Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Music of Chance
Serendipity is one of the core motivations of art. As much as conscious craftsmanship and complex thought-patternings shape our efforts, chance-elements must also be acknowledged and heeded, as with John Cage's use of the I-Ching to determine aspects of certain of his compositions, or indeed the entire lineage of improvised music from Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler onwards.
In terms of contemporary auditory experience, the shuffle function on an MP3-player can at times, based on aleatory orderings, produce aesthetic conjunctions which a more rational 'playlisting' might not achieve.
I experienced this last weekend on a remarkably tedious train-journey from London to Sussex, where my tiny device shuffled out a selection that perfectly aligned with my sleepy ennui, staring out at the summery urban-suburban-rural landscape. They are all long drifting pieces that coalesce together beautifully - quite by chance, that's what I mean:
Pharoah Sanders: Harvest Time
King Crimson: I Talk to the Wind
Sun Ra: Door to the Cosmos
Oren Ambarchi: Fever, A Warm Poison
William Basinski: 92982.3
Couldnt find a link for the Pharoah Sanders, which is breathtakingly awesome so you have to download it yourself - but this Basinski is blissful too ...