Being asked if you like music is like being asked if you like food, or air. We need it just as much as those things, and I'm kind of not joking about that.
I've never been very musical but I did play the guitar a bit when I was in primary school but I didn't pick it up for some reason. Infact I was not really a big listener of music when I was that age either! It was only when I got to about 17 that my musical earbuds started to tingle (I know, late!)
But when it did happen I developed an obsession with music, a bond with my favourite artists who I'd listen to everytime I got the chance. I spent basically all of my free time with speakers in my ears from then forth.
At the start it was about rap and hip hop, I must admit I was a magpie for old unknown rap records no one had ever heard of, basically no one knew what I was listening to. But I didn't care, especially as introverted as I was. I would spend hours scouring the Internet, browsing forums searching for dusty records from the early 90s. One of my favourites were the Wu-Tang clan, but I also loved Jedi mind tricks, Hieroglyphics and Gangstarr, if you haven't heard of them I recommend you do a Google search.
It wasn't until a few years later that I'd truly open up my ears to new music especially rock and roll. I was basically on a hunt to collect every album that'd ever been made. I started with Black Sabbath then went onto Nine Inch Nails then Led Zeppelin, the beatles then I shuffled about a million Spotify playlists, it's very easy these days to listen to everything.
But then, when I was looking at lists of "greatest albums of all time" I came across something familiar yet unknown. It was an album with a big banana on the cover by a very famous artist. I'd seen this image before on a billboard and I found it so surreal. Why would you have a banana for an album cover?! Yet it worked so well.
I downloaded this thing and gave it a spin being well aware of how unconventional it was going to be. After 3 songs I turned it off. What the hell was this?! My mind was just... I felt violated, like someone had stuck a sharp needle in my ears and played around with my brains.
It was special, but it was a lot to take it all at once. Heroin seemed like the most conventional song on there so I started with that and I played it again, and again, and again. I loved this song, I played it repeatedly most nights in my student house after a night out. Its an incredible song, I scramble for words when I try to describe it. I've never heard a song like it since either.
And slowly I edged my way through the rest of the album. Sure there were lots of experimental bands in the 60s and 70s but maybe none like tis. Each song was different from the last, they were thrashy, gritty, unpolished. Many of there songs on that first album are completely improvised, not even made with real instruments. Lou Reed would tune all of his strings on his guitar to the same tune and play it that way, he called it the 'ostrich' (I think).
This album remains at the top of my list. But why does it relate to my work and how does it relate to visual art? Well in my opinion music is just like art. In society we have visual art and music and in every period of history you'll find that both art and music are very similar to each other and combined with architecture, literature and philosophy there's really little else you need to understand the mind of people in the past. During the Romantic period we have Wagner, Nietzsche and Edvard Munch. In modernity; Picasso, Freud and Stravinsky. Music, art, philosophy, theatre, These things are all linked.
So, What's your favourite album, and why?