Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Furniture Music

I have been listening to a lot of Erik Satie over the last few days, the mood of the music & it's quiet melancholy suits me perfectly. Satie was a man who was years ahead of his time & like all groundbreaking explorers was vilified by his peers for his creative work. Even spending 6 days in jail for "Cultural Anarchy ".

He was the first to realise that music does not have to be the centre of our listening lives, but could be a soundtrack to it. He coined the phrase Furniture Music which is better explained in his own words…

"You know there's a need to create Furniture music. That is to say, music that would be a part of the surrounding noise, that would take it in to account. I see it as melodious as masking the clatter of knives & forks without drowning them completely, without imposing itself. It would fill up the awkward silences that occasionally descend on guests, it would spare them the usual banalities,moreover it would neutralize the street noises that indiscreetly force themselves in to the picture."

Since then the world has woken up to the possibilities of "Ambient" music as well as the bastard son of Satie: "Muzak" without which, no elevator journey would ever be the same. The thought has struck me that he did not know what a Pandora's box he was opening. It seems that these days one needs to be inside the equivalent of a concrete sound proofed bunker, to escape the racket produced by car stereos & stupid cell phone ring tones, as well as my own personal hell, mobile phones used as MP3 players, but without headphones, so that the misery can truly be shared equally with everyone.

However, without people like Satie who pushed the envelope we would all still be in caves wondering if the brown berries would be good to eat ……

Listening to:

Erik Satie, Gymnopedie No 1 & Gnoissienne ( Recommended )
John Cage
Gavin Bryars
Steve Reich
Terry Riley


Yorkshire Pudding said...

I had never heard of the guy. Thanks for educating me.

I may have mentioned this before but if juke boxes had an option of four minutes silence for a pound or a dollar then in my estimation this would quickly top the hit parade! Not "Silence is Golden" by The Searchers but silence by nobody.

David said...

Peraphs a copy of John Cages " 04.33" would do just the trick a movement in 3 pieces of silence.

Daphne said...

I love Satie's music but the idea that Muzak has any kind of link to it at all is rather worrying.