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Quoth the Wally

“Music is feeling, then, not sound …” – Peter Quince at the Clavier, Wallace Stevens

Posted on August 10, 2015 at 8:23 am by rachmiel · Permalink

What Would Computers Compose for Pleasure?

Sure, computers can’t feel pleasure, at least not in the sense that we humans feel it. But they can be programmed to “feel” something akin to human pleasure. And, perhaps, when AI comes of age, they can program themselves to feel their own native form of deep digital pleasure. With this in mind: What kind […]

Posted on November 23, 2014 at 10:51 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

Shhh …

Music is (un)filled with silence. On the macro level this silence occurs between movements, sections, passages, phrases, and even single notes: gaps in sound-time. On the micro level it occurs within every sonic event, at the infinitesimal points when the sound waves attain zero amplitude (zero crossings). Silence can be pure (absolute) or coloured (relative). […]

Posted on June 25, 2012 at 8:15 am by rachmiel · Permalink

Wabi-Sabi Music

The Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi is an approach to aesthetics (and life) based on impermanence: change, aging, transformation, loss, death. Wabi expresses simplicity, austerity, modesty – all of which impart freshness of character. Sabi implies the serenity, melancholy and loneliness that comes with age. Together, in wabi-sabi, they point to a bittersweet beauty based on […]

Posted on June 9, 2012 at 8:40 am by rachmiel · Permalink

Life as Soundtrack

Bobbi hit it: I’m writing the soundtrack of my life. (Aren’t we all?)

Posted on March 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm by rachmiel · Permalink


I always liked dubstep (Burial, in particular) — which is FAR from the case for me for most electronica genres — but i only started really liking it recently. Of all popular electronic-music genres I’ve heard, it resonates most strongly on an emotional level for me. (Some ambient and drone stuff gets there too, but […]

Posted on January 20, 2012 at 7:27 pm by rachmiel · Permalink

The Creative Force

We all have it. Everyone/everything has it. It’s just a question of removing the crap that gets in the way of it, right?

Posted on January 14, 2012 at 10:07 am by rachmiel · Permalink