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Showing posts from September, 2019

What's So Special About Contact Improvisation?

[This is a rough draft that I am developing.]

I help keep the DC weekly and ECJ biannual Contact Improvisation (CI) jams going, in order to be able to continue regular CI practice. I frequently find myself musing (and mentioning to others (-: ) that I don't want to do without it - I don't think there's anything comparably satisfying. I'm also someone who finds it helpful to be able to describe what's essential in order to do something well, and I've been working on doing that with CI for years. I think I've finally got the basics of a description that's adequate - that contains the essential aspects. I'm releasing this draft before being quite done with it in the interest of sharing it and getting input that might help me move it forwards - open sourcing it.

Here's my framing:

CI is a game where you explore and develop the extent to which you can move cooperatively with others
What's so good about that?

As our daily lives continue to become in…

Artistry and Virtuosity

A buddy and I have been thrilled with artists - in our current discussions, musicians - who specifically bring juice to their art, as well as virtuosity, rather than losing it in the quest for virtuosity.

(Brian Eno is one example of this who stands out the most for me, in the realm of music. As essentially a synthesist, and one who came to music without any rigorous training at all, he managed to develop and propagate new sensibilities, and his virtuosity seems to be the art of composition, itself. Some other examples in the progressive rock vein are David Byrne, King Crimson, even Paul Simon...)

In a Guitar World interview with the guitarist from one of my favorite groups, Adam Jones of the progressive metal band Tool, he touched on this issue in what seems to me to be an exquisitely distilled rendering:
"For a guitar player - regardless of what your level is - it’s about doing what you can do and trying to do it well instead of worrying about how someone else does it. I think …