Letter to Mr. Xxxxxx
Twice in my life I got in touch with a writer after I read a piece about my music to which I simply had to react.
The first time was some five years ago, and it led to a nice conclusive little exchange of mails. The second time was about three weeks ago. I haven’t heard back from the gentlemen to whom my letter was addressed. So I put it up on over here. If I'm not getting any reaction from him, maybe I’ll get at least into a discussion with some other people. Because that exchange-part is still one of the main ideas behind this blog. So feel free to comment etc.
Hi Mr Xxxxxx,
I hope you're doing well during these strange times. I got your mail-ID from Ed Xxxxxxxx. Ed has been working on quite some of the cd's I've made or have been involved in. He also sent me two of your recent reviews, namely the one of 'Eden' by The Bureau Of Atomic Tourism, and the one of an acoustic cd I released more than two years ago, 'The Beginners Guide To Diving And Flying' by a groupe of mine Orca Noise Unit.
To be very honest with you, it's only in very rare cases that I can relate to what is written about my music, or even music in general. Music being the most abstract of all art-forms is non-verbal in its very core. Its whole purpose is about being non-verbal, so putting words on music is against its very nature.
I know why I like music, why I make the music I make, and that feeling is quite some miles away from what is evoked, generally speaking, when people write about it, be it in a positive or a negative sens. I once came across a quote by Don Cherry that went something like "The day you start believing the press reviews, it's all over." and that's pretty much how I see it too.
However I do value the whole enterprise of sending out records to journalists, and not only because it is supposed to be part of any business plan. I find it fascinating to see how the same record or music can trigger so many different reactions and observations, and therefore I read most of the articles that come out about my music. It also learns me a great deal about the outside reality, this most complex netwerk of interactions between music and all kinds of different people, writers, the public, organizers, etc.
Now, when I read the two previously mentioned pieces of yours, I have to say something different seemed to be going on.
The piece about 'Eden' made me think of the mocking (and often even funny) commentaries of older, tipsy uncles or brothers-in-law during family gatherings. Those commentaries generally communicate a simple observation that we're attracted to different things in life, but also nothing more. I'm the one who's into contemporary art and they like football. Period. But you're not my uncle or brother-in-law, so I didn't know what to make of it. I was thinking: if you feel so little connection to a record, why write about it at all? Or why not simply admit that there was no connection, and write about that, instead of playing tough.
Then when I saw that you took the time during these crazy times to sit down and write a similar piece about a record that came out more than two years ago, I couldn't help but think that you were trying to get a reaction of some sorts. So here it is; let's converse if you feel like it. You got my attention. Maybe we both can learn a thing or two.