Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Watching the Sound
I had the most beautiful birthday weekend -- pumpkin and apple picking with friends, wandering the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, eating delicious food. There was still so much in bloom, even in these late October days, and I saw these purple flowers poking up from the dried leaves...does anyone know what they are?
Yesterday, I saw Fiona Apple and Blake Mills at the Beacon Theater, a concert I'd been looking forward to for months. Fiona Apple is one of my favorite musicians. I hear something different each time I listen to one of her songs. Sometimes, I'll admit, her musical expressions confound me and that's why I listen so deeply and intently. Music comes out of her body in a way that is wrenching and uncomfortable and I long to understand.
As I watched her yesterday, I quickly learned that her music is an experience that you can watch. I saw that rhythm and sound is corporal to her, that it comes when she is kneeling, bunched up on the ground or against her shoulder blades as she drums the wooden sticks there or as she bends in a perfect arch over the piano seat.
It surprised me, this way of visualizing sound, the deliberate articulation of chalk against a chalkboard or flesh and bone against wood that became percussion. Even her voice rose up from some wrestling, snatching force from her gut. It was all very beautiful and strange. A new way of seeing music I'd only heard before.