There are a lot of nerds out there. Tech nerds and sports nerds and art nerds. Improv nerds. Horse nerds. Last night Dave and I went to a concert at Mayne Stage, where we were surrounded by new music nerds. I was, as usual, dumbfounded by the seeming formlessness of the phrasing, that suddenly hits you with an exclamation point when you least expect it. It makes me realize how easy it is to spot periods in most music. You know when the end of the line is coming a mile away, which leaves you free to interpret everything before it. Like the cylons understanding love only once they understand death.
Or at least, I thought it was formless, until the first piece ended and Dave said, “Difficult piece, but at least it was in 4/4.” At intermission I heard someone say, “I think I’m writing really accessible music, but that’s just how I feel,” and then a bit later, “The problem with the alumni…” I missed the rest because Dave introduced me to someone who told me a funny story about some concert Dave did in college. Something about Dvorak that I didn’t understand but laughed at anyway.
What I heard most of the night were random notes that made sense only if I imagined them as the score to a film noir scene. Or rare moments when the sheer virtuosity transported me to awe. Mostly I thought if I knew where that phrase was going I’d know how to interpret the piece.
But I guess that’s the point. A friend who doesn’t speak to me anymore once said that he liked new music because it was the only thing that made him feel like someone had taken the top of his head off. I’m not sure what he liked about feeling like someone had taken the top of his head off. Too bad I can’t ask him now. Well, I could ask him. It would be like my own little new music composition. His silent response would perhaps be the perfect ending.