Wednesday, October 12

Response - Noam Hollander

Hey Lail,
Wasn't sure how to "post" reply on blog so i'll just reply directly to ur email if that's all right?
What a project! What a lot of good questions. Very scarey and a bit dangerous i reckon to analyse the creative proccess so accademically, that said, you don't get anywhere without takiing some risks, and you are definetly asking the right questions in order to proggress as an artist.
On public v's private performannce i would agrea with you that it is far more difficult to get as "lost" in the performance of a friend as it is that of an artist one does not know personally. In fact for me personally the better i know a performer the harder it is, to detach there words from what i know about them and their experiences, and the very fact that i know things about them leads me to make connections between what i know about them as a person and their lyrics, and therefore to cross refernce thier lyrics with my perception of who they are. The problems that this causes are, that are ideas of who, what and why another person is, are never the same as that persons ideas about themselves, or indeed anyone else's perception of that person(performer). That is why we talk about having a certain relationshp with someone that is distinct from anyone else's relationship with that person. When that person then gets up on stage and sings, raps, reads poetry,or whatever, that is supposed to be an expression of certain truths about themselves and their position in the world, it often clashes with our perception of them through our relationship.Also when we hear a song that touches us or really speaks to us, we tend to infer our own meanings to the lyrics and the sentiment, this is harder to do if you have the obstacle of having intimate knowledge of the person who wrote it, making it harder to make it ones "own", as in the phrase "that's my/our song".
How does the performer overcome this? Most performers, i believe, would be as anxious, if not more so, that there friends, as well as the general public, appreciate there performances. I do not doubt that this is possible, one often hears the friends of great artists talk gushingly about their work, and i myself have enjoyed the performances of friends( yours included ;)). It is my belief that it is the "quality" of the music that helps the listener overcome any barriers that might prevent them from really "feeling" an artist. Music is in my (and a fair few other people) opinion the purest form of expression, and when using words with music it is impotant that the words do not corrupt the purity of the music. I would like to go back to what i said earlier about how knowinga performer can get in the way of my appreciatioin of thir performance. This is much more the case when the performance has a high level of original lyrical content; if i go to see a freind perform something that is purely instrumental, or covers(which is a hole other topic for debate) it is far easier for me to judge the performance purely on its musical merit. Musical merit for me is the key, if a piece of music, be it instrumental or lyrical, is performed with a high level of muscicianship and passion then i will enjoy it, whether i know the performer or not.
Duke Ellington said "there are only two types of music; good and bad." Well for me a lot of potentially good music is ruined by bad lyrics, or simply by the fact that so much emphasis, particularly in western "pop" music is put on lyrical musc. Dont get me wrong i like a good song as much as the next man, but a lot of the music i'm into at the moment even if it has words, seems to me have started a groove, on top of which the words, and often chants are interwoven. Check out the these albums Build an Ark - Peace with EveryStep, and Dwight Trible- Love is the answer, just some new shit that i'm really into, also check out anything by Fela Kuti. To me these are good examples of artists who have something to say, but don't get carried away with trying to be "clever" with their lyrics, but rather use the power and universality of the music to get their simple, direct and heartfelt messages accross to their audience.
I was going to go on along rant about the nature of performance, but i've gotta go soon. I'll just say this, I have recently seen several live performances on dvd (all belonging to Che) by both Parliment/Funkadelic, whose style is as theatrical as anything out there, and who were the inspiration for all that glam rock bullshit, and totally oppossite laid back one man and a guitar stuff by Bill Withers, my point being that there is more than one way to crack an egg, and that the totally over the top style adopted by the p-funk cats can work when the performance is a genuine extension of the emotions brought out by the music. I will try and borrow them off Che and burn you a copy, the Funkadelic show really has to be seen to be believed! So email me ur address in warrick, it might take me a while, but i will try and get it to you.
Anyway really goota go now, hope ur well, enjoying all that life has to offer etc...

Much Love, Noam X