A reason to not write lyrics

Just listened to probably the finest played and recorded version of “The Weight” by The Band, this is not in the film but was and is the real version done at the Last Waltz, okay the Staples one is to quote Mavis “beautiful” but not comparable to this, the energy of the whole band but especially Levon and Rick is overpoweringly brilliant.

It is one of those songs, of which there are truly not many that just cannot be compared to anything before, now or to come – a masterpiece, a classic – who needs a stupid adjective? All you need to do is listen.

I will not try and write lyrics to accompany the music to “If Not Now, When?” – what would be the point when the great songs have already been written?


Awakening – Steve Reich

Many great pointers made by Reich here, watched this interview by pure luck and am so glad I did for many reasons.
I watched a fine Melvyn Bragg documentary on Class and Culture so was looking for anything else that he has done that may be of interest, this episode of the South Bank Show jumped out. I do know Reichs work from before but never really knew much about the man.
He is definitely the Godfather of modern techno trance, his “It’s gonna rain” tape is probably the first of what we know now as a”mix” and in a symbolic fashion for me,it opens up a fine 1993 mix by Laurent Garnier that I listen to a lot, so clearly Reich has travelled well through the logical path that musical evolution takes.

He rebelled against the Stockhausen syndrome that typified his time as a student and his argument makes perfect sense, in essence he did it for himself – how familiar.

His influence on Kraftwerk is instantly apparent and the sounds made in “Music For 18 Musicians” seems to resemble synthesised sounds, to see and hear they don’t is interesting for me – for a very important reason, I will be for myself in my project.

I will use the sounds of my time and not cling to the belief that I must use instruments that were around when the Great Patriotic War took place, Levi wrote the book decades after so I should not forget I am here, I am now and I know and understand how to use electronic music – why would I sacrifice my knowledge? Reich argued that as he was growing up, the sounds he should be emulating and using were made by Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and not Europeans from Vienna – a sound argument.

My sound is electronic not orchestral – if I like a sound I will use it, regardless of it’s place in history.

This is a music project inspired by the book, it is not a project to try and duplicate it – it would defeat and destroy the whole priciple of “If I am not for myself”.

Electronica is the way I will go.
Thank you Steve Recih for awakening me.

The Missing Link?

I have just listened to my favourite Dylan songs, originally for the music but now I know that it is really for the words. I am falling into a strange place, I have many times before claimed to prefer Instrumental music over song but it is practically impossible not to feel truly moved and outraged by “Hurricane”, or left to wonder by “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” which for an unexplainable reason is now officially my all time favourite Dylan song.

Why do I constantly listen to certain Clash songs? Is it the music or is it the message? I think the message, the music on “Somebody Got Murdered” is special but the lyrics take me somewhere truly unexpected – my interpretation is that all children are murdered the moment they step into school and although that is not in the lyrics, that is what I feel when I hear it. My life ended the moment school tried to shape me and I fought it for too long, I know deep down that walking away from school when I was just 14 was the biggest mistake I ever made and got away with – or did I?

I have reached a good point with the music for the project but feel maybe a voice is needed, other research does indicate the majority need things pointed out for them, one of my pieces is entitled Mendels Dream – it is strange music for a reason, but if the listener is not aware that he is dreaming of his clocks going forward and backwards they may not appreciate or understand why the music is doing the same thing.

I am almost convinced that my subliminal mantra of “words are not neccesary” is a mistake.

Lisbon Story

Wenders made a point that he can make a film in two weeks and works on the sound for six months, I totally understand why!

This is the film that I should have made, I love all the work of Krystof Kieslowski,  really like the Coen Brothers in the modern times, respect all of Werner Herzog’s work but for some peculiar reason I think that Wim Wenders is more and more my spiritual link to film – he knows music he comprehends sound and he is a filmmaker that does not fuck the two up like so many, maybe too many do.

I did want to do a similar film about Glasgow – before even seeing this, the similarity is strange, I still would like to do the film but maybe it is best left to the great film makers to make these kind of works, that can be eternally enjoyed.

“Vidiots” – priceless, a lot of priceless moments within but that was perfect and so very prophetic!

I really must stop composing the music in a song style, with the chord pattern and progression and just make stand alone pieces regardless of what bloody key they are in, the sound track is good enough here to confirm that some of us do way too much and why?

Evelyn Glennie – How To Truly Listen

I am being very careful in the music I choose to listen to during the composition period, I don’t want to get stuck, as Morricone mentioned earlier. Evelyn is someone I have previous respect for and I agree totally with the talk she gave here.

“Listen to ourselves”, this is echoing what Morricone and even Mick Jones said, about finding your voice in music, your voice will release your music, she knows herself, my problem is that I do not know the stranger in my body, or mind?

Another endearing thing about her is she speaks and sounds like someone from the village I come from, I do not know where she is from but I am guessing North East and I did not know that she was refused entry into the Royal Academy of London, the institute of music, but Evelyn was indeed for herself. She challenged the obviously close-minded talentless morons that run the institute, she won and paved the way for many to follow her, double respect for her now.

She made a similar point that Levi made about the music of peace – the natural sound, I am very aware that music is simply sound in rhythm, I would guess 94.5% of the human race are not aware of this, music is indeed special but it simply is not as magical or mystical as we maybe think.

I loved her point about the different ways we each experience sound, I never really thought about this in music as much as in art but I take her point about this, she made a brilliant example of how the eye can hear what is not there – by making it up and it is interesting how she pointed out young children do not seem to make that mistake.

This was a fine lecture that sums up spirituality – I think, we can feel, without hearing, the sounds that accompany the natural world, thunder – we all probably hear the rumble but if you think about it, you can feel it inside.

I will be giving the production a lot of thought about this kind of thing, although it will be definitely composed and produced electronically, I can manipulate the post production to make the music more fluid – very important to capture a listeners attention.

The Themes To Develop

Finished the book and still regard it as highly as before, if not a little higher, people change and I am not the person I was when I first read it nearly 15 years ago but still the book touches mt heart and mind and I think that is a rare event reserved for just a few, Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders will always be the first film that did this to me, I have seen thousands since and love many but none have the power, I guess the only conclusion to be arrived at here is that the first time, will be the last, for ever – debatable but probably true.

The key characters and events to consider and to imagine for the music are.

Mendel – the watchmaker, through his story it is clear that confusion always reigns in his mind, his life and his dreams- especially the one where his watches and clocks go backwards. Mendel needs movement and direction.

Leonid – he tells us nothing, and does not know where he goes or why, he changes dramatically and after he dies, his memory is forgotten.

Polina – the Red Army Pilot is the only real and actual person in the book – one appearance but memorable in the sense that the majority of Red Army pilots were women.

Gedelah – he is a different person each time the journey moves, in modern terms he would probably be similar to Dr Ernesto “Che” Guevara, his fiddle/violin is a key part of the story and the music within.

Isidor and White Rokhele – the union, the pregnancy. the marriage and the birth of the child on the same day as the atomic bomb drops on Hiroshima.

August – November 1943 – so many false starts, nice beginnings to the journey then they disintegrate too often.

A key theme is that they can trust no one, every one, every thing has two faces and it is never clear which face appears.

Interruptions by the music of peace is Levi’s description of the sounds of nature, a beautiful thought.

Musically there should be more confusion than clarity.

First thoughts are that this will be a very hard attempt, both musically and spiritually – both Levi and myself are total athiests, we know that there is no God and his sheep do not have copyright control over the term spirituality.

La Rafle (The Round Up)

This film is set in France in 1942 and deals with the methods used by the Vichy/French to gather the victims for the Holocaust. I do have previous knowledge that the worst atrocities were not actually done literally by the German Nazis, but by practically every nation/people in Europe, not forgetting the pathetic excuses offered by those brave british and american cowards, in full knowledge of the death camps but of course we are taught were heroes.

I watch this film as music research but also because of its obvious connection to If Not Now, When?

There are two music themes here.
Period Music
Film soundtrack music – slightly predictable but minimally restrained enough to avoid overpowering the images.

The message from this film is simple
Nowhere is safe, and once again history is, as always, slowly starting to repeat itself, who will make the next holocaust, who will be the next victims?

This film was heartbreaking, and this is how all films should be.
I stand by my anti-entertainment principle, now more than ever.

Entertainment leads to emptiness
Emptiness leads to ignorance
Ignorance leads to the next holocaust

Emotion is what can create true art, I will always be myself and I do not desire myself to follow the capitalist incentive, as long as the books I read, the songs I hear, the films I watch move me, as long as the work I create satisifies my inner conscience, that is all that matters.

If I am not for myself……