Thursday, June 23, 2005

The missing soundscape

I guess some people fancy me a decent writer, personally I think most of what I put on paper is mediocre at best, then again, I guess most artists tend to think their work could always be better. Lately I’ve been wishing I was a musician. I’ve been doing allot of writing lately that has really been more lyrical than strait forward poetry, or short pieces.

I’m reminded of my crappy band back in high school. We really were horrible, but we didn’t really give a shit either. It started out as something of a Punk rock/Metal kind of thing, and quickly morphed into darker voyages into sound. Inspired mainly by Skinny Puppy and NIN we did put together a few songs that at worst, were as good as your average crappy Goth Industrial band would put out.

I myself was not a musician, I fumbled my way around my guitar. I think a certain frustration grew out of my inability to actually play and my lack of patients of taking the time to learn. I had ideas for music, and sound and I wasn’t going to let a stupid thing like not knowing how to play an instrument get in the way.

So I began to experiment with just creating sound from my guitar and bass. I spent my money on various effects equipment and just started playing around. Eventually our band got together again for a practice, and while fooling around setting up our equipment I got lost in my own world creating sound from the keyboard and my guitar. Before I knew it the band had picked up on it, and we delved into a cascading frenzy of sound that can only be described as a hollow anger.

That first session with our foray into sound ended up creating the few good songs we actually ever did. I’ve been thinking about that allot lately, I miss that excitement of doing something that I’m not fully understanding, but that somehow is magically working. So I wonder, would I appreciate music as much as I do if I had learned to play in a traditional sense? Would I care more about proper structure and songwriting than I would about how the sound is conveying emotion and energy?

People look at me with a very peculiar face when I explain that Beethoven is my favorite musician. But he wrote his music based purely on what he heard in his head. His idea of the how the sound conveyed emotion. Stone deaf when he was older, he produced music that still has yet to be rivaled.

In many regards, it’s that same sense of music that attracts me to NIN and Skinny Puppy. Cataclysmic clashes of sound and feelings one minute, and beautiful melodies the next, hammered out in unconventional ways. I wish I had the ability to do that.

So, to get back on the original topic, I have been writing allot of things in a lyrical sense these days. Playing sounds in my head, building the music there and trying to piece it together with what is going down on paper.

At first glance the “poetry” seems to skip it meter at points, or to loose it all together. But there is a reason for it, there is a missing piece of sound, that sadly no one else can hear. Maybe one of these days I’ll get over any nervousness and insecurity about not knowing how to play an instrument, and take a plunge back into it, and maybe who knows, maybe others will be able to hear the music that accompanies the writing.


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