08 October 2013

Exit Strategies IV: Equal Time

Regular readers, if I have any, are no doubt accustomed to a steady diet of negativity and skepticism regarding just about every topic I choose to address. CalArts issues certainly have not been excepted. In my defense, I can only insist that a pure nihilist and absolute skeptic would not see the need to pour so much time and effort into polishing his purely nihilistic, absolutely skeptical evaluations of the world into moderately presentable prose missives and uploading them into an already-bizarre web-based interface which, to boot, is rendered only semi-functional by the age of his decaying computer. The worldview of this hypothetical person is one whereby the tasks to which I typically set myself here are superfluous. I see fit to mention that every so often just in case it's not otherwise obvious.

Quite to the contrary, I happen to cling to a garden-variety blogospheric aspiration that I think unites many writers of seemingly disparate orientations and styles, namely the faith that spewing our vitriol all over the internet might eventually have some small impact on someone else's thinking on a subject of particular importance to us both, even if that impact is merely to sharpen and clarify a dissenting view, and further, that the act of engaging in this dialogue is of limited but nonetheless vital importance to building and sustaining a functional, living and conscientious musical culture, such a culture being one small but necessary facet of a similarly functional and conscientious larger society.

Such it is that lurking beneath my outer cynic is an inner utopian, and I don't just mean in having the audacity to think people might actually read, but rather to imagine that by doing so they might come to understand the world a little bit better for the purpose of improving it. That is why I have invested a bit more than people of my parents' generation might recommend in following a variety of other music-oriented blogs, and it is ultimately just what I aspire to offer here for whoever might be up for it, even if it seems on the surface that I'm just a chronic bellyacher. Having said all of that, I do occasionally give thought to the overwhelmingly negative character of this blog and what that means for me, for the reader, and yes, for the world. To wit, as I've now more or less exorcised my grad school grievances, it occurs to me that some "equal time" is indeed in order, be as it may destined to fall well short of truly balancing the amount of criticism I've already leveled.

So...[clears throat]...My time at CalArts was a transformative experience in the fullest and most positive sense of that term. Two years is not nearly long enough to fully avail oneself of the human, curricular and physical resources of this school, and yet I doubt that I have ever been more productive during any other period of my life, at least not across all of my concurrent musical interests at once, a direct credit to an institution that is uniquely conducive to and encouraging of the kind of informed eclecticism that has marked my musical maturity. Similarly, what I have seen and heard so far from the network of recent and not-so-recent CalArtian musicians living and working in the greater Los Angeles area is staggering in both technical polish and creative potency. The end-times-like vibe of so many current extramusical events notwithstanding, there is greater potential here for me than I yet know quite what to do with, and I quite look forward to figuring it out.

There. Is that better?

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