Friday, April 1, 2011

Sound and Vision...and Words.

I’ve written over 1,100 pieces of Music Journalism, everything from reviews (the core of what I have written) to profiles, interviews, odds ’n’ ends stuff, ad copy--you name it, I’ve probably touched on it. But, in some ways, a large percentage of it’s been fiction.

Let me explain.

I enjoy a wide variety of music, but when I started doing reviews, I leaned toward the more esoteric realms of dark ambient, death industrial, noise, experimental--a lot of stuff that was less about verse, verse, chorus, verse, and more about mood, atmosphere, painting pictures via sound. So, of course, being a fiction writer, I listened to these strange sounds and created scenarios, worlds, creatures, and so much more. I trekked across mysterious sonicscapes and explored the cosmos beyond, and the dark cosmic dread within. In essence, I liked to lean toward descriptive narrations that bordered on ’stories.’ Here’s an example of one that posits a future world, because the sounds inspired these images in my head and, hence, my hands, typing away to capture the stark world in those songs.

Forma Tadre --Automate

The future city at night: blue ice moon, cold shimmer of steel architecture, barren streets, humanity disconnected...but underneath, the circuitry pulse-beat byways simmer with life; locked in sterilized cubicles, connections honed on the information highway--less information-based, more transparent and transient, pleas for contact from virginal fingers; communication as dictated by technology; technology a vampire, feeding on our inability to feel, draining the life, draining...Forma Tadre’s first release, Navigator, remains one of the finest examples of intelligent industrial, mixing pristine, watery synth instrumentals with crystalline electro industrial. Where Navigator was fluid, Automate is geometric--perfect corners, polished metal, cold precision, sanitized...”La Cite” opens the gates, echoed space, eyes squint at the blue/white flash of moonbeams off the dark gray metallic skyscrapers; the convoluted circuitryways of “Sinus Park” signify communication in revolt, subtle rhythms rising from the subdued electronic disarray; the title track contains looped vocalizations of a tweaked, Japanese inflection amidst moments of stark, dramatic synths; the hollow tones of “Dagon” emanate from the tinny interior of a place in which covert activities (or the possibility of looking directly into another’s eyes) transpire; “Le Musee Des Appareils” is described above (“The future city at night...”), a description that rings true (reverberates chillingly) throughout the whole disc. With Automate, Forma Tadre did not go where I had expected them to go (the instrumental nature does not surprise, the restructured tonal textures do); nonetheless, the sonicscapes here captivate in unexpected ways--rather disembodied, radiantly desolate. The future city at night: patching into slumber and electric dreams (of a time when a kiss stirred emotions-- embellished contact--and was not just an impassive x at the end of an electronic correspondence...). ~ JC Smith

Interestingly enough, I’ve recently undertaken an amusing task of transforming some of these descriptive elements into abstract poetry.  I'll show you an example soon, it's quite fun.


  1. Thank you, Carolyn. That's actually one of my plans, to feature more of these reviews and such...and the poetry that develops from them, in some cases. I even ripped one review to try and see if the descriptive elements fit into a short fiction piece in progress. So, yes, thank you, more soon. ;-)