LISTENING FOR THE PAST FEW DAYS:
LUCIANO- 'SCI FI HI FI VOL. 2'
JOANNA NEWSOM- 'YS'
CASSY- 'PANORAMA BAR MIX'
V/A- 'MOBILEE RECORDS BACK TO BACK COMP.'
MYMY- 'SONGS FOR THE GENTLE'
LOADS OF OLD GRIME
XIU XIU- 'THE AIR FORCE'
I-F 'MIXED UP AT THE HAGUE 1'
STEVE REICH- 'DANCE TO MUSIC' @ THE BARBICAN.
so it's been two weeks, and now (finally?) the silence is broken. much like, i seem to remember from school singsongs, the morning. i've been in a weird kind of writers-block state. actually, that a sounds way too pretentious thing to say about it. often, here seems to be a place for pretty much aimless rambling, and i'm not sure that such babbling can get 'blocked', in the sense that the 'creative' juices just aren't flowing. (incidentally, whenever i hear/read the phrase 'creative juices' i feel a little but nauseous, so apologies...).
better to say, then, that for the past few weeks whenever i've thought about writing on here for some odd reason i've felt a feeling of dread and discomfort, so i thought i'd fuck it off for the day. and days turn into weeks.
so this is me trying to feel my way back in...bear with me here, it might take me a while to get my sea-legs again. in fact, may be just skim read the whole thing, and if it looks a bit rubbish, well, it probably is...check back in a few days when i'll (hopefully) be up to speed.
anyway...let the practice hours begin!
the list above is a little misleading, perhaps. although i've been listening to odds and ends of all sorts of various bits and bobs, the main focus for the past few weeks has been minimal techno. i don't know what it is, but right now all i want is a bleep and a beat. a funny thing has happened in me. before, i used to LOVE the really slinky, pretty, delicate kind of minimal...y'know, luciano productions, a bit of perlon, alex under, mobilee stuff. and i used to enjoy getting lost in the folds and weaves of the really convoluted, busy stuff...eulberg, villalobos, wighnomy bros. and of course it was fun to bosh away to the full-on stuff- hi, audion. but, for all that, i couldn't get my head around the ultra minimal stuff...the de9 stuff, luciano's 'sci fi hi fi' mix. it seemed that was where minimal techno fell into a ditch of dryness. yuck.
but i listened, and i listened, cuz i'm a stubborn idiot like that who doesn't like people 'getting' stuff when he doesn't...and then, one day, all of a sudden, it fell in to place.
i was running. i always run to music. running without music is masochism, plain and simple. the luciano mix was on my mp3 player, wheeling through the motion...and then the beauty of these pure forms hit me. this is music that isn't 'about' anything at all anymore. there's no emotion, there's no stabs at prettiness, there's no representation. instead, it's modrian-music, just simple, pure forms intersecting in their right ways, and that's all.
i remember a few years back, reading the liner notes to matthew dear's 'leave luck to heaven' album, where he says something like, 'thanks to everybody involved in this music that means so much to us'. and i remember wondering at the time how this music could mean so much to anyone. sure, it was interesting, and enjoyable in places, but who could fall in love with all these clicks and clacks?
well now i think you can. i think it's all about thinking...at it's best, minimal techno sounds like thought processes, like nerve synapses crackling away. i've forgotten way too much of my kantian aesthetics, but doesn't he say something like recognition of beauty is down to how some objects stimulate the 'free play' of the understanding? as much as i understand that, it might be that something of that kind is going on here, with me and minimal techno: music that is absorbing just for this fascination with these elegant solutions, the mathematical harmony.
all of which makes writing about it difficult. how to convey this pleasure that's so far removed from the typical forms of enjoyment in pop music- excitement, e happiness, comforting melancholy...emotion.
i dunno. perhaps that's where the writer's block comes in. but i do love this music. music that is as natural as breathing, that ticks over as you tick over, that can easily permeate yr life if you've got an mp3 player and you let it, providing a pattern of impeccably arranged bleeps and beats to frame yr everyday.
at relatively low volumes, this is, perhaps, truly ambient music: sounds which fall into the background, but structure how you perceive the foreground. minimal techno is often both in stasis, and constantly moving: it changes all the time, but never really changes, it's always moving forward, but it never gets to where its going.
may be i just like circles. but this moving-not-moving means that there'a great deal of 'space' in listening to it- gaps to be filled by your own life, without the music intruding. so i guess ther's two sides to it- on the one hand, minimal can become utterly absorbing, even- as philip sherburne wrote recently- trancelike: you can lose yourself in it. on the other hand, it can lose itself in you, a steady, always-there pulse that seems so right. either way, it's got hold of me now, and isn't letting go...