The machinery of contemporary culture is programmed to treat occasions as events—to freeze moments in digital permanence, to spread the local and the intimate to everyone everywhere. Much has been made of the instantaneousness of communication in the wireless age. But the documentation of every instant does not simply privilege the moment of experience; it also denies the power of experience itself. Not every occasion is an event, and the fleeting, ephemeral nature of some kinds of experience—including certain kinds of musical experience—is the source of their power.
DAVE DOUGLAS: STRANGE LIBERATION (RCA) If this paragraph were a piece of music by Dave Douglas, it would make a summing-up statement here at the beginning, then proceed in reverse motion until it ended with an introduction of its main theme. Or it would start with a core idea and build through accretion, amassing in layers instead of progressing conventionally in any direction. Phrases would be planned exactingly to sound spontaneous, and improvised parts would take off on subtle compositional elements such as timbre. The vernacular and the formal would conjoin. You would recognize the musical