Saturday, January 23, 2010

Language as a landscape

Track Analysis:
In the Old Attic, to save the City, build a house of your own

Aristophanes (c.445 - c.385 B.C.) has long been another favourite writer of mine, as previously alluded to here in the analysis of Mégas Aléxandros. To the reader in me, the language employed most accurately resembles a triffid, coiling around the insides of my brain like Procleon’s daughters’ tongue for his three obols. The prose is fluid, exciting, mountainous and (being that my occipital cortex interprets language as landscapes) every reading feels like a journey. It’s dynamic, loud then soft, it ebbs and flows with effortless grace, and is laden with substance without feeling like Caiaphas’ robe.


And moving to clarify exactly what I mean by ‘language as landscapes’, it’s simply that, when I read a sentence, I see (in my mind) the silhouette of a landscape, similar to a soundwave for the most part, although sound alone has little bearing upon its form.

My rudimentary understanding is that the height of soundwaves is relative to loudness (occasionally sharpness can be perceived as a factor, I guess) whereas the written words I'm deciphering appear rather more like a fluctuating texture that’s derived from various types of sound, either unavoidable (as in syllabic metre) or implied (by tone, mood, and other variables dependent upon my inner reading voice). The shape of the text, spacing of words, phrases, heights of letters et cetera - all of this also seems part of the calculation.

And when a sentence is bad, it’s typically because it just reads as flat. Like an overly-compressed waveform, it has no movement.

But the song under current discussion doesn’t have anything whatsoever to do with this.
Nope, not in the slightest.

The title simply draws heavily upon the writings of Aristophanes, for he was the master of Old Attic comedy.
Reference 1

And in The Frogs, a play which sees him reflecting upon his perceived duties as a poet, when Euripides asks Dionysus, “What do you want a poet for?”, the reply is, “To save the City of course.”
Reference 2

Also, from memory, Dionysus instructs a parasitic poet he’s in conversation with to desist in stealing his thoughts and ideas by sharply instructing the culprit to “build a house of your own”; in short, banish thyself from my head, foul thief!
Reference 3

Of course, these initial themes have all undergone fairly vigourous re-interpretation since the title’s initial construction, and the piece now stands in defiant proclaim of the dominance tactics will always maintain over mere strategy, which is no more than its laughable cuckold.

For if you don’t like something, change it.

Or change your approach.

Change your reasoning.

Make a better excuse.

If the song isn’t dark enough, has perhaps even had the misfortune of being referred to as approaching ‘jovial’, alter its course. Refer to the offending section as stale, liken it to one’s old attic, a rut in which you’re stuck. Resurrect the song by burning it down in the middle third with some heavily manipulated ambiences after having made reference to words being landscapes, songs being cities. If you haven’t mentioned songs being cities, do so NOW. This tonal destruction of the middle third will then provide some room for the insertion of some slightly askew patterns more immediately fitting to the album’s tone. Add the jarringly beautiful voice of Amy G to reinforce the song's theme. Don’t entertain any arguments for why an instrumental can’t possess words. Or at least be possessive of those words.

Then write a convoluted blog in its defence.


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