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AESTHETICS

aesthetic chart of music

Rembrandt: Aristotle contemplating the bust of Homer
(a painter's depiction of a philosopher examining a sculptor's representation of a poet)


"By aesthetics I don’t mean do I think this is pretty. I mean why do I think this is worth doing. The greek root for aesthetic means to perceive. So all this is meant to do is to clarify how I think about music, what I listen for, why I took a certain approach, stuff like that. It’s only context, it’s not an attempt to formulate a system or construct a set of rules to discredit what somebody else is doing (neither of which would interest me). It’s been my sense over the last decade or so that our ways of receiving (and consequently making) music have become increasingly knee-jerk, passive, and style(technology)-governed –in other words pre-disposed and unimaginative. I mostly blame this on the glominoid corporation cornering the market on broadcast media, severely limiting the general public’s exposure to anything but a few narrowly defined genres (i.e., capitalist brainwashing), but there’s more to it than that. Listeners seem more complacent than they have at any time in my life, lowering their expectations to accept the conformity they’ve been presented. In a time when so many possibilities are open to us, it’s depressing to see so few explored, to witness the forced closing of our ears.

A healthy underground does exist. Seek it out. Feed it. Listen. Participate. Argue. Have opinions and express them. We don’t need to agree. The logic of dismissal ("if you aren’t with us you’re against us") is the essence of fascism. Music is not something that exists on the margins outside of us, it’s one of the central ongoing projects of our human race. It is ours, what we demand, not what we’re offered through the filters of commerce, fashion, or accepted practice."
-Alex Ferris 2002

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Silence on the subject of making music is not acceptable. All musicians should be required to explain themselves.
-Edwin Prevost



. . . beauty in music is too often confused with something that lets the ears lie back in an easy chair.
-Charles Ives

I believe a civilization that conserves is one that will decay because it is afraid of going forward and attributes more importance to memory than going forward. The strongest civilizations are those without memory –those capable of complete forgetfulness. They are strong enough to destroy because they know they can replace what is destroyed.
-Pierre Boulez

As a musician, I am interested in the sensual nature of sound, its power of synchronization, coordination, release and change. Hearing represents the primary sense organ – hearing happens involuntarily. Listening is a voluntary process that through training and experience produces culture. All cultures develop through ways of listening.
-Pauline Oliveros


"Musical spirits must prepare themselves for a lengthy period of being truly 'underground', maintaining the flow of life-sustaining currents beneath the surface."
-Stockhausen, Weltmusik

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