it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

  • Mood:
  • Music:

and touch the head of dying dogs. and make them linger.

So, in the past seven years, I have moved cross-country four times. The upshot of this is that I sensibly ripped much of my music to my computer and put my CDs into storage.

I like music. Both of my parents have musical leanings. (I? Do not. But I am a listener of a developed aesthetic and catholic tastes.) So. I have a lot of music on this computer. As some of you may have noticed. Something over forty gigs of it. (iTunes informs me that it's a little over 28 days' worth of sound files.)

The problem with this is that sometimes things get lost in the shuffle. Or I get stuck in ruts. And I have a bunch of stuff on cassette tape, slowly moldering away, which I am in some cases trying to replace as time and money permit. (Or downloading, for that matter. I paid for the license once, after all. It's mine. Which reminds me, I need to do something about the Alice Cooper situation around here, because I really need to hear "Zorro's Ascent.")

So, for example, you get the situations where I suddenly remember, after not actually having listened to anything except the single of *"I'm Afraid Of Americans" for something like four years, that I really like David Bowie.

Music is also important to my creativity. I often get an entire story out of an image from a song, and ofttimes the story has nothing to do with the song. (Witness, "The Chains That You Refuse.") I also use the music shuffle to jar my brain loose when it's stuck, such as some writers will use Tarot cards to suggest plot.

Anyway, I *do* get in ruts. Exacerbated by my tendency to make playlists of certain types of music--"Whiny Boys with Guitars," being a notable example. (It also contains Whiny Girls with Keyboards.)--or soundtracks for books.

And in an attempt to shake the rut, I sometimes put the entire music library on shuffle--which can be entertaining, because you get really odd juxtapositions, and there are a bunch of .wav file clips from movies moldering in the back of my hard drive, so every so often your blues is punctuated by Viggo Mortensen saying "God is love. And I don't love you."

...Hey, whatever works, right?

Anyway, another technique that sometimes produces even better results is to pick a word or a letter, and start the old music engine churning along an alphabetical playlist. (I have 64 songs, iTunes informs me, that have the string "danc" in them somewhere.)

Bach Goes To Limerick, Steeleye Span
Back-Door Angels, Jethro Tull
Back Door Man,  Sarah McLachlan
Back home in Derry, Christy Moore
Back Home In Derry, Jonathan Ramsey
Back Home in Derry, Seven Nations
Back Home in Derry, Wild Mountain Thyme
Back In Black,  Hayseed Dixie 
Back In The Box,  David Byrne
Back in Town,  Boiled in Lead
Back On The Chain Gang,  Pretenders
Back On Your Side, Chris Isaak
Back to the Family, Jethro Tull
Back To The Rivers Of Belief (Way To Eternety - Hallelujah - The Rivers Of Belief), Enigma
Back To Tupelo, Mark Knopfler 
Backdoor Love Affair, ZZ Top
Backward Message, Steven Brust
Backwater Blues,  Bessie Smith
Bacon Fat,  Doc Watson
Bad Animals,  Heart
Bad Case of Love,  B.B. King
Bad Dog No Biscuits, Seatbealts
Bad Girl,   ZZ Top
Bad Habit,  The Offspring
Bad Liver and a Broken Heart, Tom Waits
Bad Magick,  Godsmack
Bad Medicine,  Bon Jovi
Bad Moon Rising,  Creedence Clearwater Revival
Bad Moon Rising,  Rasputina
Bad News,  Johnny Cash
Bad Religion, Godsmack
Bad Sneakers,  Steely Dan
Bad Wisdom,  Suzanne Vega
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, Jim Croce
Badajoz,  Carlin Music Group
Badger Pajama,  Tom Smith
Badlands,  Bruce Springsteen
Bahimsa,   Janis Ian
Baker Baker,  Tori Amos
Baker St. Muse,  Jethro Tull
Baking,   Aztec Two-Step
Ball And Biscuit,  The White Stripes
Ball and Chain,  Big Mama Thornton
Ball And Chain,  Janis Joplin
Ball And Chain,  XTC
Ball of Confusion,  Love & Rockets
Ballad Of A Runaway Horse, Emmylou Harris
Ballad of Alferd Packer, Phil Ochs
Ballad of Humpty Dumpty, Aztec Two-Step
Ballad Of Skip Wiley, Jimmy Buffett
Ballad Of Spider John, Jimmy Buffett
Ballad of the Sun and the Moon, Alejandro Escovedo
Ballad Of Yarmouth Castle, Gordon Lightfoot
Ballet de Suburbia (Suite), Danny Elfman
Baloney Again,  Mark Knopfler 
Bang Bang Bang,  Tracy Chapman
Bang the Drum Slowly, Emmylou Harris
Bangkok/One Night In Bangkok, Andersson-Ulvaeus
Banish Misfortune/The Road to Lisdoonvarna/O'Keefe's Slide, Boiled in Lead
Banjo Medley: Cripple Creek/Old Joe Clark/Leather Britches,  Pete Seeger
Bank Account, Hot Rod Lincoln 
Bank and Star,  Boiled in Lead
Bank Of Bad Habits, Jimmy Buffett
Barangrill,  Joni Mitchell
Barbarossa,  Sordid Humor
Bare Trees,  Fleetwood Mac
Barefoot Children, Jimmy Buffett
Barefootin',  Johnny Winter
Barfly,   Free Hot Lunch!
Barometer Soup,  Jimmy Buffett
Barracuda,  Heart
Barrett's Privateers, The Irish Descendants
Barrier Reef (live), Ol' 97's
Barrio Superstar,  Pilot To Gunner
Basin Street Blues, Louis Armstrong
Basket Case,  Green Day
Bath Time,  Orbital
Batman To The Rescue, Danny Elfman
Batman_the_Movie_Theme, Danny Elfman
Battle for the Planet of the Apes, They Might Be Giants
Be-In,   Hair Soundtrack
Be A Clown,  Kevin Kline, Peter Polycarpou & Chorus
Be Careful Of My Heart, Tracy Chapman
Be Good to Me,  Tina Turner
Be Near Me,  ABC
Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises | The Tempest,  Joseph Fiennes
Be Prepared,  Tom Lehrer
Be Prepared,  Tom Lehrer
Be That Way,  Legendary Wish
Beachcombing,  Mark Knopfler And Emmylou Harris
Beads of Sweat,  Laura Nyro
Beastie,   Jethro Tull
Beat On The Brat,  Ramones

What's interesting about that, of course, is what's *not* on it. Because I have a ton of stuff that somehow just doesn't fall into that part of the alphabet. Like, only one Fleetwood Mac song, though I have their entire discography between Bare Trees and The Dance. Including the crappy ones.

Qualified,  Dr. John
Quality Shoe,  Mark Knopfler
Quartet,   Jethro Tull
Quartet (A Model Of Decorum And Tranquillity), Andersson-Ulvaeus
Quatrain,   Jethro Tull
Queen and Country, Jethro Tull
Queen Mary/Hunsden House,  Steeleye Span
Queen Merka & Me, Janis Ian 
Queen of Argyll,  Tempest (I have got the Silly Wizard version too, but it doesn't show up here because it's listed as "The Queen of Argyll" on the album)
Queen of Hearts,  Juice Newton
Quest for the Holy Grail, Trevor Jones
Question,  The Moody Blues
Question Mark,  Peter Mulvey
Questions,  Manfred Mann
Qui peut dire?,  Francoise Hardy
Quiet Of The Night, Hugh Blumenfeld 
Quietly Making Noise, Jimmy Buffett
Quinn The Eskimo (Mighty Quinn),  Manfred Mann
Quit Your Low Down Ways, Manfred Mann
Quite Rightly So,  Procol Harum
Quite Ugly One Morning,  Warren Zevon

And here I have at least as much Peter Mulvey and Joni Mitchell as I do Jimmy Buffett, but it's Buffett getting all the billing. (Joni also lists her version of the song of hers that *is* covered on this list as "The Ballad of the Sun and Moon." La.)

Anyway, doing this kind of thing helps me free-associate, create, come up with unexpected things. I allow the music to influence my thought process, and so I can control the ways in which is does influence it--either by feeding it something appropriate to the direction in which I want it to free-associate (Enigma is good for creepy sex scenes and black magic, for example), or by letting it spark any kind of idea at all.


Refrigerator poetry.

I am not kidding.

Also, for those of you who are always trying to pimp me on music? Now you know that I mean it when I tell you I can't afford to fall in love with any more bands. And why, when you send me stuff, I never get around to listening to it. It's not you; it's that I can't manage the music collection I have.


...we move like badgers on vaseline.

...oh, shit, he's back.

*cranks up "Whole Lotta Rosie" in self-defense*

*It's on my workout mix

Tags: artistic process, music

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded