In the context of producing my 2nd album, I was reflecting on the power of silence, and the ubiquitous nature of noise and sound. Soulmate RuZl has always used the term “gritty” in talking about productions which really stand out, and he feels very strongly about reducing ideas to their bare “gritty” minimum. I have never disagreed, but in practice I find it really hard to par down the large wadge of ideas which come my way.
As a result of the awareness that less is more, I am constantly thinking, perhaps even with some anxiety, about the value of silence. And what I realise is that in music where silence is observed and allowed, I remember that music for the space it created. Even 30 seconds of low level sound on 60 minutes of music leaves me with the impression of a spatial album, such is the currency of quietude.
What is musical space? It is not a simple as saying, where the decibel levels are lower, i.e. where the volume is down or off. It can also be created by simpler harmonic structures, production which uses contrast, loud and soft, low and high, uses horizontal space in stereo or surround, and also by repetition. There is something that lets you have your attention back, lets you relax, if the music kicks into groove – this practice, ladies and gents, is known as “Dancing”.
Notable spatial music includes Biosphere, Bill Evans, Brian Eno (Ambient Music etc), John Michael Talbot (well he would wouldn’t he having taken the vows), Paul Simon, Nick Drake, and parts of Peter Gabriel.