Monday, September 11, 2006

There are some songs that I want to turn up so loud that they are no longer communicated only in the spectrum of sound, but rather start to push the limits and banks of the streams by which they travel towards my ears, becoming something else - not colour, not taste, but every sense at once and meaning-in-itself.

Does this make sense? The desire to be not the senses, but the thing-in-itself that produces sensation.

There's a marvellous bit in an essay from Roland Barthes' Image, Music, Text - the one that comes just after "The Death of the Author" - in which he says something about how, when listening to (Beethoven? I forget the example - I don't have the essay with me), everyone wants to be the conductor - that is, to be the whole song. He begins the piece with a comment about how people don't play piano anymore, but rather listen to recorded music - and so the instant connection between moving muscles and tendons and sound is no longer there (I'm bastardising the quote horribly, I know).

This made me reflect the other night, that the closest I ever come to escaping the always-just-missed-the-moment, reflected, second-order nature of consciousness is by playing piano or singing - that is, making music myself, producing sound... For moments at a time, I can be both object and subject!

When I feel drawn to dance, this is what drives me. And it's also what I feel when I run with pumping music in my ears at the gym: the desire to be shattered into a million pieces, to run inside the song. When I first started going to the gym, and began running in my little bubble of sensory stimulus -- I watched the TV in front of me -- music videos -- dancing, edited, cut up, sculpted people -- colourful manoeuvres, perfect products -- I thought to myself: Ah, this is the ideal that they want us to attain: to be only an image, something with only externality.

In particular at the moment, there are two songs that are just so perfect, so pure, that I could cry whenever I listen to them. The first of these is Gwen Stefani's "The Real Thing". The other is the Michael Mayer remix of The Pet Shop Boys' "Flamboyant".

I'd like to write more about these, but ... well. Not only do I not have the words, but The Event calls. No time, no time.


Addendum: There is a third song in this category, now I think about it: Jessica Simpson's "Public Affair". There will be words for this, however. Soon.


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