Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Shringy and Flooby

I spend a lot of my time in imaginary worlds. I inherited a love for fantasy and science fiction from my father. Indeed, I still hold a subscription to Analog magazine that he began back in the 60's. These types of books rarely talk about music and the ones that do usually aren't very good. I'd recommend Kim Stanley Robinson's "A Memory of Whiteness" and "Synners" by Pat Cadigan but that's about it.

Lately I've found myself wondering what the music of these created worlds would sound like. The answer depends on how good the writer is. If I'm getting a sense of the world as a whole then it comes quite easily. Music is an outgrowth of culture and if the writer has done his/her job then that culture has been made clear. Mind you, I tend to hear in my head the music of the real world culture that most closely resembles the book's.

I've read descriptions of alien music and most of them fall flat. Part of the problem is the lack of sound specific words in English. We tend to borrow words to describe sounds. I've mentioned this before. Dang, only 30 odd posts in and I'm repeating myself. I don't think we'll ever create those words. In this age o'information description isn't necessary, not when the actual item is available with just a few mouse clicks.

I used to think that email and blogging would restore the art of descriptive writing. Didn't think about hyper-links, it's so easy to create a link to an example, why wouldn't you? This worries me a little. It seems symptomatic of a deeper problem.

It appears to me that as a culture, the west is loosing it's imagination. Popular music, movies and television all seem to be rehashing the same themes using the same styles. It's not that interesting innovative stuff isn't being made, but that society at large doesn't seem to value it. When one's livelihood is dependent on one's popularity it literally doesn't pay to create unusual works of art.

For this reason and my slightly left of center political views (blame being born in Canada) I don't have any problem with government money going to experimental artists. The more controversial the better.

But I digress. We live in a strange time. One that hungers for novelty, witness how fast bands come and go, and yet shuns originality. Green Day wasn't particularly original when they first broke and Good Charlotte isn't particularly original now, despite their popularity. Maybe this has always been the way of it; I don't know enough history to say for sure.

In the interest of reversing the trend I'm going to go home tonight and put some really weird sounds on the track I'm working on. I'm also going to invent some words for that sound. I think I'll shoot for a shringy guitar tone with maybe a just a hint of floobiness.

No comments: