02 April 2008
The Ages of Ontological Musicology 2
Older readers may remember this, my run down of the ages of musical understanding. It ended with a heart-warming, energy-sapping descent into nostalgia and vaguely oedpipal murk that seemed destined to pre-determine future musical understanding and perhaps even further decline. Attention being redirected to other things (home improvements, promotions etc) allowed quasi-nostalgia (nostalgia for something we never had) to creep in, almost undetected. At the time of writing (Dec 2006) that seemed to be the end point, the last development but now I've had a re-think, things have changed and I think there's another stage...
13 The Post-Idealistic
This in some ways echoes my earlier sentiments on emotional bulimia, in that the stage is characterised by an acute understanding that emotional manipulation through music is happening but should not be rejected. Thus I've found that increasingly I'm listening to music which reflects my emotional state (at the moment this is dreamy techno minimalism or electro - The Field, Pan-Pot, Villalobos on the one hand and Simian Mobile Disco, CSS, Crystal Castles etc on the other) rather than music which allows me to experience emotions i'm not currently feeling - i.e. I find it difficult at the moment to engage with 'sad' music or 'angry' music. I find myself irritated by music that isn't (even cheesily) 'happy' music (which kinda kills off 3/4 of my collection).
I know the deep-seated psychodynamics of this situation are easy enough to spot for those that know me but it seems an improvment (though, of course, every stage seems like an improvement on the last) to drag myself away from urFolk miserablism or nasty twists or undanceable beatings in favour of, well, a softer surface to skid around on. I've even bought some Fabric CDs and play them all the time, happily jumping around the house until my calves pop.
The Idealistic is a clear return to the The Zeitgeist (see earlier Stages) and is perhaps motivated by much the same thing, with a spin that takes in The Forage and parts of The Inclusive and focuses primarily on affect: music as a tool of manipulation rather than emotional discovery. I'm entering the self-medication stage and it feels fine. The Idealistic stage presents an alternative reality, one that seems graspable, if improbable.
And the good good thing is that now I've returned to the club scene in some small ways (still can't handle a school night) I've discovered that loads of other people around my stage are returning too...