Expectations

It’s funny how time sneaks up on us. Here I am, badgered with every conceivable variation of people’s endless fascination with it being 11/11 today, and I almost failed to realize that in just over three days it will be STARTLING MONIKER’s one-year anniversary.

Duuuude.

Yeah, I know. I can hardly believe I’ve managed to stick with this for a year either. Like many of my projects, STARTLING MONIKER exists in the kind of push-pull relationship– usually caught between guilt and duty; but every so often, ambition and resignation.

Before I properly began writing this blog, I had the vague idea that I would enjoy sharing some of the sound-related ideas that seem to pop in my head each day. At the time I had been thinking a lot about my formative listening experiences, both recorded and natural. In my mental picture of the blog, I envisioned me writing mainly about these topics.

As all creative projects are wont to do, though, STARTLING MONIKER took on its own life– less a personal diary of sound musings, and more of a tightly-integrated facet of my radio broadcasts and my own musical work. I was surprised to see this happening, and am still surprised that many of the stories I fully expected to share within the first week of writing are still untold.Why I continue to hold these back, I cannot fully understand.

I’m fairly sure that one good reason is simply that such stories are difficult to tell. The vaporous nature of memory leaves too many gaps, especially in the area of sound. I know what it felt like to hear The Dixie Cups’ version of “Iko Iko;” with its alien lyric, oddly moaned “oh-oh” backgrounds, primitive percussion, and handclaps. What I can’t seem to describe is how it made me feel– confused, excited, swept up in something impenetrable?

My listening habits were equally strange. “Iko Iko” was in heavy rotation alongside the radio edit of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” following my instant obsession with this song after hearing it on local radio one evening in the family car. I remember my dad calling my grandfather, who was by then a long-time record collector, to inquire about the name of the band who did this song. Of course, I soon learned an 18-minute version existed, though I wouldn’t own a copy of this unwieldy beast until high school.

You kids growing up with p2p have it SO easy.

For me, exposure to music arrived piecemeal, and often without context. To my elementary-school mind, The Surfaris’ “Wipeout” existed in the same time frame as Young MC’s “Bust-a-Move,” a tape I once borrowed from a friend, now deceased. My naivety about the origins and histories of these songs (and others) worked to my advantage– the unexamined connections, proto-mashups, and mental associations have led to all sorts of neat conclusions– and indirectly, to my enjoyment of experimental and difficult music.

It’s expectation and assumption that keeps us from greater ideas, and new paths, whether we’re blogging or listening to music. Hopefully, there will be a lot more wonderfully unexpected things to come in our next trip around the sun! –DaveX

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