chapter  7
22 Pages

Drift

WithAnthony Gritten

The notion of drift is phrased as well as it can be by one of Marcel Duchamp’s memorable phrases: ‘A guest plus a host equals a ghost’. What this phrase can be said to phrase is an indirect sense–probably no more than that–of the musical relation that is troubled and loosened by drift. Drift, then, insofar as it is ‘caused’, seems to be caused by the blocking together of different orders of ‘work’ or ‘significance’. Drift is encouraged by the spiralling physiological interference between incoming and outgoing processes, between and within each and every musical gesture. Musical gestures drift and hypostasize alongside the onset of any categorizing logocentric desires. Skills and actions drift as different kinds of practice strategies, physical and cognitive regimes designed to reduce stress and anxiety, and the myriad of social performance rituals with ‘only’ folk-psychological value are blocked together.