Introduction / Manifesto

I am an aural person.  It’s always been hard for me to read.  I’m usually distracted by sounds; I give them the upper hand.

I’m 24.  I think about girls a lot, and what I’m doing with my life.  And where I’ll live.  Where I’m from.  How I’ll make money.  My mentor, Mr. Kelley says, “You’re 24.  Sounds about right.”

I’d like to think I’ve been involved with music my whole life.  I’ve gone to school for music, twice.  I play music.  I listen to music, I read about music, I write about music.  I think what makes me happiest is to share music with other people.

I think that, just as we have physical surroundings, we have aural surroundings.  Sometimes we feel the need to change or update our physical surroundings; I think we do the same with music.  Some music we keep with us forever.  Other music, we grow out of, and it exists suspended at a specific time in our lives.  Either way, our aural surroundings have the ability to characterize our unique experience and put us in touch with our memories, just as our sense of smell, touch, sight, taste all do.

I am a performer.  As a performer I feel that my greatest creative potential is in programming, where I have the chance to illuminate connections between disparate pieces of music.  I don’t write any of the music myself, I simply give it a new context.

I conceive a program but until I learn the music, it will only ever exist on paper.  It might take me months at a time to learn a piece of music.  I live with it every day.  I perform it in a recital.  The recital lasts 60 minutes.  It exists in real time.  And then it is over. Hopefully all of my friends are there. When I play the music, it is mine.  It feels what I feel.  I will play it as myself.  I’m not acting.  A few months later I forget how to play that music.  I have moved on.  I live in a new context.  If I ever play the music again it will be different.

I also make mixtapes.  I guess they’re really playlists.  The important thing to understand about them is that they are a selection of songs chosen for a specific reason and presented in a specific order. It’s someone else’s music, but it lives in my context.

When I make a mixtape, the music is all there.  It’s always been there.  It doesn’t rely on me to exist, it only relies on me to acknowledge it.  When I make a mixtape I’m creating a memory album, a snapshot of my aural surroundings that will pinpoint a period of time in my life and the events that led up to it.  I like to give these to my friends.  A few months later I live in a new context.  I have moved on.  I can still listen to the music.  It will not have changed.  It might sound different though.  It will probably feel different.

I think music is really important.  It’s really important to me.  Music has shaped who I am.  I think music has the power to shape anyone.  Any kind of music.

My most fundamental opportunity to share has come through having a little brother.

Little Brother was created to share some of the music and ideas that have shaped me.

Eric Shuster, August 2010

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