Author Archives: Alexandra Gardner

Harder Than It Looks

Last week I had a very interesting conversation with another composer that arose from a comment he made about having to be careful that his music doesn’t look easier than it really is. Given that this was an extremely successful composer whose music doesn’t ever sound “easy” to me, I was very surprised to learn that this has been a concern of his.

Sounds Heard: Terri Lyne Carrington—Mosaic

With her latest CD, Mosaic, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington has assembled a jaw-dropping lineup of musicians who happen to all be female, including Cassandra Wilson, Esperanza Spalding, Nona Hendryx, Tineke Postma, Sheila E., Geri Allen, and many others. The intention of the project, as the liner notes describe, is to “comment on historical, current and appropriately feminine themes with the intent to offer an informative, enjoyable listening experience, driven by creativity and consciousness.”

Don’t Call Me When I’m Driving

Chunks of time spent alone are crucial for creative people—that is when you can listen to what is going on in your own head. The best ideas tend not to arrive in a blaze of obvious glory, but rather they whisper in your ear, and if you are not paying attention, they are gone faster than you can pull out your smartphone and fire up your Evernote.

Wild Things

It seems reasonable that whether or not “an audience” is being considered during the process of creating music, if a work of music is performed out in the world, chances are it will resonate with someone, somewhere. It’s important be open to that and respect the experiences of those people, even if the specific intention (if there was one) of the music was missed or misconstrued. Given that music affects people in such a pointed, visceral way, you just never know how that is going to manifest.

Breaking Habits

Habits can be good things, in that they don’t require the same level of effort to execute as something that is not a habit. They “just happen” without needing a lot of consideration or energy once they become integrated into the daily routine or the personality of the individual. So if it is said that it takes 30 days to form (or to break) a habit, how does that apply to musical habits?

It Takes More Than One

After trying every which way to get other women on board and writing regularly for the site, with precious little success, it is becoming quite clear that blogging is simply not a format that interests many women.

Finding the Groove

Hearing so many tales this time of year about creating syllabi and planning classes brings to mind my favorite class of all time in graduate school. It did not include a syllabus, a textbook, or for that matter any reading or writing whatsoever!

Sounds Heard: Keeril Makan—Target

Composer Keeril Makan’s new CD Target gives the ears a workout with timbral complexity drawn from a remarkably spare amount of material that sneaks up and delivers a whollop of powerful emotional content.

Seduction Involves Patience

On Tuesday night, I attended a performance by Mantra Percussion of Michael Gordon’s new work Timber. I entered the Apple store on Broadway feeling slightly harried, with a million different things on my mind, and an hour later I left feeling as if all that junk in my head had been emptied out and replaced with a wonderful sense of peacefulness.

Sounds Heard: Ecosono—Agents Against Agency

The artist collective called Ecosono is devoted to melding experimental sound art and environmental preservation, in an effort to highlight ecological awareness through innovative musical creations. Their new DVD, Agents Against Agency, documents nine multimedia projects exploring the interconnections between musical expression in dialog with the surrounding environment, both natural and manmade.