Saturday, September 24, 2011

Learning To Listen

Noi went off to a concert this evening with her old friend Rohana, leaving me to work and listen to loud music. This I duly did, playing some Mahler at scorching volume and Robert Fripp's Churchscapes At The End Of Time even louder. This was necessary, I reckon, as you just don't get the full Mahler experience unless the walls are shaking, and even more so with regard to the ferocious delicacy of the Churchscapes at their softest.

I bought the Churchscapes whilst in Paris a couple of years back, along with Equitorial Stars, Fripp's collaboration with Eno, and it's been the latter that has seen the more frequent exposure since then. I sort of assumed whilst in Paris that the Churchscapes set whilst very fine was sort of bland in comparison to Stars. What was I thinking? Rather, why wasn't I really listening? Once you get close to any of Mr Fripp's Soundscapes (Churchscapes being Soundscapes in church) you realise how utterly beguiling they are - but you need to be close, not letting them wash over you like the waves, as it were. There's a huge danger with sounds as soothing as these that you'll just treat them as background and that's such a mistake. You end up missing the point, simply not listening since the music doesn't in any way demand that you do so.

Played loud they still don't demand you listen, but you do get a sense of just how much is going on in there even when not much seems to be happening, and how compelling it all is.

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