I have Henry Flynt to blame for this.
When it comes to waking, I normally am not one who takes cues. Perhaps this is the same reason I almost never remember my dreams, but I have a perhaps irrationally consistent "plan" to never wake up in the morning if I have not had enough sleep. Were I to awaken in the early morning, on most occasions, with ideas for a piece of music or some other such thing, I will refrain from doing so and just curse that I am awake at such an inappropriate time.
So, here I am making use of such (formerly viewed as) innapropriateness, and am following (as opposed to ignoring) an inborne cue to wake up and follow this through.
The other day I became interested again in the music of Delia Derbyshire, someone I had forgotten for close to ten years. I came across her music originally at some point when I was first getting into electronic music, but I only did so with a passing interest, as if I only needed to know of it, or glimpse it and move on. I did the same thing with all of the early electronic music pioneers. I had a collection that included many different individuals ranging from Iannis Xenakis to Clara Rockmore.
I found it most intriguing for what seems like a brief time only, as I do not recall anything about any of those sounds and music that I heard.
How and why do we listen to something when we do (and really listen and pay attention)? I have no exact answer. However, in looking back to my changing tastes and interests, I see again and again, a meeting which never really takes place. Or, in other words, I expect something else and am estranged from it.
When I first heard John Fahey (and be on the lookout platform with your telescope for I shall have a post in the near future dedicated to him), I have no idea how or why, on a CD version of his 1985 album "Rain Forests, Oceans and Other Themes" I was just baffled. It sounded strange and unappealing to my ears at the time. It took four of five years of distancing from him in order to encounter him again. This time, it was when his final album "Red Cross" was just being released. It still sounded strange, but beautifully so, and captivating. What had I listened to in that time period of several years that made it all of a sudden click?
Upon first hearing "The Shape of Jazz to Come" by Ornette Coleman, I was underwhelmed. When I first heard the Velvet Underground's "White Light/White Heat," I thought, "So what, that's it?" I had expectations that my ears were instantly going to curdle and I would ultimately have some sort of incurable fit. All music termed "Experimental" or "Free" sounded tame to me initially. Fortuntely, I moved beyond that sort of unusual expectation and just started listening closer, and doing just more tha skimming the top.
When that started happening, things started to click, and I was able to approach them again with a more realistic and practical outlook.
This all begins with: Fugazi, Modest Mouse and Aphex Twin. All of those, at the moment when I first heard them, I was put off. They were all strange. Dissonant in ways. Somehow I kept trying to listen to them again, as if I couldn't help it. Why was I persistent in doing so? Were I to have just moved on, my listening habits may well have been entirely different than they are today. I may have made a living out of this so-called 'skimming' behavior.
Perhaps this is all a common experience; it is interesting to me keep in mind these re-assessments.
After years of developed interest in so-called "Country" and "Jazz" music, both of which at some point in my life I was determined to dislike, I still am unable to make the plunge into "Western Classical Music," and I still have that determination to never do so, and hope it never happens (I put these genres in quotes, because frankly, I don't think they or any kind of music exist, and yes, I am making fun of them).
That being said, I do like the duet between Papagena and Papageno in Mozart's "Magic Flute," which occurs after Papageno is about to commit suicide, and they each start singing, "Pop, pop, pop, Papageno" "Pop, pop, pop, Papagena." There are birds fluttering about. Now that's good.
But, I'm still on the outside of all that. Maybe I shall write something in ten years, perhaps of how I learned to love Mahler? Although, that is sort of already starting to happen by way of an unusual Russian LP I found of a sound documentation of the making of Alexander Sokurov's film "Whispering Pages," which features the music of Mahler mixed with ambient sounds of water and birds and talking.
Perhaps that is all I need to do: listen to classical records in the forest, or underwater.
That will be my point of entry.