Bloemfontain

Back in the 2010 World Cup I together with the rest of the country watched England fall to the Germans yet again. I’m not a great football fan, but I enjoy the World Cup and participating in the usual collective tribal agony. The score was 4-1 against us, it was a controversial result and the emotional rollercoaster of the match made a deep impression for some reason. I wrote this as a kind of musical photograph of how I felt. It tracks the emotional dynamic from hope and optimism to the usual depths of despair, and finally resolves with acceptance that although we lost, our guys did ok, but it was business as usual as far as English international footy goes.

Some time later after completing it and when reflecting on the experience of writing the piece I felt disappointed that I was really no more than the sum of my (to that point) musical influences. Particularly the drum track which is pretty much lifted from Earthworks’ My Heart Declares a Holiday :). I spiralled off, looking to extend my abilities with theory. But with the benefit of six years of hindsight… Yes those influences are obviously there, and I see them as an excercise that I had to move through to go beyond them. With further hindsight, I now realise how little I relate conciously to that classical theory, and it’s rules about parallel fifths and what is traditionally right and wrong.  I really prefer the freedom to explore by ear and instinct after all… Come what may. There is no right or wrong anymore. Just what works for you. If you can compose, you are a composer.

To add a little more context, this was the last large scale traditional arrangement that I concieved and had the creative impulse to complete. Therein lies the rub. I imagine it’s like how it feels to be a figurative painter, or of a draughtsman feeling the pull of the impressionists or the abstract. Once you feel the need to cross that bridge, it’s difficult to return. I feel the same positioning in photography, hence the pull of timelapse and its surreal qualities. Sometimes, we have to listen to, and identify and condense what our our inner voice is trying to tell us to find out why we’re feeling uninspired with our progress or output. To not do so is to end up with a horrid creative block. Why is it that (for me anyhow) there’s very little allure or satisfaction in going back over old ground unless there’s something meaningful still to discover.

 

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