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Writer's Block: The sound of inspiration

What type of music inspires you?

The best way I can put it is Music that sounds medieval. I like rock, but I like rock with fantasy content best. I love opera, because it has story. I like some country music if it's the balladic medieval-sounding ones. I love Loreena McKennit, but started finding Enya too soft for my tastes. I like tribal sounding music, one album from Dead Can Dance really grabbed me, but the next one didn't. I get fussy about music and it's horribly personal. Science Fiction sounding music also grabs me. I love Hawkwind for that, their lyrics always sound like Michael Moorcock is doing a book on it even when they're not doing Elric. So it's harder to categorize by genres.

I don't like rap or salsa at all, even a little rap sound bothers me so much I don't want to listen to a rock band. I used to find the concept of rap intriguing, but the contents of all the gangsta rap put me off so much. I can't get into a genre where the topics are so often about brainless materialism in which the hot ladies themselves are just another commodity and who you are is so based on how much you own. There is the guts of what I don't like in rap. I know some rap has social outrage themes, but how do you filter that out when you can't follow the words on the first listen? It's angry music and it's as deliberate as rock in setting up a sound barrier, a "Go Away" to anyone who doesn't think the Ghetto is Cool.

Also sometimes even the social outrage theme ones just fall into the other ugly side of the same pattern, get moralistic and preachy and still stay within the same paradigm where it looks like there's no way out. I ran into that a lot at the shelter. The world narrows till it's comprised of Need and Greed. Of black music, what I love the best is the Blues. Jazz isn't me either -- no, I can't move like that. The principle of jazz goes into my writing, a lot of it is improvisational, but jazz is very American.

Actually rap seems very American too, another reason I'm not into it.

Salsa is an ethnic music that's strong on brass, the brass hurts my ears. Same with Sousa or most high school marching band music, or big band. I don't like swing. Swing, big band and salsa all seem to blur together into flashbacks of the nightmare years of my childhood, the worst years of my life, when that was the music that was socially acceptable -- and back then Latin music was a very big deal.

Out of any top 40 there might be one good song, two or three tolerable ones and the rest are dreck. This has been true in every period of music I've listened to. The good one gets played so much that you'll get sick of it. A lot of people seem to identify themselves with a decade, with their generation. Music is a time marker for white people, it tells if you're from the fifties or sixties or seventies or eighties or nineties. I still enjoy some of the sixties music, but happily most of the crud has washed away with time! A lot of it was not social conscience music but bubblegum rock about whining at some girl to love you or something like that, the old classic I'll die if you don't go out with me sort of thing that comes up in every generation's sound.

I vaguely, but only vaguely, identify with my generation and I'm a bit young for it by a few years because of the age I was when all that was going on. Maybe music is too social. Maybe music is another way to shorthand-stereotype people.

What I get inspired by is writing music, with story, with a sense of being far away in space and time with the endless creative expanse of "I can make it up" because it's too far from the everyday facts for me to have to check them. Medieval and sufficiently foreign or ancient music -- any ancient music -- carries me away into the place the stories come from. I do not want to be reminded of the Now. I do not want to be dragged into Today's Streets with it. I want music that's daydream fodder and stimulates imagination. I want the music of Neverwhere.
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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 16th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC)
Have you listened to Dagda? Great tribal/celtic stuff.
Emerald Rose is a great celtic/pagan band from Georgia you might like as well - good rhythms, good lyrics and great pipes and flutes.
Delerium is another fave, though only a few albums - Poem specifically is a personal favorite.
A few songs by Luka Bloom give me that otherworldy feel too.
May. 16th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
Kitten has some Emerald Rose cuts on her playlist, and I really like them. I'm going to have to look for the others, it would be great for me to find more writing music. Sometimes it's hard to fish it out from among other things.
May. 17th, 2008 09:06 am (UTC)
The reception of music.
You've done it again.

That is absolutely the clearest piece of writing, regarding music, that I have ever read.

Astoundingly clear.

On the other hand, you got the wrong end of the stick
regarding my last transmission in equally extreme proportions.

Fair enough, I like extremes.

That is all, I had to acknowledge the quality is all.

May. 17th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
Re: The reception of music.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance

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