The Gentlest Of Necessities

We believe we listen to music. How often do we realise that music is listening to us?

Music so wishes to be heard that it persists and endures impossible conditions in order to enter our world. But Music, in its nature, is not permitted to shout: music is not allowed to drown out our babbling and our noise.

So, it continues to present itself, available and willing, to the degree that we are able and willing to listen and hear; to the degree that we are able to bear to accept what is on offer. For this, we have to put aside all our demands, wants, expectations, rights, and requirements, and be present to what is.

So simple. So hard.

Oh! how I wish that I were able to discuss performance, with those whose nominal aim it is to be among an audience, at a level where value is involved; where information drawn from direct experience is exchanged; where the discussion is real and touches on what is true; where we are the same person; where music sings to us in our own voice, listens to itself through our own ears; where we are ourselves the music of life and its living: feeling its inexpressible benevolence and knowing the gentlest of necessities.

Whether I like the (particular expression of) music is irrelevant and without value, other than what it tells me of myself; whether I like the performer or not is irrelevant, other than what it tells me of myself; my deeply held opinions fashioned over years of fondling cardboard LP jackets is an obstacle that I proudly place in front of me, to trip me up and spoil the moment for everyone.

All of these trifles, publicly expressed, combine to reinforce the resolve to mount an assassination attempt upon the act of music.

Robert Fripp
Tuesday 1st. August, 2000
Seattle, Washington, USA