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The Rhythmic Divide

I grew up loving the complex, jagged, unpulsed rhythms of the post-Webernian Euros: Stockhausen, Xenakis, Boulez, etc. They were, and continue to be, as — or often more — satisfying to me on a purely rhythmic level than pulsed/metered beats. Naively, I assumed that most progressive music fans also loved aperiodic rhythmic flows. Now, after […]

Posted on January 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm by rachmiel · Permalink


Contemporary electronic music is plagued by near-universal adherence to boundaries and rules: the 4/4 dictum, standard half-dozen effects, groove fascism, dumbed-down melody and harmony, limited sonic palette, and so on. Trembling before rules stifles compositional chance-taking, which causes the dreaded “same old, same old” effect. It’s too rare these days to listen to a new […]

Posted on January 2, 2012 at 7:25 am by rachmiel · Permalink

Groove Fascism

“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.” A great quote from a great man … but one that electronica composers seem to have taken all too narrowly. For the Duke, swing was not simply drums or the rhythm section. It was the way that beat, meter, tempo, melody, harmony, phrasing, and […]

Posted on December 27, 2011 at 11:40 am by rachmiel · Permalink

Form und Function

While studying composition in Germany, I fell in love with musical forms. Theme and variation, sonata, canon, fugue, spiral, recursive, Fibonacci, fractal … I took them all in, like divine templates. Unfortunately, my love of form ended up trumping my love of sound, and my pieces grew ever more brilliant on paper and dull in […]

Posted on December 10, 2011 at 9:15 am by rachmiel · Permalink