Arrows Of Attention II: 100 Not-But Conceptual Pairings


1. Not virtuosity, but attention.

2. Not new ideas, but remixing old ones.

3. Not novelty, but classic form.

4. Not a large gesture, but a small one that sits comfortably under the hands.

5. Not saying too much, but saying little.

6. Not adding, but subtracting.

7. Not free form, but logical.

8. Not contrived, but discovered.

9. Not clean and crisp, but weathered, Wabi-sabi.

10. Not willy-nilly, but thoughtful.

11. Not ambitious, but serious.

12. Not random, but sequential.

13. Not straight-lined, but fractal.

14. Not groovy, but flowing.

15. Not expressive, but poetic.

16. Not quantized, but measured.

17. Not influenced, but sociable.

18. Not a one-off, but part of a series.

19. Not argument, but a form of inquiry.

20. Not explicit, but manifest.

21. Not unison, but counterpoint.

22. Not copycat, but original.

23. Not historically obsessed, but in the present.

24. Not blocking out, but aware.

25. Not me-centered, but personal.

26. Not frantic, but long ball.

27. Not warmed up, but at 100 percent.

28. Not ignorant, but naive.

29. Not theory-laden, but experience-driven.

30. Not ideas, but patterns.

31. Not idiom-centric, but universal.

32. Not married to the sound, but accepting it.

33. Not next month, but today.

34. Not later, but right now.

35. Not stylish, but genuine, earnest.

36. Not repeatable, but re-listenable.

37. Not imagining, but trying it out.

38. Not a sequence, but a route.

39. Not themes, but recurring shapes.

40. Not melodies, but harmonic traces.

41. Not chords, but timbre washes.

42. Not beats, but composite rhythms.

43. Not a lucky idea, but a I-was-just-right-here-and-noticed-it discovery.

44. Not luck, but forged opportunity.

45. Not a problem, but a set of conditions.

46. Not any sound at all, but exactly this sound.

47. Not exactly, but roughly in the ballpark.

48. Not the first take, but the second or third (once you’ve calmed down).

49. Not for any particular reason, but still goal-oriented.

50. Not in the details, but in the general concept.

51. Not in the forcefulness of the gesture, but in its accuracy.

52. Not in your assessment of the music, but in others’ use of it.

53. Not all at once, but one sound after another.

54. Not out of private need, but for public circulation.

55. Not because it’s cool, but because its indifferent to coolness.

56. Not because you can dance to it, but because it moves its own way.

57. Not for worship, but reverential.

58. Not for contemplation, but nudging you in that direction.

59. Not goal-oriented, but stretching one scale, one key.

60. Not complicated, but sophisticated.

61. Not exhaustive, but renewable.

62. Not happy or sad, but steadily expressive.

63. Not angered, but restorative.

64. Not self-conscious, but at ease.

65. Not static, but changing every micro-moment.

66. Not awkward, but flowing.

67. Not self-referencing, but outward-looking.

68. Not status-seeking, but freewheeling.

69. Not changing tempo, but steady state.

70. Not four-on-the-floor, but hypnotic.

71. Not cinematic/background/ambient, but the focal point.

72. Not soloing, but accompanying.

73. Not foreground and background, but interwoven texture.

74. Not surface texture, but structural form.

75. Not stimulation, but fascination.

76. Not notes on a page, but sounds over the speakers.

77. Not on a grid, but suggesting a pulse.

78. Not your best stuff, but it doesn’t really matter.

79. Not made of material, but having physical effects.

80. Not causing tension, but having a sense of urgency.

81. Not modeled on a real instrument, but inspired by it.

82. Not better than your last creation, but different.

83. Not reducible to words, but eluding description.

84. Not for everyone, but for some.

85. Not overly serious, but engaged.

86. Not structurally perfect, but enchanted.

87. Not the most beautiful, but naturally so.

88. Not synthetic, but from your own life.

89. Not doggedly persistent, but persistent.

90. Not unlike the others, but with unusual spins.

91. Not strictly repeating, but circling around and around.

92. Not distracting, but minding its own business.

93. Not naturally occurring, but sounding natural.

94. Not with all its part aligned, but finely calibrated.

95. Not putting on a show, but exploring connections.

96. Not ruling out novel sounds, but weary of them.

97. Not unlike what the theorist does, but in practice.

98. Not seeking a million ears, but one good listener.

99. Not great, but touching.

100. Not for me, but for you.

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