Mulholland Drive was one of the first movies I saw that intrigued me. Of course that’s because my experience of cinema is limited, and I am increasingly aware there is a wealth of interesting film that I am yet to discover. I hadn’t contemplated before the Lynch movie that what I was seeing – for nearly two-thirds of the film – was a fantasy world, or possibly those moments of recollection of one’s life at the point of death. Apologies if I have given away the ‘mystery’. That a film could lie to me and have actors play more than one role – well perhaps different versions of a character – was refreshingly different. I immediately thought of such a break in narrative and manipulation of themes and indeed the introduction of themes that were in no way connected to the rest of the narratives in a film could have musical counterparts. My orchestral piece ‘Cypher’ attempts to play with material in the disjointed way Mulholland Drive manipulates the convention of narrative trajectory.
I recently discovered the film ‘The Fall’. A colourful and visually beautiful film that charts the encounters of a paralysed patient and a young girl with a broken collar bone.The epic story he tells her – to motivate her to assist him with his needs – is wonderfully presented as the ‘film’ and what initially is a sub-plot becomes the focus of the film. Subsequently the epic tale and hospital backdrop of the movie merge and it becomes apparent the characters in the tale are characters in the girl’s life at the hospital and beyond. It fascinates me that a fantasy within a film – inherently already fantasy – presents a model for musical composition. That a new narrative trajectory could develop and ultimately merge/blend with the initial material could present an intriguing process for the listener to perceive.
Catching a glimpse of the video for Christina Perri’s ‘Arms’ made me realise that after seeing so much fantasy in film I’m less likely to be willed in belief of the singer rising out of her bed in the middle of a forest and then proceed to float off on various adventures. It occurred to me I was numb to the visual spectacle of the video when I imagined there must have been a time when I would have been fascinated and impressed by such cinematography. I fear musical structures – however they may be inspired or connected with those structures found in other art forms – may also ultimately become less and less impressionable on the listener. Though my blog post might be lacking in any real point, the search for a structural approach in my music that creates sufficient intrigue for the listener to suspend their belief and to be compelled to listen for the duration of the work without a flutter of their attention is my aim.