This is the best video I’ve ever come across featuring Brian Eno. Eno’s real strength, as a speaker, has always been his ability to articulate ideas which seem intuitively right, even obvious in retrospect, but to put them into words in a way that no one else could have done. Here’s a transcription of my favorite bit from this one:

A lot of what’s called artistic behavior is to go to an extreme — to find an extreme position and defend it and occupy it — but I think those aren’t necessarily the most interesting places to be. It’s interesting that somebody’s been there, and you want to know about what they saw there, and to find out about it, but you might not want to be there yourself. It’s a bit like living at the North Pole, you know? To know the North Pole exists is useful and enriching, but personally I prefer to be here.

I think this pretty much explains my ambivalence toward Japanese noise (and a lot of other fairly extreme musical styles). I find the map of the territory that someone like Merzbow has explored fascinating, and in the right head space it’s enjoyable for me to listen to, but whenever I do similar things, it feels like sharecropping on someone else’s land. It’s just not where I belong personally.