My Most Influential Music

Quick, dirty and shameless, this ends up being partially autobiographical with the additional opportunity afforded by technology to share art with others. It’s pretty simple in the end.

As a child of the 60’s, having grown up just as Rock and Roll emerged as the social force and general motivator that it did, my musical his-story is studded with some fairly predictable icons. I fully admit that and am delighted, the truth is, that I got to share the experience of this art with so many wonderful friends. The experience of art seems altogether useless at times without including the many shared experiences of appreciating  my many wonderful soul mates who took the journey of these deepest forms of Love beside me, from my family to my friends.

Naturally, I have a few of my very own unique aspects which I tend to view as eccentric enough to present as a sort of rating system with indulgent explanation which might or might not inspire others to continue reading and even to listen, all credit going to Youtube Technology as the greatest enabler of all.

Around the age of 8, I learned to operate the family stereophonic record player which I found allowed me to choose my own music at those times I found myself alone enough, or included enough, to give it a whirl. The large tunes at that time – 1956 – ranged from Bill Haley and the Comets to the birth of that amazing phenomenon of Elvis. To say my sister thought a lot of Elvis would be a gross understatement. Which is another factor in my exposure to all music – I had older siblings.

Nevertheless, I had some tasty favorites among which was this which I would turn up loud as possible when alone – hardly rock and roll, but available at home which made it officially “The World” and still moving to me to this day:

Yes, Sibelius. Later, I moved on, quite farther afield. At the ripe old age of 14, I discovered Bo Diddly. This was not as great a departure as one might think, because I and millions of others have always thought Bo Diddly was one hell of a musician. Somehow, he affected me at the deepest levels, all equal parts hormonal, experimental and eager for life itself. I suspect I only sensed rather dwelt on his innovative playing – I just know I thrived on his sound and the simplicity of his spirit.

I got marginally more sophisticated as time went by. Not a lot. But some. In the 60’s one’s choices of music ranged wider than ever, nearing a critical mass in a resounding explosion of genres and styles at the tail end of the 60’s. Leading up to that period was my own deep love affair with Motown, Stax Records, and the moving and so utterly danceable African American tunes of the day. No song moved me more than this one – it was my Monster:

Then the world changed……………whap!

A monstrously deep drink of all music during such heady times as the 60’s – when anything seemed possible – led to what I perceived as a bizarre “flattening out” of modern pop music, probably beginning with the death of Jimi Hendrix, a complete favorite of mine and an innovator whose death implied a redirection of rock and roll, at least to me.

What it did to me was redirect my interest to an interest in almost strictly experimental music. Having relocated to Vancouver, I found myself in basement Jazz Clubs watching Jazz guys like Ornette Coleman, over at LeChat Noir with Gavin Walker and searching for the “still-newer” music. It became rather rewarding in spades as I nearly completely turned my back on rock and roll and pop and thence found my interest exploding with an entire field of experimentation and novel artists. Sonny Sharrock, Weather Report, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis with the electric and controversial fusion creations. blending wild rock and roll principles with Jazz in a movement back toward bass beats, syncopation and outright psychedelic inspiration.

Here is a perfect illustration of my own and other’s fascination with new forms of music:

I also discovered the Lunatic Fringe – at this time Karlheinz Stockhausen, Eric Satie, Philip Glass, John Cage, Edgar Varase – near anti-musical futuristical musicians who redefined everything musical from cadence to melody to a near obscene repitition. I sat listening for hours to these strange compositions. This then led to an abiding interest in some very campy sort of performances, such as Frank Zappa’s or Captain Beefheart’s many surprises on tour, or, eventually, the fascinating Laurie Anderson. 😉

So my musical search for the fresh and new wild caught many successful experiences which rewarded me greatly. I had the wonderful experience of attempting madly to stay on my generation – and even others’ – “cutting edge”. I led myself to believe I actually encountered the monstrous entirety of music – and then found how wildly small my thinking was as I more fully discovered the entire International realm of stuff. No, I hardly got lost – I got inspired.

World music combinations led to an even greater mystery and even more hilarious adventures, bringing me to this very day. I can’t wait now until we hear from the Planets!

My Lily Haydn in space

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