20 September 2015

Autumn and Melancholia have landed

It always seems that autumn, unlike summer, arrives "tout d'un coup", in other words very suddenly. I'm not really complaining because autumn is a very beautiful (and in some ways my favourite) season, but autumnal melancholy hits every year almost without fail.

The Kishi Bashi song seems perfect for exactly this transitional period between summer and autumn. And somehow this early-16th-century engraving by Albrecht Durer is a very suitable match to the music -- I can almost imagine the figure of Melancholia (melancholy personified) playing that song on the stringed instrument he/she is holding, though I don't think there are any reverb or delay pedals in the picture...

Durer wrote in his notebooks that he characterised "melancholia" or melencolia (the title of the painting) not only as a feeling of sadness but also as a loss of artistic inspiration. According to What Great Paintings Say by Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen, he advised the students in his workshop to turn to music and to play a stringed instrument when this came upon them. That's probably the reason why melancholia personified is holding one in the picture. It's an interesting principle; when art goes stale and loses its vitality, turn to other art forms to be inspired!

In view of all this, where does the British expression "highly strung" (meaning very nervous and easily upset) come from? Is there some kind of fundamental connection between melancholy and the strings?!

17 September 2015

The formative years

Hm... I wonder if getting an SK-10 was as useless and temporary as buying clothes for a toddler. No CV, no Gate, very limited controls...Well, it happened anyway, and I'm actually glad it did, in many ways. The formative years are only just beginning.