“Sometimes” Music

So screen capture

What I love about the concept of “sometimes music” is that it sidesteps the thorny, problematic, and anachronistic implication that some musical styles are more advanced than others. It allows its advocates to encourage others to tune in, rather than to engage in tedious, insulting dialogues about which kind of music is up or down.

Finding the Right Balance

Jennifer Charles in Angels Bone

The most exciting music being created today is not the product of a single compositional aesthetic or the work of just one segment of the population. But some of us are still recovering from a century of industry-imposed genres. When we do, it will potentially be a paradise for a truly new music.

New England’s Prospect: Fellow Travelers

5th Floor Collective

“Come, then, into the music room,” she said, and I followed her into an apartment finished, without hangings, in wood, with a floor of polished wood. I was prepared for new devices in musical instruments, but I saw nothing in the room which by any stretch of imagination could be conceived as such. It was […]

The Appropriation Problem

Piano

Discussions of cultural appropriation often frame the problem in one of two ways: in terms of cultural property or in terms of what composers are “allowed” to do. Both of these approaches tend to result in the conversation getting sidetracked. Another way of framing things would be to say: music is a kind of social interaction. Denying the social aspect of music-making doesn’t make it stop happening; it just means that when it does happen, you don’t see it.

The Shame Of Poverty And Investing In The Future

Philadelphia Skyline, by Flodigrip on Flickr

It is my hope that no one—especially young musicians—should ever face the shame and the self-questioning that poverty could force on them. Music, and more importantly access to music and music education, is vital to all communities.

Sounds Heard: Ingram Marshall and Jim Bengston—Alcatraz and Eberbach

Ingram Marshall: Alcatraz

In the two audio/visual compositions by Ingram Marshall (composer) and Jim Bengston (photographer) included on a recent surround-sound DVD release from Starkland, the artists offer an especially effective marriage of these two realms. Taken together, they arrive like a series of postcards relaying vivid, complex impressions of places—perhaps sent by residents now long gone.

An Expanding Paradigm

steel drums

When So Percussion started out, we had three prohibitions: no improvisation, no playing our own music, and no hand drums. We’ve since violated all of those rules in spades.

Creative Thinking Biases

Watercolor paints

I’m currently a bit obsessed with the upswing in available information related to creativity that has taken place over the past couple of years. Lately I feel as if the swell has become even larger, with a huge inflow of books and websites devoted to the why and how of creative process and creative thinking. I can’t help but wonder, why is all this material coming out now?

Always Something New—Remembering Yusef Lateef (1920-2013)

Yusef Lateef

Yusef Lateef’s art traveled in higher dimensions, transcending medium or style. His telescope of intuition ranged far into deep space, towards new galaxies of thought and musical processes. He was a prototype of the modern renaissance artist. He refused to let any outside force define him or his activities.

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