1. An article by Alex Ross on the music and career of Bjork, and the idea of musical genre.
“Stream, delta, border, boundary: we keep reaching for geographical metaphors as we speak of genres and we sense that the real landscape of musical activity ultimately has little to do with our tidy delineations, or indeed with the dismantling of them. Fluid and shifting, music is spread out like populations around urban centres, and certain communities could plausibly be assigned to one city’s suburbs or to another’s. Genre may be a kind of gerrymandering practised by musical politicians. Indeed, composers routinely complain when they are described as busters of genre or crossers of boundaries; they tend to view themselves simply as artists working with various kinds of material.”
2. An interview in The Quietus with fiddle and recorder player Laura Cannell about improvisation and the mixing of folk and medieval musics.
“Whenever you do music you’re always trying to tap into something a little bit magical, something difficult to contain or describe. That’s what makes you love it: the thing that you can’t explain that happens in your head when listening or playing. So yeah, not on purpose, but I just want to do something that I think sounds brilliant, that I really love. Again, I don’t want to say “anti-classical”, but I think it is anti-classical because (in that tradition) you can get very restricted, it becomes very much about the performance and the notes and what shoes you’re wearing. Being the right sort of performer. And I hate that, I feel like I’ve had a reaction against it; I want the music to move me.”
3. A piece about ragas (scales) in North Indian classical music. Basant Bahar is a compound raga, associated with springtime and interpreted in different ways by leading performers of various gharanas (schools) in the videos below.