not unusual in production, in composition, see many posts below. but mathematics surfaces rarely in lyrics. but it does here: and if one knows anything about algebra, it’s audible, even if he’s being, which i doubt, ironic. he’s a minimalist, with a minimalist voice. therefore, his scores are algebraic repetitions of the same key function, (f)x, plus or minus a particular note. that gives him musical integrity with great density that goes directly to the heart of… something.
thom york has, rarely, done that.
A self-fulfilling prophecy of endless possibility
In rolling reams across a screen
In algebra, in algebra
The fences that you cannot climb
The sentences that do not rhyme
In all that you can ever change
I’m the one you’re looking for
It gets you down
It gets you down
There’s no spark
You’ve no light in the dark
not unlike, the other heads, the Talking Heads, at least thematically, but also, somewhat rhythmically both visually and sonically, though through the compositional technique of inversion…
not unlike supercolider:
and the live performance of his early work, ‘cymbal rush’, here re-titled, in 2018: but algebra all the way.
his audiences, i suspect, understand very little about what they hear… yet, the question remains, why do they listen? his music is as austere as the most esoteric of indian musicians playing ragas. so what are they listening for? not rock & roll, certainly.
yet, why do western audiences listen to yorke, but not to Indian musicians? a simple question. not an identity appropriation concern, necessarily. yet, it might be.
for a practiced context see: he may or may not, come off well… i think he fails.
whatever one thinks, one should remember that colonization flows in multiple directions, at once. power, conceived as a one way, flows in only one direction of course. but that’s rarely the case. but even assuming that one way street, the question of ‘power’ is not so simple. power is always multiply held, historically speaking. so where does any ‘authentic’ culture begin and end? atoms of peace, musically, is brilliant in its own terms, no matter where it comes from. and, it’s India origins is made explicit. so, must it not be conceived as an homage? inspired by. but not subservient to? ?
Above: Lamont Young on the far left. Terry Riley also studied with and was highly influenced by Pandit Pran Nath. And there is no traditional or world music more mathematical than Indian.