NEW NEW YORK: CHRISTOPHER HOFFMAN, INDUCTION

By Guest Contributor

As he walked into the other room, I found myself lost in his hallway; the dark cluttered picture frames were difficult to look away from. He spoke, and I followed the sound of his voice to find him. I noticed a large piano in the corner. The top of it was covered and had it not been for the visible black and white keys, I may have missed it. My eyes moved along with him toward a stack of books whose topics ranged from consciousness, poetry, and magic, to trilateralism, the antichrist, and God. I turned my head slightly and my eyes quickly darted to the two portraits on the wall to the right. We briefly discussed them before deciding to take a seat. He sat at the head of his large dining room table and I to the left of him. We reminisced about the first time we met. It was a few years ago when I was working at a now defunct music venue on Orchard St. I had booked a show for actor/musician Michael Pitt’s band, Pagoda. In it, he is the cellist, although he is a multi-instrumentalist. The cello was an instrument he was pressured to learn as a child.  Coming from a musical family, it seemed his fate was inevitable. Although his surroundings may have originally piqued his interest in music, and he once found spiritual significance in it, he now believes it to be just another form of self-expression. His views were altered when he realized the importance young listeners put on pop stars; undeservedly, turning them from artists into modern day philosophers. He leaned back in his chair in exasperation and then sat upright again as he began to reference current popular singers and their negative impact on adolescents. He wonders why consumers won’t buy the idea of people just being good to each other. I suggested that, as in life, some people need constant controversy to have their interests sustained. We agreed and veered slightly off topic into our own personal lives. Transferring private conflicts into a dialogue about the global atmosphere, he mentioned social media. Admitting that he has fallen victim to the addiction, he fears the disconnect and isolation it has caused will only increase over time. We were momentarily distracted when we heard a scream from random passerby’s on the street. It seemed as if the universe was agreeing with his point. Continuing on, he acknowledged that the Internet is a tool and has many useful qualities.  It has produced a venue for musicians to showcase their work, which can be viewed as a sort of community. Though he participates in this Internet based society, he does not consider himself a part of any larger scene. As he has strong feelings about the world, he believes that when you align yourself with a particular group you can often see things get compromised. There is also the possibility of stunting ones growth if the focus is not on evolution. In his case, it appears that his decision to separate from the musical social order has worked in his favor. While recording a follow up to his first album, Induction, he continues to play with a variety of bands: the aforementioned, Henry Threadgill, and Smart Growth Zone, a project with Yeah Yeah Yeah’s drummer Brian Chase and Jeremiah Cymerman. He started a label called Hundred Pockets Records, which currently has three new releases, including Ari Chersky and Christina Courtin. In addition, he composed the end credits for Martin Scorsese’s film, “Shutter Island”…

…he walked me down the block and we continued an earlier conversation about ignorance. We said our goodbyes and then I headed to the subway. On my ride home, I wondered if it is better to live unaware or to use the world’s troubles as motivation to create art…

–Jessica Glick

Learn more about Christopher Hoffman.

Jessica Glick is a photographer, writer, and music lover. She developed an interest in photography while working at various Lower East Side music venues. Jessica started photographing local musician and has now expanded her work to include fine art and fashion. In addition to photography, Jessica has been writing since she was a child. Attempting to combine her writings with her photo work, she created an ongoing portrait/story series called VAGABOND.