After the Take

3pm, 20th June 2015
Gatwick Airport

As I sit in the middle of a crowded airport waiting for the next flight out of London, a combination of relief and a state of panic slightly sweep me over at the same time. I wish that the time spent at London could have been longer, a bit more rather than less. However, much like the food at Pret A Manger, it seems everything does come with an expiration date after all.

I can’t really shut myself down from all the feelings of wonder, joy and absolute euphoria that I experienced when I first walked into Abbey Road Studios. It is indeed strange that I could feel my heart beating faster and faster as I was motioned to go in and have a first look at Studio 1, the recording room and the huge stage in front of us. It was to say the least terrifying and mind-boggling to think here I was. Not even a year passed since I first came to Valencia ready to conduct an ensemble of the world’s best musicians ready to play my music.

 
 

7pm, 20th June 2015
In the Sky

To me, music has and will always be bigger than everything else. I revel in its spirituality and the power it gives a person engaged with doing something creative. If life truly was a painting, what would you draw?

That’s a question I found myself asking my own self in the middle of an art gallery, The National Gallery to be more exact. Having a sufficient amount of time to destroy in London after the Abbey Road sessions were finished, I decided to go art-hunting for inspiration. Isn’t that what drives every artist after all? Stone cold inspiration? And the answer to that question took me through a zig- zag line of thinking much like the network of Tube stations peppered all over the city. It took me to the Thames and then further away from the center to the quiet area of Tooting Bec and then back. 

To explain further, I saw an exhibit that was commissioned in the 19th century by a nobleman to be drawn by a tailor to give him an idea of how a certain dress was to look on his wife. What struck me as interesting about this exhibit was the fact that art stemmed not from thinking about the world in an abstract, twisted way or from some kind of fantasy but rather, something much more grounded. A lot of it grew from necessity, especially a few hundred years ago. Perhaps it still does, in different fields, places and applications.

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This brings me to the idea that perhaps everything happens in cycles. Humanity just repeats itself. In every cycle there are periods of progress, a general trend of unexpected disruption, and a complete breakdown in the order of things, before a revolutionary idea is seeded into the particular framework in reference. I have the viewpoint that these ideas arise most of the times out of necessity or the fact that sometimes existing methods or approaches become redundant to the point where someone somewhere has to really step out of conventions and break a few rules to make new things possible. Change is not always invited or facilitated, sometimes it’s a trip and a fall rather than a walk on a carpet.

12.28pm, 20th June 2015
Oxford Circus Station

As the tube train chugged on through the heart of the city, my pulse got faster. The coach to Gatwick airport was supposed to leave in twenty-two minutes and I was still four stations away. With just a few pounds in my pocket, I thought about the worst. What if I missed? I would subsequently miss my bus which would then be followed by missing the flight back home to Valencia. What would happen if I did end up getting stranded in the middle of London with barely any money and no internet? Of course it wouldn’t happen. But having nearly not travelled enough abroad alone, it still seems a bit terrifying to realize that sometimes it is up to you to decide your fate and everything you do has real consequences. Perhaps, time is greater than money.


8.17pm, 18th June 2015
Campden Hill Square

I quickly ringed the second floor bell haphazardly shifting my weight between my two feet while nervously cracking my fingers. I had managed to get myself confused between two very similar sounding places on Google Maps which in turn, led me to the wrong place for the party. But it did not matter anymore as I had reached where I wanted to be. The day had been quite a blur with many different Berklee-organised talks about the business of film scoring. Having been free for less than a day since I recorded my music, I was looking to unwind and have a good time. The rest was a blur with many film-scoring students (me included) going off across to the other side of town cracking jokes, making merry and finding places to hang out. Time was inconsequential.

2.29pm, 19th June 2015
The National Gallery

Pacing through the hall after hall of artworks from the eons far and between, it was strange to realize that so many visionary creative minds came and made a splash only to be disappeared and forgotten. And then there were the greats – The Van Gogh paintings and another artwork which interestingly had been broken up into two different works and then rejoined. In my mind, I somehow connected that to how music composition works inside a video game.

I could see mentions of words in exhibit descriptions and phrases that have somehow managed to seep into popular internet culture – words like ‘doge’ and ‘memes’. The widespread mention of these terms all over the internet are an interesting after-effect of artworks created over hundreds of years. Things are a lot more connected than it may seem on close observation. But it may seem that in this age of fast living and quick satisfaction no one quite sits and thinks about the small things. These small things that somehow shape the bigger ones.

10.43am, 19th June 2015
Goldcrest Postproduction Ltd.

‘Perhaps you might have heard that no one really is able to differentiate between more than 2.5 things at a time sonically, you can’t really make the music so busy, there’s sound effects, voice-overs, dialogues, ADR….’ The voice of the talking seemed to trail away as I stood and wondered about the aesthetics of common pop music these days. Was it really simple and great to have a great production with a ‘minimal approach’?  The answer I gave myself was perhaps a conflicting one.

12.39pm, 17th June 2015
Studio 1, Abbey Road Studios

Isn’t conflict the center of everything? I told myself as I took a deep sigh and prepared myself to get on to Studio 1 in fifteen minutes and conduct a 51-piece orchestra, something I had never done before in life. Through the past months, I had constantly asked myself if it was something I was capable of doing. To command and direct a group of fifty-one musicians, some of the best in the world and truly capture a riveting performance of music that was not inherently supposed to be conventional but more ‘dissonant’. But perhaps that’s the beauty of mankind. Sometimes to find a unique sound, one has to break a few rules. Sadly, rule-breakers aren’t always given the encouragement they feel they need. But then, I suppose no one wants to mess with a rebel. I had never wanted to be one. There is always the need for acceptance among peers, though. Something I’m thankful I received.

Sometimes experiences shape a person rather than a person shaping his own. I have managed to make peace with the fact that perhaps I am inclined to always move in a dissonant direction with my music than a melodic one. I feel a lot less burdened when no one expects me to create music with swirling melodies and perfect-sounding crescendos. I always had wanted music to depict the state of chaos and the environment of indecisiveness the world around us is in these days. I suppose it just comes across in different ways to different people.

 

Time to rock and roll.

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