Lately I find myself writing long, expository weblog comments elaborating my theories that the combination of technology and open source ideology will generate a new way for many of us to experience and express music.
Theories come naturally to me, in the same way that others find singing easy. I often think that certain physicists, who work on the theory of the ultimate nature of everything, function as the most cool form of theologians. Yet my theories are more workaday--reflecting my status as a modest dreamer with a strong practical streak.
I love the idea of a 'narrative nature' of music. Because music often, like poetry, tells a non-linear narrative, it can serve a wonderful way to access inward sparks that lead to those inner emotions which are too ethereal to be smiles, but feel deeply satifying nonetheless. I find that narrative self-sufficient, a complete and wonderful slate of ideas.
I'm a fan of music created by hobbyists these days. I like the things that people unfettered by abstruse commercial concerns can create. Yet I also enjoy commercial recording artists. I love a world of "traditional" recording artists. I notice, though, that lately the tabloid-ization of artist promotion overwhelms the promotion for appreciation for the music itself as to far too many popular artists. It's not a new thing, of course--but it's viral and incurable right now.
Sometimes this takes somewhat charming forms, like the kitschy "50 Cent v. Kanye West"
face-off during the Summer. I never mind if life sometimes imitates a silly pulp magazine. Yet the decidedly 19th Century yellow journalism slant to coverage of music like Britney Spears' debacle or the marital woes of country singer Sara Evans make me pause a bit. Of course, soap opera and outrage (real and imaginary) have been key sellers of popular music for all my life.
I prefer, though, to think of music I like in terms of its sound rather than its back stroy. It's not as important to me, anymore, that this artist committed suicide, or that another artist broke up with the other singer in the band just before the release of the album with the heart-felt songs. Maybe it's like the reality show creze, and people need that connection to really "get into" the music.
A local fellow managed to get himself killed this Summer through getting intoxicated, creating a genuine problem which caused a neighbor to (somewhat inadvertently) shoot him when the decedent was trying to break down a door to the neighbor's place.The local press gave us blow-by-blow of what happened, and even did follow-up stories about whether any drugs other than alcohol were in his system--as if that was a momentous thing.
Yet when the fellow was alive, and making interesting music (after years playing in interesting bands like the earlier New Bohemians),the local alternative paper might give him a few lines, and the local daily would barely acknowledge he existed at all.
I think this is related to the reason why so many of us want to change the way we experience music. There are sounds and adventures and people of amazing talent and an explosion in technology which will wash away everything we hear today and bring us new things we will love forever. Enough of jagged lives and jagged kisses. We're moving from the time of musical-fancy-by-telenovella, and into the purity of sound-on-sound.