For Nathan Englander (Public Radio Wisconsin)

by Freddy Knop

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"For Nathan Englander"
written for piano and Nathan Englanders Voice.

Composed for Sounding Out The Muse (To The Best Of Our Knowlegde Podcast); commissioned by Radio Wisconsin

"For the last few months, I’ve been working with To The Best of Our Knowledge on a show about creative brain states. I’d been thinking pretty endlessly about consciousness and dissociative responses and what happens when we write.

When I was finishing up my last book, and deep into the final story, I experienced one of those rare moments when I catch myself working. At the end of a long day, fully absorbed in composition, I kind of found myself observing myself in the act of imagining. That is, I became aware of being unaware. I caught my own brain inhabiting story. For a few moments, I was watching another sort of self. And I began to wonder about those two wildly disparate states of being—the differences between the me watching and the me working. I began to think about how this other kind of awareness—the creative consciousness—functions for other writers, and other artists. I wondered how an idea forms for a scientist or an innovation suddenly pops up into a designer’s mind.

There are many romantic concepts and metaphors tied to that imaginative space—whether you pray for the Muse, get in the zone, or go walk the dog while an idea is “cooking.” Some people picture it as a light bulb going off above them, or boil inspiration down to Sir Isaac Newton getting hit with an apple in the head. So when TTBOOK producer Sara Nics invited me to guest-produce an episode of To The Best of Our Knowledge, I knew immediately what idea I wanted to explore. I wanted to talk to some really brilliant and amazing folk about what happens in our noggins when we create things. I basically wanted to know what was going on for them—how they were experiencing it—when the muse descends.

And so we reached out to theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, who talked to us about process. I had a conversation with the Director of the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery, David Krakauer, where we touched on the evolution of ideas. Tony Award winning playwright and performer Sarah Jones discusses her truly unique process around the creation of character. And, from Berlin, composer Freddy Knop builds us a soundscape (attached here), with his interpretation of an idea being formed—the sound inside the brain.

Collaborating with everyone at TTBOOK has been a joy on this end. And thanks for listening to the show." Nathan Englander


released January 9, 2016


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Freddy Knop Berlin, Germany

Frederik Knop is a Berlin based composer & mastering engineer. While pursuing a musicology PhD, Freddy worked as a lecturer and researcher in the field of 20th century music and audio technology, specializing on classical and popular music production and composition. He is the founder of LISTENERS Mastering in Berlin and Co-Founder of studio manufacturer HEDD | Heinz Electrodynamic Designs. ... more

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