Friday, May 4, 2012

Dissolving Musical Space

(drawing in Alchemy)

In playing music that hasn't been designed, and in forms of music that have been designed to be played-- we, the subject, & our materials, our objects, begin the process of dissolving into one another.

Free improvisation, music that hasn't been designed, is an example of this dissolve. The self into the instrument, into the group, the situation. Improvisations can surf the dissolve, prolong the dynamic state.

But forms of music? can dissolving spaces be designed?

First, can musical spaces be designed?
Folk forms, musics that we play, create spaces like these. Music designed to be played.
We start from the uncountable multitude of aural traditions. Convention. The gradual systemization of loose form.
Infinite possibility giving way to shaped possibility.
Notation can help serve this function-- it communicates possibility spaces to audiences with a read/write literacy of its system. Scores in general-- visual, verbal, etc.
These are, at their best, guidelines rather than directives.

But scores aren't for everybody-- they're for musicians, for artists, and they thus ignore that important observation, that "an artist isn't a special kind of person; rather, every person is a special kind of artist."
Professionalism breeds work at the expense of play.
Start from what we have.
Now-- recordings rule over our musical landscape.
They have become the new "scores," directives, which all too many live performances seek to reproduce, and lives seek to live in harmony with-- mechanically, reproducible.
There is an intimacy with music that has been lost in our shift toward listening to recordings,
A diminished sense of possibility. Read only.
An object rather than a process.
Toward the impossibility of systemic intervention, pure spectacle.
But not quite-- we know, at the same time, that these recordings open up new possibilities.
We know we can use them.
We know that in some situations we can start & stop them, and we then begin to rediscover that current of musical play. Can we also stretch? isolate? invert? transpose? To the whole? To components? The threads making up the fabric?
Melting constants: variables.
A recording is a thread. A component-- but of something new.
The material of the recording is a substance to sculpt with.
Sampling? Yes, but only as a process-- not the object that it produces.
Synthesis, similarly. The materials of computer music, searching for a new open future where all participants are players.
Imaginary landscapes-- now melting to our touch.

Music as a Tangible Process rather than Gradual Process.
An instrument, a composition, a playspace.
Product as raw material-- the dissolving of recordings, of all things.
A new kind of open form, to discover a fluid architecture of musical space.
And to play out existing architectures, to dance to them.
From these dances-- a shifting form, born of the dissolving self.

1 comment:

  1. What if there was some kind of device or instrument you could bring with you that let you interact with recorded music in interesting ways? I guess a drum stick would do, but I think live playing with recorded/broadcast media has a lot of possibility.