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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

Sand Mandala Composition

Challenge: Over the period of one full week, create a “sand mandala” piece. Any genre, acoustic or electronic. Work really hard on it, strive passionately to make your best music ever. Share it (with one person, a few, a bunch) at several phases during the course of its one-week lifespan. Then, at the end of […]

Posted on September 2, 2013 at 6:13 pm by rachmiel · Permalink

Diminishing Returns?

So many new releases from talented, energetic, ambitious music producers of all ilk every day of every week/month/year … how c’hell is one supposed to decide what to listen to? And, with such a glut of new music, can any single piece *matter* anymore? Beyond the rush of hearing it for the first (and probably […]

Posted on May 18, 2013 at 8:04 am by rachmiel · Permalink

Emulate: Ja. Imitate: Ach NEIN!

All animals learn by imitating, even fancy apes like us. It’s the most efficient way to master the basics of a new field of knowledge. Want to become fluent in conversational Italian? Spend a year in Venice surrounded by native speakers, listening to everything and imitating it like a four-year old: words, inflections, rhythms, phrases, […]

Posted on May 17, 2013 at 9:45 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

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

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

History: Does it Matter?

Does music history – that which has already been explored/composed/performed – matter to a composer? It depends. If you compose pieces to add to an existing body of music (dubstep, modal jazz, microtonality, modular synthesis, whatever) and to help this body develop/evolve … then, sure: history matters. It’s like doing scientific research; you build on […]

Posted on December 6, 2011 at 11:15 pm by rachmiel · Permalink

The Magical Approach

I grew up enamored of science and rational thought, assumed that the “answers” were out there waiting to be found by some form of logical empirical(ish) analysis. These days I cultivate a naive, unknowing attitude toward the world and my activities in it: a kind of magical approach. The scientific method, for all its obvious […]

Posted on November 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm by rachmiel · Permalink