Others on Ben:
("The music feels like a livelier Morton Feldmon, however, Zucker is creating his own sound...")
("With shades of the seminal Bitches Brew and modern avant-gardists like Tomasz Stanko, Zucker’s work is a testament to the power of restraint and arrangement.)
("...there’s an immensely contemplative nature to this music, and that quality alone is produced with sufficient strength to result in music made perfect for quiet moments in quiet rooms.)
("Its slowness, the eery interaction and the shifting focus between foreground and background sounds give the feeling of foreboding and dread.)
(Great experimental music radio in Sonoma Country, CA, has featured both Confluere and o ur gab.)
("...you’re going to appreciate the warm embrace of its unassuming truthfulness.")
("Zucker’s music speaks – or rather, doesn’t – to the power of permitting the mouth to essentially adopt a state of autonomy from the body and mind, unmoored from the obligation to communicate to anyone, creator included.")
("...the result is a spacious fusion of jazz and electronics that slowly unfurls with a measured tempo full of grace and elegance.")
("The master of improvisation...can relay his emotions clearly, into a musical reality he shapes surreal in the track...”)
("...these flights of stereo-panning chordal clusters, 4-on-the-floor beat invite us into a fully formed musical world where Zucker's ideas play themselves out in rich, pulsing expansions and heavily edited fragments stitched togehter to make one of my favorite stand alone singles I've heard all year.")
("Neither /N/Nor/N is simple in both materials and structure, yet it proved to be the perfect canvas upon which sonic illusions could be released by the imagination.")
("Buzzing nano-swarms morph into keening elephantine choirs, then into glowering, vaporous thunder, and so on in constant, slo-mo evolution...
Key to this is the unhurried, naturalistic way in which Zucker shepherds his army of ghost players through these transitions.")
("...the piece is a haunting trumpet solo, sculpted into an 36 minute ambient gem.")
("...like the Rite Of Spring slowed down to absolute zero and framing a heavenly progression of events.")
("Dense structures moving through sharp and piercing sonic planes...")
(A full-length interview and album preview!)
(Honorable Mention, Best of the First Half of 2020)
(One of 'Three Composers You Have To Listen To': "...reactive and involved, which is really refreshing and welcome.")
("Certainly an album worth seeking out if you’re a fan of improvisational jazz, Zucker and company put a very artistic touch on the listen that defies classification, transcends time and fascinates from beginning to end.")
("Excellent experimental jazz...most highly recommended")
("remarkable experimental/improvisational ensemble debut...creating fascinating off the beaten path musical conversations")
Ben on Others:
(Published in Pyxis, Wesleyan's humanities journal, on Theatre Is Evil and fandom as an alternative economics.)
(My undergrad thesis, using Nicolas Bourriaud, amongst others, to talk about Manfred Werder's 2005/1, amongst others.)
("Some may deride Smith’s brand of “smooth jazz”, but in this context it was clear that the style can be as nuanced as those adored by purists. He and Hot Orange are a symbiotic match, and bring out the best in each other.")
("The concerts on Sunday and Tuesday lasted over three hours; they weren't easy, but they prompted salient experiences...")
(Presentation given at NUNC! 4, April 2021)
Others on Others
(A Virtual Commonplace Book):
I say it’s time to attempt fulfilling our mandate as artists here on Earth. I say we work on finding or developing an Underground Railroad that will help people escape, through metaphysical tunnels we construct, this mundane plane of existence. You want to be a defiant member of society? Try defying the laws of nature. Talk about a police state! Clawing for grants and gigs and stature is just playing into the trap. The smug life didn’t choose you. It’s the lowest level. Lower than the lowest level because we are totally misusing our gifts. We are the tricksters, the wizards, the true magicians. And the would-be shamans and healers.
There is a huge difference between making work inspired by the Divine, making work that reminds one of the Divine, and actually manifesting the Divine. We don’t need faint echoes or foggy mirrors. We need the direct current. We need all lines of communication opened between us and the Universe. We need to break out of here and bring as many along with us as possible. We need to find the resonant frequencies that will crack the walls. The melodies that will pick the locks. The colors and shapes and words and actions that will melt down the barriers and transduce our molecules and take us to the other side.
TO FEEL everything in every way,
To hold all opinions,
To be sincere contradicting oneself every minute,
To annoy oneself with absolute open-mindedness,
And to love things just like God.
The world only began to get something of value from me the moment I stopped being a serious member of society and became—myself. The State, the nation, the united nations of the world, were nothing but one great aggregation of individuals who repeated the mistakes of their forefathers. They were caught in the wheel from birth and they kept at it until death—and this treadmill they tried to dignify by calling it "life." If you asked anyone to explain or define life, what was the be-all and end-all, you got a blank look for an answer. Life was something which philosophers dealt with in books that no one read. Those in the thick of life, "the plugs in harness," had no time for such idle questions. "You've got to eat, haven't you?" This query, which was supposed to be a stopgap, and which had already been answered, if not in the absolute negative at least in a disturbingly relative negative by those who knew; was a clue to all the questions which followed in a veritable Euclidean suite. From the little reading I had done I had observed that the men who were most in life, who were molding life, who were life itself, ate little, slept little, owned little or nothing. They had no illusions about duty, or the perpetuation of their kith and kin, or the preservation of the State. They were interested in truth and in truth alone. They recognized only one kind of activity—creation. Nobody could command their services because they had of their own pledged themselves to give all. They gave gratuitously; because that is the only way to give. This was the way of life which appealed to me: it made sound sense. It was life--not the simulacrum which those about me worshipped.
~Henry Miller, from The Revolution of Everyday Life
You're not musicians, you're tone scientists.
Out of respect for the melody-and the violinist-I am deliberately not notating specific dynamics. I don't want to fix or limit the interpretation. This is "zen", man: it should as simple as a flower. Play as if your life depended on it. It does.
~Peter Garland, notes to Coyote's Bones
Art is not difficult because it wishes to be difficult, but because it wishes to be art. However much the writer might long to be, in his work, simple, honest, and straightforward, these virtues are no longer available to him. He discovers that in being simple, honest, and straightforward, nothing much happens: he speaks the speakable, whereas what we are looking for is the as-yet unspeakable, the as-yet unspoken.
Art is a true account of the activity of mind. Because consciousness … is always consciousness of something, art thinks ever of the world, cannot not think of the world, could not turn its back on the world even if it wished to. This does not mean that it’s going to be honest as a mailman; it’s more likely to appear as a drag queen.
Q. Under what circumstances is a person a composer ?
A. As soon as a person wishes to bring about something which to the best of his knowledge would never happen without him, he embarks on a process of creation. If, in addition to that, his interest lies in putting things together – establishing connections between things – that otherwise would not connect themselves, and if he then connects them in such a way that they now have a meaning and sense that without these connections they did not have, then he is a composer.
~Herbert Brun, from When Music Resists Meaning
As shocks and surprises make a dent in a spectator's reflexes, so that he is suddenly more open, more alter, more awake, the possibility and the responsibility arise for onlooker and performer like. the instant must be used, but how, what for? Here, we are bck to the root question -- what are we searching for anyway?
~Peter Brook, from The Empty Space
When I am inside writing,
all I can think about is how I should be outside living.
When I am outside living,
all I can do is notice all there is to write about.
When I read about love, I think I should be out loving.
When I love, I think I need to read more.
~Sarah Kay, from The Paradox