Heavy Plant

Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...


Music and thinking

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furious pig - I don't like your face

Why is it that I no longer listen to or buy music? I think I used to enjoy it, certainly I spent a lot of money trying to enjoy it. I'm bored by listening to the things I own, after all I've heard them before. CD's seem too expensive, and you have to be careful how you download mp3s, it can get you sued.

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Kimya Dawson - I like giants

I seem to be seeking out variety at the moment. I've abandoned what I might have considered a discerning ear in favour of constant change. I listen to to FBi radio here in Sydney which refreshes its playlist weekly and is stakcked with new msic, a lot of of which you can't hear anywhere else (the link is worth a look, you can listen over the internet). The DJs tend to be younger than me and some of them are a little bit unworldly but their chatter is somehow soothing.

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Astronomy class - Heatseeker

Perhaps it's like Scott Adams says, music is like a drug. At least overdose isn't terminal in most cases, though you do worry how many car crashes are attributable to The Chemical Brothers. I think I've stopped listening to music because it stopped being ineresting. The music industry has become too much of an industry and is definitely suffering in the information age where broadcast is the same as presence and distribution is a casual, almost thought free exercise.

I don't blame the internet for the downfall of the music industry - the medium is not the message - but I do blame a commodity based approach to creative work by that industry. It seems contrary to the nature of creative people and the reason they create to turn their output into property that no longer belongs to them and over which they have little or no authority. Such is the nature of a capital economy.

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The knife - Heartbeats

I have lost most of my interest in music because of a lack of access points to new material and because a lot of it seems stale. Maybe that says more about my outlook than it does about the music but I don't think so.

One of the reasons I don't put commercial radio on or buy the CD's that are peddled on it is because the world we now live in is governed by browsing. Browsing is an activity where concentration and attention span as well as a deeper qualitative appreciation are hostile to the activity itself. It also means that people are more sensitive to negative forces, browsing has both push and pull forces and the push is instant and final and the pull is creeping and fickle (more on browsing in another post, I seem to have quite a lot to say about it).

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Scala girls choir - I touch myself

Music is now something we use to fill up transitory spaces in our lives and a background to a different activity; every commuter has an iPod, every bar, coffee shop or newsagent you go into has music playing (browsing again). Perhaps I don't want to overload senses with a sensory experience from outside the event or maybe I don't want to dilute the moment but I seem to feel that adding music detracts from the moment more than adding to it. This is probably becauase we do use music to enhance experiences that would otherwise seem dull and its presence therefore infers to me that what I'm doing is dull and needs livening up.

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Alvin Lucier - I am sitting in a room (1969)

Music also seems to inhibit thought. Hearing is not as highly processed by your brain as sight, which is thought to be one of the reasons mentally ill people have auditory hallucinations. Sound arrives in your consciousness half-processed giving it strange levels of access to your mind. Environments actually can be too loud to think and I quite like to think although it seems I do a little too much of it. Stuff it I'm going to put the radio on and watch the cricket.


  1. I've always thought there's a lot to be said for silence - if you see what I mean. There's not enough of it about. (Except that right now I'm suffering from a slight excess of it while V's in another place. But that's hopefully temporary.)

  2. Agreed. I feel that I've been spoiled in terms of music, like a burned out raver. The consumption of music has overtaken and smothered the will to create it.

    That said, I still enjoy listening to music, and I'm still a sucker for buying it. I enjoy doing what my sister describes as "listening to music like you're watching a film", so you actually really listen to it, rather than just have it on. Tom Waits' last but one album (Real Gone) was played in her room in Bristol over the last of a bottle of Laphroaig...now that's the way to listen to Tom Waits...

  3. Silence is good unless you're on your own - particularly in circumstances like that. Then the chattering demons can take over if you're not careful!

    I think I would probably need a bottle of Scotch to listen to Tom Waits. I find his stuff a bit too much like hard work and for some reason I've stopped wanting to sit down and listen like that.