Tag Archives: music

Music, Mind and Meaning: A Day at the Peabody Institute


I’m fairly certain it’s common knowledge by now that I spent about a decade in college. In my defense, a good chunk of that time was spent in graduate school. Find me at the bar at the next audio show and you’ll undoubtedly catch a note a wistfulness folded in with all the wild gesticulations. You see, I have a lovely pair of rose-colored glasses for viewing that part of my life, and quite frankly, I’m still a bit mystified as to how I let all that spin away. But there was a time that I was on the track to being a Prof Scot, all Piled Higher and Deeper, a would-be Diogenes wandering the annals of argumentation, lamp swinging.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans. Bah. Anyway, on my tour of duty in highest-ed, I spent a deployment or two slogging through the minefield that was Cognitive Science. Back then (all of 20 years ago), the fight was just shifting from the armchair to the wet-lab, and questions of semantics were largely hand-waving exercises. The field of linguistic syntax had just started yet another upheaval, perhaps induced by progress in biology that in turn demanded a stricter parsimony. I remember asking my profs whether or not “models of mind” were even worthwhile, given (as I believed both then and now) that such mysteries can and will only be answered by the brain. Yeah, I wasn’t very popular.

Two decades later at the very tail-end of a January, I found myself at the Peabody Institute, the music conservatory attached to Johns Hopkins University. The topic being explored, Music, Mind and Meaning, lay at an intersection tailor-made for a philosopher-turned audio-writer, if you ask me. It was as if my own crossroads demon had suddenly stood up and offered me a ride on the way-back machine. Read more

Music, Mind and Meaning

About a million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the mega-continent, I was a PhD student at the University of Maryland, studying Philosophy. Yes, Philosophy. And no, I had no plans to open a “Philosophy and Tackle Shop” (ha ha, Dad). Anyway, I was happily blending a pair of disciplines, Cognitive Neuroscience with the Philosophy of Science (I had lots of opinions), when I finally ran out of money. Such is life. 

And as is the way of things, “things” have a tendency to ebb, flow, ebb and swamp. Today is one of the latter.

This evening, the Music, Mind and Meaning conference will open at the Peabody Institute at The Johns Hopkins University in downtown Baltimore. One of my old high school friends, who just happened to parallel my course of study with his own in Linguistics, is an Associate Professor at SUNY Stony Brook and happened to be coming to town for the event.

“How fascinating,” I said.

“You should go!” said he.

So, I am.
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Audio360.org’s Favorite Albums of 2013

by Stan Ahn, Arly Borges, Warren Chi, Scot Hull, Frank Iacone, Michael Liang, Michael Mercer, Lachlan Tsang, Kevin Venable, Ethan Wolf & Bowei Zhao

The end of the year brings so many “Best of” lists it’s crazy. At Audio360 we don’t believe we have the power to say whose art is the “Best”! After all, isn’t that one of the magical things about art: That it can be, and mean, so many different things to millions of people? So who’s to judge what’s best? Even our small crew can’t agree on what that entails. So we’re offering up our personal favorites of the year.

Many of us have more favorites than we listed here, and we crave new music! So join the conversation below via the comments section. Try to pick out three of your favorite records of 2013 and share them. We’re always on the hunt for fresh sounds. After all: It’s our collective love of the music that drives this endless audible quest! Read more

Johnny Cash, “American Recordings”

I can’t remember why or exactly when I picked up this 2002 remaster/reissue of this 1994 release. The music seems live (you can hear the audience on at least one track), but the whole of the disc is just Cash and his guitar.

It’s fantastic.

This is by far my favorite album of his. Each song is deliciously stripped back and beautifully recorded.

Most highly recommended.

Chris Jones’, Roadhouses & Automobiles

I just snagged a copy of Chris Jones’ Roadhouses & Automobiles. All I have to say is this:

Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Buy this disc. Now. Just do it.

I’m totally lovin’ the country groove. And the sound quality is some of the best I have ever heard. Just stellar. My new “resolution test” track is the title track. If you hear the crickets, you’re off to a good start. If you can’t hear the crickets, it’s time to start upgrading!

Another favorite? The track “No Sanctuary Here”. Love that bass attack. Makes me want to crank it up just to have the room shake with that big bass hum.

Highly recommended!