What’s the point of music now? Serious question. What’s it for? Often today it’s a soundtrack, something that accompanies us as we wander around in a bubble of gadgets tweeting our every footstep. In the past it’s been many things of course (a way of communicating with each other, a form of protest or rebellion, an emotional crutch – for both artist and listener, something to make us shake our booty etc) but these days...and maybe it's just me and/or my age...its meaning and power seems increasingly watered down. This isn’t always because of the artists (there are still some truly wonderful talents around) or us, the audience, but in a world with so many other things to distract us (I still find it frankly astonishing that our so called Prime Minister plays ‘Angry Birds’) is music the potent force it once was?
I was mulling all of this over whilst watching the third inspirational instalment of Miles Perhower’s Brumdemoters films, a large chunk of which is set in a centre for people with cerebral palsy. Miles volunteers there and decided to set up a band (The CPM Connection) with some of those who attend the place on a regular basis. The results are fascinating and uplifting in equal measure, conjuring up a kind of naturally flowing post punk experimentalism that revels in the sheer joy of playing and banging stuff (which is surely how music began back in the distant past when some hairy dude started hitting one piece of rock with another in a pleasingly rhythmical pattern...”Hmmmm” he thought, “That’s got a good beat...all I need now is a way to record and release it and I’ll be rich...rich...whoohahahahaha...oh hang on, bugger, I’m a caveman...what am I going to do with all that money?”).
In the latter part of the film Miles wanders Bratislava (as you do) to the sound of a future post house classic that then disintegrates rather wonderfully into a free jazz nervous breakdown. Like much of his output it’s unlikely to soundtrack the next John Lewis Christmas ad campaign (although how wonderful would that be?) but both it and The CPM Connection material (here’s how I clumsily try to wrap things up in a neat conclusion) really made me STOP and THINK. Perhaps in a world of sensory overload that’s still one of music’s greatest gifts?