Kant do charisma: Why Anthony Fantano is wrong about Kanye West

I have for more times than I can recall drawn a distinction between two pillars of modern music: 1. Technique, and 2. Art. Technique relates to instrumental skill and general musical nous. Think musical theory but also the practical application of this theory. What space, then, does this leave for art? Art relates to a … Continue reading Kant do charisma: Why Anthony Fantano is wrong about Kanye West

Stravinsky, Jacob Collier, and the return of the 1920s in modern music

I go in circles with music. I love music so much and have great respect for all musicians. I approach politics and philosophy similarly, and am inclined to view politicians and philosophers in a similarly sympathetic light (however difficult this may, admittedly, sometimes be!). It is easy to critique things that shine. Once I much … Continue reading Stravinsky, Jacob Collier, and the return of the 1920s in modern music

Further arguments against the New York Times theory of Jacob Collier

Since the New York Times effectively announced Jacob Collier as a magical musical reawakening of the ghost of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, I have been puzzling over why anyone — yet alone professional musicians — have been so taken by this amateurish imitation of better musicians like Clare Fischer, whose harmonies are the basis for much … Continue reading Further arguments against the New York Times theory of Jacob Collier

The old ends so that the new can begin: Why Jacob Collier has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about

A lot of people like Jacob Collier, not because they like his music, but because they think he’s an intelligent person. This makes no logical sense. Think about it: if Jacob Collier really were the ‘second coming of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’, to condense the review of Collier in the New York Times and countless other … Continue reading The old ends so that the new can begin: Why Jacob Collier has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about

Why the people know best, and elites know nothing

The people know best, and the elites know nothing. I would like to demonstrate this fact with reference to the knowledge of elites themselves, and compare this knowledge to the understanding of the people. I argue that wisdom, or reason, can balance between the factual nonsense of elites, on the one hand, and the real … Continue reading Why the people know best, and elites know nothing

How music survived: The turn from romanticism to jazz

Modern music began with J. S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, which laid the foundations for a new harmonic structure of overlapping melodies to replace the medieval unison chorus, and Renaissance eclecticism. Bach took folk tunes and made them the ‘themes’ of his new architecture. After Bach’s ‘baroque era’ of the early eighteenth century, Mozart developed the … Continue reading How music survived: The turn from romanticism to jazz

From Bach to Born: A philosophy of music

Recently I’ve been writing about music. The study of music from a philosophical perspective is often ridiculed, as it is traced to the work of critical theorist Theodor Adorno, who preferred Bach and Beethoven to Mozart and jazz music (preferring not to comment on the decrepit condition of popular music). Adorno played the piano, but … Continue reading From Bach to Born: A philosophy of music