Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Video Killed the Radio Star

I was laying in bed last night, just listening to music. I will admit I was pretty ripped. This something I have loved to do since I was a kid. Just let the music carry me away. I flow with the beats or the lyrics into my mind; I have visuals or hallucinations, and whatever you like to call them. It might as well be transcendental meditation. I do not think of any particular place or thing, I just follow the sound.


I found this very easy to do from quite a young age. It got even more interesting after I started smoking weed and fucking with other drugs. I must have been only 14 or 15 when I had a vision of something like Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. I had never consciously seen it before but it was definitely buried somewhere in my subconscious and bubbled to the surface during my trip. Ever since then I have had some strange attachment to this image.



I think I was only 11 when I found one of my Dads or Uncles old cassettes and it had some sixties rock music on it. I had never really heard music like that because it was not what the people I was growing up around were into. I loved it. Some years later I found out that I was listening to Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan. The music could always clear my mind and take me away.



Last night I was getting frustrated. I could not escape my thoughts. The music just isn’t the same any more. No, the music is the same but I have changed. I have been over exposed to images and information. Before I knew anything about Blink 182, I could zone out to their lyrics and music. I recently learned that the band had broken up and that was playing on my thoughts. Also I have seen the drummer Travis on his so called reality show, so I have been exposed to his personality. My stillness is haunted by images of him playing drums, his wife, his son, his car, his house. I can’t even hear a note from Whitney Houston without picturing her in that deranged relationship with Bobby Brown, although they do see happy. And it is such a shame because she has the voice of an angel.



What I am saying is that music has been over ridden by personalities and images. Before music television or plain old television, you could appreciate music solely based on how it sounded. How the artist may look or dress was of no concern to the listener. Now we are at another extreme all together. Even if the artists are kick ass performers and they look like a god or goddess, they still might loose favor from listeners because of the way they might have conducted themselves socially. You could take for example Jessica Simpson taking flack for the way she dumped Nick. Part of the reason they spit was probably TV too.



Okay these are silly examples of musicians I do not even like. But who knows, if I never saw them I might have. No, I doubt that. Anyways, look at Jim Morrison. The Doors are one of my favorite bands. I loved the music before I even saw images of them and I was already drawn in. I read some books about them way before the movie ever came out. In fact I did not even watch the movie until many years after the release. But I did know all the stories of Jim’s rebellious nature and the trials and tribulations he faced because of it. And I will admit that this drew me closer to him and his lyrics, but not necessarily the music. I always viewed The Doors as a stand alone fucking awesome band. Manzarek was a fucking genius. I can still loose myself in their music despite being overloaded with images and stories about them. But I think this might be because I heard the music first.



Another band I really dig right now is Coldplay. But every now and then when I listen to their music I might think about Chris Martin and how he is married to Gwyneth Paltrow and how their kids name is Apple. Why should I even be thinking about this shit? In some sense there, I have been robbed, or I have robbed my self from the listening pleasures of Coldplay because I have allowed my mind to be filled with useless information. It was so fucking frustrating. I could not enjoy Nirvana, Pearl Jam, or even Jamiroquai.



Music these days is dominated by image. Yes, there are still some good bands out there but it is so fucking hard to focus on how they sound because by the time you hear them you have already seen their damn face plastered on V The Chosen One! Punk rockers wear the same grungy clothes or tight jeans, sneakers, and mascara in their eyes. Rappers are fucking walking clichés. If I hear one more person say BLING I am going to bitch slap them I tell you. But we are all following trends everyday. It is in our nature. Even when we think we are going against every norm, we are probably following a trend. It would be impossible not to unless you lived in a box.



I am just totally fucking pissed off because I just realized last night what I have lost because I watched too much TV. Now that I have understood this I will not even be able to watch a good movie without being put off by the actors. But for many people the draw to see movie staring Tom Cruise is because of all the attention his personal life is receiving. The guy is actually a shitty actor. His only decent roll was in 'Born on the 4th of July'. It is nauseating and I am revolted by myself. I wish I could erase my brain and start all over again from the beginning. With nothing but a clean slate.



The only solace I could find was Miles Davis. But that guy is a bit too heavy for bed time. I put his albums on random and every time a song from Bitches Brew would come on I would wake up sweating. I don’t know much about Miles and I have been planning to do some reading but I think I am going to let it go. Another band that is all about the music is Pink Floyd obviously. Their concerts do not center on themselves but rather on a visual display of random images and lighting. The images do not even tell any particular story and are extremely open ended for the listener to perceive in what ever way their mind chooses. Such is the case with both the Pulse concert and The Wall.



This is where I think the Gorillaz have hit the nail on the head. I believe some of the band members are from the band Blur. But rather than build on reputation, they launched their band with no real front man, or band for that matter. For quite a while no one really knew who was in the band except for the animated representatives. At least I didn’t. But from day one I fucking loved the music. I have even seen concert clips where the musicians play behind screens so you can only see their silhouettes while the cartoons jam and perform on stage. At the last MTV awards they even made the animation characters look 3D. I think the whole concept behind the Gorillaz is fucking awesome. This way we can completely focus on the sound.



My buddy Surri introduced me to a few new bands some months ago. Apparently they have been around for a while now but I had not heard of them. I recently saw one, Death Cab for Cutie mentioned on TV. Their music is awesome. I have no idea what they look like. The other band is Iron and Wine. Very chilled out stuff. It is hard to find music here outside the mainstream and at the rate TV is going and the speed at which information is being passed, it will soon be impossible to form a non bias opinion about any music. I will not even know what the fuck I like anymore! That really fucks me off. With all the other bull shit going on the world right now, wars, women suffering, and children starving, I also have to start worrying about how I got no soul left. Bastard world I tell you.

5 comments:

IndCoup said...

Avi,

the DVD walk the line is available on DVD in Jakarta now. Great film.

And check out my sister site:

http://www.indonesian-celebrities.blogspot.com/

and tell me what ya think...

treespotter said...

totally got the point. i'm surprised you put division bell, other would've put the wall or something else tho i kinda like division bell. the pix was taken in my in laws' farm :)

no disrespect to indcoup, but walk the line's total shit. really.

i have a tarot set of McKean's. Really cool. i can scan and send you digital if they're not online actually. you seen them?

mogs said...

One of the reasons I love techno music with little or no lyrics is because of the fact that there is less attachment of the tune to a theme. For instance, it could be about love, passion, depression, sadness...a lot of it is up to the listener...

Avi said...

i have not seen the cards but my mom just came into town yesterday and got me 3 volumes of sandman, all covers by mckean, and i got the gaimans new book The Anansi Boys. it is actually based around the fable of a ghanaian trickster god. ill blog about it when my brain is working again.

Anonymous said...

sweet post bro...

of course the whole "Video Killed the Radio Star" argument is subjective...

wondering if there are any Prince fans out there? Now he's true to the music im sure you'll agree. But he's also a performer and feels the need to express himself in the limelight through film, music videos, clothes (or no clothes), and photography...
In his case, i dont think this dilutes the value of his music, in fact knowing him better through non-music media I can actually picture his sly flirtations smile on his big wet lips when I listen to his lyrics and getting the whole picture when i listen to Prince resonates better with me.