Experimental Music


I’ve heard a lot about ‘Experimental Music’ and I’ve always disliked the phrase – what does it actually mean?


If something is not experimental, that must mean it is done using a tried and tested formula, and formulas in the context of rock n roll are definitely not exciting. What they mean is music by numbers.


I believe every piece of work should be an exploration into some part of the unknown, the forgotten, the mistaken.


In order to conquer and put your flag up on the mountain top, you must be willing to at least explore avenues with your art that you wouldn’t necessarily think will work – it’s part of experimentation.


Quentin Tarantino said something about if a film he is working on comes out EXACTLY how he plans and has in mind, it’s slightly disappointing to him, not because his ideas and vision are not good, but because part of the process of creation and capturing art, brings other special moments and happy accidents your way which are usually far more alive than doing things 100% in line with the initial plan.


In music for instance when you’re setting up to record and someone plays a line or a riff that (or even coughs into the microphone) and it sounds really cool, it usually pays to go with that, keep it for texture and see how it fits into the bigger tapestry, rather than just shutting out this gift and trying to stick to your sketches and mental images too much.


I think part of that is being willing to be playful and not too reverent of your own material. Being willing to try and bend it to see what happens with it. Not being scared of your instrument or audience or whatever.


For example, there is a difference between knowing every nook and cranny of your songs, and attempting to explore them all, vs dictating coldly how everything should be about them.


Of course there is never time in this life, in this world to explore EVERY avenue open to us, but I guess what I’m saying ties into the idea of certainty vs uncertainty. You have to avoid the too familiar if you want your work and life to have that swagger, that sense of achievement from boldly going where no one has gone before.


This is part of why a band as great as the Rolling Stones do not make albums anymore that area appealing or exciting to me, because I get no sense of them discovering anything about themselves or the world around them in the process.


If you’re not learning, then you’re no use to anyone.



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