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Crisis management time...
In essence I'm quoting one of Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies, which runs
'Discover what recipes you are using and abandon them'
I believe that most of us, consciously or otherwise, make the mistake of
building up a kind conceptual agenda for our 'ART' - in other words, we
end up creating a (too) complicated idea of what would constitute
'success' or 'good art' for us.
You might say 'why not? doesn't that give us our direction?'
Well, to an extent perhaps, but it may also limit us to only considering
a very narrow band of possibilities - ie: only those possibilities which
are compatible with the 'recipe' which we have chosen to follow - as if
it were the only true route to 'artistic success.'
Practically speaking it is very difficult to do as Eno suggests and just
'discover' the recipes we are following. Personally I have only ever
become aware of my own self-imposed limitations in hindsight, after I
have shaken them off.
I would recommend that you consider what kinds of music, or approaches
to music, are 'not your style'. You can probably think of a couple of
styles of, or approaches to, music that you have always been somehow
prejudiced against. Experiment with one or more of these taboos - even
if its contrary to all your instincts.
Think of John Coltranes 'Ascension'. Why is that music the way it is?
Maybe by abandoning melody, harmony and form in the way he did, he was
forcing us to abandon our own recipes. You are left with no way to
'understand' the music, and so are faced with 2 questions: i) how does
it sound? and ii) how does it feel?
This is why music can be so affecting when one is off ones face on
certain chemicals: ones intellectual faculties are diminished, and so
one is less inclined to analyse what the musician is doing, and more
inclined to just hear the sound, and respond to it naturally.
Music is less about being clever, and more about being alive.
I seem to have wandered off the point. Forgive me.
To anyone facing the rut: why do you want to make music? Can you
remember the first time you heard a piece of music and realised that
something special was going on? How did you feel?
So many rhetorical questions...
I'm only writing this because I'm in a bit of a rut with my current
Theres more info about the oblique strategies at
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