Sunday, 24 January 2010

Waterfalls

This is an odd post because it relates to two small seemingly desperate events that happened recently to myself and a third that occurred sometime ago.

I spent Christmas helping out Chris Cairns out doing visuals for Boxed a 'beatbox' opera that had a limited show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank. This was a bit of fun. I designed the time machine which was to transport them back through the history of pop all sonically rendered in beatbox. Certainly a crowd pleasing and Schmaltzy affair, it was a hard not be taken in by the effervescence of the performances.

The other thing happened to be a meet up with a friend in a cosy small bar in Kennington. We were sitting on these large Chesterfield couches taking in the pastiche occidental and oriental mix of walls adorned with the gilded picture frames of 18th Century English society portraits and landscapes posed next to large decorative Japanese fans and neon signs in kitsch ode to Ginza. The time machine analogy is adroit but I suppose obvious in these circumstances. The shrinkage of space and distant distorts time in the revelatory field. And both here in popular social constructs. Infact its not hard for anybody to realise this as a perennial relapse of what one might call the contemporary gaze albeit in the strict culture codes of fashion.

But then I was sitting there with my friend talking nothings and I heard this.


Excerpt from The Stone Roses "She Bangs A Drum-EP" ©

The sound I actually heard was not the recording that is played here but the sound of something that I felt 15 years ago. It was the growing pain of adolescence chiming through the fuzzed minor chords of a pop song. I was standing in somnambulent state in a small room waiting for a girl, half drunk on some cheap alcohol. Content and unhappy, lonely and yet more alive then ever. Nostalgia maybe, as it was kin to something like loss but it was a moment that was as real as I first felt it. Because it was loss then. A momentary fragment of 18 year old boy.

I think it made me think what pop is, for all its superficiality and obsolete rerenderings and its consummation of itself, is a machine of codified reality which works in the most unexpected ways. A piece of Sibelius can conscientiously construct the sounds of nature in a symphonic harmony while instead pop blinding plobs to a preambling beat of derivation. It however is a machine that entwines contemporary consciousness with the everyday. The beat and rhythm is the motion of mechanics, measuring time, working like a clock, a clock that has particular significance to the spatial agglomeration of our modern era.

In that sense I see pop isn't about music, or the words the singer may sing but rather a semblance of musicality which is pointless to be judged as either 'good' or 'bad' except in the idles of fashion. But on that edge it can be the revelatory source of things real in a world surrounded by artifice and separation because it is able to bind the insignificance's of personal occurrences in common trajectories which are suggestive of the things that make us.

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