This post is in the Musical Practice category

"Control" from Those With Lucifer Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre © Morgan Roberts 2008

“Control” from Those With Lucifer Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre © Morgan Roberts 2008

Dear Reader

Control is something I both crave and despise. I have no interest in controlling others, just myself and things that are of me. I have great respect for those who possess and exercise self discipline, who “take command of their own lives” who “make things happen”. Perhaps paradoxically I also respect those who seem able to relinquish control, to put themselves in the hands of others, to trust, to shed inhibition. Above all I respect those who can vary their control to order. Perhaps this is why I am so drawn to the actors and performers in the images that illustrate this thesis.1 They throw themselves bodily and consciously into risky often risque situations, trusting in the closeness and support of the team, and in their own skills. They let go and pull back, both physically and emotionally, expose and protect themselves, sometimes simultaneously. I wish I could do this, unleash myself to the moment and “go with the flow” and operate on a purely instinctive and emotional level, but I cannot. It scares the crap out of me – I think it is to do with feeling out of sync with those around me and not trusting myself to react appropriately. I have been invited many times to join the troupe in training – Butoh and Suzuki methods designed to develop the discipline of embodied emotion, but I can’t go there.

I don’t know if I do this even in my music. Certainly the control of the studio feels so much more my space than the very different and less predictable environment of the stage. I relish the happy accidents and unpredicted epiphanies of the studio process, especially when I am working with musicians, real musicians who really can be in the moment but I know that I can erase, edit, fix, apply the brain, control the outcomes. It sound like physical abandonment sometimes, but I can assure you it is not.

“The Caliban” from The Tempest -Zen Zen Zo 2009

On occasion however, I manage to create a piece I can’t get over, that seems to express something deeper, and I just want to hear it again and again. Sometimes it’s a sonic event, sometimes it seems to be an emotional one. But the emotion is always the same – a feeling I can only describe as a deep sadness that is also comforting, containing. I feel held by the music – within it.  This does not happen with other people’s music, only my own and I have gradually become convinced that it something to do with the state I was in when composing.

  1. more thanks to the members of Zen Zen Zo and the photographers who have allowed me to use their art to define mine. []

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