The British dance music duo of Phil and Paul Hartnoll, who came to be known as Orbital, were critically and commercially successful in the dance music movement of the 1990s — and famed for their live improvisation during their gigs. But listening to their studio tracks taught me some important lessons. One track in particular “The Box” encapsulates these lessons in a single tune.
I had been listening to some amateurish Middle Eastern electronic music borrowed from the public library which set some bellydancing rhythms to breakbeats and drum patterns. The results were far from stellar, prompting me to post my disdain for a lot of dissonant music which strikes me as lazy rather than artistic. A chat conversation soon followed with fellow musician and music producer Mark Redito (aka Spazzkid) of MyParasol who reminded me that some of it is done on purpose and we ought not to judge. Here is the edited transcript:
I’ve decided to take a look at some of the tracks and music that helped shape my musical taste and style. This category of posts will be called Influences. First up, the melodic new age instrumentals of Suzanne Ciani, which can be summed up in this one track: “Mosaic.”
For those of us closely interested in the future of internet and culture in general, the book The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew Keen (Random House) is riveting reading most of the way through. Keen tackles how the democratization of the Net is producing tons of crap on a daily basis and slowly killing off the production of meaningful art.
While it’s good to ask around and find out what others use, don’t get so hung up about gear and brands and tools and materials that you forget that dynamic energy that wans to burst out of you because you have something you need to say through your art.
The point I always try to stress to those starting out in any creative endeavor, whether in visual art or music, sculpture or writing, is that you already do possess tools right under your nose that you can utilize in order to create your art.