Monday, September 17, 2007

improvising coherence

Just read a review: I’m apparently less “coherent” than the next musician. Should I be insulted? After all, I’m not the biggest fan of coherence.
…Or at least the pursuit there of, for, in a sense, there might be no such thing as coherence. And that’s the thing—there’re discourses, and there’re discourses—if the terms ‘coherence’ and ‘incoherence’ don’t describe reality (whatever, and wherever, that might be), but construct a dichotomy (present / not-present; have / have-not; coherence / lack-of-coherence) through which we make value judgments, then, back to my first question: should I be insulted?

And is coherence something that you can hear?


Peter said...

this is an old chestnut innit. coherence is kind of overrated generally :-) and anyhow it's so subjective when it comes to describing music that it's a meaningless thing to say. i mean, writing about music is hard, but that's kind of lazy.

howsthatsound said...

i agree with peter.

you shouldn't be insulted, you should laugh heartily.

i love the wire, but i can scarcely stand to read the reviews anymore due to the frequecy with which such meaningless and flacid criticisms are deployed.

the ideology one must possess to make such misguided statements would in a perfect world, exempt them from the job of music critic. alas...

the improvising guitarist said...

Yup, Peter, you’re right, that is lazy writing, but I think, more than being misguided, I think it might reveal something about what the reviewer values and, by extension, what the culture in which the reviewer is embedded values (as howsthatsound says, the ‘ideology’).
Thanks for the comments, you’ve given me some pointers on how to tackle this further….