Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Neat Thing about Journaling

The neat thing about journaling is that you can flip back to the past and read through what you were thinking, feeling, etc.. at a certain point in your life. Often, as time progresses your view/perspective (or mine at least) of an event/circumstance of life changes. You'll remember it differently than you go through experiencing it.

I dont journal often (which you can probably tell from this blog, because I dont often update this thing either -- mainly because I only like to share interesting things and I generally dont have a lot of time to waste on this). But most people like to journal. Especially Christians. They like to journal and keep journals and talk about journaling. I mean, I think its a really awesome tool to process whats going on in the mind, emotions, what you've read in Scriptures, all of that. And I have many brothers and sisters that have grown, been encouraged and benefitted immensely from journaling...

But ... confession: I love Jesus, but I dont really like to journal.

Frankly, I'd rather sit down with a cup of coffee and just think through things. Its a bit more efficient. I've tried before to be disciplined and diligent about journaling but I generally get side-tracked: I'll write about 3 sentences and then I'll get lost in my thoughts and I'm left with something incoherent on the page and then I think about how one day if anyone reads through this thing, they'll be left with thoughts of "wtf. Did she ever resolve this?" (and then judge me for all the things that I struggle with and bothered to share via written word).

So again, I rarely journal. When I do, its normally because I am just so over-emotional and have so much on my mind, I cant sort it out without writing it down. (It usually has to do with boy situations, but today I journaled because I've had some pent up anger and stress and had to figure out with how to deal with being offended by some folks). After I finished writing, I was thinking that I actually couldnt remember the last time I journaled. So, I flipped back the page.

The last journal entry was 7/31/10, more than a year ago, right before moving up to Louisville to start at U of L:

"... I am scared to leave [dallas]. I am sad to leave. This unknown -- Louisville, KY -- I dont know that I want to go. I dont know that I even want this stupid Masters. Why do I hate change? Why am I not embracing it?

I am fearing failure. And I have to start all over again.

I dont want to go."

It made me smile. Just yesterday, I told a professor's wife that I wish my Masters program here lasted an additional two years because I love it so much. I have learned so so much. This city is so neat, and I have made lifelong friends here: one, being the first person I met as soon as I set foot on campus, who is now my roommate and one of my best friends. Louisville, in a short amount of time, has gone from being an unknown fear to a second home.

I dont journal often, and I dont think that'll ever change. But I'm certainly thankful for the reminders and surprises it keeps for me to find and look back on: to remember from where I've come, how far I've grown, and how freeing and encouraging it is to just trust that there is indeed a great plan unfolding for me.

And for that, I am thankful.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Qinghai Trip Schedule

Heading to Qinghai (province next to Tibet!) this week for our excursion. I absolutely cannot wait, it is going to be ridiculously cool. The timing couldnt be better either. I think we're all a bit burned out from constant studying and the noisiness of Shanghai. And once we get back from Qinghai, we only have three weeks left! Craziness.

Anyways, below is our ridiculously awesome schedule. In the words of my friend Ellie Hahn, my life is completely awesome right now:

10 AM bus departs for airport
12:35 Flight departs, brief layover in Xi'an
17:10 Arrive in Xining, transfer to hotel
Dinner: local restaurant, stay in Hotel in Xining

Morning: drive to Xunhua
Check-in at Xunhua hotel and have lunch
Afternoon: Festival at Kyikor Gar Gonba monastery
Basketball with monks
Return to Xunhua
Dinner: local Muslim garden restaurant in Xunhua

Morning: drive to a village and help farmers work their fields
Lunch: village restaurant
Afternoon: 2-hour trek to a small monastery for dinner
30-min further walk to a Tibetan village where we will spend the night with families in their homes
Evening: possible tibetan folk dance with villagers

Morning: Drive to Tongren to visit at Tibetan painting center
On the way, visit with Tibetan nomad families to drink Tibetan milk tea and ride horses and yaks
Lunch: in a local family garden restaurant in Tongren
Afternoon: Return to Xining
Visit Tibetan and Chinese markets in Xining
Dinner: on our own

7:30 AM - flight departs..
11:35 Arrive in Shanghai..

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Few China Stories

First I must say this as I am on a program through the US State Department:

"This blog and its posts are not official Department of State Web sites and the views and information presented are my own, not those of the CLS Program, the Department of State, or American Councils."

Ok, now:

I hope the summer is treating you well. Shanghai is currently ridiculously hot and humid, and I am oh so very thankful for being in a dorm with a/c. (Most dorms for Chinese students do not have a/c).

Midterms are today, and naturally, instead of studying, I've found a way to distract myself and figured that it was probably about time to send out an update on my time in China thus far.

In short, everything is going very well. I've been so impressed with the other students in the program. They're all brilliant people and all doing very interesting things. After our first few days of arriving, we all signed a language pledge stating that we'd only speak Chinese - no English (to each other and other Chinese speakers) - for the remainder of the program. Most people honor it most of the time, and as frustrating as it can be at times, its a really, really great way to improve and apply what we've learned in class. Unfortunately I seem to really only have time for class (which is pretty much most of the day), work out, eat, and study/prep for class the next day. Its been frustrating to not have more time to go explore the city and make more Chinese friends, but I am most definitely learning a lot. I wont really bore you with more mundane details but below are some highlights/stories of me being an idiot:

- My birthday was a few weeks ago. The best way to celebrate in China is to go 卡拉OK (ka-la-OK) - karaoke - as the Asians love to do. We rented out a private room, had a blast, paid and left. As it turned out, there was a mix up of some sort and I received a wake up call at 6 AM the next morning. The waitress/hostess accidentally returned me 1000 RMB (~$170 USD) and pleaded that I return it immediately. I decided to go after I actually woke up on my own and on my way to running some errands at around 10 AM. As I walked through the doors, a group of teenage girls entered with me. It struck me that these karaoke places are open 24/7 and that even on a Sunday morning at 10 AM, the Chinese will not fail at going to go karaoke. Anyways, I tried to bargain and get a cheaper price because of the inconvenience that they caused but after hearing that the waitress was going to have to pay out of her own pocket what I didnt, I stopped. I did, however, tell them as I turned towards the exit that I expected to receive a discount next time. Except that what actually came out of my mouth was that I expected them "to make me lose weight next time." China 1 Rene 0.

- Massages are a really great thing to get in China. They're cheap and awesome. So we scouted out some around the area. We picked the cheapest and least sketchiest looking one (though it was still kinda sketchy but maybe normal by China standards?) and went a few times, and it was great. Unfortunately, we've come to realize that it is indeed very sketchy .... oops. China 2 Rene 0.

- My Chinese teachers seem to be very intent on getting rid of my Taiwan accent. Not a day goes by without a correction or comment about it from them. It makes me want to keep it even more. So far, I am winning. China 2 Rene 1.

- I have been very blessed and not once gotten sick. And I eat street food all the time. China 2 Rene 2.

- Next week they are taking us on an excursion -- to Qinghai (the province next to Tibet)!!! On our schedule, among other things, is to play basketball with Tibetan monks. Dont worry, I bought a GoPro Camera and plan to wear my head strap and film while playing. I think points are awarded all across the board on this one: China 3, Rene 3, US Government 1, Tibetan Monks 1.

- Its about a 20 min walk to school each way in the sweltering heat so I bought a bike from a graduating student for 70 RMB (~$10 USD). When it is not broken, I ride it to school. I should mention that traffic laws, lights, lane lines, pedestrian crossings, etc are really only guidelines in China. Generally on my way to school, the thought of potentially dying crosses my mind once or twice. If not from a taxi driving on the wrong side of the road, it will be from the smog/heat blown in my face from the buses. When walking, I find that it is a game of chicken between pedestrian and car. And just tonight, when riding in a taxi, the driver nearly killed us all driving down an entire city street (or a few) on the wrong side of the road. No points awarded yet since I'm still traveling in China but I'd like to win the point for this round..

- Migrant workers are a big problem in Shanghai (and China). Their children especially suffer. Tomorrow, after our midterms, we're heading out to a school for these kiddos. I hear its a music school, and pianos/instruments are available. Also on the schedule is an intense Chinese version of paper, rock, scissors. I'm really looking forward to getting to hang out with the kids. Also, I'm very excited for Saturday as I'm going to go visit an orphanage! Its not government run, but it is still an opportunity to see an orphanage and meet/hang with some of the kids. I'm really thankful for the opportunity.

- I've now spent a ridiculous amount of time typing this out and correcting all my spellings and grammatical errors. (And there's still probably a ton). I might possibly forget my English by the time I get back. Dont judge me.

- Finally, I have an ongoing photo album of Shanghai on Facebook if you are interested in pictures. I also have a photo album dedicated solely to bad English translations found in China, which I personally find very amusing. If you dont have Facebook, I can send you a link (I think) to see them still.

Again, hope all is well and that you celebrated Amurica's birthday well.

Until I have more amusing stories to tell,


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Year 1 of MM Done! And the processing begins.

It is a beautiful day. It is perfect. The sun is out, my school obligations are done, I'm sitting outside, I have French-pressed coffee (dont judge, its delish), I'm reading through The Economist issues that I've gotten behind on, and I'm finally getting to do a bit of much needed processing of the past semester/school year.

The processing began with driving home yesterday from my last obligation to the school year -- turning a paper in and a composition lesson.

I was thinking of everything I'll be taking next semester and debating whether or not to take a course or two, mainly because of time constraints. I'm really awesome at spreading myself thin, and I think it can be/has been paralyzing up to a point. It seems perhaps that though the work I do is good (for my own expectations anyways), I do wonder how much better it would be if I only concentrated on a few things.

I remember in August when I first moved up to Louisville and met with Dr. Christensen, the Director of Graduate Studies for the Music School, to talk about my class schedule. I remember being frustrated with the cap of 12 credit hours for graduate students (12 was the minimum for my undergrad), and I remember Dr. Christensen cautioning me, encouraging me to concentrate on a few things and to do it well. My next door neighbor, a statistics professor at U of L, said the same.

Dont get me wrong, I think the work I've done (for the most part) has been ok. But I wonder if my stuff could have been better, if I could have written more, had I not been all over the place with everything.

Also, life isnt just about work. Its about relationships - loving and serving the people placed in my life, and I've honestly tried to make my priorities right this time around through this academic circuit (since I was pretty terrible at it in undergrad). I know that I can still do better at this though. But this is a tangent and another entry for another time.

So as I begin my second (and final) year of my masters studies, I have a thesis to write. I'm very excited about my thesis, and I'll wait to post details on this because I want to make sure it all works out before I start talking/claiming/sharing ideas. But I want to be sure that I have enough time to devote to it to make it the best that it can be.

Additionally, next semester, I'll be taking piano lessons, which I'm super stoked about. I've missed taking lessons for quite a while now, but I'm also a bit intimidated by the requirements just for juries. I'll be practicing at least an hour or two a day, so unlike other non major courses I've taken this year, I wont be able to just do all my work for it the night before. Again, I'm not complaining, I'm excited about it. And after feeling so, it was on that drive home yesterday that it hit me -- I'm excited to play piano in an academic setting again and it has not always been this way.

A couple months ago, a friend had asked me why I never talked about my undergrad experience. I hadnt thought much of it before, how I'd hardly talk of my time there, but its true. I dont, and when I do, its not generally loving or positive.

My senior year was rough -- probably one of the worst years of my life. I dont really have one person or experience to blame, it just all combined, and I left with a really bad taste in my mouth. I remembered how after graduating and moving back after the summer, I couldnt sleep at nights I was so angry. I also remember how I couldnt sit down and play at the piano because all of my negative memories of my time there would pour into my mind. It was such a sad change. I went from practicing 4-5 hours of piano a day to being unable to touch a key. And it wasnt just my view of piano. It was academia and Rhodes College as a whole.

With time, things are forgotten, forgiveness is given, but the core feelings and my negative view of these things are still there. But I suppose it is getting better. Restoration is occurring, and that is what is so neat to look back and see! The Lord has been infinitely gracious in the process.

I mean look at me now. I'm back in academia, though I swore I never would. I'm in music, which was never practical enough or necessarily worth it for me. I'm taking piano lessons again, and I cant wait to practice. And yes, my view of Rhodes College still isnt where it once was, and it may never be, but each time I find myself back there, my heart is softened a bit because I am reminded that it was the people there that I loved (and that loved me) got me through some of the darkest moments in my life. And for that I'm most thankful.

Overall though, again, it is so great to see how the Lord restores everything in His time and how He does it in my life. It is indeed beautiful. (and so exciting!)

"'But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,' declares the Lord..." - Jeremiah 30:17

Friday, March 18, 2011

CLS Award!


I'm headed to Shanghai, China this summer as a recipient of the Critical Language Scholarship Award, sponsored by the US State Dept.

Totally stoked.. although also a bit intimidated. I know my Chinese will be so good by the end of this, but the idea of spending two months in absolutely full language immersion is a bit daunting. On my list of many things to do includes writing a letter to my future Chinese roomie -- all in Chinese, no English allowed.

She's going to think I'm a 2nd grader based on my lack of vocab and grammar skills. I'm not worried about the speaking part. I speak it everyday and all the time.. its the more studying and memorizing characters.

I might forget all my English by the end of the summer. Alas.

But what is also cool is that this will tie into my thesis very nicely (you bet I'm writing a vocal orchestrated work that will use Chinese text) as well as the New Music Festival at U of L next fall.

No details on that, you'll just have to wait and see.

But for now, its formatting scores, mixing a couple movements in my dream sequence, and preparing to send off a few things to some competitions.. and writing this letter in Chinese.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 and 2011: Reflections

2011 has begun and I'm sure a million blog posts on the new year have already been posted. I really just want to think a bit about 2010 and write down my those thoughts because so much happened in one year, its pretty incredible.

My mom likes to start new traditions in the family, especially if she's heard it on her Christian talk radio - which is funny also because I'm 25 and the youngest sibling is 15.. so its kind of weird to start "new traditions" when people are already older and kind of used to how they grew up. But they're not bad suggestions (normally) so we dont mind.

What has happened in the past couple of years is my mom's insistence that we not only commit to make New Years resolutions but also to give Jesus a gift for Christmas (as his birth is the reason for our celebration). It sounds cheesy and strange, but honestly if a follower of Christ sincerely evaluates his/her walk and relationship with their Savior, it makes complete sense.. and in actuality should probably happen more than once a year. Obviously, the gift itself isnt necessarily a physical gift.. (because thats just weird).. but its the idea of giving Him something in return out of love as he has bought us at a great price -- His blood (1 Corinth 6:20). This gift might be time spent with Him, a donation to a charity, resolving to love the poor, reconciling a broken relationship.. it can be whatever. Reflection and prayer usually brings about the best idea.

Last year, I wanted to give Jesus my trust... my trust and belief in the following verse:

"For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his good purpose.." Romans 8:28

I admit that after three/four years of things not going my way and feeling very much in a holding cell, like a failure, and doomed to live an ordinary life, I really was not a fan of this verse. To be frank, I didnt believe it. And I certainly didnt believe the other usually cited verse for such circumstances: 'For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

In fact, I believed these verses were plenty applicable to everyone else. Just not me. So, I resolved in 2010 to trust that Christ loved me and actually have good things in store for me.

Additionally, because of a service trip in November of 2009 with Watermark to Galveston to rebuild homes affected by Hurricane Ike, I came across a verse that stuck with me:

"Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity" Colossians 4:5

The idea of using wisdom in my actions really stuck me. To be intentional in how I acted towards people, to intentionally love and serve - that is what I wanted - and to think about actively doing so in every opportunity was such a new way of thinking for me. To me, this was the most immediately applicable way to place others above me and to love those who do not know Him.

So along with those two verses in mind, I also resolved on a non-spiritual sense to write more songs.. to force myself to keep up with some music stuff.

2010 immediately began in blessings.

I was offered a job to work on voiceovers for on-hold messaging. Completely random, but it was great because I actually got to use some skills acquired through school. I was equally stoked to have an opportunity to meet new people - and to immediately apply Colossinas 4:5.

Immediately, the company went through tumultuous times. Within a month, I saw, within a 12-person company, somebody fired, somebody quit and somebody demoted. I was given a raise, promoted and given an office with a window (which was the most exciting part for me). It was stressful and insane. Yet, clearly, the Lord had his hand on me.

After about two months on the job (past the insanity), I became bored. I could do all my days work in an hour or two and then would have about six hours left to fill. The work was not challenging, and when I am not challenged, my soul starts to die. Dont get me wrong, I made some great friends in the office and grew much in experience in the corporate/office setting.. but it killed my soul for my work to be simple and not purposeful. I felt as if my heart was crying out, hoping to be rescued.

In late February, my old undergrad advisor/theory professor emailed me regarding a "Composition Fellowship Opportunity" at the University of Louisville. Deadline for the application and a GRE score was March 15. Called a "Bomhard Fellowship" it offered free tuition, a generous stipend, health benefits, and no duties.... For an MM in Music Composition. Too good to be true, and too good for me. Those were my thoughts anyways, but I figured, what the heck.. why not apply.. it would at least keep me occupied during my 6 hours of boredom each day.

Normally, when I apply for these sorts of things, I begin the application extremely far in advance, write drafts and drafts of personal statements, become ridiculously annoying regarding recommendation letters, and essentially completely overthink and overprepare. With about three weeks to do this all, I didnt have enough time to follow my normal excessive routine. I took the GRE (and did miserably) and somehow got off a decent portfolio and application in time.

I expected to receive my rejection letter a few weeks later (as this had become the normal pattern for the last 4 years of applications), so you can imagine my complete surprise when Dr. Speck called me a few weeks later with the offer. I didnt even interview. I went up and visited Louisville, just to make sure that the people there werent crazier than the ones I currently worked with. (And sidenote, they are crazy, but it is in the normal music nerd sense, and of which I am plenty accustomed and a regular contributor). I had a great time meeting new people, and I signed my life away to U of L for the next two years.

I quit my job in late June.. mainly so that I could travel to London and Turkey for a few weeks with the family. And then moved to Louisville on August 10.

I absolutely love it in Lousiville. I dreaded it for a while because I thought it would be podunk Kentucky, but it is a neat, neat city. Its a lot like Austin, TX - tons of culture, great music, great people. I've made some great friends with some phenomenal people. And I mean come on, I'm being paid to write whatever music I want without any other duties or obligations. This is (predictably) never going to happen again in my life. I'm having a blast.

Life changed so quickly and so suddenly. After spending 4 years like a failure, afraid that I'd never leave Dallas or do anything significant in my life, it had been decided, in the timespan of a month, that I would move to Louisville, KY and pursue my heart's desires. Craziness.

So, now how can I ever deny that the Lord does indeed work for the good of those who love Him? Or that He does indeed have plans to prosper and not to harm me? He poured out blessings on me this past year. And it wasnt even limited to a career change or relocation. I had so many amazing opportunities in 2010:

- a trip to Portland, OR with a great Dallas friend
- backpacked a bit of the Pacific Crest Trail with an old college friend.
- Saw Jonsi twice and Imogen Heap in concert
- traveled to Turkey and swam in the Bosphorous Cross-Continental Race from Asia to Europe
- backpacked the Grand Canyon
- worked on "Legends of Sports" talk radio show and called up some of the biggest legends of sports
- camped in the Red River Gorge
- bought a Hammond organ, electric violin, keyboard, and handheld recorder
- began cello lessons
- put up a website
- had the most amazing surprise birthday/wine tasting party ever.
- spent Thanksgiving in Kalamazoo, MI
- played some live gigs with some great bands
- experienced a record snowfall of 12" in Dallas, TX
- made so many great new friends
- took part in weddings of very dear friends
- learned how to become pretentious about beer
- written lots and lots of music

The list could go on, but I am really just in awe of how sweet Jesus has been to me this past year.

Even sweeter is his grace of giving me perspective of His plan for the past four years that I have referred to as a time of "failure." I see it now not as times of failure, but times of training, and times of developing sweet community and friends.

The night my amazing family and friends turned my wine tasting party into a surprise birthday/goodbye party will always be one of my favorite memories. I realized how spending three years back at home with family was not in the least bit lost. The time spent at Watermark and BSF was not at all ineffective. I have lifelong friends that genuinely love and support me and I do my best to love and support them. Dallas is where I grew up as a kid, but it is now also where I really grew in community and faith and trust - in Christ.

So, as I begin this year, I want to know Christ more; I want to learn to pray well; I want to learn how to pray. Most of all, I want to see how He answers prayer and to see even more how faithful He is -- because my hope is that as I do, others will as well, and they will find peace and joy in Him.

2010 was sincerely the best year of my life. I cannot wait to see what 2011 holds.

Monday, December 6, 2010

End of the semester... already!?

Yikes! One week exactly before I head home. WOOHOO.

And then 2 weeks before I'll be in the backpacking in the Grand Canyon! WOOHOO.

It's really crazy to think that I'm nearly 1/4 of the way finished with my Masters. It actually makes me really sad. I absolutely love it up here; I love the people, the work, the experiences, the music... I love it all. And I definitely feel like two years is way too short. To think that next year, I'll be well into my thesis is crazy. I have no ideas for that yet.

I've been able to accomplish more than I had originally planned. Granted, I'm not completely done with the semester, but I'm not stressing out (too much) anyways.

I'm recording a jazz trio tomorrow, so that should be fun. Also, I'm using the Yamaha 01v96. Its a digital board.. a relative of the Yamaha DM2000 - which I've had two of the worst sessions of my life on. Awesome. I'm bringing my MBox to use just in case things go wrong. Which is very probable.

Other things running through my mind now - what should my plans be for the summer? I've submitted an application to be in China already, but I wont hear about that until March. I need some backups. Or, at least a money maker. I wouldnt mind hangin out and just working for a summer.

In other news, I also recently wrote a rap on conducting for some extra credit. Well, I rewrote the words to a rap and then recorded myself rapping it. I believe it was a hit with the prof and all music nerds who have given it a listen. So much so, that I have decided that it must be made into a music video. Just wait. It will be nerdiness to the extreme. And hilarious.

Well I believe I have wasted enough time/procrastinated for long enough. Its time to write a bit more on my research paper (the best way to record a string quartet).. or figure out how to get Sibelius to recognize Korean characters.... some Office episodes.... or... sleeeeeep......

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

6 weeks left!

There are 6 weeks left in the semester! AH!

Theoretically, I'll have done a good bit between now and then:

- Written a solid paper on the best way to record string quartets. I might try and get it published as well.
- Conducted my finished symphonic band piece. (Currently editing parts and the score so it looks decent).
- Finished a second electronic work.. this one involving dreams.
- Somehow gotten through juries for voice.
- Somehow survived New Music Festival and played the piano part that I cant play for Per Norgaard
- Finished writing a piece for harp, viola, and voice. In Chinese.
- Played a few more live gigs around town.
-Probably more that I'm forgetting.

Not bad.

But I dont want this blog to become a list of things to get done.

I'd like to say here that I just absolutely love graduate school. Earlier this week, I spent some time brainstorming all these sounds I needed to record for my next electronic work "Dream Sequence." And it struck me... when in my life, ever again... will I ever be able to just do this? Just sit here and think about what sound effects to record, play with/manipulate them into what I want for a a project that I want to do. Maybe never again.

My conducting prof told us how getting her Masters was her favorite part of the whole learning trip.. because its really just about the music. And it is. And I love it.

Sad to think that 1/4 of it is nearly done..

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sounds Like

New (short) electronic "tape" piece is finished - "Sounds Like" !

Only used recorded samples. In this case, recordings of noises of my guests from a wine tasting party I threw back in the summer.

No processing allowed - only splicing, reversing, volume/panning, pitch shift without time compression.

I had fun with this one.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Some thoughts on Electronic Music

I've just returned from watching the sunrise and participating in an electronic music work written specifically for the sunrise of Sept 18. (Sunrises and sunsets always = win. With excellent company, even better WIN). Right now, I'm also taking Intro to Electronic Music. And there are some questions that I've had running through my head as we listen to different pieces - major landmarks of the development of electronic music and the "masterpieces" of specific composers. I cant seem to figure out this whole electronic music stuff yet. (And I'm talking classical electronic music .. not electronic dance/pop stuff ... for the record).

For one, earlier this week we were asked specifically if Varese's "Poeme Electronique" sounded dated. Discussion followed that led to no where (as most academic discussions do).

But this is what I think: I think it sounds like the soundtrack to a 1950's martian movie, or The Twilight Zone series, or perhaps an accompaniment to an Orsen Welles broadcast. To me, it sounds, without question, dated... But why? What specifically makes it sound so?

With electronic music, technology advances so quickly that what took someone years to create can now be duplicated in a day or less. Like Stockhausen's Studies. The sounds were incredibly interesting then (1950ish), but now, not so much.

Its like watching old space movies/tv shows. Like the original Star Trek series. Now, you see their big control boards on the ship with light up buttons, and its funny. Totally dated. And one day soon, as sweet as it looks now, Avatar's control boards will look dated. Its kind of the same view I have on electronic music. Reverb and delay were hot things to use 50 years ago. Now, those pieces that used the devices just sound like somebody in the studio today who doesnt know how to use reverb and delay well and is just playing around.

So then, is all electronic music doomed to always sound dated?

In a sense, I think so. Yes.

Or, its crossed my mind that I just dont quite understand how to listen to electronic music. I dont get it -- yet.

But as a composer, that goes against my own philosophy behind writing music. I know not everyone functions this way, but I think its important to write music that can innately be enjoyed -- that its not so academic and weird that the average listener wont be immediately confused and then immediately reject it. You can call me a people pleaser, but I like to have purpose behind my work -- The purpose being so that folks will listen to it and like it. Or, if I'm trying to elicit a certain reaction, then hopefully I'll accomplish my goal.

Anyways, that was a tangent, but I guess my biggest complaint with electronic music (that I have experienced so far), is that it feels like I'm listening to random sounds occurring at random times.. and not much beyond that. It seems that in the interest of creating "interesting sounds," electronic composers forget that they still ought to write a good work compositionally. And they dont.

So that being said, I'm wondering then if electronic music ought always to have an accompanying visual component. If you're going to compose in that style (ie randomness), then I think that in order to keep the attention of your audience, its the only way to do so. (Varese's Poeme Electronique was actually accompanied by a film). I dont think "interesting sounds" are enough to keep someone's attention/listening span for more than 30 seconds.

I dont know. I'm complaining a lot.

I have to start working on my own electronic piece now.