With all the serious reflection that’s been going on around here of late, it seemed like it was time to pop some popcorn and re-watch a few of the mini artist documentaries NewMusicBox has produced.
Sure, Mark Zuckerberg and pals launched Facebook in 2004, but NewMusicBox was already cruising into its 5th anniversary by that point. For the traditionalists in the house, the appropriate gift is wood, which we needed because the year was rife with arguments over genre fence lines.
Staying true to your artistic vision is much easier said than done. Oftentimes, when we cater to what we think people will want instead of what we truly believe in (in actuality, we really know only one of those two things), time is wasted on creating mediocre work.
Operatic director Peter Sellars and rock icon Chuck Berry are the two recipients of the 2014 Polar prize. Each recipient receives a total amount of one million SEK (roughly $160,000 US).
In terms of world affairs, 2003 was probably one of the most turbulent years. So did that play out in the music? It depends on how you want to think about it.
That’s how I will always remember Leo Kraft: in the thick of it. He was always engaged. He didn’t just show up to life, he participated fully. And his music was never “easy”; he cared too much about music and the art of listening for it to be “easy.”
What music most appropriately captures the zeitgeist of 2002? Steve Reich’s Daniel Variations (created in response to the shocking February 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal’s South Asia Bureau Chief Daniel Pearl) was not composed until 2006, but another Reich work, his apocalyptic Three Tales (created in collaboration with Beryl Korot) immediately stands out in my mind.
Described as a “musical exploration game inspired by synthesizers,” FRACT OSC places you in an abstract neon landscape somewhere between Myst and Tron, and the environment is peppered with various kinds of music-making machinery. You’re in a world literally made of sound.
When looking back at 2001 for its musical significance, all I can say is that music is ultimately what kept us going when the events of September 11 unfolded in New York City.
It seems there are two ways to negotiate our complex, diverse, and global web of music-making: Either jockey the heck out of everything, as if it is all free gain, or retreat to the rooted, familial plane, and herd with your local community.