music and crafting your art / the relentless pursuit of perfection.

I talk about art often, in the Seth-ism sense that we are all artists meant and capable of creating something meaningful. Last night I (finally) saw the documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  I don’t know what took me so long to watch it, but for whatever reason, I was reminded of it and watched it at just the right time.

Beautiful Documentary

The story of Jiro and his relentless pursuit to perfection was beautifully composed to capture the essence of mastering a craft.  I was immediately drawn in when I pressed play because the opening scene was filmed in slow motion – with no background noise.  It was as if the director purposely knew that I needed to hone in on just one sense, to truly encapsulate the Tokyo restaurant.

With the main purpose of this film, to showcase a true master of sushi, every scene was matched with what appeared to be the perfect soundtrack of that moment.  The majority of these songs were composed by Philip Glass.  Why is this important? Because Philip describes himself as a “composer of music with repetitive structures.”  As with many composers, you don’t just write one song and be done with it.  You utilize the previous piece and build upon it, incorporating new styles and rhythms to create a masterpiece. Something that could take years and years to complete…and even then, as a true composer, you know there is more room for improvement.

For Jiro, he is the Philip Glass of sushi.  After making sushi almost every single day for nearly 70 years, he’s still not satisfied.

The correlation between music, specifically those with little to no words, and art is so significant, at least from my experience.  For me, whenever I need to focus – there is always a soundtrack playing.  Whether it’s through writing, working out, cooking or reading music has always been the catalyst that enhances my art.

The beauty of music like Philip Glass or Sigúr Ross or Mozart or any other classical or ambient composer, is that it’s simple.  Ultimate simplicity leads to purity, and that’s what I find each time I write.

From Jiro and the soundtrack of this film, I’m reminded that there is no true mastery of your craft.  It’s in the pursuit of using what you’ve created in the past to improve your art every single day.

A couple fun things related to this post:

- Words tend to get in the way with words, so when I write I only listen to classical or ambient music.  Here’s a great site that helps me: Focus @ Will

- ?uestlove instagrammed his entire experience in January 2013 at Jiro’s restaurant and I remember lying in bed at 3am that evening scrolling through each pic.  Here’s the summary of that night from The Verge.