Die Vierte Dimension
How I now write music has developed since leaving academia. While academic studies provided a grounding in how to codify a music impulse they didn't provide how these musical impulses originate.
Recently, Robert Fripp wrote a Diary entry to which I responded: Dear Robert, Reading your Diary, 23.11.21, Section 4: RF: 'Whenever I think of King Crimson...it is an individuality that walks in the room and makes itself available...How to explain this? Does anyone else have this experience?'
AK: 'Yes. 1. In terms of seeing King Crimson - Birmingham, May and October 1971. More recently, in Aylesbury. Specifically, the last encounter. 2. In terms of my own composing, something other comes into play. A' not me' but something other pushing the buttons to bring about the 'desired result. I'd explain it through one dimension: the fourth, the Unconscious. Hidden Streams, for eleven solo strings ie https://themaskfromsupermario2.tumblr.com/post/70570909980/peter-birkhauser-the-fourth-dimension-this/amp Yours, Andrew'
In my experience dreams have been dominant in providing the initial impulse. This goes back to childhood. In the 1970s I had a dream of four young men singing 'It's the tip of the iceberg/There's so much more down below.' Clearly, the tip of the iceberg is the conscious dimension and 'more down below', the unconscious. Many years later this impulse - never forgotten - was written into an Andrew Keeling and Otherworld song, Iceberg, with help from David Jaggs and Dave Cotterell: https://youtu.be/zjOzkPS0HNU As time went on the unconscious dimension became predominant in my classical music. One example is Hidden Streams for eleven solo released in 1999 on a DGM CD. It was inspired, in part, by Peter Birkhauser painting The Fourth Dimension (see the link above):
Waiting for the unconscious to provide that initial impulse can be frustrating. However, it does emerge at the right time. An example might be a Piano Quintet I'm currently sketching. To be kept awake at night with musical ideas presented in dreams, sitting at a piano inwardly hearing a developing a piece prompted by those night-time visitations, going through the countless twists and turns and countless revisions through concreting those unconscious impulses, writing what's been presented into sketch score, then into fair-score and finally type-setting, mostly falling on deaf ears and with, mainly, zero recompense. A profession? Er, no.
My main interest in King Crimson - and it applies to all the music to which I'm attached - is the dimension of the unconscious. Music can be as fashionable as you like, but if it lacks that 'thing' - die vierte dimension - for me, it's a non-starter.