If you want to know about me, here’s a quick version:
I’m a composer living in the Boston area. I travel a lot, mostly for concerts. Meanwhile, I run a freelance text services business—some editing, some research, some digitizing, mostly transcription. It’s work that allows for all the travel, and it works out well for me. You won’t read much about my music or my business on this site, but if you’re interested, you can visit jenniegottschalk.com or email me at jennie ( at ) soundexpanse.com.
If you want to know about the site, here’s one attempt I made at explaining it:
When I tell people, “I’ve started an experimental music blog,” the question that usually follows is, “What is experimental music?” If you haven’t yet formulated your own definition, this site could be a bit of a mystery to you. (If you’re already engaged in the field, I probably won’t be telling you anything new just below, but thanks for being here, and I welcome your input.)
The problem is, it is a term that refuses to be defined. Experimental music resists, stretches, and breaks boundaries. Defining it is like mapping a beach. The water line changes with the tide.
The single most useful direct comment I have found on the subject is by John Cage: “an experimental action is one the outcome of which is not foreseen.”
In his preface to The Principles of Psychology, Vol.1, William James wrote,
The reader will in vain seek for any closed system in the book. It is mainly a mess of descriptive details, running out into queries which only a metaphysics alive to the weight of her task can hope successfully to deal with. That will perhaps be centuries hence; and meanwhile the best mark of health that a science can show is this unfinished-seeming front.
I’d like to co-opt James’ statement for my own purposes. If you really want to know what experimental music is, keep reading and listening. You’ll find it in the details. It is not a style. It is not an aesthetic. It is not an ideology. It is not a limitation. It does have an “unfinished-seeming front,” and I for one am glad for it. Its resistance to definition is proof that it is still alive.