Bach + Mantione: Extramusical Ideas

e-mail to Phil, 22 May 2012

I’ve been thinking about our talk, especially your reflections on extramusical ideas. I don’t know if its possible, at least for me, to avoid having extramusical connections or threads. When I say sound for sound’s sake, that’s a listening thing, and, like you said, a given. Music is different. When I make music, either live or in the studio, it may not necessarily be about something, but it’s always with something.

In any case, it’s never a purely musical expression. Often it’s about space, perception, context and re-context, real and artificial. There is the idea of linear continuity we discussed earlier.

Whenever I’m in a live moment, I always try to remind myself to toggle back to the point of view of the audience, hearing the music as they hear it. In a sense I take on the responsibility of the overall soundscape, whether or not it’s mine to take, and I invest in its care and quality of life. So, there’s that goal of contributing a worthy addition to the preexisting collection of soundscapes in the world.

And, I think there will always be a small element of disbelief that I’m actually engaged in the process of making music or improvising with other musicians. Not that I think that I’m getting away with anything, but that I have an outlet for my particular method of selecting and presenting sounds and that my sensibility and vision have coincided so well with a community of like-minded musicians. So, part of it for me is spelunking deep and wide into the performance to showcase and celebrate those few intense moments of group-mind and audience connection. Is that visionary? Ecstatic? If there is such a thing as a humble and quiet ecstasy, then, yes.

G.

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