I love minimalism. Simplicity communicates; white noise makes people shut it off. Well, that and Keanu Reeves…he can also make you shut it off. Whether he’s on the television, radio, or whatever. Except for the this radio program. (Okay, okay. That was the worst excuse I’ve ever made for tossing in a ‘make-fun-of-this-lamo-actor’ bit. But I just realized that it’s been like, 8 posts since I’ve given you a picture of an actor making a fool of him or herself. And that is unsatisfactory. So I give you:

Keanu confused

My staple…when I have no one to make fun of, I can always count on the emotionless Keanu Reeves. See, most bad actors give some great photos of themselves, well, acting poorly. Crazy face contortions, over-the-top emotions, and the like. But Keanu…well, his acting is bad for other reasons. His acting is bad because there is none. He thinks he’s acting, but he’s not. See the confusion in the above picture? Ya. That’s Keanu in everything. Everything.

So here’s the best thing you will ever here. This is a local radio show that has actors and musicians call in each morning. Kind of. And it is stupendous.

Keanu Reeves’ Call

Anyway (and I really hope you listened to that), I was watching my U2 Slane Castle dvd the other day…hard to remember which day precisely, as this is a daily occurrence for me, and I was absolutely struck, once again, by the incredibly wonderful sonic results they get by playing nothing. Here’s a clip from the Slane show, where they do a stripped down section in the middle. And watch specifically (well, watch the whole thing…especially if you want your life changed), at about 1:30. Watch how nothing happens, and nobody plays barely anything. They just let the musical notes that are, fill up their own space.

That kills me how good ‘nothing’ just sounded. Give me a good melody, solid rhythm, and a tasteful harmonic structure underneath, and that is all you ever need. The best part is when, at 1:30, they do all almost go out completely, and no one thinks, ‘Oh cool. Space! Time for my solo.’ Because, especially in church, us guitarists are usually the worst at this. We think we’re being minimalists by waiting on the chord progression, but watching like a hawk for the split second that nothing else is going on, and then ripping a huge face melt, or throwing in a little train whistle bend, and then being proud of ourselves for our minimalistic approach. That is not minimalism; that’s poaching. Minimalism does what is best for the song as a whole, not ‘what’s best for me to be able to solo but still look like a nice guy by not stepping on everybody else’s toes.’ It’s not about taking turns filling up the space. Sometimes the space needs to be filled by absolutely nothing. Just let it be.

Splendid. (Not Keanu, though.)
Karl.