by 5:4

Welcome to 5:4 – a blog devoted to the most interesting, innovative and impressive music of our time

My name is Simon Cummings, and i’m a composer, writer and researcher based in south west England. i began 5:4 in 2008, in part due to the paucity of informed, intelligent and meaningful discussion of new music both in the press and online, but also as a way to explore and share my passion for contemporary music. You won’t need to read many articles to get a pretty clear idea of the kinds of music to which i’m most drawn; my taste is extremely eclectic, but my chief interests lie at the vanguard of classical, experimental and electronic musics.

For the most part, 5:4 goes wherever i feel like taking it, depending on which particular whim i’m currently entertaining, but you will find a number of regular items on the blog:


5:4 is a celebration of interesting, innovative and impressive music so, for the most part, music i find poor or problematic is not usually discussed here. However, if and when music of more questionable quality occurs as part of a larger review or series of articles, that fact will not go unnoticed. Far from it. i think these lines of Berlioz (from his Memoirs) sum things up nicely:

…I can at least say that never for any consideration whatever have I been put off expressing in the most ungrudging terms what I feel about works or artists that I admire. […] Indeed, the sole compensation that journalism offers me for all its torments is the scope it gives to my passion for the true, the great, the beautiful, wherever they exist.

However, the word ‘celebration’ is important; i’m reminded of the words said by the wonderfully-named Anton Ego in the film Ratatouille:

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgement. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defence of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.

That, above all else, is the purpose of 5:4.

In addition to 5:4, i am a regular contributor to assorted print and online publications. My co-edited book Music Beyond Airports: appraising ambient music was published by the University of Huddersfield Press in July 2019. Other book projects include a chapter contributed to Sound and Image: Aesthetics and Practices, published by Routledge in June 2020, the introduction to Marko Ciciliani‘s book/audio DVD Pop Wall Alphabet, and a major retrospective essay for the ebook Imperfect Forms: the Music of Kenneth Kirschner, published by Tokafi. I have also written articles for numerous print and web journals, including Tempo, Dissonance, Opera, Bachtrack, Pan and La Tempestad, in addition to liner notes for CDs and programme notes for concerts.

Get in touch

Comments from readers are warmly encouraged; i read them all, and will always reply if and when i can (and assuming i have something to say). To follow 5:4 properly, subscribe to the RSS feed or you can sign up for email updates at the top of the sidebar on the main page; beyond this, my Twitter feed is primarily concerned with updates of whatever i’m currently listening to, while Instagram is a mixture of musical and miscellaneous adventures.

i’m always interested to hear music by composers and musicians unfamiliar to me, so if you’d like me to take a listen to your music, click here and read carefully.

My music

Being a composer myself, my own work is featured on 5:4 from time to time. To find out more, hear examples and order CDs of my music, you can visit my website and my Bandcamp site.


Thanks for visiting 5:4, i very much hope you enjoy what you find here. If you do, please consider becoming a patron of the blog, from just $2 a month. For details click on the button below.