One of my new year’s resolutions was to try and listen to new music. I’m desperately trying to push new ideas into my skull and avoid endless repetition and boredom. So I googled ‘best albums of 2019’ and picked Kim Gordon’s album No Home Record, because I vaguely knew who she was from her days in Sonic Youth.
For those of you who don’t know Kim Gordon, she does weird discordant experimental rock. This isn’t easy listening. My reaction on firing up the first track entitled ‘Sketch Artist’ was that this was painful. Spoken word, almost poetry, over strange noises, some of which are essentially just buzzes.
But, I was determined not to be immediately beaten on my new years resolution. I listened through the whole thing. And then again a few times. I’ve listened to it while running, cooking, tidying up, walking to the station, travelling on the train. Gradually, it started to make more sense. There are tunes, beats and riffs here. It just takes a while to get yourself into Gordon’s headspace and soundscape.
So, is this my favorite record ever? No, I’m afraid not. If I had to pick the best track, I end up choosing one of the more mainstream rockers like Hungry Baby.
So, what have I learnt from this journey into experimental rock?
I guess I’ve pushed myself through my initial revulsion into appreciation and enjoyment. My sensibilities and aesthetics are malleable. Perhaps most importantly in an era when I’m constantly seduced into the kind of immediate and easy gratification of Instagram (‘look that’s pretty, so is that, so is that’) I still have the capacity to push myself into the unfamiliar. I’ve long had a suspicion that my life would be better if I made myself do more things that I don’t like and which stretch me rather than constantly satisfying my most immediate wants.
Whether Kim Gordon has proved this point to me or not, I’m not sure.
I have some music suggestions for when I see you in a couple of weeks. Some might be a little easier on the senses…