It’s probably terribly difficult to do. Perhaps, even, impossible. But if it is desired that the listener listen without preconception then shouldn’t, at least to some degree, the composer, the songwriter - the maker - create without preconception, too?
The spectre of discovery is often cause for excitement. Exploration in some form or another is how we learn about the world and our place in it, and all of us have at some point yearned to go further; to find out more, and go deeper into uncharted territory. Everyday sounds are, by definition, sounds that occur within and around the usual events of a routine day. They are largely unremarkable and are sounds we are compelled to take for granted. These sound events occur, we perceive, register and acknowledge them, and then, for the most part, we move on. This has become the natural way of things.
When I have the chance to listen - and record - the everyday world around me I am fascinated by its richness; whether the cyclical ‘musical’ patterns that supposedly non-musical sounds have, or the way that ambiences evolve and shift as one is walking along, or how wind will carry sounds one way and then another. Add to this the incredible structures that environmental soundscapes, even man-made ones, intrinsically possess, and these unremarkable sounds are suddenly anything but. And so I find that walking around and using my ears like a weather vane, with or without a recorder in my hand, is intensely enjoyable and opens up a world of possibility and discovery.
However, while I am personally grateful for the fact that I don’t work in an office I admit there are many advantages to doing so, and there is a reason why office cultures still exists, even as they have evolved and, presumably, will continue to do so.
Listening back to the sounds one has recorded is pleasurable and meditative, too. When detached and disassembled from the reality of the then-present, sounds have yet another story to tell.
The hard, scary stuff that you don’t know is almost always difficult to think about, and so you avoid it, categorising it as boring. Until you actually get started, and you dig deep and find out that, actually, the really challenging, complex stuff is the most rewarding and enjoyable of all the work there is.
Although it can be worrisome to think, ‘I don’t know enough about X’, ‘I wish I had the time to better understand Y,’ it isn’t - or shouldn’t be - a lack of knowledge itself causing the anxiety.
One hope I have for 2019 is to have a clearer on what’s important to me; to rely less on the relatively unsubstantial and inconsequential matters that seem to dominate my time.
What does a mime do, really? Are they a fake, or is miming actually, really, a deeply-hidden truth revealed through performance?
Whether literally or metaphorically I’m grateful for the opportunity to always be a student.
One year, two years, five years. A big part of success is staying the course, maintaining a good pace, choosing which risks to bet on and which battles to back away from.
I haven’t yet found a shortcut. One might be natural aptitude. Another would be interest; these aren’t shortcuts exactly, but they make the learning seem less arduous.