The Rhythm Section

The Rhythm Section

I tend to do some things very predictably, very regularly, and in some ways constantly. When I was learning music, when I was very young, I realised what happened as soon as I played in a band or an orchestra and there was a rhythm section: I didn’t feel alone, which was annoying sometimes but generally very comforting; I could relax and play more freely, sometimes on my own and sometimes with others, and with a solid beat I could be more daring in what I played. There was a great sense of togetherness and I understood that there could be mystery and magic without secrets. Things could be communicated without me saying anything. All I had to do was listen, and to feel it.

And I remember a gig somewhere and listening to Simon Gallup’s bass line to ‘A forest’ and hearing Robert Smith improvise, and make noises on his guitar and with his voice that were very much more than what I could listen to on a record.

Or Miles Davis playing with Michael Henderson, but I never saw that.

Or Chopin’s left hand. I certainly never saw that.

There’s a run of bass notes in Mozart’s piano concerto No. 23, in the second movement, which you can’t actually hear on some recordings, or with some speakers.

I can’t do my life without its rhythms, and most of what I do seems to involve realising what these are, or that they can change. It isn’t addiction, it’s the kind of dependency that the tides have.

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