This morning, I was reading a review of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s 12 by Geeta Dayal, and I finally understood why I’ve never fully taken to her approach to assessing music (common among music writers looking for a discernable narrative I suppose), despite liking almost all of the music she writes about.
Everything is always heavily informed by external information about the artist and the music gets framed almost explicitly within that context. But it feels to me like it’s skipping over the enormous weight that an artist’s general practice has on the outcome. Sakamoto’s work for decades has often seemed contemplative and melancholy, his current health issues may or may not factor so strongly in the goals of this specific music. In the case of the tracks on 12, the titles are all dates. I have a deep kinship to the idea of recording hundreds of things for days on end, and after a while feeling like maybe these 12 turned out good enough to show others.
I find when I’m doing things, there’s often a lot of influence just by what equipment I happened to switch on that day, or what my posture was like after an hour, etc. I don’t know how deeply my work resonates with others, so maybe I’m too unfocused with my personal state? I find there are always all sorts of ephemera crowding in with heavier emotions at any moment, it becomes a bit of a crapshoot as to which ones will shine through in retrospect and I’m not personally too wrapped in it even if it is all specific to me.
I’d love to hear from everyone here, do you think your personal lives (especially major and specific events) are the primary seeds of what you make (or what makes the art you love great), that your focus on something big in your life is that steady and sustained and overt?