Music for the Inner Listener 7
Brian Eno originally defined ambient music as "music that does not demand attention but rewards it when given". In the context of this psycho-emotional musical space, Tim Gerwing presents musical furniture for your inner listening enjoyment.
of or relating to the immediate surroundings of something e.g. "the room was filled with ambient light"
a style of instrumental music with electronic textures and no persistent beat, used to create or enhance a mood or atmosphere.
Furniture: the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping. Furniture is also used to hold objects at a convenient height for work (as horizontal surfaces above the ground), or to store things (Wikipedia)
Music is usually created to engage or absorb the attention of the listener. That is to say, the music is designed to fill up the space and leave room for nothing else. The irony is that in our time music is less and less "listened to" and is more and more like wallpaper, a backdrop for other activities: shopping, socializing, waiting in the dentist's office.
Perhaps it is the ubiquity of music, the millions of choices, or perhaps it is the relative ease with which it can be acquired "legitimately" or otherwise. Whatever the case, music has become like furniture - it is "there", but often not the central or even a prominent of the landscape of our active attention.
The music of "Furniture" comes at this from the other side: it is made to be, well, furniture. It is just "there", not meant to demand attention. And yet, when listened to actively, the music is rich with texture and detail. It is the detail of the craft of fabric selection, cultural references from the exotic to the familiar, ergonomic considerations gently and subtly creating physical changes in the heart/body/mind, and the careful placement of hard and soft contours in auditory space.
Tim Gerwing | Furniture | Music for the Inner Listener VII
Tim Gerwing is a Vancouver, Canada based musician and performer. Previous albums include "Chikatetsu", "Scorpius Rising", and "Adagio". He is also a regular performer with Gord Grdina's Haram and the Samar Oriental Dance Ensemble.
By accident, or maybe because, of the time into which ambient music was born, it provides a very significant psychological function: to allow a listener to enter into a highly intuitive inward state that is devoid of the moral and cultural context of classical, jazz, or rock music, which are of course also products and servants of their ages. Not to say that some classical/jazz/rock music does not transcend those bonds – but they do so using the cultural and philosophical tools of their era. It’s important to see these things in terms of a continuum, and not absolute statements.
I think it bears saying that ambient music is not the only genre where this level of freedom from "classical structure" is possible – I’m thinking of something like Japanese gagaku music which accomplishes a very similar function: music as furniture. But in terms of a contemporary "popular" music, ambient is one of the very few genres where this is even approachable as a possibility.
But, debate and discussion are in the end just intellectual arenas that only feed a small part of who we are and can be. At the end of the day, and hopefully at the beginning and middle of it too, the important thing is just to listen. Hence, the tagline of my musical work: "Music for the Inner Listener", and, further to that, here is "Furniture" for your (inner) listening enjoyment.