• Ess Beck

Your action is required: Creative Treatment of Actuality

The headline for this post "creative treatment of Actuality" is Grierson's quote about what a documentary is, was mentioned on the radio. It resonated in my head as I pulled in to the car park below IAC.

Today I had decided to do things differently, as soon as my eyes opened this morning. I decided to shift my working schedule, so I would come in when I felt mentally and physically ready. And to also explore what a later schedule may mean for my output. Also, it's been two days since my last post and I have a tremendous urge to reflect and communicate.

On the 13th of March I had reached a breaking point when I finished the session. I actually felt perfectly fine that day, but it still turned out to be relatively short session. The reason why I decided to stop felt so concrete, yet so contrary to what may serve as motivational factor for continuing:

For the first time since I got here I created a soundscape/song that touched me emotionally. Lyrics came out. In Swedish. Since I arrived in Malmö I had thought a lot about the poetic feel of the fact that the snow had started to melt rapidly since my arrival. That day the last white patches had disappeared. Malmö had turned brown and hazy. The beauty of Winter had gone and now we have that terrible period of transition, where things are just brown/grey, until Spring actually kicks in.

When the composition started (lyrically) I was something down the lines: "Lamnä Nu,

Jeg forstår dig Jeg driver,

Jeg driver".

(a mix of Danish and Swedish). What I mean by the composition starting there; to me the feel of a structure being concrete is when there is a lyrical or (in mind) textual correspondent to the sounds. It holds the fluid sounds together; a semantic framework. I kept going over and over: "There's no more snow in Malmö" in my head. I felt I couldn't go on. The moment had been so pivotal and whatever would come afterwards would not feel nearly as nice. I guess I chickened out of my own process. For the first time, afraid I would disappoint myself.

I realize now, that this feeling appeared as soon as a "product" appeared. As soon as something malleable -something that I could be emotionally attached to - appeared, my sense of purpose and identity shifted to strongly towards the composer/musician role instead of the performer.

- At least I think this is what happened. I couldn't stay in the performance situation any longer. That said, the part of myself that wants to produce and release was excited, and I started thinking about the mixing, the final compositions - should I bring in a cellist?!

Soundtrack to my own being?

In which parts of what I am doing lies "the creative treatment of actuality?". There is nothing in what I am doing that isn't a conversion, a mediation, a compression of some sort.

If the sounds I am creative is an accompany to my feelings, being, stream of consciousness then what is my narrative?

The journey to this place feels like a distant past. A bulk of impressions, no longer stacked in order. I am starting to think about the future. I am asked about my process after the performance part.

Yesterday I felt tremendously present and emotionally invested, not just in the project and my own material, but also in other aspects of my life. Answering emails, doesn't seem like a heavy task. It's just a part of the flow, like little notes that have to be played on my keyboard laptop, in order for me to continue playing. The economy of what I am doing is shifting. The journey to the bathroom from my bed seems just as attached to everything else, as the application of resin before the violin bow is about to make a strike on the guitar.

The first two days I had convinced myself that I was in flow, but now (since yesterday), I feel different. The state flow has become ubiquitous, but presenting itself differently depending on environment.

My mind is blank and all I care about is that room - to get back in there. Stockholm Syndrome?

Have I become a prisoner inside my own process. Is creativity really just a low security prison?

Sneblind (Snow blindness)

When everything is white, the sky, the ground and all colours in the spectrum are reflected into your eyes, your mind cannot adjust properly. When I crossed the bridge. Everything was white, I could not see where the ground and where the sky was. I thought about these two things together; the bridge and the blindness that comes from seeing too much, perhaps with my process being this way. How the vast potential and the presence of every possibility could render you unable to see anything at all.

At some point during my session yesterday this became a composition. It actually sprung out of the Swedish word: Glasögan (glass eyes), which I saw above an optometrist. Basically they have taken the function of the glasses literally, so in Swedish it actually means "specs". I quite like that juxaposition.

The relative lack of direction in the performance, and the slow transitions is very connected to that blindness. But it's not a blindness that means that things aren't there. It's just a matter of time before the light changes and my eyes adjust. Then the first thing that appears is the outline of an idea.

The blindness isn't permanent. It's feels like a necessary "glass" behind which things can move around without my consciousness, and my socio-psychological contemplation can interfere.

In contemplation and in connection with the sound/music, these words formed:

Translated from Danish:

"It is the pauses between words.

In a quiet moment.

Snow blind.

New language in my ears,

Compressed (or pressed together)

Falls over by itself.

Snow blind."

The actuality of things are appearing by themselves, so to speak. But even as my "eyes" adjust, they are only seeing and understanding what they know (of) already. Malmö, the residency, the location is then a "layer" - "glasögan" that permits me to see something else. The destination allows me to see the journey. The journey allows me to see the point of origin. The process allows me to see the potential.


This noon I went to buy lunch. A shopping mall. The actual world without poetics and loop pedals. I felt normalcy for a moment. I thought about how making music sometimes seems like a needed escape from the complexity of reality. Now, I felt like the small dose of reality, with its predictable rhythms and patterns, was a needed escape from the chaos of improvisation that takes place for so many hours.

There was the "beep" from the checkout counter. There was the repetition of the same questions to the customers. "Do you have a membership card". "Can I see your ID?". Routine.

5 PM: I am about to go back in to the room (and document myself and what goes on in my sonic brain). With this slight deviation from my IAC routine, as a passenger!