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Archive for April, 2013


I’ve always loved beachcombing. Growing up, I’d wander the shores of Jones Beach looking for whatever the ocean happened to yield that day: shells, rocks, driftwood, dried-up hermit crabs and jellyfish and other mysterious aquatic beasts. Now I’m landlocked, 350 miles from the ocean. So I do my scavenging in the audio arena: soundcombing. I […]

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 9:09 am by rachmiel · Permalink

What Makes Music Beautiful?

Different cultures have different takes on what makes music beautiful. Conyach, a term used by the Scottish travellers, is a quality of music that inspires strong emotional response in listeners. Salsa, as in salsa music, is used to describe musical wildness and ecstatic frenzy. Duende is a mysterious and difficult-to-translate term from Spanish music (especially […]

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 9:48 am by rachmiel · Permalink

Less is More

For electronic music composers, life is a grand – and crowded! – playground. We are surrounded by thousands of great-sounding toys: sequencers, samplers, synthesizers, VSTs galore. There is such a glut of sonic beasts out there, one could make a full-time career out of downloading and auditioning them … with little or no time left […]

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm by rachmiel · Permalink

More is More

Excess, when applied in an artful manner, can dramatically enhance the power and expressiveness of music. Two dazzling examples jump to mind: Birds of Fire and Go Plastic. John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra, which had its heyday in the early 70s, was the most ecstatically loud and musically dense band of its era, perhaps any era. […]

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 2:46 pm by rachmiel · Permalink

Free Groove

Groove, defined conventionally, is a rhythm whose notes conform time-wise to a periodic pulse grid that specifies which beats are permitted and which are verboten. You can tease the grid, play ahead of it, play behind it, speed it up, slow it down, syncopate. But you must respect it and, ultimately, adhere to it. This […]

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 7:45 am by rachmiel · Permalink