TUMBLR

A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...



Posts tagged "music"

Sep 19, 2014
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Kay Larson, Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists

I would have liked this book a lot more if it were 150 pages shorter.

My favorite story is one Cage tells in Silence:


  A young man in Japan arranged his circumstances so that he was able to travel to a distant island to study Zen with a certain Master for a three-year period. At the end of the three years, feeling no sense of accomplishment, he presented himself to the Master and announced his departure. The Master said, “You’ve been here three years. Why don’t you stay three months more?” The student agreed, but at the end of the three months he still felt that he had made no advance. When he
  told the Master again that he was leaving, the Master said, “Look now, you’ve been here three years and three months. Stay three weeks longer.” The student did, but with no success. When he told the Master that absolutely nothing had happened, the Master said, “You’ve been here three years, three  months,  and  three  weeks. Stay three  more  days, and if, at the  end  of  that  time, you have  not attained  enlightenment, commit  suicide.” Towards  the end of  the second  day, the student was   enlightened.


Here are some more good lines:

I determined to consider a piece of music only half done when I completed a manuscript. It was my responsibility to finish it by getting it played.
Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating. 
I wanted to be quiet in a non-quiet situation.
All I know about method is that when I am not working I sometimes think I know something, but when I am working, it is quite clear that I know nothing.
You have to play the game.
I like the ones I have. If you like the ones you don’t have, then you’re not as happy. 
I have never enjoyed understanding things. If I understand something, I have no further use for it.
And a reading list of stuff to check out:

John Cage, Silence: Lectures and Writings
D.T. Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism: First Series
D.T. Suzuki, An Introduction to Zen Buddhism
Duchamp and pals, The Blind Man
Luigi Russolo, The Art of Noise [PDF]
Alan Watts, The Way of Zen
Filed under: my reading year 2014

Kay Larson, Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists

I would have liked this book a lot more if it were 150 pages shorter.

My favorite story is one Cage tells in Silence:

A young man in Japan arranged his circumstances so that he was able to travel to a distant island to study Zen with a certain Master for a three-year period. At the end of the three years, feeling no sense of accomplishment, he presented himself to the Master and announced his departure. The Master said, “You’ve been here three years. Why don’t you stay three months more?” The student agreed, but at the end of the three months he still felt that he had made no advance. When he told the Master again that he was leaving, the Master said, “Look now, you’ve been here three years and three months. Stay three weeks longer.” The student did, but with no success. When he told the Master that absolutely nothing had happened, the Master said, “You’ve been here three years, three months, and three weeks. Stay three more days, and if, at the end of that time, you have not attained enlightenment, commit suicide.” Towards the end of the second day, the student was enlightened.

Here are some more good lines:

  • I determined to consider a piece of music only half done when I completed a manuscript. It was my responsibility to finish it by getting it played.
  • Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.
  • I wanted to be quiet in a non-quiet situation.
  • All I know about method is that when I am not working I sometimes think I know something, but when I am working, it is quite clear that I know nothing.
  • You have to play the game.
  • I like the ones I have. If you like the ones you don’t have, then you’re not as happy.
  • I have never enjoyed understanding things. If I understand something, I have no further use for it.

And a reading list of stuff to check out:

Filed under: my reading year 2014

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Arthur Russell singing and playing the cello, 1985

Here’s a longer, 34-minute film of him playing. Gorgeous.

(Source: youtube.com)

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Pablo Casals plays the Bach cello suites

In August 1954, at age of 77 Pablo Casals (1876-1973) performed Bach’s G-Major Cello Solo at Abbaye “Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa”, a Catholic monastery located south of the small border town Prades in France (Catalonia of Spain is on the other side of border).

Sep 18, 2014
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the original recording chart from Phil Elverum’s recording session at Dub Narcotic


  “Learning the secrets, it turns out, does nothing to remove the mystery.”

the original recording chart from Phil Elverum’s recording session at Dub Narcotic

“Learning the secrets, it turns out, does nothing to remove the mystery.”

Sep 16, 2014
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My working process is no doubt much the same as yours and the same as many other people. The artistic process seems to be mythologized quite a lot into something far greater than it actually is. It is just hard labor… As anyone who actually writes knows, if you sit down and are prepared, then the ideas come. There’s a lot of different ways people explain that, but, you know, I find that if I sit down and I prepare myself, generally things get done.

Sep 10, 2014
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Lee Scratch Perry recording in Black Ark Studios

thenearsightedmonkey:

Dear Students,

Lee Scratch Perry putting layers of music together in the Black Ark Studio.  What’s guiding him?

From Wikipedia:

Perry once buried microphones at the base of a palm tree and thumped it rhythmically to produce a mystifying bass drum effect and his drum booth at the Black Ark was for a time surrounded with chicken wire to further his distinctive sound. Many of his songs are layered with a variety of subtle effects created from broken glass, ghastly sighs and screeches, crying babies, falling rain and cow noises. While it was thought to believe that Perry recorded the “mooing” noises from actual cows, it was actually the baritone voice of Watty Burnett through a tin foil laced cardboard tube that produced the cow-like noises. These and other notable recording techniques helped define the Black Ark sound, as well as Lee Perry’s creative legacy.

Perry was known for his eccentric and superstitious behavior during production sessions. He would often “bless” his recording equipment with mystical invocations, blow ganja smoke onto his tapes while recording, bury unprotected tapes in the soil outside of his studio, and surround himself with burning candles and incense, whose wax and dust remnants were allowed to infest his electronic recording equipment. He would also spray tapes with a variety of fluids, including urine, blood and whisky, ostensibly to enhance their spiritual properties. Later commentators have drawn a direct relationship between the decay of Perry’s facility and the unique sounds he was able to create from his studio equipment.

Perry has described his relationship to the studio thus:

“I see the studio must be like a living thing, a life itself. The machine must be live and intelligent. Then I put my mind into the machine and the machine perform reality. Invisible thought waves - you put them into the machine by sending them through the controls and the knobs or you jack it into the jack panel. The jack panel is the brain itself, so you got to patch up the brain and make the brain a living man, that the brain can take what you sending into it and live.

Filed under: recording

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John Cage’s score for “Water Walk”

Watch him perform it and browse the archive of Cage’s manuscripts.

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John Cage performing “Water Walk” on the TV show I’ve Got A Secret in 1960

I consider laughter preferable to tears.

I’m reading a really good book about Cage and Zen Buddhism right now called Where The Heart Beats.

(Source: youtube.com)

Sep 05, 2014
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Sasha Frere-Jones’ Perfect Recordings

jkottke:

New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones recently compiled a series of four playlists on Spotify of “perfect” songs: vol 1, vol 2, vol 3, vol 4, vol 5. Among the songs found on the playlists are Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blue Moon by Elvis, Pony by Ginuwine, Tranmission by Joy Division, Tennis Court by Lorde, No Scrubs by TLC, and Rock Steady by Aretha Franklin. The playlists are also available on Rdio, courtesy of my friend Matt: vol 1, vol 2, vol 3, vol 4, and vol 5.

Yeah, this was great fun to watch as he was posting. I dumped them into one 13+ hour Rdio playlist.

Aug 26, 2014
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