Thursday, 2 December 2021

"...the first step -- having a solid idea and commitment to begin with."

Replace the word "music" with art, with business, with politics -- with "any endeavour, like starting a business, taking a trip, etc. If we approach these things with the attitude [Brian] Eno described [several decades ago], the fruits will be sweeter."

MUSICIAN: What step in the music-making process most often proves to be the undoing of a musician?
ENO: That's an interesting question. I would say the first step--having a solid idea and commitment to begin with. So much of the music I hear has all the right ingredients but none of the soul. The solid idea, the beginning, is soul of some kind. It's believing that working in this medium will benefit you spiritually and will somehow free a part of your spirit that is otherwise locked up because it can't find a convenient place to exit in the normal, day-to-day world. 
    I guess it's what people call conviction. If you have that, you can work with any set of ingredients no matter how rubbishy they are. I've been listening to a lot of gospel music recently and some of the recordings I have are atrocious. The acoustics are dreadful, the pressings are filthy--everything is wrong. They've got none of the ingredients normally considered to be part of a successful work, but they have so much of that other ingredient that you don't even notice the lack of those other things. What I hear with so many of the new [1980s] English synthesiser bands is all the ingredients for contemporary pop respectability. You can check them off: use of the studio in a "creative" way, electronics, modern rhythms, clean productions, slightly meaningful lyrics, correct haircuts, the right ideological stance--the whole bag of bananas. They have all that stuff but they miss because they don't convey any sense that doing music is really critical to their lives.
[Quote in introduction: Bruce Carleton; hat tip Brian Eno Before + After Ambient]


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