Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I wish I could put a disclaimer in here every time I talk about Tunes...

...Because of course when you think about it, in the grand scheme of things, the novelty of music is intangible and it's difficult for everyone to agree on the qualitative nature of certain albums or songs or artists. The disclaimer would say something about how I do understand all this and that I hope other folks understand it, too. Music is pretty much a luxury and to me it is my most treasured luxury along with literature.

I was talking about the film, 'The Pianist,' yesterday and was discussing how it was hardly just a 'Holocaust' film and that was the reason I loved it so much. I often think that people of color or religion use that as a crutch in art. I cannot tell you how many books, short stories and essays I've read that were put in compilations or given some unworthy credit just because they were about a hardship. Non-fiction-writing is an exception. People who write memoirs to tell the history of and the battles of a particular hardship such as the Holocaust is perfectly normal to me even if the writing is sub-par, because it's all about getting the story out there. Half the reason I love writing so much is because words fill in the gaps that the human mind forgets. On a personal basis, writing fills that need to REMEMBER. Writing about true events that happen to me, or odd stories that I made up throughout the day, or even dreams that I've had can put layers on my consciousness that would not otherwise be there had I not picked up a pen or sat down at the keyboard. Not a day goes by where I don't scribble a little story synopsis in my brainstorm book or write a journal entry about something funny that happened that day or even something completely mundane. In informal venues such as my written journal and this blog, I write quite, you know, informally, I try to take on a conversational tone. I try not to order my thoughts in essay fashion because it's simply not natural to me. I remember learning in freshman year English at McDevitt that the human brain does not think in sentences. It thinks in stops and starts of information. The problem is that the complexity and quickness of the human brain could not possibly communicate the true meaning of what it was trying to say to another human brain in that fractured fashion. That is why there is ordered sentence structure in speech and in writing--so that we can understand each other.

I have no idea where I was going with all that. But I had started out talking about how 'The Pianist' was a great film because it was great ART and did not use the Holocaust experience as a 'crutch,' rather it based its greatness around that terrible experience and a masterful and cathartic rendering of what the Holocaust was for one particular individual. The end result was a fairly accurate depiction of the history of that event, coupled with the basic desperate struggle of humans to simply survive even in the face of such a dim future, all the while familial and romantic relationships are still a part of the equation and the whole, long, plodding, yet highly suspenseful film is crystallized by Szpilman's (Adrien Brody's charcter) love of music. His love for the sound of the piano---the 'magic' of the sounds that would come out of that piano--gave him something to hold onto faced with the knowledge that every family member and friend could be dead and that his own death could have been around any corner.

End result, as evidenced in that perhaps slightly fictionalized film, music holds a power and value for humans that I still have not really comprehended, despite my unheard of dedication to it. Ever since I was young, I had an obsession with the intangible and the abstract. 'Intangible' is probably one of my top ten most used words (other than the normal conversational words of course). The value of music is complete baseless. Factoring into just one record's particular worth are about a thousand things, 995 of them pertaining to the person who is listening to it's background and disposition. I don't know how to go one day without listening to music, yet I understand how very uneccessary it tends to be.

In recent months, my musical tastes have been all over the map and haven't really been taken by storm by any new music coming out. I sometimes wonder if my days of being 'taken by storm' are over when it comes to music. There are things I REALLY LIKE, for instance, the new Cut Chemist album 'the Audience's Listening,' but am not researching every one of Cut Chemist's last moves withing the last nine years with Jurassic 5 and any other possible collaborations and releases. (Like I may have done with Radiohead or Yo La Tengo or Sigur Ros in the past). No, I'm just content to really enjoy this album and if I stumble across some tidbits about future Cut Chemist solo releases or Cut Chemist collaborating with Rick Ross (hahahaha) than so that will be............ I am spoiled by past years of music that seemed impossibly powerful. Radiohead's "Kid A" still has a hold on me that I simply cannot fathom or explicate. 'Motion Picture Soundtrack' is connected to so many different parts of my life that I feel about 1000 different emotions when I hear it, but I've since come to grips with the majesty of the song and don't have to hold my breath and scream and shout when the thing comes on.

Sometimes, though, music does take my breath away. One such artist that can do this is 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor'. I was listening to the 'Yanqui U.X.O' album while I was in N. Wildwood and just could not believe how I've heard the songs at least 50 times, AT LEAST, yet I was still getting chills. Also, I was getting visuals of things that are not even said in the songs, since they're instrumental. How does 'Motherfucker=redeemer' somehow translate into visions of a triumphant rise out of the apocalypse for the human race? There are things about Godspeed as well as A Silver Mt. Zion that just put a stranglehold on my heart. At some times I consider if the best music that was ever invented, because it says so many things at once, all the while remaining beautiful, and hardly saying any words.

Speaking of A Silver Mt. Zion, the show at the Church a couple of Mondays ago was absolutely gripping. The harmony that they churned out was out of control, and the acoustics in the sanctuary were so solid and resounding and glorious. I don't know how they create the kind of beauty that they do on record, let alone live, it was fascinating to watch and hear. I read, I think on Pitchfork, that they are supposed to release a live album called 'Fuck You Drakulas' and if that is indeed the case, than I will be in absolute musical heaven. They were amazing, I would love to see them again. The thing was on a whole different level than humans, seriously.

Anyway, I could talk about all this abstract musical stuff for seven aeons, so. Stay velvet, friends.


Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to discovering ONE album by an artist and enjoying it so thoroughly that I feel like it's my civic duty to scrounge up every other mili-second of noise that they ever recorded and listen to that too..it can be quite overwhelming and i think i might try your newfound approach next time!
Josephness(in anonymity)

Lauren said...

Yeah, exactly, I mean there's just too much great music in the world to waste time on just one artist... sure you can love the crap out of that album or that artist, but don't devote your life's work to it! I always used to pass by some very worthwhile artists because I was too engaged in being locked into my current 'mindblowing' album.