Art + Commerce

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I read a nicely written piece about Johnny Greenwood that captures his uncanny ability to push music to new places. The writer joins him for a recording session in a bizarre music studio in Poland owned by a billionaire, which looks like this: 

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Greenwood mentions that his all time favorite piece of music is Olivier Messaien’s “Turangalîla-Symphonie." Thanks to Spotify, I was able to download and listen to it while I shot landscapes. The music clearly inspired parts of Greenwood's original score for There Will be Blood -- and was pretty out there, but it was different, and it created an intense, unsettled mood. Listening to it helped me to see things a bit differently, which was reflected in the images I made:

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I found myself thinking about Messaien's music, and the ways that it's different from Radiohead's music. I thought about art and commerce, and the complications that arise when they are combined -- Too weird and no one wants it, too mainstream and it's not seen as art.

Crossing over from commerce to art is tricky, as is combining the two in a way that feels good to both. As the writer says, "Greenwood is an anomaly: a musician who made his name with a rock band and who is now embraced by the modern-music establishment as an actual, serious composer."

I'm not sure what he means by "actual" and/or "serious" but I can certainly appreciate JG's need to keep exploring, discovering, mixing, and expanding.