Spotlight – 16: Irmin Schmidt
This is what I listen to when I want to relax. Blank out the sound of the Roald Dahl audio-cassettes, the butcher birds circling and perching perilously close on our deck, the occasional rush of helicopter wind, Isaac complaining because he’s been sitting still too long. One of the applications on my iPod Touch that I downloaded purports to be white noise but while consistency of tone and technique is something I’m always on the look out for, particularly when it comes to blocking out the commonplace or annoying, I require subtlety also.
I don’t want my microcosmic music to be too placid, though. There needs to be movement, constant movement. There needs to be motifs threading and counter-threading through the wash of sound. The odd jazz-inflicted brass break. Timpani doing what timpani must. And vocals – as Steve Severin told me recently on a film music panel – are just plain distracting when you’re trying to block out, switch off, relax.