The music world is overloaded with people who talk about music – how it works, what has happened, what is happening. Few people can really delve articulately into questions of why. Susan Rogers is one of those few.
Her talk at Ableton Loop this fall was, in all three years of attending Ableton’s bespoke event, the one that has stood out for me the most. I instantly nagged friends at Ableton to release the video, not only because I wanted people to see it, but because I wanted to watch it again just to process everything she said.
She talks about trying to understand Prince’s genius and how he worked. (She was sound engineer on Purple Rain and Sign o’ the Times.) She talks about how the brain works (she’s a professor of cognition and works with cognition and perception) and why sometimes great music doesn’t find an audience. She talks in personal terms, and about how sometimes great people don’t find a partner. She does what I think great teachers do: she has something to say, and she gets to it directly. But there’s empathy in every insight, and each thought makes you feel a desire to go learn more – to do the homework.
I think whether we’re talking about machines or music or people, the further we go, the more we may realize understanding the mind is the key to all we want to investigate – of course.
For more, there’s a terrific two-parter in depth on Gear Club:
I’ve got a lot more I’d want to talk to her about; I imagine you do, too. So – I’ll be rewatching as you rewatch, making notes.