Writings about Music
Musical Older Brothers
Al Kooper explaining the reason why he and Bob Dylan clicked together musically is because they are both "music primitives" got my attention. Taking advantage of the opportunity to ask Al what he meant, I received a riveting reply.
But I know what he meant without querying him. What Al was talking about is allowing one's natural inclinations to sing out without self-doubt because you are different, rather trusting one's instinct and ear and mind for what sounds good to ring out, a unique sound being what's real if that is true for you. Some will connect with the music immediately with others requiring a spell of acclimatization.
My first album, Trembling Flowers, is voiced with timbres I found as natural as natural can be. They are an inextricable component of a new musical approach utilizing "found sounds" from our collective world aural landscape in my own way.
And the same goes for my performance medium arsenal, essentially a computer and sound module, these musical instruments being what I feel is most real and relevant in our time for Western composition, shaping them according to my body chemistry, and emotive and intellectual temperament, allowing the music to be rather than copying what came before. This included naming the pre-existing software and hardware used the meruvina, preferring a poetic monicor over a technical one.
I've had one opportunity to speak to Bob Dylan to date, but didn't recognize him at the time staring up at me. By the time I did realize who it was, the opportunity was too awkward to attempt, but no matter. Bob, together with Simon and Garfunkel, are like older brothers, all of us sharing the same heritage. They provide a nourishing, warming current of support and encouragement, lifting me up towards my potential like so many birthday balloons. Bob is infinitely wilder than Art and Paul, while they are infinitely tenderer, and collectively they encompass universes.
Simon and Garfunkel are America's answer to the sheer loveliness, breathtakingly hopeful spirituality, and lushness of the Beatles if not as prolific.
There is no answer to Bob Dylan from anywhere I can think of. One fecund concept discerned from his music is metaphorically ricocheting cyclically between walking the plank and following the yellow brick road.
Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon (Simon and Garfunkel)
A dear friend, Poppy Morgan, a renowned Los Angeles restaurateur, was a good friend of Dylan, including enjoying going sailing together. The staff seen in the background of the photo above, which Poppy used for walking later in life, is originally from Bob's sailboat.
Leonard Cohen shares some profound insights about Bob Dylan and music creativity here, adding a humorous comment about a subject I've touched upon. Cohen mentions Mount Everest, a mountain I've written about in relation to Sagarmatha.
I once had a most enjoyable Indian dinner with Nancy Bacal, a noted creative writing teacher at Esalen who originated, wrote and produced the superb film, Raga, about Ravi Shankar, introduced to her by George Harrison. Nancy told me how Leonard Cohen, who resided a few miles away, was her best friend, first meeting in their native Canada. She also played blues piano for me exceptionally well.
You're invited to listen to my first album, Trembling Flowers, music that excited La Monte Young when it was first released, embedded with the tracks segueing into each other at the top of this new interview.
Alternatively, here is the album page.
And here are the tracks laid out for you.
I hope you won't be a stranger to this music.
- Michael Robinson, November 2021, Los Angeles
© 2021 Michael Robinson All rights reserved
Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and musicologist. His 161 albums include 148 albums for meruvina and 13 albums of piano improvisations. He has been a lecturer at UCLA, Bard College and California State University.