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zen and the fluent music
Per Boysen wrote:
"Thank you for an interesting post! Here is another theory: Maybe the
public as well as many musicians hang on to A-B-A-C-A structured
music simply because our main culture is so heavily based on
That's an interesting thesis, but I firmly believe that the love of form
is intrinsically wired into our neurophysiology and the consequent way we
look at things.
The synaptic gap in our nerves, allowing for messages to either pass (1)
not pass (0)
intrinsically creates a causal relationship in mind.
Because there are millions of them and because the combinations of
human thought are virtually
endless there is tremendous diversity in human expression but the vast
majority of human musical expression
is ordered all over the planet.
I'm not arguing that this is right or wrong, but it is undeniable.
Even the musician or listener who prefers a-formal music or a-rhythmic
is still responding in a causal
way to their own environment ("I hate the dominance of modern pop and
listen to free improv").
My own intellectual mentor, the late Gregory Bateson, said that because
the inherent binary neurophysiology
of the human brain and because of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
that human beings are doomed to create causal maps of reality with our
Since, as Korzybsy said, "The map is not the territory" we are
doomed to make fundamentally innaccurate maps.
Bateson though, points out that there is such a thing as bad maps and
He says we should have the humility to always realize that we are doomed
not understanding the nature of reality (or art or music)
but that we can have always commit ourselves to constantly revising our
of the way things work.
Additionally, we also have intrinsic limitations due to the most
sophisticated muscle groups that we have in the body (outside of the
mouth.........he he he). We have two feet.................the most
prevalent rhythms in human experience are those of walking (groups of
and the heartbeat (arguably the loudest clock we have in our body and the
organ that the brain takes the perception of tempo from.
Additionally we have five fingers on each hand. How fascinating that
after hundreds of years of coming up with rhythmic systems that the
and Southern Indians have settled on one that only has these four
two, three, four and five
(respectively Ta ki, Ta ki ta, Ta ki di mi, Ta ki di na tom).
Psychologists have pointed out that human beings can concieve of 5 things
separately but when we encounter any greater number that we
have to group things in order to think about them (6 = 2 + 2 +2 or 3 +
These patternings are reiterated all over the planet. All dance musics
that exist can be broken into groupings of 2s and 3s.
All of this may, of course, just be some monstrous rationalization for the
fact that I'm a drummer intrinsically and have loved grooves all my life.
Krispen says that it takes work for him to make music with form. I'm the
opposite: I tend immediately to impose form on my own music.
In fact I rather love using chaos and randomness and then constraining it
Live looping devices that don't use lowered feedback settings as Matthias
has so beautifully built into the EDP are just perfect for
imposing form onto live recorded performance. I really enjoy the
beautiful soundscapes that Matthias uses as they are constantly shifting
but personally I don't at all feel tyrannized by 100% feedback settings.
It's rather liberating to me as a multi-instrumentalist.
I think it's shocking to Matthias, perhaps, but I just haven't felt the
to use reduced feedback on the EDP. Glitch things up with INS =
SUS/OVERDUB = SUS or rhythymically replacing portions of the loop with INS
SUB and I"m all over that machine.............lol.
Last night I watched Jeff Kaiser do some amazing looping avante garde
music................what struck me, though was , that instead of sounding
completely free, my human brain heard the starts and starts of whole
musical passages that were triggered by my own mind imposing form on the
things he did.
Maybe it's the tension between these two approaches (constantly morphing
looping strategies and rigidly formulaic ones) that makes the music on
list so delicious.
Viva la difference, n'cest pas?