Ok... lets face it I am an infrequent blogger. But tonight I feel compelled to share one of those mind expanding moments that can only happen when we discover something fresh, creative and new (to me).
After a long day at work... 12 hours... I got home and really only had energy to check my email. So there I was looking at an email from NPR and noticed it highlighted their latest Tiny Desk concert. This is a series of videos of musicians and bands that perform in a corner of the NPR music offices (perhaps a musician is brought in for an interview and in some cases they perform in the offices for about 20 mins). I idly followed the link and saw it was a guy called Kishi Bishi. I'd never heard of him, but the write up spoke of how he combined 21st Century pop and classical sensibilities in real time as a one man band.
I clicked the link and what unfolded fired my imagination and blew my mind. Literally it was mind expanding... watching him perform meshed completely with something I've been reading recently called Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. The premise of the book is the idea that proof of creativity requires some sort of originality and declares that to be a misconception. He takes what amounts to a post-modern stance declaring that there really isn't anything new, nothing is pure originality. My favorite way of thinking history as a wave full of ideas and future is that wave of ideas cresting and breaking against the shore of the present and there for completely mixing, dissolving and re-creating those ideas. For Kleon, creativity is really the re-purposing of known content. Essentially creativity is a mash up. He quotes many artists to bolster this idea... such as "The only art I'll ever study is stuff that I can steal from." - David Bowie. An idea I like since I seem to struggle coming up w/ anything that feels original...lol
Back to Kishi Bishi... he takes his own performance informed by his knowledge of classic music and popular music and repurposes the performance to create a real time digital mash up. Think a DJ re-mix of his actual performance as he performs. For example, he may hum 2 bars, digitally loop that and then sing harmony to the humming in real time w/o skipping a beat (literally w/o skipping a musical beat). Clearly it defines my paltry attempt to describe it. Just watch... and enjoy.
Kishi Bishi Tiny Desk Concert NPR
6 years ago