One May Morning
Where did March go? Where did April go? Hello May, good morning – this is a surprise. Got blessed/cursed with sudden inspiration while in Portugal in April and now my EP is approaching album length – but I’m still determined to call it an EP.
It’s been a strange year so far – fairly shapeless and chaotic – I wonder if this is just my experience of it.
Trees for Sakamoto.
Although it was increasingly clear from reading the posts from his social media that he was unwell it was still deeply upsetting when Ryuichi Sakamoto passed away. His death is to be commemorated with a project where fans can donate to the planting of trees for Sakamoto. There are no details yet but it’s a beautiful thing to do. Here is the link for when things get finalized. https://trees4skmt.org/
Since April it seems that the stunning and elegiac Sakamoto documentary Coda is more widely available – catch it if you can – it’s an elegant and thought provoking film about music and creativity. In the UK it’s currently available on the streaming service MUBI.
Ghosts in the machine
When an artist passes away something changes in the way that their music is received. This has always puzzled me. Recorded media is surely set in stone, the music trapped in time. Certainly an artist can go back to try and remix or even completely re-record their work. Sometimes this is done to regain copyright or to reshape, reinterpret and refashion. But the original remains a record of a time and place. Depending on how music culture evolves some tunes can continue to resonate across time and genres. However, something very particular happens when a well known performer dies. I’ve been trying to work out what that is, I don’t think it’s just me who thinks this – I’ve heard other people vaguely allude to this phenomenon.
First there is the obvious thing that there will be no more music – but then this often isn’t strictly true as previously unreleased recordings can appear in large amounts – hello Prince. That feeling of anticipation and occasionally wondering exactly what someone will do next is gone. I think it’s a mysterious two-way experience between artist and fan.
Sadness v Nostalgia
When a musician is alive every listener is engaged in a conversation with that artist. It doesn’t matter if it is never vocalised but you are sharing an experience essentially between two people. When the artist passes on that conversation has finished forever – it is now a one way conversation and this brings about the sense of loss for someone you never knew. The conversation is now archived – tainted by nostalgia. A certain sadness sets in and the two emotions seem to get mixed up and confused. You can remember what you felt when you first heard each new piece of music within that brief moment of time that the artist was here but now it’s locked in the past. Like an old newspaper or photo – you can experience it only as you have experienced it already.
Shadows on the screen
A few things stood out as they flickered across my vision while battling the business of the day. This one by Lorn stood out for me:
There is something about this video which fills me with sadness. It’s stunning, using AI and, I assume, animated links to build a constantly shifting and fluctuating reality. Nothing is stable apart from constant change. Whether you read it as a love letter to future technology or a dystopian audio poem to the fragility of humanity I don’t know. It’s an incredible hypnotic epic with the visuals pulled in and out of time, vibrating and locking back into sync, snapping into line and floating away again. It’s both loose and regimented. A beautiful/evil thing. And the scope of the soundscape is phenomenal.
It probably got suggested to me by the algorithm as I have a track in the distant past (2001) called Entropy. So I checked to see if it was on youtube. It is – and has a very impressive view count of zero… I hit play – I still like the existential instrumental break at 40 sec – the play count has now hit one (maybe).
This month’s contributors to tinnitus:
On May morning’s in the UK it’s a lottery – it can be the grim and grey, wet and windy, bright and sunny. There is no way to guess what tomorrow will bring (weather forecasts slightly spoil this). It is the same with trying to guess what tunes you are in the mood for. Tunes that I enjoyed recently were:
New from Eleganto -ft. Zadquiel – ‘Uncontrollable’. All the usual madly catchy vocals and elements – loving the shiny break at 48 sec.
And then there is this from Captain Mustache ‘Super Great Song’ from the incredible EP ‘Tourbillon Nocturne’ (Remixes).
I’m so predictable – this tune has all my favourite sounds delivered in one compact bundle. Clearly I’m going to like it. Once the algorithms realise this I’ll be trapped in this soundscape forever.
Somewhere in my Memory Palace I hear:
Given that the love I have for particular sounds and frequencies has become almost fetish-like this popped into my in-head speaker system. Sometimes a sound enters your mind when working and you have to pay attention and enjoy the distraction. I was working in a record shop when this came out and everyone ran up to the counter to buy the one copy we had.
This tune still surprises me with it’s brute force energy. I still can’t work out why it wasn’t massive. It’s an absolutely stunning track from BFORD9, which is one of the great electronic records of the 90s. The mix on BFORD9 , which I think I prefer, and whole album are currently on Youtube here.
Edit 09 May:
I forgot this in the original post. Incredible energy and dynamics in this Royalston remix. This is the sonic equivalent of crossing the proton streams in Ghostbusters.
I hope everything that crosses your radar this month brings you joy and finds a place in your memory palace.
In your electronic arms – multi genre playlist including this month’s selection – defy gravity, escape reality.