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WRONG NOTES: a blog of ear reverence

Wrong Notes collects posts on music, art, culture and fun stuff. Also included: news about the Ear Reverends.

World is music, but the brain figures itself

Interrupting this post to pay my respects to the greatest of Americans, who just died: the all-time great ambassador of the beautiful, Ray Charles. I love Ray and am very sad to hear of his death

I also just learned that Elvin Jones died a few weeks ago. Learning of these two deaths in one day, I'm basically in shock. I don't have anyone to jam with tonight, so I'm holding a blue wake here by myself (6/10, late).


Ok, some linkage. Followed by some of my music philosophy.

I just started reading Rhythm Science, by Paul D. Miller aka Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid. So far, I love it and am finding it inspiring and important. (It's a beautifully designed and printed book as well.)

(Also, check-out the Dj Spooky website, and Lisa Rein has these audios and videos of Dj Spooky speaking at the Creative Commons launch party—look for files with djspooky in the filename).


Monolith is a software project that (intentionally) reveals some very weird properties of digital music, especially in relationship to copyright.

If you've got some tolerance for computer technicalities, the project description is a fascinating look at the relationship between music and sound recording and the digital representation of sound and sound files and what gets copyrighted. (I also posted some similar words about this on the iCite net blog.)


Anatomy of a Song with David Byrne is a cool interview in which David Byrne describes his song writing, arranging, and recording process for the song "Like Humans Do" (which I like—Look Into the Eyeball, the record it's on, is one I enjoy a lot).


The article How Copyright Law Changed Hip Hop is interesting, and some good comments on it appear on the Creative Commons weblog in and after the post Copyright and the death of Public Enemy's sound. I added some comments myself.


In my final comment there, I talk about smoke and mirrors illusions created in the recording studio that make overdubs appear like musicians playing together in the room. The thing is though: music itself could be said to be a smoke and mirrors illusion that makes physical sound waves appear as invisible worlds.

That is: music is actually an invisible world. The physical sounds we create aren't the music, but are the smoke and mirrors trick through which we experience the actual music.

(Our world, while physical and visible on the surface, is also music and invisible at a deeper level. And, we deeply desire the direct experience wherein our physical / visible / flesh world and our music / invisible / feeling world are commingled.)

So, because this is all a kind-of sleight of hand, real music can be made from sampling, random sounds, and means other than by traditional musicianship. Traditional musicianship is just a (very powerful) traditional way to do the trick—but there are other ways to do it (and, it can totally happen without humans: you know you need to give the birds some props today, OK?).

Part of the art is the surprise at new ways the trick is done and still works its magic.

Part of the art of the sample / remix is the surprise at going over the old tricks that everyone has already figured out, slipping in that slightly different spin right before everyone's eyes, and whamo!, something else: the trick is new again, and you've never figured it out again.


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