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Friday, January 9, 2009

It Can't Just Be In The Background

Kings of Leon

Music has a way of getting inside you. It doesn't always demand direct, focussed attention, but while you may think it's just in the background, watch out. For instance, you can drive and listen to music, right? You can work your legs and arms to work the velocitator and deceleratrix. But has the music ever suddenly stopped unexpectedly? What happens?

I know for me, I realize that my driving has been subconsciously influenced by the music. The part of your brain that's processing the music has its impact on you and your actions. How else would music have the power it has? I just read about a study that showed people jamming to music they enjoy basically had a higher threshold for pain. Why is music played at sporting events?

So, I paint listening to music. What I listen to depends mostly on my mood and the time of day. It's all energetic and rhythmic, but early in the morning, I usually listen to lighter music like Fiona Apple, Beck, Bob Marley or Dave Matthews. Most of the time, however, it's what you'd probably call hard music. Eminem, Beastie Boys, Parliament, Infectious Grooves, Blind Melon, Black Sabbath, Disturbed, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian. Even Korn.

Surprised? Or not?

The main reason I listen to high energy music is because my painting technique is stippling, dabbing the paint onto the record repeatedly. The music, the beat flows through my wrist onto the record. I found over the holiday when I painted a couple pieces without music playing because of family, I painted much slower, more hesitantly.

Interestingly, even though most of that music could be called "angry music", I get more passionate than pissed off listening to it while painting. I think the reason is that I really like the music, so it doesn't anger me. Put on a jangly jam band and I'll probably break the record! ;) Don't wanna do that!

So what kind of music, what bands do you listen to while doing what you do all day? Have you thought about it's influence on you?



bonnie said...

Hi Daniel. As a trained musician[geesh that sounds snooty] when I listen to music, that's all I do is listen to music - oh yeah, and dance when appropriate. I cannot concentrate on anything else when music is playing. For a real treat next time you listen to music, forget the words and concentrate only on the music. Make the music your priority, TV/Computer/mobile off.

Try following one single instrument or voice. When you can isolate it, add a second instrument or voice and listen to two simultaneously. And so on and so on, until you can listen to every individual instrument alone and in combination with all of the other instruments.

It'll take you far, far inside of yourself.

triiibe on!

d.edlen said...

I haven't introduced you to teenager-Daniel. He laid on his bed hour after hour just listening to music, from the Beatles and Genesis to Miles Davis and Bach to Sabbath and Nirvana. Loved letting ambient/techno/electronica/dub/acid jazz wash over me. Was my meditation.

bonnie said...

Excellent isn't it :- D

IMO, the arts offer a better means of communicating than words.

Shanoon Hoon said...

Quite interesting post. Because of this, you make me reconsider what i have been listening this year and how this have left its imprint on my work. Actually, i did a short list in my blog :P. Thanks for be the number 1 reader of that stuff :)