NPR

Viking's Choice: New Sounds Now, New Sounds Forever

Music moves culture forward. Auditory illusions, hellish black metal and meditative drum-dance music mix together on this week's playlist.
Tauba Auerbach's sculptures adorn the artwork for Meara O'Reilly's Hockets for Two Voices. Source: Tauba Auerbach

When I first started in public radio 13 years ago, there weren't too many peers playing "challenging" music. Here was a 20-something who, up until moving to D.C., spent nights vibrating to Japanese noise and weekends attempting to decode large-format Xenakis scores in the University of Georgia library. NPR Music wasn't even a proper entity yet, and here I was already planning to dismantle notions of what constitutes "public radio music" with brash zealousness. (Hey, I was 23.)

My column , now a little over a decade strong, didn't come without aches and setbacks because, hey, or a can be, a 37-year-old public radio program that not only challenged but grew with its audience; trust was built into the equation, bouncing ears from prepared piano to ambient electronics to Afropop. Folks like to say its cross-cultural, cross-genre mix is distinctly New York; I'd argue was prescient in how music would fracture and reconstitute its disparate parts in wild forms.

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