper regard for the problems of human nature.

The arts challenge all of these, and the complacency that accompanies dependency upon any of them as sources of smug self-absorption.  That these values and ideas have their place is not in question; that it is possible to rise above attachments to the mundane and the narrowly limited, in culture, ideology, and world-view, is of equal importance to the expansion of consciousness.

To see beyond the present and to strive for the fulfillment of higher ideals is a transcendence of the "given" in our lives and a more powerful understanding of what it is to be human.

The arts offer perspectives from which to consider these possibilities.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ways of Meaning

Correspondence between setting and sound implies application of the same freely nuanced juxtapositions of imagery as those that appear in poetry.

T.S. Eliot conceived the objective correlative as a set of objects or events that objectify and evoke emotion through concrete sensory imagery.  The connotations associated with such things as walls and windows, rivers and horizons, running and waiting, and the familiar archetypes may bring, in the context of an artistic work, moods and states of mind to bear on a reader or audience. 

In terms of music, emotions are aroused by the full spectrum of audible sounds and their myriad combinations, though much of it is melodramatic and bombastic, or trivial.  Nevertheless, as more is communicated at times by tone of voice than by words, so may expressively tinted music, unfettered by inflexible formula and form, reveal or elicit subtleties of heart and mind not always perceived directly.