SUBJECT : CURIOSITY You'll like this, it's pass/fail; or, rather, fail/pass. You either have this or you don't. You either are this or y'aren't. Yes, it can be transferred; but, it's best when encouraged or environments allow for it. You can't fake it, and it's far different than either intellect (though they couple well) or boredom (though this is easily mistaken.) You'll feel a certain "itch" at first then you'll need to set forth. Age is often both its confederate and its proof it's never too late. What is it? It's it. But do you have it? We think you already know. Singer/Writer/Painter Brandon Boyd of Incubus has it, ad absurdum et ad infinitum. …Curious?
SUBJECT : CONTENT AND CULTURE There are limitless roads one many follow to pre-divine a culture - political, educational, infrastructural, even culinary. Amongst paths we've employed, one standard, hypnotic, vexing version is to simply open our eyes; particularly when we travel, specifically as lingual outsiders. Mercifully actor/creator Stephen Mangan tour-guides us through the triumphs and trapdoors of UK artistic content and what it's smallest forms - at the very least - intone about his nation and content gifts both given and received. Stephen's work, as his insight, crosses ponds effortlessly, including our favorite UK content confection "panel shows". Some artistic diplomacy has it's limits, however. Such are the benefits of home.
SUBJECT : RISK Our boldest actions lie in the eye of the beholder. Seldom do the doers of hazardous-deeds self identify - such is the case with risk and its takers. Let's prove our case to Serj Tankian (System of a Down) defier of stop signs he's blind to. Be it personal, political, cultural, artistic, vocational or the myriad forms of vocal, Serj moves forward; success or loss notwithstanding. His measure is always on his terms and we're thankful he knows no better. Perhaps ignorance is risk.
SUBJECT : COMMUNITY Arguably no word nor concept sounds more above inspection than Community. So, of course, let's go. Creator/Musician/Writer Jonathan Coulton has sought out, been part of, builds, and guides his very "own" Community. Sounds great. It is; but there are privileges that can lead to advantages and onward towards exclusions, as every donut has a hole. Groups and groupings are under siege and their diverse whereabouts scream out for dialogue; but fear not — Jonathan helps fill in this space by land and by sea.
SUBJECT : COLLABORATION Our most-requested subject/topic/tool/albatross present in everything we do, do all the time. Some humans readily concede this premise, others are sluggish studies. One artist who might prefer to be remembered as a collaborator-above-all is legendary band leader and member Johnny Marr. Professor Marr embodies as pure a study - and as reliable an authority - on working with others, as the history of art can conjure. His story IS history, and it's found him in groups, continually; working in service to a greater goal, remarkably. Architect of legendary, resonant chords - not the least of which have very little to do with sound itself - Johnny understands that transcendent ideas are found in groups; both in spite of, and often due to, their imperfections.
SUBJECT : HARMONY When sounds come together and form sound, the ear is intrigued. On-alert for no good reason other than its encounter with sonic perfection. Harmony is that perfection. Harmony is hermetic - lacking either panic or uncertainty - as there is usually safety in number. Neko Case knows her gangs and, as a practice, her harmonies. Not only a siren of modern myth and neo-story, Professor Case is proof of harmony's power to nourish and redeem; even if humans aren't always getting along. She authors her art en masse; and the environment remains (as do we), eternally grateful.
SUBJECT : LEARNING TO TEACH We've concluded that teaching is no more than exploring a series of opposites: Talking/Listening, Acting/Reacting, Planning/Improvising, Translating/Declaring, Progressing/Remaining, Global/Local, Inside/Outside, Human/Inhumane, Art/Science. Have we covered it all? Not a chance. So, let's ask Alexis Krauss, whose groundbreaking work as a teacher not only draw-drops her legions of (Sleigh Bells) fans and mountainsides of students past and present; but, inspires more answers than questions. As only great teacher can. Class is truly in session. Does everyone have a pencil?
SUBJECT : THE INVISIBLE COMPOSER As competition for our visual receptors is at an all-time-high, are we forgetting to hear the score? Be it large or small screen. Or are we simply unable to locate it? In either case, forgive us as there is currently a run on cerebral noise in our moving imagery: oversized cinematic "heroes", stories where humanity (itself) hangs in the very balance, larger resumes in tighter spaces, and small-screen writing that is as hypnotic as ever. Fear not, true believer! As no modern composer cuts through the synaptic-thicket with quite the dexterity and audacity of Tyler Bates. His tireless loyalty to story, character, collaborator, history, and galaxy place him firmly, miraculously on the barrier between music, sound, and noise. Yet, it's Tyler's most unrequited love that consistently wins us over -- Silence.
SUBJECT : ANTHEMS Sounds and songs can inspire us to be a part of something larger; to understand a context for our lives, our trials, our travails, our triumphs. For over 30 years - as the "voice" of the seminal sonic duo Erasure - Andy Bell has proved more advocate than icon; more a delivery system for change, than intentional anthemic engineer. And millions of fans across the world continue to hear him loud and clear; showing-up en masse, as does Andy, with pride. Yet, though true anthems last over time, hearing them remains in the ear of the beholder.
SUBJECT : WHEN CONVERSATION IS ART In an age where rhetoric is mistaken for communication, let's spare a thought for times we've spoken, been heard, then returned such favor with our own. Now, take a moment and count how many of those moments you've had, recently. Finished counting, already? Us, too. Iconic creator Tom Scharpling ("The Best Show") has made communication art & craft his life's work; an unending series of conversations both true and false; hilarious, yet deceptively insightful. Sadly, in our experience, with the potential of real talk comes a real downside. Particularly when one's "job" resembles what one was taught to do as a human being. Who knew conversation could be so heartbreaking?