March 27, 2021

I learned to love the hard way

Friday, March 26. WFH: DAY 64/LENT 33. 6.45 am: There’d be no traipsing around on the forest floor for me this morning. The wind had risen, while the rain descended.

7.15 am: A communion. 7.45 am: I undertook a little emailery and postgraduate admin, before launching into writing for the ‘Noisome Spirits’ website once more. (In the background: Terry Riley, A Rainbow in Curved Air (1969). I’d first heard this piece over headphones on a bus trip in the US, back in the early 2000s. Which was rather late in the day, I’m ashamed to say. Mesmerising.) In the background to my writing, I read snatches of academic writing on music, in order to better understand how the formalities of the discipline are described. Words, words, words. So many words; too many words; words without end.

12.00 pm: A ‘virtual coffee’ with a friend. They were right — I did look very tired:

1.30 pm: I returned to the next ‘tree’. Today, they were felled more swiftly. 3.15 pm: With the sun overhead and pitching towards the west, I launched outdoors to lookover the finalisation of my PhD fine art student’s doctoral exhibition. This would be our last discussion around their practical work. Quite a moment, after all these years.

4.15 pm: Back to the keyboard. 7.30 pm: Five more ‘trees’ to bring down. 9.30 pm: Practise session. This good night:

Saturday, March 27. WFH: DAY 65/LENT 34. 7.30 am: Parc Natur Penglais. The woodpeckers were on top form this morning. Saturdays are their day, it appears:

8.30 am: Tea #2. 8.45 am: A review of the day. There was nothing in the Inbox that couldn’t wait until Monday for a response. Back to a different kind of ‘forest’, and ‘tree’ #13. (In the background: BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction.) The problem with writing a good deal about one’s own work (which is expected when operating within the research environment of academia) is that is dissuades others from doing the same. The creator’s text can too easily be regarded as authoritative and unassailable. Dialogue is stymied. For what more can be said? Much, I’d suggest. For the creator, just as much as the critic, is limited in their perception and comprehension of the work.

10.30 am: Tea #3; ‘tree’ #14. 11.00 am: ‘Tree’ #15. 12.30 pm: ‘Tree’ #16. During a distracted moment, I entered a Messenger exchange, with one of my sound-practitioner chums, about the growing pressure placed upon musicians and sound artists to make videos to accompany the online broadcast of their work:

The development troubles me a great deal. In part, because when a video is added to a sound composition (as an after thought), it reduces the latter to 50% of the whole. Moreover, the videos are usually very poor, because the sound-practitioner is either insufficiently experienced or unable to make and understand video art. (Qualitatively speaking, these visual accessories would not cut-it in the art world.) Furthermore, it’s like saying that sound by itself is insufficient … which rather undermines the integrity of, and betrays a lack of confidence in, electronic and electroacoustic music. I mean, I wouldn’t play sound over my visual art in the context of a gallery. It’s an absurd thought. If images are evoked when sounds are heard, then, they ought to be confined to the minds of the listeners.

1.45 pm: Two more ‘trees’ to go. I’d made good progress during the morning. I continued with ‘tree #16’. 3.30 pm: The last ‘tree’.

5.00 pm: ‘Tree’ down; power-down! A good week’s work.

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