New Out Door column with some interesting thoughts on duration, improvisation and black metal.
I find myself struggling with the idea of improvisation more and more these days, even as I get technically better at it. I first started doing it properly around this time last year as an attempt to break out of old,stifling habits which I’d built up over years that I felt were getting in the way of creation. These days, it’s all about trying to find a balance between honouring the moment of creation and a developed editing ear, without relying on old ways of doing things.
That links up with what Jason Lescaleet talks about in relation to making music with a purpose, not just sound for the sake of it. That’s a very easy trap to fall into with generative, noise or ambient work which is mostly what I’m doing at the minute. It has to be more than aesthetically pleasing, has to do more than tick external boxes. Keeping the inspiration fresh is vital.
How this all links to duration is another element to consider. Long-form drone is absolutely one of my favourite types of music to listen to but making it throws up all sorts of questions linked to the topics above. If its purpose is to be ignorable, how do I judge it? It requires a very different language than most musics and that’s something I’ve been trying to get at both in making music and writing about it. Always on my mind as I set into reviewing another ambient or noise record that essentially - on the surface - sounds much the same as a hundred other ambient or noise records. Do you get into supposed inspirations, resurrecting the author in the process? Or do you get into personal feelings, the death knell of the academic?
In short, this is a really good set of four articles, linked somewhere under the surface. Read it.