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Saturday 25 June 2011

Some Ideas

The music of 40 years ago is more innovative, challenging and interesting than almost anything produced in the last decade. Like all of life, we have forgotten ideas and become focussed on technology. The future, as we see it is an indefinite sameness differing only by having shinier new gadgets.

Increasingly, the trend in electronic music performance is to see the player as an extension of the machine. Or tools are lifeless, sterile and largely pre-determined and thus so are we. We are becoming automatons in music and in life. Young composers, instead of challenging this narrowing of horizons are conforming to it. We are hopelessly square.

In order to look forwards, we must first look backwards, to a time when people believed change was possible.

Any social model maps relatively easily to a music model. Self-actualised individuals, to take an example, are improvisors who do not listen to each other. Humans as agency-lacking machines are drones, together performing the same musical task, like an orchestra, but robbed of diversity and subtlety. If the model does not work musically, it will not work socially and vice versa. The state of our music is the state of our imagination, the state of our soul and the state of our future.

A better world is possible, and we can begin to compose it.

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