In this issue, risk-taking—be it in the form of harmonic and rhythmic deconstructions of pop music or fighting for gay rights in less than hospitable surroundings—was a central topic of conversation amongst those artists, musicians and curators whose work is more than just a way to make a living. But what is artistic risk? For saxophone legend Wayne Shorter, risk is an integral part of the definition of jazz itself. As he tells editor-in-chief Max Dax in a rare extended conversation, “Jazz means: I dare you.” While Shorter isn’t known conventionally as a major influence on electronic music, his involvement in Miles Davis’s second great quintet and fusion pioneers Weather Report helped usher in jazz’s electric turn—itself of central importance for eventual electronic developments in krautrock, funk, disco and beyond. Naturally, this also extends to sample-based music, a point made clear in this issue by none other than RZA, who, while beating said editor in a game of chess, explained how the Wu-Tang Clan’s size and ego battles are calculated into his risk assessment for recording new material.
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