Σάββατο, 27 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008

ρίτσαρντ σκέλτον

I had a go at playing the violin when I was quite young, but found it incredibly difficult. It’s a tough instrument anyway, but it didn’t help that I’m left-handed. I’m sure things are better now, but back then you had to learn to play right-handed no matter what, which meant I soon abandoned the whole thing as a bad job. In fact, it’s a miracle that I make music at all – it doesn’t come naturally. I’ve had to really persevere to get to a stage where I’m just pretty bad, instead of downright awful. Crap musicians of the world, unite, and take over…
A landmark recording for me was Gorecki’s Symphony No3. It sounds tangibly modern and yet incredibly ancient; hypnotic and yet brimming with emotion. It makes me see things –imaginary landscapes – something which I aspire to in my own offerings.
Another source of inspiration is the music of Nick Drake. There seems to be a whole world glimmering between the notes in his guitar playing, especially on his later, sparser arrangements. His music came to me at the lowest ebb of my life, offering a way back to the shore and the promise of visions. I found myself playing guitar just for the feeling of it resonating against my body – it was music as an almost physical presence; a kind of therapy.
A film that affected me strongly quite a few years ago was Jem Cohen’s “Lost Book Found.” Apart from being utterly beautiful, its central story of an ever changing city, and a book, which offers some kind of Gnostic tablature for coming to terms with it, was deeply affecting. It kind of pointed the way to what I wanted to do – not just with music, but with art, and the creation of artefacts that are linked inextricably to particular places. And once you’re on that trail, there’s a whole world of fascinating stuff – Hobo marks and signage, Land art, Aboriginal art, and the private worlds of outsider’s like August Natterer and Johann Knopf.
For me, making music is an articulation of the here and now. At first, I just wanted to salvage something against time’s passage – to document the fact that my heart was still beating, and that life goes on. But more and more it became important to me that I should record in places with which I have a particular connection. This could be anything from feelings of kinship with the atmosphere or acoustics of a place, to how it stirs the memory or imagination. Everyone has these places: The wood with the tree whose branch you tried to jump up and touch when you were a kid; the path through the fields where you walked with a lover; the view of a lake that made you want to travel.
I feel such a strong connection with particular places that I almost can’t contemplate recording music indoors anymore. For instance, I recently rediscovered a place called Anglezarke moor, not far from where I live, which is covered with the isolated ruins of farmhouses that have been derelict for a century or more. It’s thrilling to just sit and watch the sun come up and cast shadows across these ruins, whilst hearing curlews and skylarks make the air shimmer with their calls. The atmosphere of these places can’t help but affect my playing, and also, if I play quietly enough, it filters into the recordings themselves.
It’s funny you should say “spaces tying in to the music”, because I recently started taking it to that literal extreme, with an ongoing series of recordings called “Landings”. What happens is I go and record in a place, take it home, burn a CD, package it, and then take it back to the place and leave it there. A kind of offering. Sometimes it’s just hidden amongst the stones, or even tied to a tree. If there’s enough interest in these things I might even release them at some point, but for now they’re just one offs… [από εδώ]
marking time