Monday, June 10, 2024

a even paler white room


The Tree, 1964, Agnes Martin.  If it feels like you aren't getting it, try this interpretation.

Dear Radio Dodo Head,

We got a car, a new car, about 2 years ago, and it came with a lot of Modern Stuff, including a satellite radio subscription (which ran out, and then we had to buy it, because addiction is like that), and, wonder of wonders, it has a channel on it playing elevator music 24/7!  I think I am actually not supposed to tell you this, this is the 'guilty pleasure' you read about and think:  What the hell?  You are making a confession of chocolate ding dongs?  Seriously?  Anyway, the ding dong doesn't taste like I remember it, but the muzak still sounds like muzak, and I love listening to it. 

It was born for me to love, and for you to love too; like the pointless cat cafe 'game' you have on your cell phone; muzak is built to couple with your dopamine receptors.  When you occasionally surface from the euphoria induced by the engineered perfection of this sonic morphine drip, you notice that the song, the music's re-arrangement reveals details & structures you did not see before.  It is like an aerial view of your very familiar neighborhood.  You know this song, you know it like crazy, comme ta poche, and here it is, made new, made alien, made deeper.  You suddenly hear the echoes of the music of the ages in say, Desperado; you hear the 1950's in a song, the 1600's, even the liturgical chant of the middle ages.  You achieve a oneness with the song that would not occur with just another listening to the usual version.  It's like seeing with x-ray eyes, or being shown the insides of the pocket watch;  ah, so that's what makes it tick!

Hearing this song instrumentalized (a song I love for its surreal and mysterious narrative:* Who is this miller?  What is his tale?) it was unveiled as a stately processional suitable for a graduation, wedding, or funeral!  How could I have missed that?   Check it out, it is your song for the day!

* And for its bustle-in-the-hedgerow-y Britishness!  Take another, White Room for example, it makes a fine pairing.  More is more, comme d'habitude.