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re: flame war

You know, as much as I have been trying to ignore this thing and wait for it to pass over, I couldn't help but comment about some of the dichotomies that seem to have driven this whole thing.

Regarding the topics of the educated/indoctrinated versus the uneducated/amateur, as well as that of unadulterated "musical virtue" versus a "reliance" upon technology, I am reminded of my close friend Durf. He is a terifically amateur musician (he can play guitar-- mostly power chords and simple bar chords-- and for a while his main method of playing the keyboards was to "only play the white keys") and yet a wonderful composer. He makes music on an audio editing program called Sound Edit, which for those of you who are familiar with this type of interface, is not really designed for producing music, and if at all, certainly not from scratch. But he does just that, in fact, utilizing sort of looping modalities. After years of working with the program, and a lot of tenacity, he is to the point where he can make really wonderful unclassifiable music, almost like a patchwork quilt. He uses a lot of household objects as sound sources, an manipulates them in various ways. On his last album, all of the drum sounds were made using cardboard boxes, pots and pans, ballpoint pens, and the drums are, if not realistic, very full and striking.

His music has some pretty esoteric underpinnings, I think. Stuff like the relation between the micro and macroscopic, properties of resonance, etc.

Anyway, I don't want to get too deeply into this topic, nor do I want to add fuel to the fire. I just think perhaps such dichotomies, while useful as analytical tools, are constraining when reified. Someone like Durf helps to illustrate how a person who is "amateur" and "reliant on technology" in one respect, can also be a kind of "master" whose technology leads him to an understanding at least equal to, perhaps greater, than that he might have attained through more conventional means: like learning to play both the black and the white keys on the piano.

I'd like to conclude by noting a truism that I've found time and time again useful: opposites are similar. The most politically conservative and the most politically liberal/progressive share the most in common ideologically. They also have the least control over the political infrastructure. Perhaps try applying that to the aforementioned dichotomies and see what you come up with.

In the meantime, I look forward to some useful and flame-free postings.


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