This episode covers Greg’s challenge to Alison: instead of her usual “gut-instinct” approach to throwing any and all options into the mix, Alison is challenged to carefully consider and ultimately craft a bespoke drum sound for her upcoming Blix Byrd album … what will this ultra-crafty approach yield for her music?!
“Four Sparrows” is a multi-tracked “orchestration” of a single-take ambient improvisation from February 12, 2022 in response to the “composer challenge” posed during a podcast episode of Too Much Music.
This episode covers Alison’s challenge to Greg: to create a piece of music without using his fancy-pants composer craftiness. He’s not allowed to think about what he’s going to make, but has to abandon his training and use only his intuition to create music.
It’s official: the internet has been a game-changer for music. Alison and Greg dive into how music is and isn’t valuable today, both monetarily and culturally.
As usual, their conversation is far-reaching. They talk about the usual suspects: Spotify, major labels, Napster, machine learning algorithms, and music for media. Of course, it doesn’t stop there. You’ll also hear about the desensitization of listeners by reality TV danger music, the Faustian deal we make as musicians, the sheer brilliance and stupidity of Hans Zimmer’s music, making beats for Drake, Lawrence Kramer’s defense of classical music as still relevant, and music’s current value as your mood for sale.
Greg and Alison want to tell you why you should (or shouldn’t) go to music school. In this episode, they explore what it’s like to take a traditional path through music school, including how music school might be beneficial or detrimental depending on your own musical goals.
It’s a magical mystery tour through a diverse set of of topics, including the differences between composers and songwriters, learning how to music on YouTube, Greg’s mentor George Rochberg, the creative process in general, Stephen King, Thom Yorke, start-ups, Vangelis, musical embodiment, why Modest Mouse kinda sucks, and production music libraries.
Greg is a Doctor of Music in piano and composition from the Eastman School of Music (ooh la la!) and Alison has a master’s degree in music theory and quit a doctoral program in music theory and cognition at McGill University, so they’re well versed in the ins and outs of music school. They’ve both been students and professors, but each decided to leave the academic path years ago, and have been making it on their own in the rough world ever since.