Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

What was it Alice said?



Curiouser and curiouser.

My two songs on garageband.com are going through their review phases. "Bethany Lakes Park", which is five minutes of repeated goblin MIDI organ, for which apparently the end of the recording has major sound static problems (which I should pretend is microsound glitch, but really isn't), has been getting its first half dozen reviews, and they knock the song around quite deservedly, as the song has that certain "composed and recorded in 2 hours" sound so ripe for the "hate it" review treatment.

My other song, "Robot Breakfast", is getting a treatment similar to that on soundclick.com, in which some folks really, really get it and some just don't. IT climbed the sub-chart on soundclick, in part due to a great cartoon and an ad I ran, but in part because people "got" it.

It's partly a nomenclature thing. To me, "industrial" means that movement of 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s bands, emphasis on late 70s/early 80s, largely German, but also Brit and American, who borrowed with abandon from the experimental music of the prior 7 decades, and in particular explored the use of futurist and expressionist notions of found sound to communicate mechanization, in a Fritz-Lang-retro sense (I am using much shorthand and skipping a lot of my explication--although my understanding has gaps as well).

I am not doctrinaire about it, because, like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, I believe that in matters of music, it's a question of who is the master--you or the word? Still, my interpretation of the term fits that of industry-savvy 40somethings world-wide, most of whom own hobnailed long black boots I never owned. I'm a geek you see, but I have no more-gruesome-than-any-goth in me.

Folks familiar with this tradition, whether it be musique concrete, theory of industrial accident, music of the machines, or simply industrial noise, "get" that "Robot Breakfast" is a broad satire on this genre, kind of like having the Jetsons talk about abstract expressionism with their mouths full of corn flakes. Sadly, though, some kids imagine that "industrial" is a synonym for "techno dance", "trip hop" or even "discordant synth pop". They don't "get" what "industrial" means in historical context, although, frankly, the music they do get is a lot of fun, has a good beat, and you can dance to it. Perhaps my only DJ hero in the whole world (excluding St. Martha of Quinn) is former Dallas, now LA KCRW DJ Liza Richardson, who would "get" in full context both true industrial and all the poppy dance forms, but would play the poppy dance forms because, after all, they're fun and she's a dancing fool of a DJ. The other way, the way I prefer, leads to "High Fidelity" and bands giving obscure rock mag interviews in which they hold forth about sonic architecture and marcusian analytical interconnects with their circuitry.

But the weird thing is not my weird theory of music (though we are all weird in our own way), but that today they picked "Bethany Lakes Park" as "Song of the Day" in its genre for June 28. It will get a featured place of pride. It will be pressed to prominence for yet more scathing reviews. It's frankly flawed, and it's not "trance". It should have been listed in some other category, or not posted. But it's "song of the day" on 6/28. It will again cause people to wonder why a song which is obviously a MIDI goblin church organ on loop ended up in "trance" without a single drum machine. I plead mitigation. I plead miscalculation. I plead lack of dance savvy. But then why am I "song of the day"? "Robot Breakfast" I would get. It achieves its goal. But "Bethany Lakes Park" doesn't work. It's in the wrong genre. I even have a better song like it, called "Trinity Trail", which will do better in another genre altogether. For that matter, I will post some the_outsider mixes of my work, and I'll be a wizard, a true star.

I need to get Scott_m over to record with me. He's been such an inspiration to me--a truly musical man with infinite patience and willingness to game around.

I did change all my garageband user bio stuff to stress my lack of talent, a defense mechanism familiar to me from things for which I have talent, but useful even when, as here, I lack any. But though I know the truth and it makes me free, I am still excited to be chosen "song of the day". Go figure.

I am meeting a lot of kind musicians through my reviews. I do not always give good reviews, and I rarely give top reviews, but even my unfavorable ones try to explain chapter and verse of why I did not think something worked for me. I am not a musician, but I have a good listener's ear. People write me to tell me so, which is very flattering. One kind man even offered to collaborate with me on a song.

Writing light but thoughtful material is something I *can* do. It's a strength. So I'll do that, in the reviews, and remember that the music is about fun, and it's okay to be slammed, when one is engaged in mild self-parody.

We had a wonderful meal of grilled fish and grilled vegetables at Fishmongers' Cafe in Plano tonight. I've got Andre Malraux's "Museum without Walls" open beside me.
I love the dedication in this used book: "It wouldn't have been complete without you. The costliest gift is your friendship. December 28, 1968". Who took that Christmas trip to Europe? Where are they now? Do they still realize what a marvel it is to tour art museums with someone with whom you don't have to argue about art, because you care about them too much to care that they don't see the meaning of things in the way that you do. Were they retirees? College kids on the gran tour? Radical revolutionaries? Lovers? Who can say? It's been 27 years now. Malraux is dead.

"[I]f death cannot still the voice of genius, it is not because genius prevails over death by perpetuating the language of its beginnings, but by imposing a language that is constantly modified, sometimes forgotten, like an echo replying to the centures in their own successive voices: the masterpiece does not retain an infallible monologue, it imposes the intermittent and invincible dialogue of resurrections".---Andre Malraux

I am thinking of my friends with whom I have the intermittent and invincible dialogue of resurrection, and how much that means to me.

Curiouser and curiouser.
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