Monthly Archives: June 2013

Introducing Milton Babbitt

As a sophomore in college this is one of the documentaries, along with “Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts,” that really inspired me to think seriously about art music composition. There isn’t much that I can write about Babbitt that will add much to this documentary without going into the actual theory and beginnings of his music. Though, I probably wouldn’t do him much justice with that either. So I’ll let this eccentric doc attempt to do the talking if you’re open enough to really give this film a viewing.

 

Jeremy Pelt At Home

JeremyPelt

Photos of the masters, modern and traditional, provide the student with a unique form of inspiration. Speaking through emotion this photo allows Jeremy pelt to communicate how he lives and thus gives us a window into how he thinks. Stark but with purpose his room fulfills the image of a monastic discipline and love for ones craft.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gretchen and Lionel

This is a great video of two of modern jazz’s brightest performers. Gretchen Parlato got her start after winning the Thelonious Monk vocal jazz competition; with the contrast her smooth tone against the african rhythmic influence brought by Loueke’s percussive guitar playing, a very intricate texture emerges.

 

The Secret of Philip Glass

True motivation towards a goal or passion comes from a perspective, a philosophy. Check out this amazing documentary on minimalist composer Philip Glass who is not only an eloquent speaker but an inspired individual. His outlook and music embodies the ideal image of the artist who combines the intellectual and visceral.

 

Jeremy Pelt: Water and Earth (the new album)

This is one artist that I will often come back to. It seems like every time I check back on Pelt’s website, he has a new album coming out and his studio videos are a goldmine for any aspiring artist, whether jazz or any other genre for that matter. Usually, listening to musicians speak or try to voice their art is a cringing experience but watching their process and sometimes listening to their take on an experience can be a very enlightening window. Not to mention, its clear that Pelt’s recordings are the result of introspection and planning. Lastly, I’m very excited to see him reunite with drummer Dana Hawkins who brings such a youthful confidence and virtuosity to the table.

 

On Religion, Spirituality and Art.

“One might say that where Religion becomes artificial, it is reserved for Art to save the
spirit of religion by recognizing the figurative value of the mythic symbols which the former
would have us believe in their literal sense, and revealing their deep and hidden truth through
an ideal presentation. Whilst the priest stakes everything on the religious allegories being
accepted as matters of fact, the artist has no concern at all with such a thing, since he freely
and openly gives out his work as his own invention. But Religion has sunk into an artificial
life, when she finds herself compelled to keep on adding to the edifice of her dogmatic
symbols, and thus conceals the one divinely True in her beneath an ever growing heap of
incredibilities commended to belief. Feeling this, she has always sought the aid of Art; who
on her side has remained incapable of higher evolution so long as she must present that
alleged reality of the symbol to the senses of the worshipper in form of fetishes and idols,—
whereas she could only fulfill her true vocation when, by an ideal presentment of the allegoric
figure, she led to apprehension of its inner kernel, the truth ineffably divine.
To see our way clear in this, we should have most carefully to test the origin of religions.
These we must certainly deem the more divine, the simpler proves to be their inmost kernel.
Now, the deepest basis of every true religion we find in recognition of the frailty of this
world, and the consequent charge to free ourselves therefrom.”

  • Richard Wagner (From the essay: “Religion and Art”)

The true tragedy of popular religion comes in the betrayal of that which truly serves us spiritually for the worship of the superficial. Richard Wagner argues that art can never achieve its fullest potential while working towards the aim of religious ambition, for it’s very place is at a distance from the divine (to support the material rituals of popular demand). While the “inmost kernel” is the essential teachings of the philosophy, art is wrongly used to prop up all that which men place between themselves and this inner truth. Instead, the use of artistic expression must be used as an aid in achieving spiritual truth. While the notion of religion can not accurately be spoken about on the whole, the term, for this purpose, refers to man’s tendency to turn towards superficiality as a way of escaping the responsibility of true inward reflection. In the last sentence of this paragraph Wagner proposes that while the “deepest basis of every true religion” is meant for the understanding of the worlds illusory nature, the popular beliefs often contradict these original philosophical inquiries by placing importance on rituals and material miracles. The move towards spiritual sincerity is in the ripening of the self for the joining of the whole. Our art is our beginning to this.

The Sound of Movement

While personal identity is often held as an elevated concept to be strived after, it can sometimes be misconstrued and used towards the development of selfishness and bigotry. We as individuals must continuously define our unique nature but we sometimes need help finding commonality between ourselves. This constructed identity can sometimes be a hinderance to that.Nick-Cave

Nick Cave’s most notable contribution to the arts community, the Sound Suit, is a construction that bridges the genres of aural art, performance art (dance), sculpture, and fashion. About a month ago, I found myself driving to a Cave museum performance. My experience resembled a scene from Where the Wild Things Are, with

large monster like beings all dancing to club music as members of the audience started to join in. Children, teenagers and even seniors danced among the costumed performers. As I looked on it became clear that this wasn’t a performance, it was an interaction. There was no doubt or awkwardness but simply a passing of joy and freedom. The dancers in the Sound Suits ceased to be seen as people and became the character that they moved through. Nick Cave had succeeded in creating an atmosphere that legitimately brought imagination to reality.

Through Cave’s performances, we can explore community in a setting which encourages it with

Sound Suit

out the superfluous awkward circumstances that come through societal conventions. Ultimately, it cuts the shit out. For the individual within the suit, they themselves must enter a unique experience of aural and movement based expression.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound Suit interaction resembles the traditional dances of Native American tribes, which focus on community and spirituality. The unique sounds of the suits coupled with the enactment of spirits and heavy pulses creates an experience meant to remove the participants from every day reality in the attempt of more visceral communication.

 

 

 

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