The center of the macular portion of your eye is called the fovea; it’s the portion of your retina that most nearly represents what you’re looking at directly. I adopted from my father the phrase “thinking off the fovea.” It means tackling a problem not by focusing directly on it, but what’s at the periphery. And in any creative question, that can be a great tool for harnessing different ways of thinking. In music production, it’s doubly true: by necessity, working on music production can take large amounts of time and effort, and the more effort you spend, the further you get from the ability to judge what you’re doing objectively or recall that initial creative spark was.

The question of how to approach tools in music technology comes up constantly. The “why are we all here and what are these things for?” question seems especially apt as I bunk in Frankfurt, Germany, a stone’s throw from cavernous halls full of gear for the annual Musikmesse trade show.

People talk about focusing on music instead of tools, as if the two can be neatly separated. These discussions can become circular, though, in groups of musicians.

So, instead, let’s ask chefs. Food and music are often connected, spiritually, socially, and metaphorically. (Music being the food of love and whatnot.) Both can be an aesthetic experience, but both also connect to some need in our being.

Can they connect philosophically? Practically?

Watch the video above and see if you nod along; I know I did not only personally but having interviewed artists across a great gamut of style and training. I won’t give away the content of the video, but I’m also curious:

What’s your knife?

Film by Cool Hunting, who do a wonderful series of shorts about design and inspiration, regularly relevant to music even when they’re about something else.