ROULETTE: You had mentioned in the past that Don cherry said, ‘you have to respect the silence before you respect the sound”, how does this influence the development if your musical identity? Your creative process?
ADAM RUDOLPH: To me that has to do with the nature of what musical gesture is in the first place, and the nature of music itself. Everything in the universe is vibrating, and of course we have the restrictions of validity. The thing about music that is powerful and touches us is that we ourselves are made of vibrations.
So the music is made of the same thing that we are. So what he means, is the silence… what in Hindu music they call Anahata Nado ‘unstruck sound’, what that means is when you generate a sound, when you play, take a bow to a string, hit a drum, or your breathe into an instrument- there’s a certain element of it that’s a sacred act. I’m not implying religion, but it’s a creative act, and that intention when you bring it- when you respect the silence and hit the Anahata Nado and move into the heard realm of sound… that’s something magical that’s happening. Your musical gesture carries something from the world of the spiritual.
R: Was there a specific event or experience that lead you to start using experimental media? Like your approach to the nonlinear score?
AR: Its more like a contunium of things… that would go back to my experiences growing up on the south side of Chicago, hearing art ensemble of Chicago growing up down the street from musicians like Henry Threadgill, Steve McCall, hearing them as a teenager. A lot of them came to my high school and gave workshops. That opened up to me …When I heard the art ensemble of Chicago, I saw that anything you can imagine to do- you can do, as long as you have the courage to pursue it. They opened that door and my mind was then opened to that door. Then over time, you know you pursue that- at the same time on the south side, there were a lot of blues artists near by… and you could go and hear them on Sundays at the checker board even if you were under age.
When I was 17 and I went to Oberlin college, I met Charles Moore who was coming from down from Detroit, I stared going to Detroit and playing with the contemporary jazz quintet. So they, and other Detroit musicians, showed me a different kind of studiousness about what they do, and also some these ways of thinking about rhythm that were unconventional – to look at the essence of rhythm. When you talk about the essence of rhythm, you talk about 3 things language, dance, and mathematics. So the mathematics give you a way to think about things abstracting like they do in Indian music.
So whats important was- these early experiences lead me from the ‘what?’ The what is kind of the intuitive attraction that pulls you to the music. I mean, we don’t even know why we like music or what we love about it, but as an artist you move to the ‘how’ … and those artists in Detroit helped me to think about the ‘how’ and how is where you think about process, you have to deal with how to liberate yourself from a style. Don Cherry has said that “style is the death of creativity”.