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All Hail the Rock God

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Alert Alert!! Weekly, random, tangent filled stream of consciousness from EM. I make no claim for lucid arguments merely a strange need to share my random thoughts with you all in the hope you share yours with ARTERI.

The personal support structures of making art. No I am not talking about friends, groupies, children, partners or family. I am talking about life blood things: music, cigarettes, food and alcohol, the stuff creative types need to refuel, unwind and work their magic (everyone else too). These kinds of things are often omitted from academic writing during the clean up/sterilisation process of art in order to make it appropriate for serious thought. But you know what, we should give these things the respect and consideration they deserve…

Music people. This one is super important. We have all made mix tapes (yes I am that old), mix CDs and mp3 playlists that have become the soundtrack to our lives. Music keeps us mentally up or down depending on what we want to indulge. We are addicted to it. Is it a ‘I can do anything with my fine and bad self today’ or a ‘I want to feel miserable because I split up with my boyfriend, and hate my tragic life goddamit’ kind of mood? There is a song for us all my friends. Music speaks to us in ways we often can’t explain, tapping into those gooey emotions we spend so much time trying to hide, or our heightened senses of glory, coolness, arrogance and superiority because we associate ourselves with the attitudes, lyrics, fashions of a band or music genre.

And the type of music you listen to I think really influences the production of art and propagates certain mythologies of the artist. How?? Well that I am not quite sure yet apart from the obvious fashion, attitudes and pop icons that crop up in work and the look of an artist themselves. And I have found out that Heavy Metal, Punk and Rock has helped to produce a lot of work in KL. A LOT. Now I am not the best person to talk about music; piracy and file sharing has made me a lazy consumer of what I can get from my friends.

But I do spend a lot of time with artists and have taken to asking them what type of music they listen to when they produce their work. And when it comes to making art, music heightens the brain juices for whatever it is the artists are trying to do, figure out, enjoy, hate, or just plain finish. Without it, well, I think art would be very different. Maybe.

And I must say Heavy Metal/Punk/Rock seems to be the choice of many. Intense, loud, droning, beat heavy, screamy, bombastic music with anarchic lyrics and messianic sub texts. Heart thumping music that gets everyone into a frenzy because this stuff really makes your organs vibrate and brain pulse with stimuli. This normally leads to some form of adoration around how cool the band are, cos they just don’t care. Damn the man! We love to love rebels. Or something like that. These types of lyrical indie rebellions can make music really significant in life and inspire us to do stupid and great things… And a lot of artists are musicians right? and play or have played in bands and are rebels or wanna be rebels, as well as all the curators, writers, dealers and what nots in the artworld. We all wanna be musicians really I think. The aura of the musician is a powerful and compelling one. Lead singer? Guitarist? Bassist? Drummer? Which one would you want to be? Lead singer for me….

So let’s play a game. Here is my take on what types of music goes with what type of art. Again I am not sure yet, how this music infiltrates the work we see, but maybe it’s a certain angsty, romantic sentiment from a song that creeps in unintentionally but is still meaningful in some way?

This is shameless and please forgive my vacuous stereotyping. Do make some corrections where I have got it wrong and add your own thoughts on music and art.

Heavy Metal: Social/Figurative Realism Painting

Hip Hop: Graffiti and Urban Graphic

Post Rock: Conceptual/Installation/ Photography

Contemporary Rock: Everyone!! Heheheh rock is king in Malaysia I think, everyone likes it on some level right??

Classic Rock: Abstract Expressionist Painting

RnB/Soul/Blues: Performance, Installation, Photography, Graphic Art

Punk: Performance, Conceptual/Installation and Pop Culture Painting

Pop Music: Will anyone admit to this??? Come on, raise your hands if you like Lady Gaga…

Classical: Abstract Expressionist Painting and Photo Realism

Dance/Electronica: ??

Folk/Acoustic: ??

Jazz: ??

Ps As I write this I am listening to this:


This article was first posted on the original Arteri site on 27 May 2010.

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