WTF is music, anyway?


I’ve been on a bit of a mad journey over the last year or so, when it comes to my musical process and output. In fact, I decided to scrap everything and start again.

With that in mind, I decided to string together some musings on creativity, process and the industry, into a semi-cohesive rant on Medium. I don’t write much, but I quite enjoyed writing this, so would be interested to know what you all think.


Man, you picked the right night to ask this question- I have this little diddy that I made with the DT/DN that I just did voiceover spoken word stuff on basically making fun of myself for trying to make something pretty.

Music, eh, I could take it or leave it at this point. I didn’t truly fall in love with the Digitone until I could make atonal sounds out of it



But man, who am I?


Are we dead?


Vibrations that hit our ear bones and get pushed into the supercomputer in our heads, for processing.



Music is beautiful. It is one of my greatest passions and it is a big part of my life. Music can be anything. Any type of pitched or unpitched rhythm or melody meant to convey an idea or message. But lately I’ve been thinking about how music is innately human. Music cannot exist outside our atmosphere because space is a vacuum hence, no air through which vibrations can travel. And, arguably, no other being to hear it. So this makes it unique to earthlings. In fact, music or sound for that matter requires not only ears but a nervous system that is tuned specifically to process it. Air vibrations travel through our eardrums and are transferred to electrical impulses by special nerve fibers in our auditory system (I work in audiology). It’s entirely possible that music as we know it only exists in our minds. It may sound completely different to another organism, like a dog or cat. In fact we know that other animals have vision and hearing outside the human range, so the music they hear may be wildly different. Oh and I know we aren’t dead because I am still making music which is not allowed in the afterlife, wherever we end up going.


Whenever I get stuck in this restless creative mindset I go and listen to Autechre for 8 hours straight.
This reminds me of my place in the game and I go back to whatever generic, derivative shit I was making before, happy in the knowledge that anything objectively more interesting or original is beyond both my capabilities and my patience.
This is all just a hobby for me though, so I’m neither required or even particularly interested in creating anything musically interesting.

I follow the mantra forced on the UK gambling industry.

When the fun stops, stop.


That’s fair. I’m fine with doing the parts that aren’t fun if they result in something meaningful at the end. In fact, that’s the goal for me right now - I want it to be fun, but I also want it to have a tangible output.


What isn’t music?


Maybe you need to be clearer with yourself from the start about what exact output it is you want.
Messing around with fun ideas is ok for a while, but becomes a frustrating distraction eventually if it’s not all part of a drive towards a defined end product.

When talking about such things as parameters and process in defining music (including the importance of limitations) my mind always wonders back to 4’33 by John Cage. The parameters are clearly defined; you need at least one musician, at least one instrument and, most importantly, an audience. The process is also very simple and very much defined by the ultimate in limitation, that not a note is played for the entire performance.
If you’ve never seen a performance of 4’33 I recommend it, as it cements in your mind the true meaning of when John Cage said,

“Everything we do is music.”


Music is love.


there are many people, that would claim Autechre isn’t music anyway :slight_smile:


Then they should listen to Merzbow for some much needed perspective.


Great read , funny too :slight_smile:


when someone asks me what i’m listening to, i always answer:
— sound waves oscillation with low frequency modulations.


Just listened to Merzbow. Perspective acquired.


“What year is this?!” :slight_smile:

In short, music is the sound of truth.



music is anything you want it to be