I thought that the word chaos was used only to describe situations that are or will have a negative outcome. That view changed completely after I stumbled upon Tom Wessel‘s The Myth of Progress. What ended up happening wasn’t simply learning a new meaning of a word that I already know, but an understanding of a different view of the world surrounding me.
Being thought to see the world through equations or simplifications they offer, I think I missed how nature works in my early adult years. My education simplified the world, trying to express or approximate its complexity in linear terms where 2+2=4. Can we ever speak of the weather with such mathematical precision? Or can we define the workings of a society and its culture with a set of equations?
I believe that the ability to reduce complex problems into approximated/simplified versions is the pinnacle of human ingenuity, but it’s at the cost of understanding chaotic systems, which is what we’re basically surrounded with every day; climate, our economic and political systems, pandemic, the human brain, etc. I also believe that trying to look at the world through a reductionistic view is either limiting our possible actions if not creating a feeling of hopelessness.
For a long time, I used to think that whatever my actions are, I am one of eight billion and they won’t really change anything. This put me in a state of despair living in a country with democracy falling apart and a world with a destabilizing climate.
I don’t know if either of the problems above will improve during my lifetime, and to be honest I’m not hopeful. But I believe that my actions could cause change, and this is not like a spiritual thing I arrived at. It’s more from the scientific understanding of how chaotic systems work. Just to give an example, you and I share %99.9 DNA that is exactly the same, yet that tiny fraction is enough to have such diversity. How come?
Hope this short post creates more questions than answers 🙂 Below is the experiment Wessels uses to explain chaos.
Understanding music business is crucial for any artist who wants to find their own way in this complex environment. Yet, not many musicians have the chance to find the right tools or time to seek out the information that might help in their careers.
So, in this post I’m sharing a compilation of five articles that magnify the relationships within the triangle of artists, audiences and stakeholders (venues, festival organizations etc.).
I know this is a lot to read and digest in one sitting, but I think that understanding the playing field is part of the role of being an artist. Hope you find inspiration from how other artists navigate this world!
I have always loved this album, and find myself coming back to it either for more digging or simply enjoy Wayne’s intriguing compositions. However this time, I found much joy in uncovering what the band is actually doing beat by beat and appreciate their vibe and wit.
During my first studio lesson with Ken Schaphorst at NEC, he looked at one of my compositions written for five horn players, plus the rhythm section and said, “Why don’t you expand this for the orchestra?”. Not having written anything for such a band before in my life thrilled me but also scared the shit out of me, because in NEC’s workshop orchestra, the composers also get to conduct their own pieces. So, just coming out of Istanbul with zero orchestra experience, standing in front of these amazing musicians and conducting them was probably one of the most fun yet challenging experiences in my life.
I want to share this composition of mine called ‘Nadir’. I love the opening section of this piece as well as the build up of the first soloist Ye Huang, echoing his clarinet on the walls of Jordan Hall at NEC. Below is the description of the piece.
In Turkish, “Nadir” means “rare”. This composition was inspired by my close musician friends in Istanbul during the summer of 2016, when the city was traumatized by various terrorist attacks and political upheavals, completely shattering the peace of mind for everyone in the city. Yet, these musicians found the courage to get together and play, making anyone hearing the music feel at least a little bit better. This composition is dedicated to all of those musicians that help to create that positive spirit.