I perceive my work as that of a philosopher not constrained to logic and reason.
In no particular order, it focuses on:
- Exorcising hereditary ghosts
- Corroding capitalism’s continuum
- Satirizing patriarchy and nationalism
- Affirming the intellectual and aesthetic value of the proletariat by recontextualizing the quotidian
- Manipulating the duality of the familiar and the strange
I believe that art is necessarily tangential, and the fact that it cannot in any way reflect life but only refract it is its most auspicious and powerful strength (as Hannah Arendt said, “storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.”). Art must by definition present more questions than answers; this is pivotal to creating music that is truly meaningful and stands up to adverse forces such as failure, apathy, triviality, commercialism, tradition, dogma, conditioned systems, and stereotype.
Art, and music especially because of its inherently abstract nature, helps ordinary people value themselves as intellectual beings capable not only of cognition but also interpretation, aesthetic memory, reference, and the reception of pathos. Regardless of the type of education someone has received, art initiates (or provokes) the instinct to think and feel in a way that is not purely circumstantially reactive. Societal and social conditioning affects whether that instinct is then followed through with, and it is the artist’s responsibility to advocate for positive change to the conditions in which their work is received.
While I do see composition as a form of essay-writing, in that composers use the medium of rhetoric, I believe artists are those who start the conversation, not dictate it. We are privileged to have this duty, yes, but we are also a decidedly crucial part of society. This
enmeshment in culture has led frequently to the devaluing of this role to that of entertainer (though, yes, enjoyment, or perhaps better put as enthrallment, is an element of our craft). But it has also led to a collective language of referentiality which has the potential to bind social classes together that are otherwise in perpetual conflict. In this way I believe that live performance or performance mixed with multiple mediums affirms at least the hope of cooperative ability between people and peoples.
And while my music is not exactly overflowing with joy, I do hope that there is a grain of
lightheartedness embedded in the concepts of both simultaneity and absurdity (one feeding the other) as they present themselves in my work. I often find myself deeply inspired by language as well: I love how the presence of text can alter musical content to become more literal and by doing so itself become more abstract. This recontextualization between the strange and the familiar forms the backbone of my work, which is increasingly preoccupied with the boundaries between sound and movement, vision and hearing, script and command, theater and drama, and improvisation and notation, borders which more often than not have been built into walls, of varying degrees of flimsiness.
These walls can only be torn down if the tearing is not the goal but the means. For me, only
process creates product and I pay utmost attention to the validity of the arguments that eventually make up the thesis/es of a piece and of my work at large.