Monday, May 24, 2004


Sleeping beasts require no charm. Better to let them lie. Art has always been present in my life, but it was a very peripheral thing. My awareness was focused on things of science; there was little time for everything else.

As best I can recall, my artistic awakening occurred through association. Specifically, near my 17th birthday (as hinted at already, I was a late bloomer) a band called Rush started a tour for their upcoming release of Hemispheres. Like any average American youth, I was quite into television, and the advertisements for this tour (which were rare in those days) hinted at something that I had never heard. Here was a band that purported to be about more than music. Indeed, the metathematic aspect of this album appealed to my metamathematical mind. So I listened. And I was hooked.

For those who are not aware, the theme of the album is that of a clash between two Olympic gods, Apollo and Dionysus. These gods are in a possessory conflict over the soul of man. Representing reason and emotion, the struggle plays out in a battlefield all too familiar to most listeners-- the battlefield of heart and mind. Cygnus brings balance to the picture by revealing that only when reason and emotion work together can the best in mankind be realized.

Of course, the mythological specifics are a bit strained, but I was (and am) willing to forgive that concern. After all, mythology speaks to a listener, and often evolves with them. The interesting part to me was the intellectual exercise of not just making music, but making metamusic-- a theme the band had already started with their 2112 album. It was, perhaps, here that I realized aesthesis for the first time.

The theme, carried forward in a musically adept mythological parable, presented with a cover art reflecting both the hemispherical brain structure (hence the album's name) and the naked artist versus the masked intellectual, was a unit of beauty that exceeded that of every component. A tangled aesthetic hierarchy indeed.

The rest, as they say, is history. Rush moved on, continuing to explore the world of music in a way that I eventually found less inspiring. And to this day, I reminisce about my awakening, and all the good that has come to pass.


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