Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This Night

On any evening, listen, and hear.

Discriminate between the sounds of culture and the sound of atmospheric events.  Find the dividing line that separates the auditory imagery of the surroundings from that of media and music.

Each tells a different story.  One is potentially true.  The other is always true.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Clearing III

Things plain and unadorned, like those immeasurably complex, may be beyond comprehension.

Just as there are rare objects and events, rare combinations of sounds may be brought into being.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Simple Thought

Allow experience to unravel, winding its way.

This is a way of listening, and a way of composing as well.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Listening, and Hearing, in Flux

One listens outward and into the surroundings.

Even so, outward perceptions are colored within-- by knowledge, experience, and emotion.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Aural Encounters

Percipience of sounds in the course of moving through various environments is not the same as listening to music.  

This is a simple fact, and as such, it is not given any attention.  One might assume that listening to the sounds of most environments would not be as interesting as listening to music, and that will often be the case.  Yet it is not the particular sounds that we are concerned with here, but the differences in the ways in which the one is produced by events within the atmosphere and the other according to intent and instrumentation, because the effects of each are entirely different.  The act of listening to any piece of music, whether a pop song. a classical piece, or a performance by a jazz combo, combines both expectation and attention on the part of the listener.  We create entirely different scenarios.

The musical works of Black Mountain School are designed to be a part of the listening environment by reflection and representation of the ways in which sounds come into being in the organic sense, as part of the reality of a setting, to be experienced in the same ways as the surroundings are perceived in the course of the day, but with the additional element of aesthetic design that enlivens the sonic environs.  The resulting experience is totally unlike that of "listening to music", as it is based upon divergent principles, theories and techniques, developed to sustain beauty and interest and to intensify total effect.  In point of fact, no other ensemble composes and produces works revealing the art of sound in ways utilizing these ideas and methods in the same manner as does Black Mountain School, as their unique recordings amply demonstrate.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Past, Hot and Cold

Generic music styles run their course, are lauded in retrospect, and decline.

While virtuoso performers are always welcome, the music with which they are associated, having exhausted its original excitement, tends toward falsity, hollow meaning, and repetition in various guises, from the ironic to the improbably dramatic.

Then, listener and composer must gain the ground of integrity, or give way to the mediocre and mundane.  Thus, find the essential nature of the creative will.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Calm and Clear

Consider what is and what might be.

Look back with understanding, look forward with curiosity.  Listen, and hear.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Crossing Through

The nature of sound art encompasses percipient hearing and variable depths of experience.

On balance, objective auditory vibrations and designs commingle with subjective knowledge, feeling, and memory. Within these fields composer and listener communicate, heedless of the course of time, unfettered by limits of space.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Unreal Distances

One cannot be both here and there.

Contemporary subjection to immediacy demands engaging in continuous direct involvement with all forms of technological representations, and imposes vicarious participation in cultural events at the expense of direct perception.  Attention is divided, communication loses purpose.

Technologies are tools of expression; viewed wrongly, they become its shackles.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Reason in Light

Contemplative states of consciousness lead to insights and intuitive, creative problem-solving.

This is an undisputed fact, but one given little regard in the course of commonplace events.  One has not other course than to move forward, and that is to say, against the current of contemporary ideas and values.  For artist and composer, this demands integrity, and, for the most part, silence.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Missing Impressions

One sees action, another sees color, and still another percipient sees art, or notes its absence.

Clearly, one may listen in the same manner, hearing and recognizing according to perspective, knowledge, experience and temperament.

The senses cannot reveal what viewpoint, attitude, and feeling do not encompass.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Unfettered access to culture can foster the delusion that all expression possible exists now.

It is only among the utterly benighted that such abominable beliefs obtain. Renewal is as constant as the rise and fall of all things, and that which is thoroughly new falls late within the scope of the cultural "maven".

Friday, December 19, 2014


Art will not be reduced to monetary value. This is merely price, high or low.

Greater values are life and human freedom; neither can they be so reduced.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

With Reason

The Wise One wrote down his wisdom, and rode away from the city gates.

Meet every human need, and still it is not enough. It will never be enough.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


It cannot be experienced until it is comprehended.

It cannot be comprehended until it is experienced.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Art Remains

Atmospheres are as subtle and interesting as the percipient is capable of understanding them.

The culture may indeed experience a failure of moral reason on a vast scale, and ultimately reach a nadir of emotional and intellectual vapidity of expression.

Nonetheless, the artist is tasked with a profound indifference, one equal to a singular vision.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ornament and Illumination

Cast aside all ideas of music.

Consider sounds as elements of an art form that may be taken as purely decorative, yet possessing qualities of exceptional emotional, intellectual, and spiritual value, that, given their impressions upon the listener, might be considered instructive.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Expanding Moment

As events unfold, some are imposed upon the attention and others are arbitrarily ignored.

Intrinsic to these events are sounds in myriad proportions, rhythms other than the commonplace, and a broad spectrum of perceptions that are, for the greatest part, dismissed as having no relevance to the generally accepted narratives of life.

This does not render such events any less real, or any less valuable as an artist's creative resources.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Go By, Strange and Commonplace

Contemporary expectations are predictable, as they reliably call for more of the present sameness.

This is but one reason among many why, in cultural terms, the modern remains at cross-purposes with the contemporary. The modern perspective proceeds apace, speculatively seeking developments that bring the future to bear on the present.  The contemporary viewpoint is in the moment, which is to say, as unenlightened and grasping as history records and reveals in any epoch, with the so-called post-modern as its function of nugatory semantic posturing.  That which is clever is interesting for what it is, but what it is not is meaningful and consequential.

This has everything to do with music and the art of sound.  It is the composer's responsibility to be informed as to whether the work reaches those who listen, and hear, or simply falls upon deaf ears.

Friday, December 12, 2014


Every composition begins with apparent perception of movement.

Begin in medias res. Allow the movement to reveal time present and time future simultaneously.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Night is Black and Sounds Like These

One accustomed to the absurd fails to observe the depth of simplicity.

If a simple visual metaphor representing an idea as plain and unadorned as an uphill climb or a reflection suggesting balance makes no impression, one need not expect a musical or auditory metaphor to be grasped.  Such is the extent to which the artist will continually be challenged.

But if such things were of any moment to any artist, nothing at all would be created.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Sound Like Water

There is an essential balance in art, and especially in the art of sound.

Obviously this is not true of music, per se, in which this balance is continually and intentionally undone, often in violent ways through dynamics, volume, poorly rendered themes, and emotional bombast.

The art of sound, from our perspective, is that of aural imagery, its tones, colors, shading, and phases, its flow and variations, and all those elements that lead to equilibrium of force and feeling.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Cold Eye

Take a critical view, distant from collective thought, emotion, and impulse.

But this places one at a distance from sensationalism and so-called controversy, that is to say, in the realms of reason, restraint, and equanimity, at a far remove from the public imagination and interest, such as it is.

Nonetheless, such things as clarity, integrity, cultural continuity and essential artistic expression demand it.  No small things, these.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Prevailing Atmospheres

The contemporary, for some little time now, is characterized by pointless chaos; what is given, for the most part, to be common culture, is, in fact, detritus.

This is the consequence of error, of a commonly held belief that indiscriminate, unthinking activity is the norm throughout the culture, and that any other attitude is untenable in a random universe. But it is transparent, shallow posturing, promoting and promoted by a sense of passivity and collective self-absorption.  One subject to such attitudes is continually manipulated through propaganda in various forms of information and entertainment.  Simply put, it is the error of ignoring cause and effect.

Like ideas, artistic works do not merely happen spontaneously.  They are conceived, attended to, cultivated, and brought into being through conscious processes as well as creative impulses. To expect otherwise is to be deluded, disappointed, and culturally impoverished.

Think, and do so freely, unimpeded by the mediocre and mundane. Act and create accordingly.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Cut Cubist Paste

Space and time are malleable to the sound artist.

Things are happening there now that have already happened later here.  This is a recording,

Friday, December 05, 2014

Yes, to Fire

The absurd gesture does not exist in nature.

It is only the ego that demands satisfaction at any price, any cost.  Such a representation obtains only in forms of infantile, benighted, human failings.  Reality produces myriad sounds, yet none are absurd.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Contrasting Movements

Simplicity is development toward the opposite of what is expected.

Complexity is the result of a series of choices leading to outcomes beyond expectations altogether.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Course of Flux

In these compositions, sound waves move and are manipulated toward aesthetic ends.

These sonic events reach fruition according to diverse aspects of their natures as well as the specifics of the composer's intent.  As each outcome takes place as a complete element, and contributes to the whole in complexity as a series of interrelated phenomena, it is analogous to the idea that one never crosses the same river twice.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Spatial Perspective

Encounter and absorb real auditory information within real environments.

Turn this process, rather than those associated with musical arrangements, into an organizational prototype for composition of sound.  The result is a tangible atmosphere developing in flux as aural imagery surrounding the percipient, whether listener or composer.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Force, Application, Outcome

As to art, value is not creative impulse, but final expression and its experience.

Between these lie idea, feel, medium, method, and articulation, with their complexities.  Color, sound, shading, contrast, and stylization of elements, whether released or restrained, move always toward a final act of revealing, and this is simple.  It is total effect.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Around, Within

Neglect to listen, and sounds grow dim, sensibilities dull.

Give heed to perceptions of the surroundings, and the inner world expands.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Incipient Insight

Long-standing interpretations of the idea of advancement in the arts and sciences typically center around existing standards and related innovations.

Limiting the musical imagination to development and refinement of preexisting designs and models results in stultification, that is to say, the typical sounds of the contemporary in the second decade of the twenty-first century.  But these sounds are not congruent with the imagination of the modern.

The modern plunges forward with time past, drawing in time future.  This application of the idea of progress means to bring into being what will, in fact, exist.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turning, Rising, Reaching

Contemporary culture is little concerned with the contemplative.

Yet the contemporary cultural narrative continually suggests that the life that is lived best is lived "unselfconsciously", and "in the moment".

Regardless, every moment spent in reflection and contemplation is its own reward, and more, freely grants an equanimity and clarity of reason that transcends the merely immediate.

Thus the purpose of all these works by Black Mountain School, and we extend the reader and listener our gratitude.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Consciousness of the Unusual

Informed by technology, consider the social and cultural imagination of the day.

Informed by direct perception, experience, and the wisdom of ages. consider imagination itself.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Continuum and Flux

Sound is meaningless until it approaches and engages perception.

Seize sound. Seize knowledge, history, freedom, experience.  In doing so, seize the art of being.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Neither Art, Nor Life

Shadows, in and of themselves, are not expressions.

One cannot experience reality by viewing it solely in terms of media.  This is a superficial appearance, whether found on the wall of a cave in flickering firelight or in high definition and one hundred feet tall.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Where, Then

Though rich in technology, contemporary culture is hobbled by collective predictability.

From the perspective of the historical Modern, the dearth of imagination, aggravated by the social and political stances against individualistic expression, explains the condition everywhere visible.

The solution, as always, is resistance and assertiveness on the personal level. The artist stands alone.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Genius is no more than the creative being of the individual.

In oppressive times, it waits; without opportunity, it makes possibilities; with nothing, it fills the void.

Always it projects questions into the space of the mind where restraints cannot take hold.

Everyone can do these things.  A few will.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Ethereal and the Unexpected

Superficially, one hears style-- rhythm, percussion, instrumentation-- thus, music.

But, in terms of sound as aural phenomena, this is but an infinitesimal, though delusively ubiquitous, set of elements.  Those who perceive with vigor understand that the value of such things as texture, color, shading of tone, evolution of auditory imagery and nuance of movement, to cite a few obvious examples, vastly exceeds the quality of interest generated by bland repeated patterns (and puerile bombast) common to generic music, even in the widest diversity of its manifestations.

Rather much is made of the idea that "the internet" constitutes a watershed event in human culture and consciousness, and no doubt it is so as a medium of communication.  Consider, instead, the idea of cultural content surpassing that heretofore experienced, to the same degree that the digital domain surpasses that of the dominion of the printing press.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Borrowed Time

Perhaps machines will think for someone, but they will not think for me.

From the simplest to the most sophisticated creative problem, it is the artist who chooses to apply method and means to the solution. Whether the choice is a hands-on approach or one requiring the most conceptually obtuse digitally-facilitated engagement, it is consciousness that perceives, that imagines, and that impels the creative act.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Course of Culture

History and the moment now continually impact time future.

Simply put, the origins of present knowledge are indicators of possibilities. There will always be sound for dance and diversion, yet sound turned toward art is in perpetual flux, out of which comes constant evolution according to any responsive artist's perspective.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Curvature of Sound

Listening is as much an art as composing, sharing the same fundamental goals.

Change is essential in the rise and fall of things. The bright grows dim, the shadows fall back into light. Sounds traverse long distances through time and space to reach the inner ear.  And over this course of change, meanings and understandings are altered until, ultimately, nothing is as it once was.

Within a lifetime, the listener will hear this come to pass. It is perceptible, and irreversible, even now.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Advance, Thrive

Set aside ideas regarding convergent and divergent thinking as distinct but complementary.

This is not to wander in the wilderness, but rather to craft individual perspective. Consciousness exists outside of cultural mechanisms that stubbornly define and divide "Us" and "Them".

Complexity of thought is needlessly burdened by subjection to one diktat or another in pursuit of original integrity of expression, and the artist who is capable of doing so will consciously choose between lifting a uniquely personal torch or shouldering one borne by many.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Clear Acuity

Sound, taken for granted, loses perceptibility, and the edges of consciousness are dulled.

Music becomes trite; voices are no longer laden with implication. Yet, while sensitivity to nuance may be lost, it may also be revived.

What is typically called silence is filled with sound.  Listen through the appearance of silence and the spark of auditory perception illuminates with vibration.  This is hearing with the inner ear.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dogma and Curiousity

Progress is characterized by the development of extant ideas and methodologies.

This is certainly the case with music. And conversely, there is regression and decline.

Yet some will listen, and hear, sound in different ways altogether, setting alternative ideas in motion that reflect not only peculiar perceptions and sensibilities, but artistic purpose and aesthetic vision.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Something in the Air

Compose according to the ways atmospheres are perceived.

Listen in the presence of time past, attend the unfolding of aural images through the moment now; hear with the inner ear as distance toward time future diminishes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Distant and Near

Turn an ear toward the simple and beautiful.

Imagine it evolving complexity, through touch that illuminates.