"...the question of repetition, whether or not it is possible, what importance it has, whether something gains or loses in being repeated...Repetition, if it is possible, makes a person happy..." - Soren Kiekegaard in "Repetition."
More than anything, these selections tell a story.
This all happened by chance. I put on a record that I had bi-accidentally scratched (and it was pristine until I came around), and this particular time I played it on a very sensitive turntable which played it quite differently than the turntable I was accustomed to using. This time, the scratch prevented the needle from moving forward into the groove, and instead caused its own unique locked groove, entirely without intention. Now, of course I was ready; I immediately had to get a recorder to save this potential one of a kind loop.
After this, quite a bit later, I played another LP (incidentally only one of two warped records in my collection) and it rendered its own repetitive loop, of which I saved. I got to thinking: every piece of music, if broken up, and looped or sustained reveals either something entirely new, or a characteristic of the music unnoticed. The mere thought that every moment on any recording is a wonderful possibility in itself was revelatory, regardless of its source.
This is in dedication to the never-ending possibilities of music.
#1) Alice Coltrane - 'Ohnedaruth' from "A Monastic Trio" (Impulse, 1968).
This is was what led me into all of this. You will have to decide for yourselves whether the repetitions do in fact add anything to the already beautiful music of Ms. Coltrane. This question is almost beside the point, however. This recording, with scratch intact, made me think: I wish all of my records were warped and heavily scratched. Yet, too, I am glad this is not true, as I would need a large financial surplus at all times to keep new needles in stock. Notice: the ever present tambourine, and the scraping sound at the end.
#2) Neil Young - 'Star of Bethlehem' from "American Stars n Bars" (Reprise, 1977).
The galloping percussion, and the slight indication of a voice never fully revealed. It would seem I am a little too into Neil Young, having just written about a song of his just two posts ago, but I assure you this is not entirely so. It just happened this way. The repetition of the word "to" reveals the quiver in his voice much more noticeable than would be ordinarily heard by my ear.
#3) Pink Floyd - 'Remember a Day' from "A Saucerful of Secrets" (Harvest, 1968).
It is the piano that is central in my mind in hearing this. There is something about the sound of a repeated piano phrase. The guitars contort and rise. In remembering, is it wrong to do so repeatedly?
#4) Philip Cohran and the Artistic Heritage Ensemble - 'On the Beach' from "On the Beach" (Zulu, 1968).
This piece in particular began a different line of thinking about repetition. This (originally) lengthy track is full of its own repetitions, without my further assistance. This encapsulates, in short form, the repetitions already inherent in the music. Yet, further repetition adds a Philip Glass (yes, another Philip) kind of effect.
#5) Art Bears - 'The Song of the Martyrs' and 'Albion Awake' from "The World As it is Today" (Recommended, 1980).
This is cheating on my part just a bit. There are two songs represented here; yet I think the sounds are related. Again, notice the repetitions which they create that sound as if they were looped: accordion and organ sustains amidst the churning sounds. The effect of the repeated phrase, "As we look about us..." turns into a natural loop of its own.
#6) Robbie Basho - 'The White Swallow' from "Bouquet" (Basho Productions, 1983).
There is something of water in this. Hearing a piece which ordinarily has no explicit repetitions of phrases and sounds such as heard here can allow hearing the original piece from a new perspective. Whenever I hear any of these pieces again, I will now think: "Cry, Cry, Cry, Cry."
"Modern philosophy [music?] makes no movement; as a rule it makes only a commotion, and if it makes any movement at all, it is always within immanence, whereas repetition is and remains a transcendence" - Kierkegaard in "Repetition."
The other day, I had the fortune of hearing a CD of some sort of 1940's crooner-type singing, and it was skipping regularly. If only someone had not then proceeded to change the music; do you realize that whenever someone plays a CD or record and it skips, there is without a question always a response of "My Heavens, No!" or other such extreme disgust. Why is this? Do I just like commotion, or is it transcendence? All I can say is that I am made happy, perhaps from both.