maps has invited me to contribute to his blog, I think with the hope of balancing out his political agenda with a bit more ‘literati talk’, I’m not sure how much I can oblige, but as I have a great fondness for all things subversive in music, I thought I would open with a post that quotes a passage from ‘The Real Frank Zappa Book’ I was reading this morning. It captures so succinctly not only the philosophy of ‘Art’ especially modern art, but also the attitudes to it you meet almost every day:
The most important thing in art is The Frame. For Painting: literally; for other arts: figuratively – because, without this humble appliance, you can’t know where The Art stops and The Real World begins.
You have to put a ‘box’ around it because otherwise, what is that shit on the wall?
If John Cage, for instance, says, “I’m putting a contact microphone on my throat, and I’m going to drink carrot juice, and that’s my composition,” then his gurgling qualifies as his composition because he put a frame around it and said so. “Take it or leave it, I now will this to be music.” After that it’s a matter of taste. Without the frame-as-announced, it’s a guy swallowing carrot juice.
Anything can be music, but it doesn’t become music until someone wills it to be music, and the audience listening to it decides to perceive it as music.
Most people can’t deal with that abstraction – or don’t want to. They say: “Gimme the tune. Do I like this tune? Does it sound like another tune that I like? The more familiar it is, the better I like it. Hear those three notes there? Those are the three notes I can sing along with. I like those notes very, very much. Give me a beat. Not a fancy one. Give me a GOOD BEAT – something I can dance to. It has to go boom-bap, boom-boom-BAP. If it doesn’t, I will hate it very, very much. Also, I want it right away – and then, write me some more songs like that – over and over and over again, because I’m really into music.”