“Stop thinking about art works as objects, and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences.”
Music pioneer Brian Eno on the essence of art in excerpts from his diary
“No amount of effort can save you from oblivion.”
A rare glimpse inside Kurt Cobain’s handwritten letters and journals:
“Each era finds something new to return to; things that seemed out of date have a way of coming back in new forms, and revealing aspects of themselves we might not have noticed before.”
Beck revives the romance of sheet music with 26 illustrated songs:
“It is the artist’s task, through offering his best and most carefully prepared achievements, to educate the public, to ennoble it.”
This remarkable and beautifully illustrated 1902 guide to singing by German opera superstar Lilli Lehmann doubles as a thoughtful meditation on the art of learning in general.
The science of why the wail of the baby Universe sounded like muffled highway traffic.
“Presuming that there is such a thing as ‘progress’ when it comes to music is typical of the high self-regard of those who live in the present. It is a myth. Creativity doesn’t ‘improve.’”
The legendary Talking Head presents a fascinating counter-intuitive theory of creativity, based on a lifetime of making and thinking about music.
“What can be analyzed in my work, or criticized, are the questions.” ~ John Cage
A remarkable new intellectual, creative, and spiritual biography of Cage — one of the most influential composers in modern history, whose impact reaches beyond the realm of music and into art, literature, cinema, and just about every other aesthetic and conceptual expression of curiosity about the world, yet also one of history’s most misunderstood artists — fifteen years in the making.
Italian Futurist painter and composer Luigi Russolo (1885-1947), best-known for authoring the 1913 manifesto The Art of Noises (public library) and regarded as the first noise artist, is the father of the first systematic poetics of noise. He Russolo played a crucial role in the evolution of 20th-century musical aesthetics and influenced such music icons as Edgar Varese, Pierre Schaeffer, and John Cage. He was also one of the first theorists of electronic music and is even considered by some the inventor of the synthesizer. Yet despite enormous interest in his work, Russolo’s life remained largely unexamined — until now.
Here, composer and San Francisco Conservatory music history professor Luciano Chessa reconstructs Russolo’s life through ambitious archival research, uncovering and digesting esoteric and obscure texts to reverse-engineer how the artist’s eccentric interests influenced his creative output — namely an interest in the supernatural and, more specifically, in the occult.
From this vintage gem, an outline of the seven essential skills of perceptive listening, which author and composer Elliott Schwartz argues have been “dulled by our built-in twentieth-century habit of tuning out” and thus need to be actively developed.
Perhaps most interestingly, you can substitute “reading” for “listening” and “writing” for “music,” and the list would be just as valuable and insightful, and just as needed an antidote to the dulling of our modern modes of information consumption.
List at the link.
NPR and Rolling Stone music and pop culture journalist Will Hermes takes a fascinating “telescopic, panoramic, superhero” lens to what happened in the period between 1973 and 1978 that shaped the course of contemporary culture and popular music in a book about “people taking the lousy hands they’d been dealt and dreaming them into music of great consequence.”
A neuroscientist debunks the myth of a “music instinct” and learns to play – a fascinating journey into the limits of human reinvention.
This is a stunning vintage illustrated children’s book from 1971 by Margaret Sutton, best-known for herJudy Bolton mysteries. It tells the story of The Beatles, from their humble Liverpool beginnings to meeting the Queen to the British invasion of America, blending the bold visual language of mid-century graphic design with the vibrant colors of pop art.
More than a charming way to explain who The Beatles were to a kid, We Love You, Beatles is a wonderful and visually gripping piece of cultural ephemera from a turning point in the history of both popular music and popular art.