This last week I spent a great deal of time imagining.
My imagination is my strongest muscle, or so I’m told. I find a lot of ways to exercise that muscle. Sometimes I brainstorm ways to reach children and light a fire in their hearts. Other times I play nerdy games like Dungeons and Dragons, imagining fantastic worlds with realistic characters and rolling dice to add some chance. Still other times, I sit on the porch with a close friend and talk about the way the world changes or – more often – doesn’t.
In all these moments I imagine what might have, what could, and what I hope will be. The imaginings are made real when I share them with other humans. They affect the trajectory of the moment when I simply speak them aloud. We all imagine things, but some of us hand those things over for public scrutiny.
I think that improvisation is the actualization of imagination. (Do I???) Yes, I do. It’s the action that corresponds most directly to imagining. I think that when we improvise we reach into the velvet folds of memory and pull out a handful of high-octane quicksilver and we throw it on the wall. Some of it sticks. Some of it melts. All of it is good.
In music, Wormwood taps into our shared classical training, our adolescent love of Prague metal, and even our half-sarcastic-half-serious appreciation for Second Viennese School intellectualism. What comes flowing through the water main is something very truthful. It is music that expresses us as people. We don’t have time to condense it, complicate it, or sweeten it, because the faucet is always on. It’s very honest and that’s the point.
Honesty is vulnerable but freeing. To say what you believe, rather than what you memorized is to share a piece of yourself with others. It’s speaking simply – with instruments. I should say: We aren’t the first ones to realize this! There are uncounted musicians out there that play what they feel and to hell with the plan. It’s just great to be able to put words around our “style.”
Consider the following: If pop tunes are poems, and symphonies are novels, then Wormwood is two voices taking turns sharing random journal entries with a crowd of strangers. Considering the content, I suppose the audience can’t be strangers for very long.