sticking with the slap

i have a terrible habit of not sticking with things.  call it what you will - all i know is that it is very frustrating yet incredible comfortable.  i lose interest pretty quickly in books, movies, sporting events, and certainly video games. anything that requires my focus for a decent length of time is in jeopardy of being axed by my attention span.

this transfers to music listening.  i often know all about the first couple tracks on an album, but don't have the mental stamina to park it in front of my speakers and hear the entire side - albeit 70 minutes of inspirational and quality material.  i don't think that it's a social reflection either. i'm not a big instant satisfaction guy.  i know that the good stuff is worth waiting for.  no fast food, commercials, twitter, quick bursts of life.  i'm cool with being in it for the long haul; buying groceries and cooking my food, engaging in lengthy (and important), conversations, and looking across the forest while dealing with the trees. but regrettably, i struggle to keep my focus in line with these understandings.

the last book i read from cover to cover was where the red fern grows by wilson "lou" rawls.  the last album i listened to from start to finish was overseas II by eivind opsvik.  the last movie i sat through (granted, it was in the theatre) was the iron lady (yay for meryl streep).  and the last tv series that i stuck with was the slap, gloriously aired on directv.

man, it's an intoxicatingly provocative tv program, based on the book (which i of course haven't read) by christos tsiolkas.  set in melbourne, australia, the story centers around a family bbq where a guy slaps an out-of-control kid wielding a cricket bat.  each primary character has an extensive amount of immediate tribulation, and each is more complex than the next. the intertwining relationships are jagged and intricate, culminating in an outrageous (and poignantly disappointing) finale.  is blood thicker than water?  is somebody lying?  how will this all shake out?  is that kid still breastfeeding?  what in the world are they saying with their weird greek/british accent?  i was hooked.

the show is so cool.  each episode zeroes in on one character at a time.  see that smiling guy up there?  that's hector, the primary focus of episode 1.  his wife, an african-american veterinarian, is a cool lady named aisha.  they have a couple of kids together.  his cousin is the guy that blasted that kid in the face.  connie, their babysitter, is sitting next to hector.  they've got a thing going on, hence the grins.  so basically, the episode peels back the layers of hector while the entire cast moves forward with this hand-to-face incident.

shows that i start watching, only to bail out after a bit, all seem to follow the same formula: slowly develop the characters, load up the commercials, eventually feature one or two characters, don't offend anyone with the subject matter, fade into the background.  not this show.  it is littered with intense familial exchanges, alcoholism, roaming eyes, nudity (hooray!!!) and cursing.  how was this ever on abc?

my favorite episode featured manolis, the father of hector. i stayed locked in for 60 minutes, solid.  i had seen his character throughout the other shows, but was ready to learn all about him during his moment in the sun.  fascinating.

i like to write arrangements (or wing them spontaneously) that feature certain players.  i just treated "fall" by wayne shorter so that the only solo belongs to the bassist.  part of the idea is that the audience will follow that low end voice throughout other charts, especially after having it featured earlier in the set.  i also think that we, as musical artists, should consider the length of our performances.  can i keep the listener interested if tunes go longer than 7 minutes? maybe those old record players and their built-in 3:30 time caps had it right, even if by default.  

a sizable component of my compositional output deals with keeping all players engaged.  i want each improviser that i am working with to be invested in the moment.  it's easy for me to forget about the perspective from the other side of the fence.  if i were a listener, would i be into this?  how much is self serving and how much is welcoming to the audience?would i myself stick it out with this music?  i'm playing in a new band (for me) called workshop, and i think we are making a concerted effort to view our sound in a 360°  format. 

so, here's to me cooling my jets, unwinding my head, and sitting back to soak in artistic endeavors in their entirety. time stop being scared of netflix.  time to stop rambling on in my own head while shuffling through my iPod.  and time to start reading books that don't date back to 6th grade.  

No comments:

Post a Comment