Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 11:21 am
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the 500 pounds of generic Circus Peanuts we intend to melt down for home insulation is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request for a unifying theory of concert length.
On Galactic Travels, the Special Focus for November is Galactic Anthems a.k.a. Glenn Adams. Sound, as much as music, has always fascinated Glenn, especially sound that has no earthly connection. One album of great influence on him was “Quatermass,” by Tod Dockstader. It was quite remarkable to Glenn that Dockstader could create such incredible sounds from such mundane sources as the air escaping from a balloon.
There's no denying the alluring musical presence of 23-year-old Laura Marling. The U.K. singer-songwriter has already released four great albums — three of which were eventually nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize, a British music award.
Nicole Mitchell grew up in California, but Chicago is where she became the original artist she is today. From her mid-20s into her 40s, she played and taught there, and composed and presented complete works for creative spirits like science-fiction novelist Octavia Butler (Xenogenesis Suite) and musician Alice Coltrane (Where the Paths Meet the Sea).
Somebody does something a little different — they briefly step off the curb — and plenty of folks are ready to dub them a "self-made man" or "self-made woman." But what Lonnie Holley does, and what he has made of himself, demands a whole new term. He truly is his own invention.