June / July Perfect Sound Forever is Out

Source: Perfect Sound Forever.

How composers overcome it

“Students of creativity face a version of the so-called file-drawer problem: Artists tend to share the works they find successful, not the ones that they consider failed. That’s as it should be, of course. But there is probably as much to be learned about creativity from looking at when it fails as when it succeeds. Why does some music end up not in the ears of listeners but in the dustbin, or perhaps never leaving the mind of the creator in the first place? To approach this topic, I reached out to a number of composers and performers to hear if they would share something about parts of their creative process that went nowhere.”

Electro-acoustic composer does ‘fumbletronics’

“Oliver Doerell is part of a scene of German ‘fumbletronics,’ who grew out of Berlin’s early ’90’s squatting scene. He grew up in Brussels, playing guitar in a trio, writing traditional songs. But all that changed when he moved to Berlin. There, he became a musician and he created a career of his own, writing for ballet or radio-plays. Today he says: “I really can’t do anything else.” But with what he does, he merges together a lot of different streams in today’s music, fusing electronics with field recordings and adds different instruments from all kinds of sources to his compositions.”

How to succeed at ‘Failing’?

“‘…I am required to read a long text while playing music written above the text. The text must be read out loud at a more or less normal pace and I must not allow the music to slow me down…’ The quote is from “Failing: A Very Difficult Piece for Solo String Bass” by composer Tom Johnson. The title minces no words: it is a difficult piece to perform. The performer must keep up a running narrative while playing increasingly difficult, highly chromatic music on the double bass; the instructions specify that both spoken and instrumental parts must be properly synchronized and accurately played. Failing that, the piece fails. Or does it?”