Flying Blind: Crashing & Surviving With a Song as my Parachute
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There is an argument in the studio and I am furious. One of my best friends challenges me about how songs are made, and I lose it. Fury without harness erupts from some primal memory, seven million years ago, when I was a chimpanzee, surviving by murder and deception, and I call the song a â€œcancer.â€ One singer, who barely knows me, says I shouldnâ€™t use that word, and the other two singers, who know me well, break into tears; the three of them hug, and I turn away, blinded by the heat in my eyes, alone, no hugs for a killer who wants heartbreak in his melody rather than structure and rules.
I am autistic among people who expertly carry a tune. I cannot sing, or even hum, but this song is speaking to me, making its impossible demands. The song risks abandonment, but does not care and gives me another task to complete its birth, and this last thing breaks the attention of musicians and composers, and the song gets left behind. I am mute with disappointment and hurt, but the song continues to mock my mind, repeating itself in a language I cannot convey. This is how Neanderthals thought, and my own ancestors, too, **** sapiens right up to 50,000 years ago: in impulses and ideas and instincts, but without syntax and nuance.
But in the desert more songs come, bewitchingly. A mood expresses itself as an idea, then replicates (but with a tiny mutation of tone or tune), and then blossoms into an answer for that mood. Thunder, following a drop of rain, or a wave, rolling over a tide, or a glance into the rocks showing burnt orange when a moment before a flash of yellow sunlight glinted off my truckâ€™s mirror. These songs of self, endlessly surfing every sensation in a normal day, shatter schedules and shred my intentions: what is there to search for, except this desire to express how I feel and where I am and why I cannot stay, in a song?
To whom do I sing? The beautiful thing about making music is that the music itself does not care. Songs wish only to be heard, by anyone, by anything; a tune is as happy echoing in an empty valley as it would be flooding Carnegie Hall. This is the great mistake musicians make, crippling music with their own insecurities, wishing for their songs what they secretly hope for themselves, for acclaim, for reward, and, most heartbreakingly, for applause.
Of course this does not make much sense, unless you are like me, somebody who is alive because you dance, somebody who dances to live, wondering as I do what magnet there is in your heart for a good song, how stupidly attracted you are to a sound that makes sense and is familiar at the same time that it stuns you with its novelty. And if you are like me, you imagine driving away from everything you are, into the desert, maybe, listening to the world as a song, and the music you hear might as well be wind beneath your wing.
Click here for Sean's song. The Moonlight Project will be on blu-ray soon; all comments get a copy
Also by seanie blue
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