The Music Of JC Harris

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet

JCHRants

A compendium of musings on music and this business we call show

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Computer.

Well, at least for making music. The sounds on Solid State Siren aren’t as cutting edge as we would’ve hoped. Shortcomings of music technology. Why paper and pencil makes for better music than any computer tools. StaffPad to the rescue. Roger CortonWay back when, before The Solid State Siren came out, you did a blog post where you talked about using old-school synthesizer sounds and really handcrafting patches. But except for a couple of songs that didn’t really turn out to be the case on the record. Any comment? JCHCaught red-handed. But that reminds me of another interesting Beethoven anecdote! RCOkay you promised you weren’t going to use the B word anymore. JCHI know. I’m messing with you. RCBut you’re going to do it anyway. JCHOf course. The thing that most interests me about Beethoven, even beyond the deafness and all the weird behaviors and so on, is that the guy who wrote piano music for a piano that didn’t exist. RCThe piano existed in Beethoven’s time. I saw Amadeus, dude! JCHYes it did but it was this thing that sounded really crappy like one of those portable electric keyboards at an airport lounge. Anyway even as a young guy, when he could still hear, he wrote music that just sounds dreadful when played on the kinds of instruments that were around at that time. The kinds […] [...]

Structure

The end of long-winded musicology for a while. Why almost all long-form music stinks, but Tales From Topographic Oceans isn’t as bad as you think. Roger CortonLast time we gassed on… JCHI gassed on… RCThat usually goes without saying. I was just being polite. Last time you gassed on about ‘structure’. And I asked why anyone should care. JCHSo I want to wrap up this general area of intercourse. RCYou mean discourse? JCHI know, but I like to throw in some childish shit… RCBecause it goes so well with all the pretentiousness? JCHRight. I went into all that jazz about Beethoven and all because, as I said last time, you always think what you’re interested in has general appeal. But regardless, the older I get the more I realize how terrible most music is. RCAll music? That’s ridiculous. Isn’t it? JCHI used to think back to all these old jazz guys who would say something like, “I stopped buying records in 1965.” I thought that was just part of ‘old age’. But I keep coming back to something everyone used to say about Lester Young. The idea that all his great solos ‘told a little story’. There would be a beginning, middle and end. That was something I always tried to do in my own playing… RCI’d say that’s true. I know we […] [...]

It’s Brutal

Can music be brutal anymore? Do we think differently in other languages? Jonathan Franzen. Beethoven wants to punish you, just like Larks Tongues In Aspic [...]

I’ll Get You Where You Want To Go

Valentines Day, but we’re talking about a lot of death instead. Phil Levine, David Carr. Richard Schurr. We pay tribute to a great teacher. Why music teachers matter. What makes a great teacher. Roger CortonHappy Valentine’s Day JCHIt doesn’t feel particularly Valentine-y today. In fact it’s been kind of weird this week. It’s been the week where a lot of vaguely related people passed away. RCVaguely related? JCHYeah you know that six degrees of separation thing? Well this is like a bunch of people at the fifth degree. For example, Richard Schurr, you know the NPR radio “Says You”. I was in the band a couple of times. He died. And so did Gerry Ríann. RCWho? JCHHe was one of the last great Se´n Nós singers (ed. note: Se´n Nós is traditional solo singing in the Irish. Many of the songs go back hundreds of years. The term literally means ‘old song’.) Gerry was like the Ralph Stanley of Ireland. I worked with him a few times. Then Phil Levine. RCPhilip Levine. The poet from Detroit. JCHAbsolutely. He went to high school with my uncle. What Work Is is fantastic. I can’t tell you how much that poem means to me. That’s the basis of Detroit The Opera. I get choked up thinking about that poem. And you know by now that I’m […] [...]

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