last weekend, belle and i went to see a performance by the kronos quartet at ucla. the show has been resonating with me all week. really inspiring show. the most fascinating piece of music was the first one of the night written by j.g. thirlwell (better known to most of us as 'foetus'). it hasnt been recorded yet but it is one i am going to keep my ears open for. its called 'nomatophobis'. really difficult listening music. i told my wife that i thought kronos were smart to begin the evening with it because it took full concentration to get anything out of it. if it had been later in the evening it would have been difficult to give it the full attention it deserved. which made me think again about the role of music in our lives currently. it was such a rewarding evening of music because the quality was so high and it had my full focus for almost two hours. that combination is increasingly rare in our world. i so rarely listen to music like i did some years ago. it is the background sound while i check for emailsmstextgooglesearchpornimwikidvdhdvoicemails (ha that just made me check my phone for new email). at some point i learned, and this applies to everything, good food, film, etc. that the things in my life that have enduring power, took some time for me to initially appreciate. things that are catchy are generally ephemeral. i have come to believe this so completely that i have begun to recognize things that i 'like' differently. i have begun to get better at recognizing that something, here its music, has a quality that is initially intriguing and not necessarily overwhelmingly seductive to me. that recognition is subtle and not always reliable but i have found it to be a much more interesting compass. i have called that more subtle lingering charm the 'resonance factor'. will the movie i saw come to mind in a daydream a week later, for example. not everything has to have this deep significance, of course. fun and sparkling charms are great to litter ones day with as well but that is easy and they take care of themselves. i have to put a little effort and focus into something that i might find initially difficult, weird or, heaven forbid, boring. instead of a constant cycle of sugar high and a sugar crash i need some things to endure. at least a little.
the rest of the evening was michael gordons 'potassium' also beautiful and unrecorded. two traditional songs from iran and iraq that were good too. clint mansells music from 'requiem for a dream'. i almost always like clints movie music. a piece by matmos who i always find have a very clever process for producing music that i found ultimately unsatisfying. and the show, pre encore, ended with a piece by einsturzende neubauten who, among flipper and others, was some of the music i listened to as a boy. i liked being contrarian then but i can see now that was also the beginning of being able to recognize that there might be something beautiful in something initially repulsive.