music looks like this

Posted on May 30, 2008
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I first started enjoying jazz as a young pot head. I’d smoke a few joints, put the headphones on, crank up the record player and then drop the needle on Giant Steps, by John Coltrane. A record I bought because everyone told me it was the greatest jazz record of all time, and I wanted to be cool. It took me a while to understand, but I persisted, because imported jazz albums cost a lot of money, and I really wanted to be cool. To begin with everything was noise. A car crash of melody and rhythm pushed hard against the speakers. But when the music finally made sense, it was the images in my head that made it work. Coltrane’s saxophone was a brush, the fluidity of his sound, the incandescent loops of noise and harmony, were cascades that burnt through my drug addled mind. Ideas swarmed like bees as I tried to ride the brilliance of his performance. That was when I realised music was at its best, its most pure, when it went beyond the voice and became instead this ideal abstract ornamentation, enjoyed for no other reason than the pictures it drew inside your mind. No doubt Michal Levy had the same idea, though she took it one step further. She brought those images too life with this ingenious flash visualisation of Giant Steps that brings today and the sixties together in a nice jumble of nostalgia and internet. A little like a Mondrian animated by Walt Disney if he were hanging out at Albert Hoffman’s lab, its so good, I watched it twice. Later on I might watch it again. Cool


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