Scott Hall 316
Office Hours: Tuesday 10am to 3pm or by appointment
My research draws together music, philosophy, critical theory, and modernism in various media. My first book, Deep Refrains: Music, Philosophy, and the Ineffable (Forthcoming 2017, University of Chicago Press), crosses boundaries of language, philosophical orientation, and aesthetic tradition to forge a comparative analysis of writings on music by Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno, Vladimir Jankélévitch, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari. It argues that music's ineffability is neither a conservative phenomenon nor a pious call to silence. It is instead a cause of perplexity that inspires intellectuals to address, in an ethical fashion, intricate philosophical questions specific to the modern world.
My second book, Strange Inscriptions: The Ineffable Avant-Garde, is focused on interpretive approaches to music of the 1960s and 70s avant-garde. In particular, it explores the ways marginal figures espoused and developed non-traditional commitments to musical form by exploiting the ephemerality and fragility of sound, the deliberate absence of skill or the problem of questionable expertise, the possibility of distance and disinterest, vernacular conceptions of sonic force, and the ad hoc poetics of collaboration. It will have chapters on David Tudor, Ornette Coleman, The Velvet Underground, Alice Coltrane, Patti Smith, and Richard Hell.
As a practicing musician I have worked in a variety of genres from avant-garde composition, experimental music, and free improvisation to rock music and electronic dance music. In Minneapolis, I currently play with the drone band, IE. From 2010–13, I performed, toured, and served as manager for Sierra Leonean singer Janka Nabay, and collaborated with him on a full length album released by David Byrne's label Luaka Bop in 2012. The band's performances were featured at The Museum of Modern Art, The Getty Center, The Kennedy Center, The Arab American National Museum, The Chicago World Music Festival, Bonnaroo Music Festival, P.S. 1 Warm-Up Series, Celebrate Brooklyn, The Wexner Center for the Arts, and The Brooklyn Academy of Music, among numerous other festivals and venues. Our collaboration is the subject of an article-in-progress entitled "World Music Without Profit: The Fractured Cosmopolitanism of Janka Nabay's Bubu Music." A second full-length album with Nabay will be released on Luaka Bop in 2017.