noise

Thinking about last night, it's the noise in music that's the music. If you're playing makamat, you've got history on your side, you've got sequences, grace-notes, referencings, dynamics, everything that makes the music; what you don't have is automation. Or think of Casals' cello bow sounds, sax/flute breathing in; it's everywhere. It's the body among other things. The noise isn't noise per se; it's shaped, it's what creates the fractal, chaotic, and accumulative aspects of improvisation (forget the reference here, bit blurry at the moment). All of these things are connected, interwoven with culture, with cultures, and the interweaving is what made me quit for example 'playing the blues' early on; there's a kind of inertia in me that believes it's impossible to go there, wherever there might be, in a kind of fullness I'd find necessary to even make the initial steps. It's the noise on the line that was interpreted as the speaking of the dead; it's the noise on the line I try to clear out, in order to hear the cosmic noise of aurora, lightning, magnetosphere, particles, and so forth. That noise is quieter like the background microwave radiation, that RCA engineers first thought was noise on the line as well. Your noise is my information; Henri Michaux couldn't hear most of the music he heard in A Barbarian in Asia. All of this is an endless pit; the point is, that it isn't a pit but literally a playing-field. Think of ragas and their complexity in time and space and musical history, even the history of musical instruments. In this sense, the subtlety of the digital lies, among other things, in its paring-away at culture (think electric fretted guitars and guitar synthesizers, and non-western scales), things disappearing before their appearance, new things appearing  before their disappearance, a kind of hi-jacking of culture occurring on a world-wide scale. At this point it's not even necessarily a kind of colonialist or post-colonialist leverage; it just is, and appears natural as any landscape filled with technological radiations.

I'm blurry, writing this all wrong, but there's a kernel of truth to it, something obdurate in the memory of disappearance.

 
People: Alan Sondheim
Research: Sound
Tags: music, sound, research