These posts are written by: Jimmy Mullett

Musical Chess: “Cobra” and John Zorn’s Game Pieces

While we will never come up with a universally accepted description of what separates art from the rest of reality, we can make some easy guesses about it—namely, that art, in one way or another, derives its meaning and beauty from structure. The quadrivium—one of the oldest examples of pedagogy in Western thought—includes music as one of its pillars because of art’s importance and reliance on these aforementioned elements; after all music is quite literally math in motion. Any sound, from the buzz of a crowd to the slap of a bass guitar to the clinks and clangs of machinery, can be said to have a certain pitch and be a certain length of time, and can therefore be considered to be privy to certain rules, even if we have made up said rules. But, as with any rule or law, it cannot exist without offenders to truly define it. A society without murder wouldn’t need (nor could even comprehend) a law barring its use. (If you want to get simpler, it’s yin and yang—one part cannot exist without the other.) This, however, is where improvisation comes into the conversation of music, as it completes the circle. The serpent is now metaphorically biting its own tail.

Heavy Vanguard Episode 1: Nurse With Wound // Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella

First of all, welcome to a new installment at Heavy Blog that we’re calling Heavy Vanguard. This is a podcast wherein Heavy Blog Editor Scott Murphy and myself (Jimmy) discuss avant-garde and experimental music. Each episode follows an intense, in-depth discussion of an experimental album that is in some way relevant to the world of music. Genres or popularity (i.e. “underground” or “mainstream”) aren’t considered when we pick an album; it’s more about a release that, regardless of how it sounds or how it’s been received, has pushed the boundaries of music in some way or another. Each episode is short (under half an hour), acting as a launchpad for people interested in exploring what the avant-garde has to offer. Today’s album is the debut Nurse With Wound album Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella.

Heavy Buys // John Zorn/Mike Patton/Ikue Mori—Hemophiliac

Welcome to Heavy Buys, a new feature on the blog where we discuss in detail some recent physical music purchases we’ve made, whether it’s a small-time purchase to round out one’s collection, or a debt-inducing splurge. Vinyl, CDs, and even cassettes are all possible topics here. As long as its physical media, it’s fair game. I’m going to start off this inaugural article by talking about what is probably the most expensive purchase I’ve made yet—Hemophiliac: a collaborative John Zorn project released on Tzadik. I’m not going to give a real number, but believe me, it set me back a little. (But then again, I’m basically a corporate slave, so that price is pretty relative.)

Heavy Rewind: Converge // Jane Doe

It’s no secret that a good many of us on the Heavy Blog staff enjoy Converge. Since 1990, these guys have been making some of the best hardcore out there, consistently pushing their genre forward in ways nobody could have imagined. Last Sunday (September 4) marked the fifteenth anniversary of the band’s seminal release Jane Doe; an album that is still regarded today as legendary and incredibly influential on the metalcore/hardcore scene, and I thought it apt to say a few words about this album.