erasing clouds
 

About Erasing Clouds

Erasing Clouds is an effort to write about music, mainly, but also film and other art forms as they exist to us. What we’re doing here is relating to art, be it flashy and commercial or subterranean and weird, with humility and honesty, letting ourselves be drawn to what interests us without worrying about what’s trendy or fashionable right now. So much discussion of music seems superficial, or more about the people doing the talking than what they’re talking about. I’m always trying to get as close to the art as possible, to understand how it works, what it does – to itself, to us and beyond us all. I want to engage with it in the world, as I live, not inside the bubble that is the music-fan world, where everything relates back to itself, to such an extent that it can exist in its own fog.

Erasing Clouds was born in April of 2000. Since then it has lived a full, boisterous life some years and a more sedate or even half-asleep one others – usually somewhere in between, with sparks exploding and then disappearing quietly. Meanwhile the site’s archive exists as its own universe: a world of larks and half-completed plans; of statements that now seem like ridiculous hyperbole and statements that now seem astute. It’s also filled with the voices of people – writers who have flown away, musicians who may or may not still be making music in the public realm and other people we’ve encountered along the way: filmmakers, magazine editors, visual artists, actors, political activists, etc. In the archive we meet all of these people at a moment of time, a moment that’s passed but is preserved here. To really read Erasing Clouds from start to finish is to hear voices of people speaking about art and the world around us and their lives; people from different countries and backgrounds, in different stages of life.

Even while my tastes in music have changed (ever-broadening, mainly, while I get ever more critical-minded), while our times have changed (as weird CDs have given way to weird computer files, both still feeling to me like inferior cousins to the larger circular objects I grew up with and the trashier small rectangular things that used to live in my car), while I find myself enjoying music I used to hate, and feeling cold towards music I used to swear was great and important…some things remain solid, like the overall approach Erasing Clouds tries to take, which is based on a philosophy something like this –

  • All of this doesn’t matter, but it really matters to us.
  • Music isn’t the end all be all in life, but a way to get at bigger things.
  • The way we think about music is part and parcel with the way we think about the world.
  • I write not to sit in judgment but as an exercise in understanding.
  • I strive to write not more often, but more meaningfully.
  • Timeliness is a trap. Hype is a trap. Nostalgia is a trap. Fashion is a trap.
  • Trying to predict what people in the future will look back on as “important “is a trap.
  • To a PR person, all that matters is that I’m saying something about one of their albums, not what I’m saying. To me, what I’m saying is what’s important.
  • ’Importance’ in a journalistic sense (who is doing what significant thing when) doesn’t matter much to me in music-writing. I decide what is important to me, and why.
  • Stripping away all of the information that surrounds an album (hype, background, making-of stories, etc), and listening without prejudice or context, can be something to strive for.
  • Music made for $5 can be better than music made for $5,000, but the opposite can also be true.
  • Creating something by yourself, because you want to, can be fruitful in and of itself, whether it’s music or a website.
  • Websites that use old HTML; lack fancy tools; are advertising-free; are focused on substance over style; approach the Internet at a slow pace that might strike some as anti-Internet; are amateurish in technique and contain mistakes can be especially meaningful to people -- for, not just despite, those limitations.

Above all else, this is for fun. It isn’t the only place I write, but in some ways it’s the most meaningful for me, because it’s done out of nothing but a love for music and a love for writing about music, and an undying concern with the mystery that is a song.

Sincerely,

Dave Heaton
215 E. 73rd Ter, Kansas City, MO 64114
erasingclouds at gee mail dot com

January 28, 2012


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