I simply loved this passage from an interview with the contemporary American composer, John Luther Adams, which appears in New Music Box online. Within the trajectories that curiosity leads him into, science and art are one. Adams says:
I’m not changing anything in the music; music is changing everything in me. Maybe it’s fascination—maybe it’s that word again. Curiosity. Wonder. It’s that energy that moves around. Early in my life, it might be in bird songs, and then I start listening to the habitats in which the birds are singing, and that becomes an obsession with landscape. Then I’m exploring the landscapes of the Arctic and starting to understand a little bit of the history and to feel a little bit of the presence of the people who have lived in the Arctic for countless centuries. It becomes sonic geography, a piece like Earth and the Great Weather. Then somehow I’m listening and making field recordings in the Arctic and my ear, which has been tuned to animal calls or bird songs—the more poetic dimensions of the soundscape—becomes fascinated with the noisier, more complex elements: wind, waterfalls, ice sounds, thunder. That becomes an obsession. Through that fascination with noise, somehow I stumble into chaos theory and complexity theory and I wonder how the forms of fractals might sound. I put that together with noise and out comes Strange and Sacred Noise. Then I hear Strange and Sacred Noise and inside of that howling noise I hear voices, these sort of disembodied voices that have an almost human quality to them, and I want to hear those alone. So I begin sculpting noise and trying to extract pure tone out of complex noise, and then we have The Mathematics of Resonant Bodies. One thing leads to the next, leads to the next, and each time there’s something that carries forward from the previous work, but there’s also some new element that feels like the essential core of the new exploration.