Rant #2

Music. Sound. It is not with our ears we hear. We hear with a mind that organizes the information received by our ears. Reality is shaped by the software we use to analyze the data. Mind structures reality. Data has no life separate from the software that organizes it. There are no observers, only participators. Music is heard through a set of filters which are your personal mental images and concepts that shape your hearing. These filters classify, they arrange, they give names to what you hear - or what you think you hear. They focus on rhythm, focus on harmony, focus on melody. If you set these filters to narrow, you won’t hear music, only the sound of your intellect bouncing like a superball inside your mind. Instrumental music needs to be imagined, the same way a book is imagined, projected inside your mind. This imagining is an active process. The images are a vision shared with the musicians. The listener is as important an element to any performance as the artist who performs the music. Musicians and audience need to be in tune with each other in order to share, in order to be sympathetic to each other - like the strings of a guitar resonating together. This can happen in a mosh pit or at a classical music concert. It’s a pretty fragile connection that binds performer and audience, but when it achieves resonance it becomes awesome.

Interlude: I have often been asked why I don’t like to talk during our shows. There are several reasons: I don’t want to destroy a moment, a musical aftertaste, by using words which seem so coarse. I also sometimes get so lost in the music that I actually can’t talk. Once I was announcing the trio I had been performing with for over a year. I mean, these were friends I had known for a while and yet when I said: “On percussion......” I couldn’t remember Davo Bryant’s name. I don’t know how long it took for me to remember his name, maybe it was just a few seconds of silence, but it seemed like I was somewhere else, where words and names didn’t matter. Singers probably don’t have experiences like this, because they always work with words, but musos might understand. End of interlude.

Music is the most mystical experience many people will have in their lives. Much more mystical than most people’s religious experience, which simply consists of following their church’s laws and rites. People can experience something other through music, catch a glimpse of something other. Music is that touch of otherworldliness, universal-ness. Call it divine if you must. The soul is the antenna, I am the instrument, the guitar is the amplifier.

Opposites are not contradictory but complimentary. (Neils Bohr)

Speech is an endless balancing act, forever falling off the edge of understanding. (Darryl Reanney)

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