Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The lost art of scaring yourself silly


In Time Out London's current edition music bloggers are sent to Berlin and Brighton to carry out three tasks. One of these is to: "Scare yourself silly - find a gig or DJ that a local has recommended to you that is not your usual musical taste". That injunction to scare yourself silly with music from outside your comfort zone resonates with recent musings here about changing the way we listen. Just as light is defined by shade, so familiar music is made more meaningful by the unfamiliar. But we live in an age dominated by the duality of like or dislike; with personalised content delivery making it all too easy to filter out dislikes, leaving us free to live in a soporific world of likes. This polarisation has seeped by osmosis into classical concerts, with 'health and safety' programming removing the risk of the audience being scared silly by an unfamiliar piece. (Yes, the prospect at the BBC Proms of the Heritage Orchestra playing arrangements of Ibiza dance anthems and a Last Night featuring selfies of the Sound of Music does scare me silly; but for all the wrong reasons).

So instead of going around in what Carl Nielsen pithily termed the "deedless admiration of the conventional", why not use the power of the internet to find something not to your usual musical taste? Recent wanderings outside my comfort zone have taken me to the music of Sun Ra. For those who want to follow this path, I recommend 'In the Orbit of Ra', a 2 CD compilation by Marshall Allen who played with Sun Ra and keeps the flame alive with his own Sun Ra Arkestra seen in the header photo. If Sun Ra's free form jazz does not scare you silly his cosmic philosophy will. There is a sample below; read more via this link and listen here.
In the half-between world,
Dwell they: The Tone Scientists
In notes and tone
They speak of many things...
The tone scientists:
Architects of planes of discipline
Mathematically precise are they:
The tone-scientists
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