Tag: music

On the futility of comparing experiences

It’s a genuine shock when the soprano hits her first note. The contrast between the purity of the sound and its location is disconcerting. To hear such a voice in the functional environment of a residential home day room rather than a… Read More

Music matters

 • There’s so much to say about this film that it’s better to say nothing, except that it reminds of something Phil Ochs once wrote: ‘ah, but in such an ugly time the true protest is beauty’. Thanks to Lukas Pairon for… Read More

Joining the canon

As tribute records go, La Bande à Renaud, is not bad, but it is a little sad. There is a valedictory air to these restrained, polite versions of songs by one of the dominant figures of French popular music since the 1970s,… Read More

Music as an adventure playground

Music: What is it good for? In the 1970s, at a time when we were less anxious about many things than we are today, there was a vogue for adventure playgrounds in which young people could scramble about, get dirty, build dens… Read More

‘Looking for Melody’

Recreating Gainsbourg at Abbey Road My son has just completed his first independent film commission, for Coup Perdu records. Looking for Melody is a 50 minute documentary about the recording of Sine Qua Non, an album of Serge Gainsbourg songs recast in a jazz idiom. Filmed mainly at Abbey Road Studio… Read More

Beyond control

 I want the heart, I want the soul, I want control right now Badlands (1978) Bruce Springsteen ‘Shackled and Drawn’ During the 1970s, when the NME was teaching me how to listen to music (and more besides) and punk challenged the Seventies rock… Read More

Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog after the War

One of the Internet’s delights is the chance of finding, and sharing, art. I’ve always loved the elegiac tone of Paul Simon ‘s song. René and Georgette Magritte with their dog after the War. It sets the romance of  1950s New York in a… Read More

Art, religion and meaning

Last night’s piano recital in a Sheffield church highlighted once again the permeable boundaries between art and religion. The performance—which was captivating—was unobtrusively supported by small rituals designed to separate this experience from everyday life and so to help those present to… Read More

Life is precious, not safe

It’s a widely held idea that art is dangerous—or at least challenging. It threatens established thinking, especially the complacency of the bourgeoisie. It dances barefoot on the ‘cutting edge’. I’ve never been wholly convinced by that belief, though it flatters the egos… Read More

Artful scientists

The relationship between art and science has been fractious since the Enlightenment, when practices that had often been seen as alternative ways of approaching the same truth began to be separated into competing theories. Aesthetics, scientific method and philosophy were spun out… Read More