Resonant Thoughts: Ulf Olson’s “Listening For The Secret” (2017)


“There is…an interesting dialectic of tradition and Avant-Garde at the heart of the Grateful Dead’s music, a dialectic that might be generated by the larger dislocations taking place on a worldwide scale, but enacted within a community, forming around a group of musicians, that would gradually grow until it would become a national, and to some degree even an international, phenomenon, albeit one limited predominantly to the Western world.

“Improvisation is one form of intentional dislocation, a musical one, but one that also works on a more general cultural scale, if understood as a non-programmatic approach to trying out different ways to gain control over one’s life” (21).

“Improvisation will never get there; it is always too late or too early…Improvisation denies closure, and instead destroys…in that it refuses to acknowledge such a basic assumption of Western music as even the song format” (119).

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