Musical Principles

1. Kurt Vonnegut claimed somewhere "no suspense" as a rule of his writing. Music, too, should avoid false buildups and climaxes and manipulating emotions.

2. Surprise, however, is good. Pitch, timbre, or structure can and should unexpectedly change.

3. Eric Satie aspired to write what he called "furniture music," also eschewing suspense and emotional dynamics. A series of modular blocks that can be arranged and rearranged. This sounds dull, the recipe for most "modern" music. Yet people kept finding his music beautiful (whether to his chagrin or not). One must arrange the furniture so as to keep the eye sweeping around the room, completely engaged and "in the moment."

4. MIDI sequencers, affordable home production studios, sample banks, software synths are "boons," to use a term of artist Kevin Bewersdorf's. Things capitalism hands us allowing the making of complex, multilayered, multi-timbral music. Club music tropes (stabs, dropouts, vamping, loops, dubby echoes) provide ear candy (what designer Edward Tufte calls "confections") to keep the furniture engaging and should be used.

5. The goal: music neither obviously art (rehashing Steve Reich, Alvin Lucier et al for the million billionth time) nor obviously crowd-pleasing electronic club music, but something in the awkward middle. Failed as art (never sanctioned by established grant-givers); failed as club music (never picked up by a label looking to sell product). Self-produced but not necessarily amateur or vanity projects--like a studio full of paintings too unsettling for curators, collectors, or art directors.

6. This music exists by the ton (or mega-hours). The home computer revolution. A serious study should be made of it and it should be compiled. "Does it fail deliberately or unintentionally into the significant middle?" should be a central focus for the compiler.