Revisiting the Experimental Music of 2019

When I started writing this year-end list in the beginning of December, I felt a bit like I was straying from my moral compass. I’ve long argued against the year-end list, even though I found the magic of Big Thief on NPR Music’s 2016 list (and that’s just one example). I decided to begin the lengthy process of amalgamation by writing down big questions instead … Continue reading Revisiting the Experimental Music of 2019

Perception and Dissonance: The Challenge of Overcoming Genre

The unmistakable tinge of a major second was palpable. Harsh, crunching artificial noise emanated from a loosely tuned guitar. Heads bobbed and banged. The sound was note-against-note, a harmonic layout that offers more tension than it does release. Yet the audience didn’t seem to mind at all, screaming along in human articulation to the scream of amplified metal strings. The catharsis of a punk show … Continue reading Perception and Dissonance: The Challenge of Overcoming Genre

Love, Attachment, and Music: From the 16th Century to the 21st

Music often helps us understand our own emotions and commiserate with each other about feelings we’ve all felt before, both good and bad. Much music exerts energy on describing close interpersonal relationships, and that has always been popular subject matter. To that end, we see secular music of hundreds of years ago exploring the pains and joys of love, just like much of our current … Continue reading Love, Attachment, and Music: From the 16th Century to the 21st

Music, Technology, and Discovery

My sparkling red portable CD player arrived in the mail, bought with an Amazon gift card that my uncle mailed me for a birthday. I was thrilled. I slid the AA batteries in the little opening on the bottom, shut the clasp, and popped Michelle Branch’s Hotel Paper onto its wheel. I was listening with those headphones that fit over your head but are way … Continue reading Music, Technology, and Discovery