music made of reactions

Invisible Hands of Music

Marc Weidenbaum, of Disquiet.com and the Disquiet Junto, recently posted this lovely piece of self-perpetuating ambient music that he came across on the Weekly Beats website. Weidenbaum posted this under the title “The Invisible Hand of Music.”



This reminded me of other ways invisible hands can make music, including the hands that write music after John Cage succeeded in “suppressing the composer’s will,” and the hand that writes what Steve Reich’s called “process music” (this piece strikes me as a spiritual sibling to process music, even though it sounds nothing like Reich’s music).

Reich said of his “process music:”

I am interested in perceptible processes. I want to be able to hear the process
happening throughout the sounding music.
To facilitate closely detailed listening a musical process should happen extremely
gradually.
Performing and listening to a gradual musical process resembles:
pulling back a swing, releasing it, and observing it gradually come to rest;
turning over an hour glass and watching the sand slowly run through the bottom;
placing your feet in the sand by the ocean’s edge and watching, feeling, and listening
to the waves gradually bury them.

Little-Scale’s synthesizer music reminds me a bit of Reich’s Pendulum Music…

…except that within Little-Scale’s modular synthesizer rig, there are a LOT of invisible, conceptual microphones swinging back and forth, capturing different sounds and interacting with each other.

It also reminds me a bit of what I know of Javanese Gamelan music…that you can think of it as a moment of hearing and paying to attention to part of a cycle that is always going on around us.

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