2016, haven’t you taken enough from us for one year now?
Here is a clip of this brilliant composer and experimental sound artist speaking about the difference between hearing and listening last year:
“In hearing, the ears take in all the sound waves and particles and deliver them to the audio cortex where the listening takes place. We cannot turn off our ears–the ears are always taking in sound information–but we can turn off our listening. I feel that listening is the basis of creativity and culture. How you’re listening, is how you develop a culture, and how a community of people listens, is what creates their culture.”
Please play this over the last few bars of the Bargeld below. (That’s how I would play it for you if I were playing it for you.)
The third track from Ayler’s Spiritual Unity (1964).
The critic Ekkehard Jost wrote that “Ayler’s negation of fixed pitches finds a counterpart in Peacock’s and Murray’s negation of the beat. In no group of this time is so little heard of a steady beat […] The absolute rhythmic freedom frequently leads to action on three independent rhythmic planes.” Maintaining these qualities required deep group interaction, Ayler himself said of the record, “We weren’t playing, we were listening to each other”*.
*from: Wilmer, Valerie (1977). As Serious As Your Life: The Story of the New Jazz. London: Quartet. p. 105.
This is so often a problem, as I see it: that white people, particularly men, tend not to seek to understand other points of view before feeling entitled to give theirs. If listening feels hard, maybe you need to do it more.