The music of Good Weather For An Airstrike (Tom Honey) has a primary goal of aiding the induction of sleep – something which would generally be an unwelcome effect for most other musicians, I’d warrant. Tom suffers from tinnitus, which most often presents as a ringing noise in one or both ears, and would undoubtedly lead to difficulty when it comes to sleep. I was intrigued, however, by the foremost Wikipedia definition, as linked to above:
Tinnitus is the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound.
It’s the ‘perception of sound’ bit that caught my attention, namely, the idea that (at least inferred by the wording of that particular explanation) the mind will effectively tell itself it’s hearing something, and alter that sound in the process, or simply decide for itself what it is, resulting in the aforementioned ringing – or other sounds, including “buzzing, hissing, screaming, humming, tinging or whistling sound, tunes and songs“.
I suspect that every mind has the capacity – perhaps even the tendency – to do that on some level, though to a much smaller degree. I tried, briefly, to imagine what it might be like to hear such sounds on a continual basis; though I do have what I believe is a decent imagination, it’s likely akin to imagining what being blind is like without being able to even close your eyes.
Nevertheless, there is a certain liberty taken with the mind of the listener when this music is played – there has to be in order for its intention to be anywhere near effective. That’s ok with me, though – I’ll happily give free reign to what happens up there whenever I listen to music. So here’s what happened when I listened to this, in as much as I’m capable of showing it, anyway.
The three tracks on A Winter (the first in a two-part concept series that, along with the primary goal, is “based around a year of change in somebody’s life”) are minimalist drone compositions, and, for all intents and purposes, I’m going to call them instrumental – which here means the absence of lyrics, as there are vocals utilised on the first (Motions) and third (Broken) tracks.
Imagine now, if you will, a set of watercolour paint in varying hues of a few different colours (here, they generally come as little round disks that are dry and require water to be mixed with them). Now, imagine your mind is a fish tank filled with water. (That’s easy for me – see the little blurb next to my gravatar below – but if it sounds weird and/or crazy, please bear with me).
This set of paint is music, if it doesn’t meet your mind it’s just going to sit there all inanimate and won’t become art, so to speak. If, however, you put that paint in the water, a subtle, gentle movement starts to take place. The colours dissolve, slowly burgeoning and becoming – at first – little clouds that expand and shift form almost imperceptably, ultimately becoming something that is both abstract, but concrete in the sense that it is self-contained and ascribes to the dimensions of the tank. These watercolours are shapes that need the composition of that water, the enclosing of a mind, before their forms are revealed.
If that doesn’t make any sense, ignore me entirely and just listen.