Everything In Its Right Place

by Guest Blogger January 06, 2010

by Chris Hess

[M]usic will not stop moving. There was a time when releasing an album was something very special. It still is to some folks. Hard work goes into them. Creative energies. Late nights. Some fretting, probably. It could take months or years. Now, though, with technology at our side, with recording happening in apartments and bedrooms and other small spaces (which is beautiful, don't get me wrong)...the music is coming at us so very fast. We hardly have time to digest the latest before the next wonderful thing is discovered. It seems - in some circles at least - artists & their albums are not given time to take root. This month's or week's discovery will give way to next month's or week's. Almost disposable. Being a being that reads music blogs and listens to music podcasts and critiques music as part of my living, I find myself trying to keep up at a ridiculous pace. Part of this is self-imposed nonsense. Part is the pressure to be on the hip-train. But part of it is just the current state of what seems like everything. Kid A by Radiohead is an album that has not left me since its release 9 years ago. I bought the CD. In a pinch, I bought the MP3s. After deciding to assemble a record collection made up only of albums I want to pass on to my kids, I recently bought the vinyl. Kid A was written by the band in the midst of a season of overwhelming strain brought on by the success of OK Computer, itself an album inspired by the feeling of disconnection from the speed of the modern world. Lead singer Thom Yorke was overwhelmed with what he called the "fridge buzz" of the world...a constant background noise...an unending hum he felt their music had become a part of. He couldn't bring himself to write songs after OK Computer. It became apparent to the band that they had to change everything. Kid A is sparse electronic composition. Kid A is sparse lyrical content. Kid A slows you in the moment. At times, Kid A is church. The world will not stop moving. The rate at which music is propagating is a snapshot of larger things. I've never really paid much mind to the idea that art imitates life. This, though, seems to be an appropriate time for that. We are constantly hounded by the "fridge buzz." We seem to ride frequencies through our days. Things must be done and we must do them now...and then we must do more things. What was done yesterday is replaced by what must be done now and if we are not doing and moving and humming along something is obviously wrong. Perhaps it is time to change everything. Methinks Kid A has kept its roots in me because of the thread of slowness running through the songs. This slowness might better be called peace. Changing things requires new methodologies which requires learning which requires listening which requires being still. Stillness. Slowness. Peace.




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