Having enjoyed various quadraphonic releases on vinyl, CD, SACD and DVD-audio, I thought that I could share this experience by releasing my work on CDs encoded in Dolby Surround, so that when one would play them though a CD player connected to a surround amplifier, the music would play the original four-track master recording to create an immersive spatial experience. But truth be told, no one was much interested in such an experience. As deflating as this was for me personally, it does prove how wide the gulf is between the thing in your hands and the thing in your head: most people perform amazingly complex ways of tying the two together — for positive or negative reasons. The audiophile and the mp3ite are operating in similar fashion by making their own experience out of the means granted them in each instance. I’d argue there are no ethics in this private exchange between medium and experience: who is to say whether one has a more profound experience than another in the act of listening to music? For profundity lies in perception, analysis, consciousness and the expression of ideas. That’s called writing about music. And the onus is on writers to come up with better goods in that department.
To counter the pessimistic question of where music is heading, I would aver that it goes nowhere: it resides right there in the dimensional warp between your hands and your head, between the act of consuming and the act of listening. I can testify to how my deeper understanding of music has come from two types of moments. The first is an unpredictable encounter with a song whose materiality — its texture, its configuring, its apparition — overwhelms my attempt to dissect its contents. The second is when someone else turns me on to a song, not by intimidation, oneupmanship or neurotic insistence, but because they somehow manage to point out something they experienced deep within the song which I then attempt to register. In this latter case, I try to not listen for myself, but through an alternative self which can navigate the music better than I. In film scoring, one’s personal taste is a deadly liability. Film scoring entails dealing with psychological sensations and effects which go well past any sense of ethical stability and well-being. Film scores thus enable a promiscuous listening which I find liberating: I feel I’ve gone beyond myself into something more interesting than my pithy sense of taste.
Algo que a crítica musical — se é que um dia ela já existiu e, ainda, se ela existirá (e quando) — deveria fazer.