“It is a peculiarity of thought that it never remains by itself, but always digresses to other things. The thought is the point to which I should stick, but it is the nature of this point, not to be able to stick to it. Thinking is a thing full of contradictions, a dialect secret.”(Joseph Dietzgen, ‘Letters on logic’, II, 1880-1883, in Art, Class & Cleavage: Quantulumcunque Concerning Material Esthetix, Ben Watson 1998)
Brazen crass self-promotion at best. Poorly written and thought through cultural critique at worst. Subject to revision at any time.
I Digress Indeed has released three new albums on the Imaginary Nihilism label, Boring, Tedious & Banal, iPad Recordings Vol 1, 2 & 3.
Whether one considers them truly albums is probably moot. Most ‘albums’ come in some hard form, exchange value appendaged, with cover art and credits, state-of-the-art downloadable formats, a review in some certified musical rag and a launch at some reputable venue just prior to a national or international tour. And usually the music is of a conventional sort, with songs about riding mail trains, windows being filled, as opposed to covered, with frost, about relationship break ups, lost or past love and other concerns, stories of exciting times long gone or to come, the blues, or indulgences in deprived [sic?] sexual activity couched in metaphor or carefully contrived obscurantist language that won’t jeopardise sales, particularly for the younger folk, all accompanied by videos that attempt to position the ‘artist’, as pop musicians love calling themselves, even Miley Cyrus (really?), as one of the more radical and provocative thinkers of the twenty first century. Or it could come in the form of a long, nonstop series of steady doofs, set in motion by a supposedly ‘highly skilled’ and creative technician, under the delusion of being some international artiste of describable proportions, holding half a headset to one ear with one hand and twiddling a few knobs here and there with the other, all whilst thrusting their head back and forth in rhythmic sync with the music…and all at the same time! We live in truly exciting times ladies and gentlemen.
Unfortunately, none of that here folks. Nothing exciting about any of this. This is the zenith of boring, tedious and banal. Of uselessness and pointlessness. Unadulterated self-indulgence with absolutely no squint at monetary reward, or any other sort of reward for that matter.
This is testimony to the true nature of solo free improvised guitar music, statistically. Stylistically in the tradition of the previously unheralded and possibly equally boring Bailey Recognisable series. (In fact it’s really just the same thing under a different name just more poorly recorded which only adds to the lack of excitement).
I think it was Jack Wright, the great American improvising saxophonist, who said solo improvising tends towards the creation of a style, unconsciously or consciously, rather than being about improvisation. I think Bailey would have probably agreed. But who cares, Derek also wasn’t much enamoured of the recording. I, by contrast, are much taken by it.
Style? Stylistic? Boring, tedious & banal? Contrary to the nature and practice of improvisation in music? Of course it isn’t…or is…but what does it matter anyway…what else could it be other than what it is, considering the way it is done?
When doing it, there is never anything to do other than collapse that wave function and move on to the next sixtieth of a finger snap. You don’t even have to move on, the snap comes anyway, so may as well fill it with something? Without that something produced, what else is there? And what that something is, who gives a fuck? It’s none of anyone else’s business. It’s not even my own probably. It just happens, regardless of Marxist theories about historical materialism, inevitable contradictions, dialectics, negative or otherwise, bleating liberal moralism, treatises about why the Left is in decline or failed, or the even stupider idea that there is such a thing as anarchist theory!
It’s merely one action followed by yet another action and on, into the void or ether.
All politics aside, good, bad and otherwise, free improvised music is the only real pure pursuit. Everything else is ravaged by tradition and conquest, hierarchy, mythology, ideology, philosophy, religion, notions of truth, beauty, hope or love along with vacuous words, like spiritual, and probably Vikings (they were right, the Christians were and still are a truly miserable lot).
Yes, they, and there is always a ‘they’, try to make this freely produced improvised something, their business, but they can’t. And they know it. And it really bugs them no end. It has always been that when one draws a line (actually draws one, like with a pencil or something) and stops to marvel at its beauty, there is always some fucker, always a someone, a they or them, who comes along and draws their own line right across it, usually while arrogantly and vociferously proclaiming, “you call that a line, that’s not a line, this is a fucking line.” There’s a word for these people.
In the end Bailey just wanted to play, like any other fucking child. So he did. And for a long time, with a recalcitrant stiff middle finger. Whether or not the music, if one wishes to call it that, is worthy of an ear, well, who knows…who cares…really…who really fucking cares? But if you do care, ask yourself why, for fuck sake, at least once, and really try to answer it. Only then will you be able to stroll to the shop to get bread and the milk you need for that cup of tea, or any other necessary item, in true peace, finally…for fucking once.