Bare Bones, In The Balance Of Things

Music / Thursday, October 3rd, 2013


I was recently listening to the YouTube video (yes, I know what I said) of a UK folk artist called Tobion (just got his newest album- it is wonderful). It features the amazing and unique folk/art musician, Bird Radio (whose own album release and launch gig is on 6th Oct 2013). Wow, barely started and plugging already! No shame though.

Anyway, as I said, listening to this video, loving the music, enjoying the surreal effect of the very subtle audio-to-visual disconnect that is either a YouTube thing or my rubbish internet thing, and noting the simple but interesting backdrop and thinking ‘how beautiful and real this is’.

Nothing moves me like The Real and The Light. But not the ‘real’ of depressing Channel 5 ‘based-on-a-true-story’ movies or ‘lite/light’ like the fake, fat/sugar-free, tasteless, dissatisfying food options that are today’s narcissist bent, but the things that are real and fairly free from artificiality. The things that actually engage in nature’s solid matter, tangible instruments, the body, and created with little or nothing. Even as I say ‘the real’ and ’the light’, these are still imbued with heaps of wonder, fantasy and depth.

I haven’t cut up my self-laminated ‘Rainbow Connection’ membership badge. Still a dreamer. What a sad life it would be otherwise. I still appreciate the great fun and relief of mindlessness and light-heartedness. I am constantly chasing the light. But I have found it isn’t always in the shimmery, multicoloured factory-spun, machine-powered mediums (‘media’ feels too weird here. It totally boxes in the range, which does include ‘the media’ as is popularly known today) we are presented with. I mean; just because it isn’t followed by canned laughter doesn’t mean it’s not funny. (Note: I still laugh along with said queued laughter). A reminder here that I’m talking about art and entertainment, but I think this is true for all of life, just as art is mostly true for all of life.

So I always feel blessed to see really great, bare bones, straight-from-the-heart, undressed, artistry. It reminds me that it is all real. That life is beautiful. That we are carriers of something amazing and have the power to create beauty and to enrich and empower each other with just the expression of our selves or by engaging in the most simple ways, with the things we find on the floor or that grow out of the ground. That’s a great magic trick if you ask me. It reminds me that at times less is truly more and that there are many types of richness and no one way to do a thing or to be. That’s freedom indeed. As I say this, I still appreciate all manner of trussed up, sugar–coated, multifaceted, Technicolor, symphonic, mass-produced creations.

In fact at this very point of writing this, I am listening to Weather Report’s ‘Three Views Of A Secret’ and struggling to remain in my skin for the sheer brilliance of it. This is not a delicate textured piece and you wouldn’t exactly call Zawinul’s moog/keyboard the most earthy and natural sound but in the context of what this band is/was, it is amazing, magical and beautiful. I love red wine but I could not live without pure, simple water.

Accepting my very random nature and wide range of interests has led me to really appreciate and try to attain ‘the perfect balance of things’. Oh, I know it doesn’t exist in this life (the ‘perfect’ part) but why not go out trying, ey. I suspect that this search for balance is not the type of search that leads to an end but like Life in general, the search is the journey is the range of colours, is the end, is the journey and (paraphrasing Pangloss) ‘…in this best of all possible worlds, all is for the best…’ I seem to keep coming back to this, in my mind.

Where was I. Yes… I imagine anyone could be thinking, “That’s silly. Art cannot and should not be based on reality or it would never be an escape and we humans need escape.”

I agree, to some extent. But I sometimes feel maybe dreams, seemingly mad ‘out there’ concepts and thoughts are tools for us to dig deeper and climb higher to discover the bigness of life, not as we know it in our lazy, 2D, distorted or conventional thinking. And I find even in the creative circles, there are lots of conventions and rules that aren’t bad in themselves, until they become the ‘only way’ or ‘the thing to do’.

I’m starting to think that perhaps we don’t need something to take us away from reality but to move us from the false, dull, gratuitously shocking, closed-off, prescribed, unfulfilled scattered and disturbing reality that is our lives from time to time. But if there is something that alleviates or takes us away from the weight of the day (or day-to-day, for some), that stirs us and yet lets us engage with and better our reality, if we can find the truth in things – the real in things – then wouldn’t it be fair to say that this is a richer life and that we are winning? I imagine too much dreaming with no hope soon becomes tiresome and cruel. I’m talking about art and entertainment, but I think this is true for all of life, just as art is mostly true for all of life.

So I’m peering up through a telescope of curiosity and conjecture. Glimpsing an image of a ballroom that I cannot begin to describe as it shape-shifts and disappears at intervals. But it has the most stunning interaction of light, shadow, textures, curves, lines, dreaminess, vividness and dept that I can imagine. Levity and Brevity, Mirth and Melancholy, Fact and Fantasy, Simple and Complex, all paired up with their opposite numbers on the dance floor, sharing mutual appreciation banter:

“The way you stirred his soul and shook his perception- Amazing!” Fact.

Fantasy, blushing: “Aw. It was nothing. He was already quite open so it wasn’t too hard. Without you, he would never have been able to safely and efficiently work out the ideas.”

“Why thank you. I do love it when people give me room to grow and evolve. Yes, it makes me feel better but it’s ultimately for their own good. . . Goodness, how light you are on your feet’

 ‘Thank you. You know this dance makes a whole lot more sense with a fixed point of reference. Good thinking, you.”

And so it goes . . . I am still talking about art and entertainment, but I think this is true for all of life, just as good art and entertainment rings true for life.

So while popular culture is great for the very fundamental bond that is the commonality of man, no person ever found their true selves by rolling with the tide that is the crowd. While deep and meaningful thought is priceless, life would be droll and miserable without the lighter side of things. While a fresh and ethereal guitar tune lifts my heart, it will not always satisfy that very important need to groove. I guess at the heart of my babbling, is the fact that I am not saying that any one approach/motivation to art is best but when I find something that is beautiful in it’s simplicity and/or reality, I am moved to appreciate, celebrate and support it, because it does me a world of good and, in the balance of things, it is my true north.

What a little ramble I’ve taken you on! That was me trying to put into words a nanosecond of thought and emotion that I experienced as a result of music. Didn’t quite get there, but I leave you with an idea, no?


2 thoughts on “Bare Bones, In The Balance Of Things

  1. Glad you enjoyed, my super-creative friend. It was journey trying to express what I could barely put my finger on but cathartic nonetheless. 🙂

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