musician, scientist, producer and author
Matthew Putman is a musician, scientist, producer and author currently living in Brooklyn, NY. He is best known for his work in nanotechnology, the science of working in dimensions smaller than 100 nanometers.
He is active as a piano player, performing in venues and festivals, including the Forward Festival, and releasing music on 577 Records.
Finding cohesion and even subject when creating a recording or a work of music has a long tradition. As someone who improvises, there are times when finding meaning before a session or performance is exactly what I try to avoid. Life is rarely lived in the moment, and for me at least, music is an exception. This however does not mean that there is not a greater unity to the music I play. It is after all a reflection of that time and place, and often only in retrospect do I see how the pieces relate to each other and to the other experiences in my life as a whole. The name “Correlation” is meant to be taken literally. I don’t need to spell out the meaning of each track, as the listener can certainly do that, if there is indeed meaning at all. For a scientist this same process happens. I run experiments and only later analyze them to see if the experiment showed anything useful. I, and most scientists, use a variety of statistical models for this. If there is statistical significance that one test relates to another we see a correlation. This recording has a perfect correlation to my life, and as a group these pieces fit into the narrative and emotions of my life in that moment that they were created.
I don’t mean this to be a puzzle for you as listeners, as I would prefer that you just enjoy the music as it fills your life in some ways. If you are however interested in some factors that contribute to the correlation, there are several subtleties. I play in 5 different keys throughout the recordings, but in all of them I am anchored around an A natural, even when that note is not a natural fit in the chosen key. When it is anchored throughout the work however, my hope is that it is not a shock to the ear, but rather like a hidden tonic. It is a home base, even when home may be a different key.
All of this is rather intellectual, while the creation of this music was not. Whatever meaning any of us bring to it now, my hope is that the emotional response is not lost. Also, as with art in general, the correlation is not fixed. All of our perceptions and responses will change in time. The curve fit of will morph as our experiences do, and I hope that we can all rediscover it and ourselves as that happens.
- Matthew Putman about his solo album ‘Correlation’, 2013