Recap & Thanks – (Int’l) STRANGE MUSIC DAY 2013


Great stuff, People of Earth. You know, despite my personal FB postings, most of these yearly events exist because folks find it a worthy, albeit whimsical cause, and run with it. Whimsical? Maybe. I do think that anything we can do to get ourselves to pause and reflect is substantial. As a musician, that was my entry point: listen to something unusual, with attention, that just might not only broaden your ears, but also your outlook in general. Everything being relative, it is always interesting how this is interpreted in different cities, different countries, different cultures. We’re always surprised.

For me personally, this year’s standouts were the radio shows that dedicated programs to the day: Justin H. Brierley’s Music for Internets in Rhode Island, Joel Krutt’s Pushing the Envelope in Connecticutt, and Radio Mongaguá in São Paulo, Brazil, among many others. Live performances took place. In NYC, Glenn Cornett’s Spectrum NYC had an afternoon of exceptional strange-makers playing music for the event.

There was even a number of original songs composed for the day thanks to the 50/90 Challenge.

The strangest surprise was when McDonald’s restaurants seized upon the opportunity in sending out a Strange Music Day tweet to promote their product. That gave me mixed feelings but, after a posting of Devo’s Too Much Paranoias, I rationalized to an astute friend, “I’ll make an exception for the 1.5 million Twitter followers who were encouraged to stretch their ears (not just their stomachs) for today.”

Still, and always, the biggest pleasure was knowing, from afar, that there is the growing number of summer schools that took the opportunity to make music with children, to create instruments, to pause and reflect upon what it means to listen without prejudice and see where that takes one (New Delhi, India, Japan, Germany, and Ireland especially). It is satisfying to know that in the end, a future of good music will be assured for the rest of us as the talents of these children develop.

That said, and this is me now, I give a big shout out to David Soldier with Komar and Melamid’s piece The Most Unwanted Song that I heard today on Joel Krutt’s radio show. It is a piece that, through empirical scientific investigation, was created to afflict us in every worst way possible. The result is one of the funniest pieces, intelligently so, that I’ve ever heard.

So, it’s a two way street: you have all turned me onto so many new sounds and to new ways of thinking about what music can be, that I can never thank you enough. I know many people the world over (and the emails are still pouring in like crazy) feel the same.

Until next year. Thank you!

-Patrick Grant

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