Thursday, 31 March 2005

The Mysterious N. Senada

reminiscent of Hakim Bey's concept of The Unseen Obelisk:
N. Senada is best known for his "Theory of Obscurity", which states that an artist does his or her best work when working in obscurity, unhindered by the influence of an audience. Things such as trying to gear one's work to the audience's likes in order to sell better, or the conflicts and ego problems which fame brings only serve to destroy true creativity....

N. Senada's "Theory of Phonetic Organization" is not as well known. According to this theory the musician should put the sounds first, building the music up from them rather than developing the music then working down to the sounds that make it up. The analogy is with the phonetic structure of language: spoken language is made up of the sounds which are produced as needed to convey the meaning. It's sort of the opposite of Lewis Carroll's malapropism "take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves". Under the Theory of Phonetic Organization the artist doesn't know how the final music is supposed to sound but rather works from the sounds which he or she wants to put into the music. This is in part how the blueprints work: Senada knew what themes he wanted in the work, but not how they would be going together.

Then again, some have said that the whole thing is just an excuse to cover the fact that The Residents didn't know how to play 90% of the instruments they used and had no training in music theory whatsoever -- but that fit in nicely with Senada's love of mistakes.
n. senada wiki

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