Notes on continued work on Biography
I was reading a profile of New Yorker profiler John Lahr
(who’s profiled Roseanne, Mike Nichols, Sontag, Spielberg et al, to drop names). Lahr habitually spends several months shadowing a subject in building up his piece. And I mean closely — he follows them down, follows them out amongst friends and colleagues, on the crapper and off — which I think is totally admirable and warranted when it comes do doing the groundwork for a biographical portrait, as any portrait is complex and broad. The qualities or essences of a person come across slowly and indirectly, in a long and gradual conversation of interaction, a collaborative relation, where a mere allocated hour is never enough. Fair nuff. As a journalist, this lends credence to Lahr’s opinion and weight in other fields of comment. And Lahr is also masterful at reducing or effacing his own presence from the profile.
But I’d be interested in reading a profile of an artist (preferably a helpfully reclusive one) where the writer consciously and unhesitatingly announces his profile an appreciation of identity by exegesis of the works alone. Which embraces fully the nearness to fiction in characterisation at the same time as its distance from the subject, from the possibility of rendering identity completely and honestly. A biographical judgement based purely on the works, an hermeneutic biography.
...Music is transportation after all, and this little window of German instrumental music has the wide open road at its heart. Nothing else sounds so much like driving, like the passage of blurred or streaming vistas seen through fast moving windows. A synergy of blur and crisp crystalline perfection in sound.
Because not much is happening besides rhythm and the ambience of rhythm, Neu!’s music is suggestive of so much at once: a drive through endless and symmetric urban landscapes, or a discussion about the clean lines of modern German architecture (‘Ziss building is like ze autobahn, ja?’) or a tonal lens with which to view the strange times we live in, for a poetics of mobility.