Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter describes and defines the concept of recursion, and discusses its applications in computer science, consciousness, art, music, biology and various other fields.
Recursion is crucial to writing computer programs in a compact, elegant way, but it also opens the door to infinite loops and irreconcilable logical contradictions.
“The Funky Drummer Parts One And Two” by James Brown and the JBs is one of the most-sampled recordings in history.
But even though the track is a cornerstone of hip-hop and other sample-based electronic music, for the first decade after its release, it was an obscurity. It’s a nice groove, but as a song, it’s not as catchy as James Brown’s big hits like “Sex Machine” or “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag.” It doesn’t have verses or choruses; instead, it’s just an open-ended groove, with extended solos traded back and forth between James Brown on organ and Maceo Parker on tenor sax.
It’s a mother
Four and a half minutes into the recording, James Brown tells the band: “Fellas, one more time I want to give the drummer some of this funky soul we got going here.” He tells drummer Clyde Stubblefield, “You don’t have to do no soloing, brother, just keep what you got… Don’t turn it loose, ’cause it’s a mother.” That last word will turn out to be prophetic.
Here’s a loop of Clyde Stubblefield’s drum solo: