The Sound of Experimentation
While experiments are at the heart of inspiration in music, some of the discipline’s artists push the boundaries more than others. In this issue, we introduce you to a collection of master innovators who have tinkered in corners of the music world that we rarely hear about. You will also meet a master of theatrical puppets, and a vegetable detective obsessing about a toxic “perfect storm.”
The Reed Artist
A writer searches Istanbul’s cafés and alleys for the king of the ney, an enigmatic — and at times, endangered — flute that has long been a mainstay of Muslim musical traditions.
By ROLLO ROMIG
The Cigar Box Guitar Maker
When a promising rock musician tired of the road and the pressure, he gave up music and got a job at a hardware store. Then one day, he had a revelation.
Story by NANCY LEBRUN
Photography by STEPHEN KRAMER
The late Butch Morris, a figure from the outer edges of jazz, reimagined conducting as a form of composition, coining his own word for the combination of the two.
By FRANCIS DAVIS
The Return of the Harmonica
In the 1970s, Hohner, the world’s largest harmonica manufacturer, changed its flagship model, and in the process its signature sound. A few musicians and harp customizers waged a quiet rebellion. And they won.
By BEN MARKS
Other Topics In This Issue
The Vegetable Detective
A molecular biologist is finding what could be dangerous levels of heavy metals in plants like kale, often called the “queen” of the vegetable kingdom. And they’ve shown up the most in organic varieties.
Story by TODD OPPENHEIMER
Photography by CLAIRE BLOOMBERG
Michael Montenegro is driven to put the products of his imagination into tangible, active forms. After he builds them—often in life-size form, with a rag-tag collage of materials—he becomes them, lives inside them, then delivers them to us with a zany vigor.
By LORI ROTENBERK