Friday, November 6, 2009

The new book, Arcana IV, has been released. This is the fourth volume of the series Arcana: Musicians on Music, conceived and edited by John Zorn.

Last year John was nice enough to ask me to contribute something to this installment. After wracking my brain for a while, I decide to write an essay called Why Glass?. I attempt to answer the question of why I have devoted myself to glass as the prime physical material in my acoustic work, as well as the main sound source for much of my electronic work.

Here is an excerpt from my essay:

As we all know, glass does indeed break. That in itself is part of its charm and part of the adventure. It’s also one reason glass is particularly well suited to improvised and otherwise aleatoric music. It does break, but you cannot count on it doing so (unless a hammer is used, of course). The few times I have tried to break things on cue, they have stubbornly refused to do so. That is why after all this time I am still always surprised when something does break. The material seems to have a mind of its own. One of the benefits of using glass in the less regulated kinds of music is that when one instrument does break, there are then two or more new instruments. Instrumental mitosis! All the way until the smallest shards are used for glass maracas.

This volume also contains wonderful writings by Derek Bailey, Paul Dresher, Shelley Hirsch, James Fei, and many others. Hopefully you can find it in your local bookstore. If not, go here, or here.

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