Thursday, November 10, 2016

Brad Osborn

Brad Osborn is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the University of Kansas. His articles on Radiohead and other recent rock music are published in Music Theory Spectrum, Perspectives of New Music, Music Analysis, Music Theory Online, Gamut, and in several edited collections.

Osborn writes and records atmospheric rock music under the artist moniker, D'Archipelago.

His new book is Everything in its Right Place: Analyzing Radiohead.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Osborn's reply:
I teach a graduate seminar on analyzing popular music, so I’m (re-)reading music-analytical articles along with my students. We just read Robert Fink’s excellent 2011 article on rhythmic teleology in African-American popular music. It’s all about how late-60s Motown sometimes withheld that signature 4-on-the-floor beat until a pivotal moment, and how this plays directly into lyrical themes of the time, which preach striving for the American (bourgeois) dream instead of ingesting instant (chemical) pleasures. We also just read Suzanne Cusick’s article “On the Musical Performances of Gender and Sex,” after which I had each student share a music video in which they saw (and heard) an artist performing various gender roles in interesting ways.

Even when I’m not working, in truth, I’m not much of a fiction reader. I consume, voraciously, every issue of The New Yorker the moment it hits my door, but I often skip the fiction.

That said, I just finished Dubliners, which really transported me into early 20th-century Ireland. I love the way that each chapter telescopes in length, so that Joyce warms you up with short stories about childhood and you end up mediating, at length, on mortality.

I’m juggling two fiction works right at this moment. Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man is a pocket sized volume I borrowed from a friend for a trip to LA. It fit in my carry-on, and was a good companion for the many bars I wanted to visit, alone. The Martian Chronicles really resonated with me, and, though this one is much more…well, terrestrial, it’s every bit as otherworldly.

After working my way through all of his non-fiction (that I know of), I’m now diving headfirst into DFW’s Infinite Jest—though I sometimes feel like a cliché reading it in public. A tome of a volume, to be sure, it’s nevertheless split into short scenes. While these scenes aren’t even chronological, the punctuation pushes and pulls the rhythm along. I write so much about rhythm and form in music, I guess I think about these things all the time.
Learn more about Everything in its Right Place at the Oxford University Press.

The Page 99 Test: Everything in its Right Place.

--Marshal Zeringue