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  • DISCIPLINE: Listening to the Center-Most Minute

         I consider the works I've created to be collections of sounds, rather than songs or albums.  Although they certainly are songs and albums, I would like to think of each album as a book and each song as a chapter in that book. Subsequently, each verse could be a verse from that book, especially if it be a book of poems or a religious text. In the spirit of this idea, we reference lines of musical prose as if they are bible verses. Not only do I think of my work this way. But, I also think of the work of others' in this way. Furthermore, a live concert and an album have quite a bit in common. I do not listen to every note at a concert.  I accept the music, hoping and waiting passively to be compelled. The same can be said with my listening to songs and albums.

         There are very few songs that warrant listening from beginning to end, that lend each sound and word to the composition of a complete thought. This is not a criticism. For, it's not strange at all, considering how we communicate outside of the song-form. Indeed, there are very few conversations in which every word is crucial to the conveyance of the idea. And so, I accommodate this reality by addressing the sounds rather than the songs. I may listen to the center-most minute of a song and skip the beginning and the end. Perhaps, that part that I listened to contains my favorite recorded sounds in the world, and perhaps I don't know where to find those sounds in the natural world. For if I knew where to find those sounds in the natural world, why would I listen to a recording of a human mimicking the sound?

         This outlook does not allow for a competition for the best song. In fact, having an honest discourse with music disqualifies music from being an activity based in pleasure altogether. For, an indulgence in pleasure only leads to the corruption of the spirit. And so, it isn't only that we should make our recordings useful, that we should provide a higher purpose of sincerity to our music. We should also make our listening useful, providing a higher purpose of sincerity there, as well.