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In the 2014 biopic, Get On Up, there is a scene where Chadwick Boseman as James Brown tells the members of his band that no matter what instrument they carry, everyone is playing percussion. Of course, this is something we inherently know about Brown’s style of funk – that the rhythm is everything and everyone in the band is contributing to it. But to hear it stated so bluntly shows how much the approach goes against what musicians are taught to bring to the music they play.


Classical pianist, Leon Fleisher, also famously declaimed that the piano, the most melodic of instruments, was also percussive in nature.


Flashback to another time and music meister whose last name begins with B: Beethoven. Music historians have mentioned repeatedly that he lived for many years under the shadow of Mozart, who was perhaps the greatest melodic genius of all time. It wasn’t until the Fifth Symphony that Ludwig Van found his essential method and style – one that would drive him for the rest of his life as a creator and lift him to the Parnassian heights above all composers who would come before and after him.


My own thoughts on Beethoven’s style – which I do not suppose are really are original, though I have not read them elsewhere – is that the great master is constantly exploring the line where melody breaks down into rhythm and rhythm begins to vary enough in pitch to become melody. 


It is with all humility that I borrow these ideas from both men, who are vastly my betters in the venture of creating music. All of the virtual instruments I bring into the movements of the Atomic Symphonies are there to exert their sound and force for a primarily percussive purpose. And wherever the piece begins to settle into motif or melody, I am also looking for ways to break it down and rebuild it elsewhere.


Every artist has a selection of predecessors that influence their work, and they decide which aspects of their forebearers resonate most with them and eventually inform their work in a way that peculiar to them. Here are two of mine (though there are many others), which I acknowledge here in presenting the second of my Atomic Symphonies.

– Nicholas Korn


The Atomic Symphonies reinvents the classical symphony for the digital age by creating a massive four-movement opus based on the beats and instruments of pop, funk, techno, hip-hop and EDM. I have been working on this epic music series since 2018.

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