An introduction

In many ways, it is difficult to explain the reasoning behind my starting this blog, or even to give any kind of explanation of what I intend it to become. It may help though to outline in brief my background with music and how I have engaged with it before arriving at this point in time faced with a blank screen pondering over what I am doing. I have listened intently, and probably obsessively to music for as long as I can remember, beginning a long journey of exploring experimental or just different music around the age of eleven when I would hide a small transistor radio under my pillow to listen to John Peel. My engagement with what grew into a more refined, or perhaps blinkered focus on a combination of improvised music and modern composition developed beyond mere listenership and for twenty years or so I wrote semi-professionally about these selective sub-genres, ran a small CD label, presented a radio programme and organised concerts. For around a decade, ending three years ago late in 2015, I wrote a blog that allowed me to organise my thoughts, albeit somewhat haphazardly through several thousand reviews of CDs and concerts, even managing to chaotically write something every day for three of those years. 

The efforts I outline above were always tempered by the time and energy restraints brought by the demands of a somewhat demanding day job, but around three years ago, as these demands suddenly increased after a couple of work promotions and after a period of ill health, I found my interest in writing about music, and actually my overall interest in “experimental” music beginning to wane. For many years, alongside my relentless absorption of “new” music I had been buying, and when I could find a few spare moments also managing to listen to CDs of classical music. These divulgences had always felt like a bit of a guilty pleasure, seemingly at odds with my  self-appointed role as some kind of arbiter of the new and experimental, and yet there was, and there remains an urge within me to absorb and “understand” classical music in its various forms. It is not that I now reject more avant garde forms of music, or value their worth any less. For now though, as I have aged and arguably mellowed, rather than always chasing after something new to listen to, perhaps I have found personal enjoyment in discovering work of immense beauty that had previously sat sidelined in my thoughts.

I have always found writing about music as I explore it to be a useful way to help me organise my thoughts. Whether this has been in the form of notes scribbled in a bedside book or in a more organised public forum of some kind matters not. The online blog format however is one that I am comfortable with, and also one that offers me no real pressures. So regardless of whether anyone should ever chance across these words or not, my writing here is perhaps some kind of journal intended to document this process of exploration.