Geeta Dayal





Geeta Dayal

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Average rating: 3.64 · 268 ratings · 41 reviews · 3 distinct works · Similar authors
Another Green World
3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 253 ratings — published 2007 — 6 editions
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Brian Eno's Another Green W...
3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 10 ratings — published 2009
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Jacksonismo: Michael Jackso...
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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 33 ratings — published 2009 — 2 editions
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“Soon after that, Eno briefly joined a group called the Scratch Orchestra, led by the late British avant-garde composer Cornelius Cardew. There was one Cardew piece that would be a formative experience for Eno—a piece known as “Paragraph 7,” part of a larger Cardew masterwork called The Great Learning. Explaining “Paragraph 7” could easily take up a book of its own. “Paragraph 7”’s score is designed to be performed by a group of singers, and it can be done by anyone, trained or untrained. The words are from a text by Confucius, broken up into 24 short chunks, each of which has a number. There are only a few simple rules. The number tells the singer how many times to repeat that chunk of text; an additional number tells each singer how many times to repeat it loudly or softly. Each singer chooses a note with which to sing each chunk—any note—with the caveats to not hit the same note twice in a row, and to try to match notes with a note sung by someone else in the group. Each note is held “for the length of a breath,” and each singer goes through the text at his own pace. Despite the seeming vagueness of the score’s few instructions, the piece sounds very similar—and very beautiful—each time it is performed. It starts out in discord, but rapidly and predictably resolves into a tranquil pool of sound. “Paragraph 7,” and 1960s tape loop pieces like Steve Reich’s “It’s Gonna Rain,” sparked Eno’s fascination with music that wasn’t obsessively organized from the start, but instead grew and mutated in intriguing ways from a limited set of initial constraints. “Paragraph 7” also reinforced Eno’s interest in music compositions that seemed to have the capacity to regulate themselves; the idea of a self-regulating system was at the very heart of cybernetics. Another appealing facet of “Paragraph 7” for Eno was that it was both process and product—an elegant and endlessly beguiling process that yielded a lush, calming result. Some of Cage’s pieces, and other process-driven pieces by other avant-gardists, embraced process to the point of extreme fetishism, and the resulting product could be jarring or painful to listen to. “Paragraph 7,” meanwhile, was easier on the ears—a shimmering cloud of sonics. In an essay titled “Generating and Organizing Variety in the Arts,” published in Studio International in 1976, a 28-year-old Eno connected his interest in “Paragraph 7” to his interest in cybernetics. He attempted to analyze how the design of the score’s few instructions naturally reduced the “variety” of possible inputs, leading to a remarkably consistent output. In the essay, Eno also wrote about algorithms—a cutting-edge concept for an electronic-music composer to be writing about, in an era when typewriters, not computers, were still en vogue. (In 1976, on the other side of the Atlantic, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were busy building a primitive personal computer in a garage that they called the Apple I.) Eno also talked about the related concept of a “heuristic,” using managerial-cybernetics champion Stafford Beer’s definition. “To use Beer’s example: If you wish to tell someone how to reach the top of a mountain that is shrouded in mist, the heuristic ‘keep going up’ will get him there,” Eno wrote. Eno connected Beer’s concept of a “heuristic” to music. Brecht’s Fluxus scores, for instance, could be described as heuristics.”
Geeta Dayal, Brian Eno's Another Green World



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