Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

notional frameworks for experimental moments

“Sometimes you have to throw the devil into the machinery and see what gets spit out. Although it's very natural to just follow your creative tendencies, sometimes you need to let something else happen, and your task then becomes to try to live with it.”--Harold Budd

I have in my spare room the proverbial box of rocks. I always find that boxes of rocks are interesting things, but in metaphor, unintelligent things get compared to rock boxes.

My boxes of rocks do not, in the main, contain any rocks. They instead contain ball bearings, dried beans, small plastic beads, and, as to one box existent only in my imagination, a future set of marbles, complete with a cat's eye.

My rock boxes comprise boxes at all only in the loosest sense. The boxes are plastic diet drink bottles and cans used for individual sized portions of pressurized potato chips. These boxes served their functions nobly and well. Rather than being consigned to a landfill six feet underground, they have a second wind as musical instruments.

I swam yesterday in the swimming lane that is not a lazy river but is called a Lazy River, while a pop diva encouraged the Void to "turn the beat around", because she "loved to hear percussion". Although the song is the "signature tune" of at least two disco artists, my mind did not pause over the Gaynor/Estefan dilemmae, but instead pondered the problem of melodic percussion generated by the non-musician. If, indeed, the beat were turned around, would it matter that the "notes" in which the beat was rendered were all semi-pleasantly off key? I don't think so.

In September, I bought, for a few dollars each, cheap cassette recording machines.
My plan was to use the recorders to achieve a kind of overdubbed set of songs, recording each part into a different machine, and then recording the spectacle of all machines playing the tune at once. The tape hiss and low quality inherent in the project would be part of the process itself--an additional instrument added in the mix. I want to shake and rattle and roll things into cheap mikes, and listen to see if something fun emerges.

I think that the temptation to resist is the notion that such a bit of whimsy in fact is "experimental" in any true sense. Instead, this is the lowest form of juvenile romper room prank, rendered in adult scale through the expenditure of a bit of adult imagination.

But my goal(s) with musical expression are not to blaze new trails, but instead to create a matrix whereby the right listener might derive fun and enjoyment from the process. In order to achieve this goal, it is essential to actually try the experiment.

I paused for a moment and thought of "tintinabulation" from the Poe poem. My reading convinces me that too many great thinkers imagined that they rammed the bulwarks of modernity merely by declaring all the rules relaxed. I think that's a form of naivete, customary to that generation of genius.

But what if the goal is not superior achievement, but a form of middlebrow fun?
What if one made instruments at home, and then "gave a show"?

I've not put all the pegs in all the holes, but I'm seeing the outlines of a project in my mind.

I see that "Chess Poems for the Tournament Player" sold its second copy for April this week. The bid this time was the auction minimum, one dollar. I supppose I will have to ensure that future auctions proceed from the actual cost of the work.
Still, it's nice to have another reader waiting for the book. I have a free copy to mail out this week, too. I will post the book back on eBay again soon.

We attended the 9:30 service this morning, in a packed church. I remembered my mother's advice that Easter Sunday is the most justifiable Sunday to skip church, because it affords those who never attend but one Sunday a year a free shot at the best seating. They played the standards for Easter, and the sermon was both interesting and short, which made it a fine service indeed.

I had to work this afternoon, and tonight I fly to south Texas. I am grateful to be busy, but I will be grateful for next weekend, too.

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