“From computer coding to establishment structures like newspapers and government, radio signals to knitting patterns; our lives are influenced by systems and structures, some visible, others hidden or so familiar to us that we don’t even notice them.”
This is the theme underpinning the Wysing Arts Centre spring exhibition Relatively Absolute. My piece and the accompanying discussion form part of that.
Bells are loud. Big bells are very loud. In a historical context they are probably as loud as it gets. Big bells are also expensive to make. In other words, historically at least, it seems to me that they are about power, both spiritual and temporal. This across a wide range of cultures too.
However, audio amplification, like audio reproduction has changed the way we hear bells. Culturally, big bells have lost a great deal of their power. But could we say that the mechanical or electronic reproduction of bells in popular culture resonates so because it acts as a signifier or pointer to that former power? I find “Jimmy Brown” fascinating. This obviously worked in 1959, it sold in shed loads! We can, of course, see through it now. Or can we? Maybe there is something there beyond the obvious “cheesiness”. I I have to say I like it, and I’m spending quite a bit of time trying to figure out quite what it is that “works”. It was also somehow re-assuring to discover that a lot of quite cool people have covered this over a lot of years. Its charm is connected to “bellness”, but not restricted to, and I suspect that therein lies the rub!
Here’s something altogether darker. In David Holmes score for the Resurrection Man I don’t think we are left in any doubt that the bell is about to toll for somebody and possibly more than once. The juxtaposition here of the large bell with the marching drums works really well. I love the snare it has an anality very appropriate for the context.
Finally Lana Del Rey. How important is the 4 beat bell intro? I think, to me, it is saying “Hollywood”, as in bells means atmospheric “moments’ in a film. Does it set the context for the whole song? Maybe? Although I have to say that I find it very difficult to seperate the song from the video.
Working title for my piece: “Bellness Clinic”.