Writings about Music

Potent Memories

Perhaps my three most potent musical memories include lying in bed on a school night when I was in fourth grade or so, hearing some sixties genuinely raw soul music on the radio, and feeling entirely disoriented by how wildly extroverted it sounded, qualities I'd never experienced before in music, another reality.

But through more listening, including cultural bridges made by Cream, the Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, and others, actual Black Music became a key component of the stuff I'm made of. How thrilling, for example, more recently discovering for myself the miraculous rhythmic feel and style of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre.

Another memory is attending a concert of Stravinsky music, again in grade school, and feeling bewildered by the "wrong", discordant notes.

Years later, a splendid course on the Russian composer's music taught by Sarah Fuller at Stony Brook because a transformative experience on my journey pursuing the art of music composition, learning concepts that still inform my music today.

Lastly, hearing the Kronos Quartet premiere music by Morton Feldman, I was hypnotized by the feeling of melodic and formal timelessness it conveyed, a sensation rediscovered hearing a performance by Hindustani vocalists in Manhattan years later.

Tying all these influences and more together under the mantle of a personal musical vision is an exciting challenge one hopefully never tires of, always on the lookout for new "recipes, spices and vintages" to fuel our unquenchable appetites.

- Michael Robinson, August 2019, Los Angeles


© 2019 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist).