• Prince singing “17 Days,” from Piano & A Microphone 1983. His time is so good, it sounds like there's a rhythm section when he's playing by himself. Phantom band.
• Place as storytelling.
• “The deleting of the accounts is a way to create a public space outside of the addiction sphere.”
• Taku Sugimoto: Short Pieces for solo guitar (2018). “Don’t break your tenderness.”
• Speculative definition of genre: topology of musical spaces that share certain assumptions about the nature of virtuosity and the social roles of participation and spectation.
It’s just endlessly interesting to me that some weird music happens at the university, some happens at art galleries, some happens in bars, and some happens in High Life-scented basements with stairways about to collapse, and all of the music, divorced of social context and presentational rituals, all of it in a blind taste test would be equally alienating to most of the people I grew up with, but there is almost no social overlap between these spaces or the people who make and listen to music there.
I learned to distrust professionalism, as a value around music composition and creative effort in general. But since I’ve been playing and collaborating more widely, I’ve come back to it as an important concept. Steven Pressfield’s formulation was influential. You do seem to encounter people who have not, in the Pressfield manner of speaking, turned pro, and you find them frustrating. A person can turn pro at being a mad seeker and shaman, but they’ve still got to turn pro. In fact there is probably such thing as turning pro at being an amateur. (I’m remembering the friend who wanted to make a business card that said “Enthusiast.”) We all choose our own wildness. The question is whether you’ve taken time to face that wildness, understand it, accept it, assimilate it.
I’ve just sent a new installment, volume 18, of my email newsletter Sonatas and Interludes. You can subscribe and read the letter, including back issues, here. Generally acclaimed and not at all regular. Hear what I think about trails of central Oregon and the geological writings of John McPhee. The Battenkill is plugged; supercontinents are enumerated.
I’ll repeat one float here, which is: I’m thinking about a house concert tour in summer or early fall of 2019. These would be donation-based concerts, Luke-and-guitar type events, which would take place at no cost to the host. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make these events successful, and I have a specific model in mind. Do you want to host a house concert? Drop me a line.
Hey, you know what else? My Kyser capo lost a piece of rubber recently, after twenty years (!) of service. I sent it to Kyser, and they fixed it up for me and sent it right back with a handwritten note. Ace customer service, Kyser. The only capo I've ever owned and the only one I'll buy going forward.
10 Best of 2014
January: Wyoming and the Open
February: New Mexico and the Holes
Notes on The Accounts