Emili Rackemann discusses her journey into the new decade
Absurdism V's Practically in Composition
2019 has flown by, helped in no small part by the never-ending cycle of technology and its profound ability to bypass time itself. I remember as a girl, time passed so gently. Placing my favourite tea cup on its saucer seemed to feel ever so present. Searching for rocks in the grand scheme of things may have been pointless, although there was something beautiful about my eager attempt to turn every floor of its exquisite design into some mysterious fairytale; I was convinced it had been used as a tool by our native Australian elders. Looking back, I doubt if any were touched by these divine beings, although I still hold a piece of rock in my jewellery box, hoping it will unravel its truth in time.
This year I was worried I might not have enough musical activities to keep me occupied, and as a result I would find myself buried in my studio with no sign of the outside world. In fact, it was quite the opposite. While I had the opportunity of diving deeper into our Australian music culture, I was also gently reminded of the road to self-mastery. German-born composer Hans Zimmer writes -
‘There’s a hidden place between the points of absurdity and relevancy rich in novel and useful ideas. Think of it as like a secret forge where you can combine the novelty of the absurd with the applicability of the practical. Here, you will finally master your inner genius.’
With new perceptions challenging my earth sign tendencies of structure and practicality, I trusted this man’s wisdom and continued on my creative journey, completing my new album Elysian along with countless hours of scoring and live shows.
But wait, there’s more…absurdity. A noun I have reluctantly embraced, although ponder its definition of “extremely unreasonable” when referring to creative projects.
In essence, we have Nihilism - a view of reality relating to how it effects humans of all kinds. Absurdism however, is also defined as the human quest for understanding and meaning. Famous french symbolist writer Alfred Jarry, best known for his 1896 play Ubu Roi, claimed that "talking about things that are understandable only weighs down the mind and falsifies the memory, but the absurd exercises the mind and makes the memory work".
For those who aren’t familiar with Jarry’s quirks, he was a singular artist who aimed to live life as a total hallucination. To his end, he drank formidable quantities of wine and absinthe, which precipitated his demise at the age of 34 in 1907.
Having reflected on the above characters in the midst of Summer Down Under, I’ve once again come to the drawing board in preparation for the new decade. Eager to find the hiding place between aspects of absurdity and practicality within, I look forward to embarking on two new dimensions of piano repertoire, in particular focusing on the world of graphic notation, a realm which stands outside tradition and instead represents music through visual symbolism. One may refer to Maverick composer George Crumb who amplifies the mysteries within music, believing music should look the way it sounds.
This new curiosity suggests an exciting journey, one of which invites the ugliness to be cradled, the pain to whisper and the darkling strange to coexist within a world of creative beauty and potential self discovery and self acceptance. Exciting.