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RE: The Artist's Right To Be Boring (was: Re: the best.... the worst....)
>>I fall flat on my face about as many times as I do well.<<
we (r.m.i.) used to preface our live performances & appear in interviews
with this very disclaimer; "we could just as easily fall on our arses or
end up making something amazing" & "we're hearing it for the first time
too!"..... but after a little while [sound of own trumpet coming out of
it's case & getting ready to be blown...] we realised that even in our
own small corner of the musical universe, there was room for every
possible sort of chancer, no-hoper & yes, "failure music".
only these were failures who were proud of the tiny effort they'd taken
to get together some star-trek hardware but had forgotten to get some
chops together & learn to play music. about 90% of the success of a
musician, imho, is to do with how good of a listener he is, & the
remaining 10% goes on technicalities & good fortune. remind me of the
boy-racer types with a coked-up toy car fitted with superfluous
lightshow & 2" exhaust pipes.
we reverted to using the old fashioned rock trio instrumentation &
pushed the (hardware) electronica into the background originally in an
effort to distance ourselves from the arms race, but at the same time we
were conscious that some folks who saw this were astonished that we
could actually play something on "real instruments".
of course, we still go on our arses sometimes- everyone does. :-)
with the increased use of technology in music, we have seen a
corresponding falling-off in skills, f'sure, but that's not the worst of
it. some of the most vibrant music of the late 70s was made by
relatively unskilled musicians, after all.
the other week, I was lucky enough to attend the royal festival hall
(shortly to re-open to the public) for an "acoustic tuning event",
featuring a selection of artists. the notion was that in the course of
the evening, we'd be able to assess the effect of the refurbishment on
the acoustics of the place whilst experiencing something of the breadth
of the entertainment one might expect to see & hear there, & fill in a
questionnaire for the architects to ponder....
so we got bert jansch, st etienne, a loopist called schlomo (he does
human beatbox very well), a little jazz quartet....
& then "sonic boom" came on, with (one presumes) a laptop. [sigh]. (I
actually did sigh then, too).
"I haven't the first idea what I'm trying to say with this noise, but
I've very cleverly programmed this computer to do most of the work. even
so, I'm going to make it look as if it's so hard- working this thing-
that you'll excuse me for not engaging with you poor saps or creating
any sort of a narrative thread with this so-called music. I once worked
with delia derbyshire, so you MUST take me VERY seriously."
if I could fit all that on a t-shirt I have 100 made, give one to sonic
boom & hand the rest out to.... well.... his worshippers, I s'pose.
those guys sure know how to have fun!
I'm not saying that all artists-who-use-laptops-on-stage are bad, of
course.... just the ones who hide behind them.
yikes.... how did I get so judgemental?