I live in New York, but more about music:

August 7, 2006 at 18:47 | Posted in Musings, new york, Things related to critical theory, Things related to John Cage, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Three or four years ago, while visiting New York, I came up with the idea to make Music for Subways. At the time I was listening to a lot of Brian Eno’s music–primarily stuff with Jon Hassell. The concept of this music was that you could listen to it, and it would be able to accomodate subway musicians in a way that their music wouldn’t disrupt any part of the structure of Music for Subways. It wound up being another year or two before my methods of musicking caught up with my methods for thinking music. The piece of music that realized this principle (although without any regard for Music for Subways because I was living in Orlando) was Music’s Possibles, which was a direct reference to the Eno/Hassell album Possible Musics.

So this method of working became just that, a method and I have a way of operating with sound so that it remains receptive to more sound. Lately though, as I live in New York, I have been thinking about this principle more. Either Music’s Possibles or Score for Motion (the second piece to use the receptive method) could be billed as Music for Subways, and I suppose that Music for Subways is more a classification than a particular piece.

So, beginnning with Eno and Hassell, and moving through a method for composing music I have arrived at a new variation of this principle: Music for Music. It’s not anything like a meteor striking Earth, but I feel like it will certainly lead to a great deal of thinking and musicking–on my part at least–with time. As is obvious Music for Music is just that.

There is the dichotomy of sound and silence. There is the dichotomy of music and noise. I am interested in troubling both of these structures, and getting at the radical negative that will rupture them. Music for Music implies that a kind of music that does not take part in the polarization of sound and listening can exist; Music for Music suggests a metamusic that is not a constative invocation of sound, rather a performative occasion in which sound takes place. Music for Music is a music that is composed in order to call attention to the abundance of music around us, as well as the abundance of noise, and to muddle the two, for if they are opposites but interact equally with a third object (Music for Music) then there must be an alternative structure to locate.

In the wise words of Shoshana Felman, from her text The Scandal of the Speaking Body:

“Thus negativity, fundamentally fecund and affirmative, and yet without positive reference, is above all that which escapes the negative/positive alernative”.

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