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Arcana: Musicians on Music

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Cultural Writing. Music. Through manifestos, scores, interviews, notes and critical papers, contributors to this in-depth anthology address composing, playing, improvising, teaching, and thinking in and through music. Rather than attempting to distill or define musician's work, ARCANA illuminates it with personal vision and experience. Cultural Writing. Music. Through manifestos, scores, interviews, notes and critical papers, contributors to this in-depth anthology address composing, playing, improvising, teaching, and thinking in and through music. Rather than attempting to distill or define musician's work, ARCANA illuminates it with personal vision and experience.


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Cultural Writing. Music. Through manifestos, scores, interviews, notes and critical papers, contributors to this in-depth anthology address composing, playing, improvising, teaching, and thinking in and through music. Rather than attempting to distill or define musician's work, ARCANA illuminates it with personal vision and experience. Cultural Writing. Music. Through manifestos, scores, interviews, notes and critical papers, contributors to this in-depth anthology address composing, playing, improvising, teaching, and thinking in and through music. Rather than attempting to distill or define musician's work, ARCANA illuminates it with personal vision and experience.

30 review for Arcana: Musicians on Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gåry!

    It's meticulous, it's dry, it brought a tear to my eye. These texts are for the seriously deranged opponent of conformity. It's meticulous, it's dry, it brought a tear to my eye. These texts are for the seriously deranged opponent of conformity.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tristan

    John Zorn is not that well known by your average music listener. The musicians he collaborates with and produces, or whom he offers to release under his label Tzadik, are more well known than the man himself. That said, he is a genius and a major influence on a diverse array of musicians from classical, through to metal. His compositions rank amongst the most profound musical experiences I have ever had. His ability to blur genre lines, and also his contribution to each genre is unparalleled in John Zorn is not that well known by your average music listener. The musicians he collaborates with and produces, or whom he offers to release under his label Tzadik, are more well known than the man himself. That said, he is a genius and a major influence on a diverse array of musicians from classical, through to metal. His compositions rank amongst the most profound musical experiences I have ever had. His ability to blur genre lines, and also his contribution to each genre is unparalleled in my opinion, and anyone truly passionate about music should take the long and winding road through the Tzadik catalogue. This collection of essays brings together some of Zorn's long time collaborators, including Mike Patton, Eyvind Kang, Marc Ribot, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith and Ikue Mori to name a few. Each musician is given the space to discuss and illuminate their thoughts on music. Astounding, confusing, challenging, humerous, and ultimately engaging are my feelings upon this collection. I would call the experience of reading these essays a re-education; by giving these eclectic individuals an opportunity to elucidate what music means to them, John Zorn has provided us with a link to the unknown, the juices that make musicians create. It has to be appreciated before entering this world that musicians are not necessarily great writers. Some of these essays are not technically well written nor do they try to be. Each essay is unique and propels you into the subconscious of the writer. Give it a go if you want a sneak peek into the madness that is the creation of music and be ready for a ride, be ready to throw out your preconceptions of what is to be a musician and what music is. This group of enigmatic folk have been and will continue to redefine music for years to come and they're worth listening to, and in this case reading.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David Scott

    This book is to lite reading what nuclear war is to Ghandi. Some pages are actual hand-written scores from the musicians involved in the book, showing examples of their non-conformist approach to composing. Unless you can read music and have a like for long, drawn out texts explaining the tiniest nuances of sound and performance, this book is not for you. For avant-garde musicians, though, this is the Bible, the Holy Grail, the introduction to the secret society of the forward-thinking composers This book is to lite reading what nuclear war is to Ghandi. Some pages are actual hand-written scores from the musicians involved in the book, showing examples of their non-conformist approach to composing. Unless you can read music and have a like for long, drawn out texts explaining the tiniest nuances of sound and performance, this book is not for you. For avant-garde musicians, though, this is the Bible, the Holy Grail, the introduction to the secret society of the forward-thinking composers of our time. I'm reading them all over again, starting with this one and purchasing the ones that I don't have yet (I didn't realize how quickly John Zorn started publishing these texts after the third one came out). One of the most useful parts of the book is the Recommended Listening section at the end. It highlights some important recordings from the past few decades that have mostly been ignored due to their departure from typical composition designs. Not for students learning to play the violin to satisfy their parents. Definitely for musical prodigies stricken with chronic individualism.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Some of the essays are fascinating glimpses into how artists of News York's so-called "downtown" scene think about and create their work while others in the collection are piles of self-indulgent babble. This combination of insight, theoretical arguments, pretentiousness, and humor make Arcana a representative cross-section of the scene it sets out to define. Some of the essays are fascinating glimpses into how artists of News York's so-called "downtown" scene think about and create their work while others in the collection are piles of self-indulgent babble. This combination of insight, theoretical arguments, pretentiousness, and humor make Arcana a representative cross-section of the scene it sets out to define.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John

    Very good so far. Each author contributes something completely different. For example, Scott Johnson has a long essay on aesthetics and Bill Frisell shows how he uses open strings on the guitar to create resonant melodies. Wide variety of stuff here.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    This is musicians writing about music. i found bill frisell's approach to guitar fingering interesting. i liked reading about the music scene in new haven. coltrane is in here. studying gagaku--japanese court music. it's broad. This is musicians writing about music. i found bill frisell's approach to guitar fingering interesting. i liked reading about the music scene in new haven. coltrane is in here. studying gagaku--japanese court music. it's broad.

  7. 5 out of 5

    TomBurgess

    Nice collection of a couple dozen composers/musicians' thoughts on the current state of 21st-century genre-defying music, either discussing it on the whole or what is specifically means to the writer. At least worth skimming, but pretty hit-and-miss depending what you're interested in. Includes interviews, tips for extended techniques, Coltrane analyses, voyeuristic notebook entries, ethnographic accounts, and a page-long Mike Patton rant - something for everyone tbh Nice collection of a couple dozen composers/musicians' thoughts on the current state of 21st-century genre-defying music, either discussing it on the whole or what is specifically means to the writer. At least worth skimming, but pretty hit-and-miss depending what you're interested in. Includes interviews, tips for extended techniques, Coltrane analyses, voyeuristic notebook entries, ethnographic accounts, and a page-long Mike Patton rant - something for everyone tbh

  8. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    I had very different expectations for this book, and I had for years. I was expecting an essay(or two) by John Zorn, rather than a brief (extremely) introduction and a list of images. There were some essays that were enjoyable, some that were informative, but, as a whole, I really don't understand the purpose of the book. The essays work at different purposes. I don't know what I was expecting, really. Some essays I'd read over and over again, get inspired by, take something from. Others were fr I had very different expectations for this book, and I had for years. I was expecting an essay(or two) by John Zorn, rather than a brief (extremely) introduction and a list of images. There were some essays that were enjoyable, some that were informative, but, as a whole, I really don't understand the purpose of the book. The essays work at different purposes. I don't know what I was expecting, really. Some essays I'd read over and over again, get inspired by, take something from. Others were frustratingly un-written.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    Some musicians write really well and some really don't. I am usually all for diversity, but you get the impression that some of these people would have never even of picked up a pen if Zorn hadn't persuaded them to do it, which is a shame because some of the bits in here are really interesting. I already own a copy of volume 2, so I shall give that a chance, I shouldn't think I will be reading volumes 3 & 4. Some musicians write really well and some really don't. I am usually all for diversity, but you get the impression that some of these people would have never even of picked up a pen if Zorn hadn't persuaded them to do it, which is a shame because some of the bits in here are really interesting. I already own a copy of volume 2, so I shall give that a chance, I shouldn't think I will be reading volumes 3 & 4.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    This book should have been a perfect fit for me, but in actuality reading it was a mixed pleasure. The writings vary wildly in style and quality. Some are genuinely interesting, some dry and technical, some painfully pedantic, and some just kind of dumb. Definitely contains some worthwhile gems, but Zorn's seemingly hands-off editing approach has resulted in a pretty scattershot collection. This book should have been a perfect fit for me, but in actuality reading it was a mixed pleasure. The writings vary wildly in style and quality. Some are genuinely interesting, some dry and technical, some painfully pedantic, and some just kind of dumb. Definitely contains some worthwhile gems, but Zorn's seemingly hands-off editing approach has resulted in a pretty scattershot collection.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence

    excellent, if dense, collection of interviews and essays with many important non-mainstream musicians

  12. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Olsen

    Terrific collection of essays and other writings. Reading this (as a non-musician) attuned my ear and mind in new ways to music.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sam Gill

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alan Clark

  15. 4 out of 5

    Valerie Resser

  16. 5 out of 5

    Wrojslav

  17. 5 out of 5

    Masta Lee

  18. 4 out of 5

    Grand

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Dolphin

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

  21. 4 out of 5

    Seth

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anverlyb

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Delamater

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  25. 4 out of 5

    David Ferreira

  26. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  27. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  28. 4 out of 5

    George

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gregoire

  30. 5 out of 5

    Luke Page

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