Minimalism

8-25-10


Minimalism

The other night, I read a thing on the dreaded internet about some young guy who decided to sell all his possessions and about what a ‘minimalist aesthetician’ this made him.  What?

Yes, I like having a deep knowledge of music, but sometimes I wish I didn’t “have all this crap”.  But if I didn’t have it all – how would I listen to it?  Keep in mind, I am a ‘maximalist aesthetician’ (?) – I want to hear stuff sounding nice.

Other times, of course – I don’t want to hear much.  Which is why I chose to play two CD’s by Brian Eno last night.

I remember very well being a young person and spending my hard-earned allowance on “No Pussyfooting” (sorry, I forgot the parenthesis) by Fripp & Eno – yes, it’s Robert Fripp from King Crimson and Brian Eno from Roxy Music – but it doesn’t much sound like either of those bands.  There aren’t any drums.  Or songs.

Well, to my 2010 ears, “No Pussyfooting” sounded too busy for my mood.  I fished around in a handy carton of paper sleeve CD’s and finally found a CD I could fall asleep to:  Brian Eno “Discreet Music”.  No drums or songs here either.  Yes, I’ve got an LP of it, but…it’s probably in another room.  And as I was planning on resting, I didn’t want to have to get up when the LP side ended on my manual turntable.

If I got rid of all my CD’s, I couldn’t have had last night’s experience!

So, I quickly perused the cover – can’t read the liner notes, they’re tiny!  And the ones printed on the insert are in Japanese.  I had forgotten that Gavin Bryars was involved with the making of “Discreet Music” – he did some arranging on Side Two.

Mental note to self:  Next time you’re in San Francisco, look and see if they still have those Japanese paper sleeve versions of the other really quiet Eno albums, like “Music For Airports” or the other two or three ones that look like they only have maps for covers.  Maybe they’ll be quiet and you can fall asleep to them.

Years ago, I remember trying to fall asleep to Basil Kirchin’s “Worlds Within Worlds, Parts 3 & 4” – not exactly what I would call easy listening.  That album even has liner notes by Brian Eno!  Needless to say, it didn’t work, it kept me awake – and when I woke up 3 or 4 hours too early, I had to start inventorying a record store!  Yes, I have slept in a record store before.  Not unusual, just part of my 5 decade experience in this place we call home – Earth.  I did all sorts of other unusual stuff, too.

But listening?  Now I’m happy to have really quiet music that doesn’t command my active participation or attention.  And it can be re-produced at a nice, clear low level.

I guess it’s OK to listen to all those LP’s on the Obscure label now, eh?

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