Re: Art and Music
Polly, it comes down to naivete. I like to compose music as if it was the first time I'd ever composed anything. It's why I don't tend to compose with traditional instruments any more (my last composition was for 'people and microphone' - I'll talk about it with you, it is quite complex). I find being set free from the expectations of what people 'want to' hear is what sets this apart from more 'conventional' musical forms in which I KNOW I'm not a good song writer. I can occasionally write a pretty decent song, but I'm a much stronger composer - and I know that for a fact.
It also lets you get out a new canvas. Being an instrumentalist is great until you get bored of your instrument. I always get bored of instruments (except the 'Cello, which I absolutely adore) so I look for ways to 'get around' the expectations. If somebody picks up a Les Paul, I expect them to start playing Zeppelin riffs - but I don't want to hear that, I want to hear something different.
In my case, a bass guitar put through four stages of downward and upward pitch shifting. I think in colour and texture, not sound (I have mild synaesthesia) and in terms of motions rather than notes. Sometimes it literally feels like I am waving a brush over a canvas - and I LOVE that feeling. In fact, I love throwing brushes over canvases, I'm just not very good at it.
A lot of my work on this is on acousmastic listening. That is, when you can't see the source (Pythagoras lectured from behind a curtain for five years). In my case, I don't want my listeners to necessarily identify the source so that they become free of associations they may have with it. The listener becomes as naive as me.