issue 8 :: 2000
I asked friends and strangers to submit to me reviews or criticism of imaginary music, especially music heard in dreams. What follows is literally out-of-this-world, listed by order of submission (or my thinking to include certain pertinent quotes read during the project).
|Review of "Space Music"|
We've all heard "sound environment" recordings taken from distant locales, but this is perhaps the most unique you'll ever hear. Italian astronaut Luigi Ligeti, who flew on one of last year's NASA shuttle missions is also a pioneering sound artist. Ligeti has made the first true space music -music made in space itself. Every school-child knows that sound can't travel through the vacuum of space, but it turns out vibrations travel through everything else. Ligeti attached contact microphones to the exterior of the spacecraft, to aluminum pipes, tools, taut cables, and even the large piece of space debris (which was being towed back into the atmosphere as part of that NASA mission). The booklet photograph shows a large metal ring and microphone loosely tethered to a pocket digital audio recorder floating over Earth's blue orb.
In one piece he has captured the creaks and groans of the spacecraft hull expanding as the full force of the sun suddenly strikes the craft upon emerging from Earth's shadow. Imagine a hundred creaking doors opening at once. In another, one hears a piece of metal, free floating in space, being struck once. Without air to dampen the vibration, it sounds like a gong ringing forever. At first I wondered when the tone would stop, then I hoped it never would.
Hearing this has made me ever aware of the unseen ocean of air we all swim in. Seeing an orchestra play now appears by comparison as though they are playing underwater.
The recording is available in CD, DVD, and of course over the Internet.
|Immediately before recording his artistically adventurous but commercially disastrous album "Star Sailor," it is a little known fact that Tim Buckley spent six months in France working on a project which was kept under close wraps but never released. It is now available, and turns out to be a collaboration with Magma. People who have heard pre-release copies arrest that it is the best work by either party by a long long way, and the question arises why it was never released at the time. Christian Vander is pressed for comment, and he reveals that both he and Buckley felt that the finished work was brilliant, but "too dark and negative for release to the public." |
|Norsegaard Frog Host: "Sun will dial up, then Down," NFH is a kraut/prog rock band from Norway. This is the 3rd album, it's a double LP. Record 1 contains 3 "songs," the 3 songs shift over multiple spectrums, the 1st "song" starts out with a tape loop of a hammer and anvil and then turns into a Scandinavian opera of tragic proportions. Other movements can only be described as neo primitive field recordings interrupted by, uh, rock jams. The 3rd song ends up becoming a cover of MC5's "kick out the jams." Both sides of record 2 are just recordings of one of the band members wearing a nun's habit and deer antlers while making toast. Highly recommended, this is definitely a completely insane rare gem, from Norwegians no doubt.|
|Hiro Yanagida- "Unknown Title"|
2xLP 1972 or so on, say, Japanese Polydor
My musical obsessions always come back to me in my dreams. One of my longest-lived obsessions is reading music mail-order catalogs over and over again until they fall apart in my hands. Eventually I end up dreaming about the records I can't afford- or in Hiro Yanagida's case, a record that doesn't exist by a musician who has records out that I can't afford. I saw the cover in my dream- I'm standing by a (nonexistent) carousel located inside what I think was the underground shops in Seattle's Pike Place Market when someone (my wife actually- who would find it amusing to know that in my dreams all I want her to do is to hand me more records...) gives me the artifact- a fold out double album- glossy yellow with a stylized drawing of an afro-headed, dashiki wearing Japanese hippie emerging from a swirling psychedelic doodle. The music? I don't remember playing the record in my dream, yet by merely touching it I could hear this: long, hot-burning guitar epics, with abstract electronic flourishes and an oriental exotica veneer- like a Guru Guru-Third Ear Band wet dream- except that the heavier parts were heavier than Guru Guru ever was, and the ethereal floating atmospherics made Popol Vuh sound like the Kingsmen, and the moog played by one of Yanagida's long-bearded associates was wired up with a crazed shimmering insanity rarely heard on record. Exactly the sort of impossibly great description I've read in every catalog of rare and obscure 60's psych recordings I've ever laid my hands on since I was in my teens. Except this music's for real, because I heard it in my head, and nothing will probably ever compare.
-Carlos M. Pozo
|The concept-phrase, standing wave, takes on new meaning in "Power Plays," directed and produced by Harry Blernsk, grandson of the renowned filmmaker, Otto B. Shottenheimer, producer of "Dog Days At 3:00 pm" and "Rest Or Rant," starring Olivia DeMournay and Hector VerLobos, the latin phenomenon who began his Hollywood career flipping burgers on the grill at Universal Studios portable urn.|
In a series of surrealistic tracks, Daniel, a sorcerer of the 1990's, learns to perceive the unperceivable by tapping various power sources as he makes his rounds selling donuts and breakfast tacos to workers on construction jobs in and around Austin, Texas. Lots of dialogue in Spanish.
At the beginning, our erstwhile hero has no idea of what he is really up to. He drives his lunch wagon vehicle, a dark green '49 Ford station wagon with twin exhaust pipes with cherry bomb mufflers, up and down hills and through congested intersections, swearing at traffic idiots, soliciting pretty pedestrian ladies, and selling his food wares to burly construction workers. At the intersection of Mesa Drive and State road 2222 he identifies a power source near the entrance to the Northwest Hills Adult Assisted Living Center, but blows the opportunity. He yells, "I CLAIM THIS POWER FOR ME ALONE!" Which gives him absolutely nothing but the ensuing event of getting his poor old '49 Ford station wagon food delivery/sales vehicle grossly entangled in the chain-link fence gate at the construction project's entrance when he tries to leave. Which he meditates and cogitates upon, after an enormous Caterpillar tractor hooks a chain to his bumper and pulls him free, with much clanking.
Next, our hero parks his Ford uphill from the main-entrance to the Northwest Hills Adult Assisted Living Center. From which vantage point he relates that he observes a man working on a broken-down Toyota 4-door sedan parked off-road, exactly on the power spot--the man lies underneath the car. Which our hero meditates and cogitates upon during one full track of silence. Then he describes how the man lies under the car with only his feet sticking out, while a woman, who wears a dress the same color as the Toyota (yellow), leans against the front fender and watches the traffic flow past on Mesa Drive. Perhaps the woman is Mexican. Perhaps she is the wife of the man beneath the Toyota.
Next, having consulted his dreams of the night before, Daniel stands near the power source, but not directly upon it, and sings a little indian song to each of the four directions. That night Daniel describes seeing himself in a lucid dream as a rock-and-roll musician, standing, playing with his hands upon the keyboard of a black and white electronic piano-organ, producing a rolling five-part rock and roll laser-sound harmony.
In the final track, Daniel, who sits at a word processor keyboard, types and speaks aloud about his life as an expression of five-part harmony in human relationships.
-Daniel A. Russell
|A review of an imaginary record:|
Ghaz ugzys ge uque weguewes wiaw seeh op ki I molciag. Fu onop oek clo ufkio ugmojem usguca ubcaki.
Kraukmoewgu. Swooskew eak ugoev. Ki ibglug moewenowea wa mewn I.
Oecakrgoe uxoe. Oesidsigmoe umocicatmc bauf ugm. Ketgmojeno eku.
Oewugmcugmc rakbgokren. Sabercaelce ehoenudse hamnua. Ca I caj cieweatsf udm wugafkyere ren icgsoe cecdgugmo uko deugmi I.
Wugm op cokhoetsu icts oesbcakysk ehkig can iucts ugolw. Ko ikigg si. Gue moh esoabgeh.
Ugmnuow egmop ogcemow. Fukvuwre umhkaksih yp pai moew umm. Ba ugeskhoe gemop. Eh jea ugoejeu.
Kacaswogo wu. Aw pilmykergmi. Cetmhop ugh ba roewrecaghk eugregmfug. Ano fuquivk cliuf. Ap akowrecago uew ukee. Kesk I moc spov. Mamu guclcatmae ga sasa igmcaosio ecaketsmatma skoek lakesrc I I mawretsadg iwkoicaj swaow. Bugoecool qui eecakmo bekgh mavu. Segmakvud kiugmp lunojess ugmv dae fugbep nulw. Ekmv sa ugmoen icak. Kekvk woecaewkoo urgd um. Moe ug camlw moewxoewuo wawsuglca ugmenowamo. Wis uegoew je cuo no mop ugmtoergba. Eewks eefkmop dimop wa ic. Ewkwofueh hibgp catmn igms woev kekocamoki mucx cukvuowusew ucako. Unug oeg swuc go. Cuarergvu se. Op moew rergweugmo cu uk clo mo. Icakvuguwsd ugu ow. Te ugmc iakibgl swo nugoewe oew cakew. Akowk oocagm iw moew wakoelw ooccu yep seno. Go mo afuwoo icau omip I a nug sukbewklakv oewruew. Ugfugquid uemokikgufu aum. Degmcamrewe okooweage soacafkw mo ugmtuguew. Psukvu cav fugmoesugue. Kogm ubecaku. Wujeko cam ug gukougm.
I mewkw gnow yrgmew. Suogm gogfkew. Siughk moelw usuogmc iew ufku wichkih. Cuew ugmcakxoe.
Siamuewejo mip iacusu. Op ud dirgmi. Soucav ki cih. Vemeecmae jisud whouno.
Esme deiwei micbailt enujits resi.
Jaikbgia mae mep iop. Deicu iak ujimcenutmi cebgagaquij ma ulcemem ilmaw re ucewp ov ebgcigucemo iodtm atredga raejiakia fiugn mop mea bedisew.
Ba umcirgeulmk. Budbes esu ra bo uj duma slouwsiamp.
Vebgciqueg iulduatsdi aibeigaemeh mu mecmk uwk. Uecgm ghaw togciucebgc jo ti miamai mobgo uwmep jino I iacatd uceilugmho. Muckaeddes jotrwu put ze. Atgemamfho ip iabu isewr.
Kimgu vemenbcio uoresme simoigmk. Fo ut ecebgaebca jog squanidsom eceubebgci wiekncicc. Urgaki li eigesuirca moawsikoa mug. Jumpfu wuku we rowsino idguitet tiatea. Uj cebgcip ohkiawsi gemea. Oreamu givrc iesquawes owemu rep kitsio idgak su.
Woap tu musdmobonv jesiciaw dwemui vuesnbemo vofro vimugetv. Kawuwdbei ki clia ji iobtliltre agbnoysino iakv ibnu kiliaw uokauscisk uinopp iwo agva map. Via guda ciuwmo. Uwesdwef dedgaquoa aik ulialnoce I uk eino ino ikp.
Evh iaj cei riak miabgatgabob marfk su. Kawemu nowumvuan.
Kuawaj uav imoanoh sue tovrgiu mufkosdmi akfou ocesmea uihuwki. Iqua te sooc. Eafn ucemo mi. Oemures cofihilmk micc. Me gasmeg sewat. Wemibc vu dudmo iomiok. Obciegucm uesuino ip ipfugoo. Cagemeawmo. Ope wie ebgci iotegadmag koysi. Nu toi vu.
Ino I fuameucme auk.
Jap luc kauciawejesd I uino iuge mivesk utmus. Mia afeisimp. Swo uqueuc. Ed miowmowmee akuh. Awce jeajicicem awu ikiop icaltgemae iegbai se mihogtma noguf woca oino omv nops maw. Coos mo ogf wimcapf wimi vopv.
Smau ogkeoclmy sampogou I ogtm eucaimv wav. Ukdm visgou os malmpauku cadmiwm gymv suolm sig. Wom aenogf I ocau ous mimpes mimpurclum so maocw mamclawmv eujyw tis mo micwh liucwi mopcesoos mio olmircle si miasea. Ocwom myclmihca ma maukdm earcemiclm.
Minocabcla mo of wamcimcami mihyrcluo mukogoukol cumi iw tuogtm su viso moum fem.
Olmv sosgav. Sienog op dopyi su opa ehpi so ocwaimpm fu. A ma mi miaf. Ca idmp surciosaogf iesef ihu ogoadmc vycapcao nop. Go mous miwhi eno onomsg kica moicw ocaigtm femv euv so. Mawhylmc nopmc. Mi mih ioseibcatm ho. Sef ica clopmv enou omcumclev wecwe nog. Cuy taopasguasi jo oudm feg mi fawdm sav nolmcas malmilm fai iclm fai ocwe why noganompm.
Hi impm ma tesaog mogtmiho otmiposual iv nopyo okehmcav si iamicw. Kiogeirco iak noukdm. Ses meuk weum suclm wef no oujo oukdm mihyetmcit vasgouk. Hiji opwupu ooca. Giopog du nopkao opewh fecwoh mocwomiz mamidmi miaclmacwem lav iamv wawe iclm monog. Oumv weoclmimpyk miwdm suopmibcl vocwapkd. Oclm wakouk soca ikdmiudmic uquaimilm daolmv I tef. Su miempma cago ogmcadmio ocw if igf ehmc eogmi teogi.
Fonolmv eukgoocw looca feaj mo olmi ino seasgewm fe ma miwoclmisg squacadm smiukdmirc ciclm eurca ihlm nolmca wesinujua edmfunikiop sabecesmh sefb go vugls ian raihfuacp ubrtial damemoo iciewhun icia az ugn urf gou piakerw. Cigmp degoep ubvoatv aw urie. Thake go jetlcibeu. Na mae akpugo.
Hyalw sagbto. Wowriakugai. Keo fewkugpadgm ufceewgeo inobv uakecajur noybegeaki duogdr ebgumocoso iabvd okpik aseumicam. Ougopi ukavrhow icuajiaji einuquacea ugm jamoi uaknoc. Wenuvrcia aniagb cemb. Iabicbea jiawra.
Kramausksew etgmabewun umasianca.
Iakpulk tiocidwupp duj. Enuigbikgt mae akpewy mie mighi ugguasu ew aufio umme. Teomiamvk uel nicop rao. Afk itmifnasv idmugopasd. Mequeacas ugoawea nowitriwua sougt miocigmoso. Iamio famop. Ebe umeicia gomkeruig ca ov iarcia sosew ke. Is daddakua iawsm vaucn ici umgu ptoocuakr ealbra I ukroincaic bra gox akiamiscap wibvp. Wagmg me piamiki iakpn issa awedf. Fe loe agfuibv mumakiaj augmuh umakiah. Iodnuganiam tu eakgkoe majibvhe gaugkpejibv quoakao ip ooriakdn.
Eer ge ganlt uinbousmi ki moghoi jaeplkuga aktkumikeg criawho uikno. Omt wamociw rep adms bo loewhomou vicoelbrall quakrbiak turearlascu ariakup uigbnoppa iadmevo iabaho umialkunum matimi uaw neesias. Suerodsaw wa. A awulma um. Ufbraki wa ihow fu iafhubcih viaw iparftygb ic glamifeje oesau miahoru aumakiacae nicea cauh uakai utt jej iasiasi nufuca urrop. Iakquea ube. Ep mau cakf wo uakbeih wrefbm. Rikaewmakia ajeampdia fateekmbabv gee foe maj iack uihoiw I idsl dake adthapucame be oajuddewefe fughkiurik ciekgovuque. Icoe cheamok.
Ikeakhopw whocabeawu huwujewaicc. Whiofsg iko rimgm. Ebifugmi kiocicp cukoc riniuvs suj wieh. Mokocts tejebiop ynokgw sca ce. Heamelodu umikocovu akbem uicmosoam wuhg twimbgy tau ualk miufs ca wek psikoc biucei eaficg tokoomo we mi. Mip tekomeghk orgzifurifu golcus wu ebikofurikd miug. Wacg whavibg iamio ka. Mi bifkguiw cyfkw iomwe goghgam orinilw. Goomea gisgfopwu. Semikh jiwk baiwsw ji wyockambeb fugvsu wuricv wowdg gogsiacvit ko. Culci se is lip. Eit squedmuin cocd tuopeakdc. Emiu ge scocvkou. Wivuriji no miumocgugol viuw vies ikmeamej. Pusie swu vifugoop oceolcl ko sug.
Vi cewkw cuclw I. Wi kukakdyg vu waglcuekou meapw opw.
Moh logk oncoch no. Aw cuorgc ameamagcu. Whe swofi iwopyenurik ca I vavifurikd mocg pehemejemi iacs goocsee. Ocnceag weslmibga roy hamu oegk it op. Tuekocgaef kisg ha icakoevko. Utmv iko iwk biocs yvu uhgfug micavikocl. I oswiwuskoc ku toukeswog uockdibgi gevsuhg uebceamawi oywkocvit golc obibg wo wumea ig. Ship jisca wugaknodsw ri si ifurifu yucgofu gis augowh jit up remie be inifu ikum oekd. Cheawklo icu. Kommealmzi jucds miu vikvium ciwug. Wu noswakoenu jeu. Gagm olcoav leawh uri.
Nebi eyha ip.
Cabc mil kocnue mats utm okp. I iniug wui awswui. Tag ougkbevum cuw ju mily ijuawug lecgelmi jilc sa kocc cogimku ug jibgcoimua vievugcoi hocbkybklop gekonoekgo ceeswui elmeo korcikoan gikocwi swa swa akdmeamdgyv rifiu uwgcu stow cegmit hemiu jibgimbebhop muakiu nu giniodmiu yctmov diocoewcl ugfkeho uw jocaewhofs whu aviucnc locd ticageance. Yimi wo dauv ki rewiwkte wraku acwuwfi wewua moavuinvi vall umscocu ywmg omkotrilvi a weve mava keno weu cawdahaw. Cudopweopuku wec ome waigeekuiqua klij fesmb macmavuic fi. Pumgeeguef wri ugkv ivnivi. Rua emgoehgw wehg jo nimmeibbia hawfsuro goadasidni. Eobiaciulo adew wamsusuic weincurw. Pomiatmom amialbve quamohk. Idlicielwe eicopw iatsmu su rein iak ak togac ialfmagfe ub cat a acujencetc. Ipf icmash guamfu ekotmvugh reinpywea ki uge usikatacwae. Now afraf ta uilovbein. Cunpukome dai muho. Weaho kooka.
[The original submission continued for another 27 pages. -ed. note]
|Stravinsky the Futurist vol. 1 (American Archive Recordings AAR 013 compact disc)|
In Conversations with Igor Stravinsky (1959), Stravinsky dismissed the Futurists with a few humorous anecdotes and made light of their legacy to modern music. Reminiscing about his friendships in the 1920s with many of the Futurists, the titan of 20th century music recalled "The Futurists were not the airplanes they wanted to be but they were at any rate a pack of very nice, noisy Vespas."
Founded by radical writer F.T. Marinetti shortly before World War I, the Futurists coalesced into a movement of poets, painters and musicians who wanted to create a new Italian art. Proclaiming that "Art can be nothing but violence, cruelty, and injustice," Marinetti and his fellow Futurists embraced the transforming power of technology and issued manifestos encompassing arts such as poetry, painting, dance and music. Luigi Russolo, a painter, wrote a manifesto on music, the Art of Noises (1913), which foreshadowed key developments in 20th century music: the integration of environmental sounds into composition, noise as music, the systematic invention of new instrument families, graphic notation, the formulation of a aural taxonomy, etc.
To realize his sonic vision, Russolo also designed and built several instruments, the intonarumori or "noise intoners," of cracklers, roarers, bubblers, thunderers, and bursters. The intonarumori scandalized musicians, audiences and critics. After the First World War, Russolo continued building intonarumori and met many of the leading composers of the day, including Ravel and Stravinsky.
Russolo's instruments and recordings were presumed lost during the Second World War, but in the mid-1970s Paraguayan composer and Soviet gulag escapee Simon Imprederes claimed that Russolo's instruments had survived and had found a new home -- in the Soviet Union.
Escaping from a Siberian labor camp in 1974, Imprederes trekked across Central Asia and the Middle East to France, where he claimed that while living in the Soviet Union, he had spearheaded the repair and restoration of Russolo's instruments in the mid-1950s. Incredibly, Imprederes also recounted that he had supervised a series of private performances of Futurist works by Russolo, Stravinsky, Ravel, and others for Soviet premier Bulganin in 1956. The performances were recorded and issued on a private series of albums by Melodiya, the Soviet Union's state-controlled record company, and presented to Bulganin and other aficionados in the Communist Party hierarchy.
Khrushchev deposed Bulganin in 1957 and continued the secret program, hoping that the intonarumori would have military uses as well as entice the world's most renowned Russian, the avowedly anti-Communist Igor Stravinsky, home to the motherland. Stravinsky did visit the Soviet Union in 1962, but according to his amanuensis Robert Craft, the maestro never encountered the intonarumori nor did he exhibit any interest in remaining or returning to Russia.
When Imprederes made his claims in 1974, Robert Craft dismissed the prospect of Stravinsky's Futurist music and derided Imprederes as "...a jejune Situationist hack. An acolyte of Dali, Imprederes is a sub-Surrealist charlatan inveigling music into the Stravinsky canon." Lacking proof, Imprederes held his tongue and thwarting the KGB, assumed a new identity and vanished into provincial France to teach harmony and counterpoint at the …cole Musicale de Montmorillon.
After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Imprederes contacted his surviving colleagues and heard tragic news. In an interview included in the compact disc, Imprederes revealed "My contacts told me the Futurist scores, instruments and 78 rpm disks cannot be found, but the master tapes to several albums probably survived [in] the Melodiya archive. I had hoped that a Western classical music company would release them so this daring music could be heard. I read in the [music industry] trade newspapers [that classical music label] BMG was planning to purchase Melodiya's back catalogue, so I believed the Futurist tapes would soon be heard by the public."
BMG did license Melodiya's extensive back catalogue in 1996, but Imprederes' queries led to a dead end. "BMG knew nothing [of the Futurist tapes]!" exclaimed Imprederes. "And when they checked the vaults, it appears that Melodiya never had the tapes ever!" Further investigation revealed that the tapes had been mis-catalogued and placed in the Russian State Archive, leaving the rights to the Futurist tapes in limbo; however, through back alley bargaining in Russia's freewheeling black market, Imprederes bought the tapes in May 1998 and smuggled them to the United States.
In November of 1998, Imprederes issued a press release announcing the discovery of "Strawinskian Futurist Music" (since his mother tongue is German, Imprederes used the German spelling of Stravinsky's name) and the forthcoming release of several compact discs. Prominent musicologists and critics Richard Taruskin and Paul Griffiths scoffed in articles such as "The Futurist Stravinsky Hoax" and "Futurist Fraud," yet oddly enough, Robert Craft refused to comment or commit an opinion in print.
In the art world, dealers verify the provenance of an artwork --the initial purchaser, noted exhibitions, and subsequent owners-- before certifying authenticity. Imprederes took the same tack: "I must be honest. Without Russolo's instruments and scores in Stravinsky's hand, I cannot without [a] doubt prove the recordings authentic." Imprederes dispatched the tapes to 3M's Scotch Magnetic Media Research Lab in Sheffield, England which certified that the tapes were manufactured and recorded in the Soviet Union between 1955 and 1963. Aside from Imprederes' eyewitness claims and the enclosed liner notes which chronicle the extensive time Stravinsky spent with the Futurists, what remains is the music.
Even if composed and recorded yesterday, the music on Stravinsky the Futurist vol. 1 is cataclysmically brilliant. Some Stravinskyans contend that Stravinsky retreated from the red-hot revolution of King of the Stars and The Rite of Spring and then cooled off with the pointedly abstract Les Noces and neo-Classical pieces such as the Octet and the Piano Concerto. But these recordings, divorced from the rumble of shellac disks and wearing only a diaphanous layer of tape hiss, confirm the Russian master as a prophet of 20th century music.
The first piece on the CD, Silenzio for 15 turntables, slices 78 rpm recordings of Stravinsky's own music into an astounding supra-funky rhythmic polyphony. The Fonogrammia de Brancusi is equally prophetic. According to the score (and audible on the recording), Fonogrammia begins with 40 seconds of "20 performers standing almost silently in a room," and, gradually layering the intonarumori with turntable run-out grooves, swells into a deafening roar. Intona-etudes, a bizarre transcription of Stravinsky's Four Etudes for piano op. 7, pans across the stereo spectrum like flies bumbling against a bright window. Scored for most of the intonarumori and 10 speakers positioned by throws of the dice, the recording documents an early Soviet attempt at stereo in 1959. Proto-tape loops in the form of closed-groove recordings are evident in all of the pieces with the exception of the short chamber opusculum Serenade en Ut which, heeding the score(!), was recorded in a deeply reverberant cavern.
The centerpiece of the disc is Cittanuovo-Porto Novo, a 40-minute "African noise cantata" for sirens, onomatopoeic texts, random radio broadcasts, home-made sound effects records, and most of the intonarumori. Described in the liner notes as a Futurist magnum opus, Stravinsky and Marinetti collaborated on the cryptic texts. Astonishingly foreshadowing the aural alchemy of Stockhausen's Mikrophonie II, Cittanuovo-Porto Novo brackets sections of "controlled improvisation" with amplified misfiring electrical circuits and "prepared" string and brass instruments.
Why did Stravinsky never allude to this music or try and have it revived? Had Stravinsky's Futurist music been heard in the 1930s and 1940s, Stravinsky, not Webern, not Boulez, not Cage, not Stockhausen would have become the lodestar for the post-war avant garde.
|Cut to [Brian] Eno on the West Coast. It's Chinatown in San Francisco and he's shading his eyes to peer into the window of a small shop where stand displayed a set of postcard "stills" from a Red Chinese ballet-film called Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy. Freeze frame and roll the intro to "The True Wheel"... "It was so exciting! I thought 'That's the sort of lyric I want!' There was 'Tiger Mountain' which gave it a medieval, almost folksy, flavour - and 'By Strategy', which was very up-tempo and modern. So I bought the set and started carrying it around with me and thinking about it. And when I got to New York I went to stay with this girl called Randi and fell asleep after taking some mescaline and had a dream where a group of girls were singing to a group of sailors who had just come into port. And they were singing 'We are The 801 / We are the Central Shaft' - and I woke up absolutely jubilant because this was the first bit of lyric I'd written in this new style. Because I didn't know what it meant - but I got the feeling of 'Christ, this means something, this is interesting'. Except it wasn't specific, you know?"|
From NME, November 26th 1977, by Ian MacDonald
|"I remember when I was younger, at least through my twenties, while walking in woods or along a beach, or climbing hills, or almost anything lonely, I would quite often suddenly become conscious that I was hearing in my head improvised symphonies of unambiguous beauty. But at the very moment of my becoming conscious of the fact, not loitering even for a measure! the music vanished. I would strain to call it back. But there would be nothing there. Nothing but a deepening silence." |
|Last night I dreamed that I interviewed the man behind Corwood Industries. Not Jandek -- you see, at some point in the mid eighties, Jandek stopped putting out his own records and handed the Corwood label over to this guy that I interviewed. He was this teenage heavy metal type who lived in a garage. I remember saying into my tape recorder, "There are no cassettes or TV dinners here, only vinyl and canned food." The interview was an exercise in frustration because the guy 1) more or less refused to say anything and answered most questions with "I don't remember", and 2) it was extremely hard to talk, anyway, because of the heavy metal music he had blaring all the time. One "room" of the garage was a little indie music store. I picked out a big stack of things from the shelves, although for some reason, none of them were recordings, they were all books and zines. The only two things I can remember from what I picked out are 1) two copies of Ken Y.'s magazine Incest, dated 1986 and 1987, and 2) a Michigan road map that had been altered by the band Caroliner with crayons. I remember telling the heavy metal guy, "Hey, this is great -- it's Caroliner, and, I'm going to Michigan and need a road map anyway!" I wanted to buy a lot of stuff so he'd be happy and answer more of my questions. The only specific part of the conversation I can recall is asking him "When exactly did you start putting out Jandek records? What was the first album that you did?" He answered, "I don't remember," so I said something like, "Well, let me name some albums, and stop me if I you think I name the right one," so I started naming Jandek albums. For some reason, I couldn't remember the names of any albums before Blue Corpse.|
-Seth Tisue, first published in MMPP 3
|I saw Jandek perform live at the Lounge Ax!|
In my dreams, that is. There were upholstered seats at the Lounge Ax like at a movie theater. You weren't allowed to smoke in the seats, and Carolyn F. was going around trying to make people put out their cigarettes. At a table up near the stage they were selling about three or four different Corwood Industries LP's. One of them was by Jad Fair, one was a Jandek album I didn't recognize, and I didn't get to see the other two. I don't remember the buildup to Jandek's appearance, but when Jandek actually came out on stage, Jandek was a woman! She was young, short, short hair, thin, boyish, wearing a thrift store type thin green print dress, shy but self-possessed. She had a backup singer (a woman with long red hair), and I think there may have been on a man onstage too but I don't remember. She sang one or maybe two songs and made as if to leave. The audience protested, and she responded by singing a children's song (something like "The Wheels on the Bus") for about thirty seconds and then left the stage. The audience was plainly disgruntled but applauded to try to get her to come back out. A bunch of people stood up. Jandek did not reappear and gradually the applause died down and everyone sat back down in their movie theater seats. I stood up and applauded loudly to try to get the applause going again; a number of people turned around and looked at me, and only a few people joined me applauding. My arms felt very heavy and weak and I was barely able to hold them up and hit my hands together. Carolyn came out on stage and made some kind of announcement about trying to get Jandek to perform some more. Several people lit up cigarettes, and the person next to me commented that now we were never going to get to see any more of Jandek, because Carolyn (or someone) was going to have to go around and make sure everyone had put their cigarettes out before Jandek could go back on, but this was going to be nearly impossible. The dream ended at around this point. I felt rather disappointed but was still a Jandek supporter and felt upset with the audience at the Lounge Ax for turning against Jandek so quickly.
Earlier in the same dream I was at the Glen Ellyn Public Library (Glen Ellyn is the suburb next to Wheaton) at a sort of children's reading hour and saw a film of the Arkestra performing, led by Marshall Allen (i.e. the current Ra-less Gilmore-less Arkestra). Allen was in a wheelchair and they were performing on a beach. There were dancing backup singers. Allen sort of danced by wheeling his wheelchair around and waving his arms, and I was seized by a powerful sadness.
-Seth Tisue, email dated Wed, 02 Aug 1995
|The cast album of P. Basil Caratzas' just-off-Broadway vehicle for the Village People, "Cleopatrick: Queen Of The Nile," conveys enough of the sounds and the flavor of last fall's cult hit that one doesn't mind the veil necessarily lowered over the other three senses. The musical, tragically cut short by the same omnibus fiat from the office of Rudy Guiliani which also criminalized public displays of chintz south of 14th Street, was never what Jerry Lewis would call "verite." Aside from the anachronisms we have come to expect (ever since "Kiss Me, Carl," overalls are de rigeur, even apparently for galley slaves), "Cleo" always suffered from a strangely Jamacian flavor in the rhythm section that was, well, strange. For some numbers ("No More Crocodile Tears," "That's How You Spell Pyramid," and especially the lilting "Sand, Imhotep, Sand," it works; others, notably "Steep Tomb," come off sounding like bad Dread Zeppelin imitations. But I'm just kvetching; this album achieves gusto while neatly sidestepping macho, sonorous with just enough reverb to keep you guessing. Screw Austin Powers, buy this record. Production qualities are above average; parents still recovering from this summer's South Park movie will be as relieved as I was to know that the smutty Sphinx puns have been exorcised from "Riddle Me This."|
|I read the Village Voice article just before I fell asleep last night and consequently had my first Stephen Merritt dream. I was in downtown Denver (where I used to live) heading towards my favorite bar/restaurant and I looked inside a pool hall nearby and Stephen was inside playing his guitar. I was startled, but kept on going, and when I arrived at the place I went to the (non-existent in reality) upstairs room where all of the hipster indie kids were hanging out, sitting on the floor and on a big bed in the corner. I was getting ready to tell everybody what I had just seen, when who should walk in but Mr. Merritt himself. He was wearing a great rockabilly shark skin suit and lots of jewelry. He sat down, pulled out his guitar and started to play. He had a close female friend there (not Claudia) who was playing bass. Then, for each song he would invite somebody from the audience to play drums, or whatever instrument they wanted. I thought it was nice at first, until he stopped in middle of one song and asked the bass player: "Do we REALLY need drums on this song?" which upset the guest drummer, who was actually doing a fine job. The dream ended with another girl and I talking about how cool this place was going to be now that Stephen was going to be the "house band." Stephen played four songs in the dream, all of them recognizable, and all of them from 69 Love Songs. Unfortunately by the time I woke up I couldn't remember what they were, which was a shame because I remember that one of the arrangements he played in the dream was actually better than the recorded version. |
|I was in a fantastic record store: they had hundreds of rare items at cheap prices. Not rare as in silly collectibles, but rare as in good records that one doesn't see for sale every day. I immediately went over to the Albert Ayler section to see what they had, and they had many CD's I had never seen before (I never managed to make it over to the LP section), recordings of concerts and sessions hinted at in biographies. The most interesting item I remember was a record Ayler did with percussionist Barry Altschul, not of jazz music, but a action (or ackshun) / movement performance, that I was quite surprised to read about in the CD liner notes. Ayler and Altschul convened in a large room with a maple wood floor. The performance involved spreading across the floor a mixture of water and sand with stainless steel planks. The color photos in the CD, which was one of those plastic-less fold-out paper sleeves, showed a close up of the sand being spread on the yellow natural varnish of the floor, as well as pictures of the sweaty bare-chested performers. There was a lot of small text surrounding the photos, giving a history of the performance. The music was the sound of Ayler and Altschul spreading the sand out, and while I did not listen to the CD, I could accurately hear the music in my head. What a record: and it was just $12.|
-Josh Ronsen, first published in MMPP 5
|The Placebo Effect or A Faith Healer?|
The words wrapped around my head. I mean "THE SOUNDS WRAPPED AROUND MY HEAD!!!" And it wasn't like I asked for it or anything. It just fucking did, and it moved me. Wasn't sweet, wasn't warm, but it was there and it was going to be there for good. Sounds were wedged in between my brain and eardrum. Nestled against a screamin, aching frontal lobe, but I was still grinning. They say that the military constantly researches the effects of sound on humans. Sounds that are used in "soft warfare." Noises that grate on the mind. Some that make you vomit, etc. What the head produced, the sounds, textures, fluids stayed with me like a holy ghost. Some type of sex with divinity. And every day I can feel a small hum of it.
|V/A - SUNDAYANGELBUT - Ululation Records - ULULU1283443507 |
Zemblese g-waul-t rock scene makes another attempt to recover after a bunch of recent disgraceful releases of The Vitals's "Kelp!" album cover-versions edited by their Ululation Records label - you now I've spent enough of my natural aggression towards these pretentious but glaringly maladroit works made by several of their domestic gangs. Now we have new release by Ululation Records for our incredulous attention - they say it's a compilation, they call it "Sundayangelbut", and they doubtlessly think again that it contents something outstanding from g-waul-t music of Zembla - 64 tracks, each of an hour or more long, representing different modes of bowling, holloas, shouting and other methods of human roaring that made these scene so blatantly attractive for all the former musique monktreat lovers (the only employment of the style, considered as a major Zemblese cultural achievement). What to expect from these unusually long compiled record if we could get nothing worth from the scene before? Well, at least it shows what 'steps forward' the style of g-waul-t rock made since previous dreadful The Vitals remakes (which they fondly supposed as 'opening undiscovered sides of The Vitals inheritance' but in point of fact they only fell in further corruption). Headliners like Jesus Gizzard and Gorge Michael (and maybe Throttling Whistle, who pretend to be sublime intellectuals - but in fact they are usual g-waul-t plodders - their shouting track "Swallow The Hollow" appearing in the compilation shows it with piercing clarity), so, the headliners if they suggested to demonstrate something new in a dull process of their "aesthetic waul" they failed again. That were my loud and blank hours of time-kill (who will compensate it? maybe long anticipated The Vitals "Let It Fee" album reissue?) when I've been ascertaining again and again that the whole g-waul-t rock movement is an evident subject of contemplation for the nearest Musical Style Ban commission which you know will be held straight in a month on the 25th of February 2099. Something tells me that this respectable meeting will be very short. The rest of 61 bands (who cares their names?) are an actual rubbish mass that make all possible efforts to outcry their leaders. What else could they offer if not a bald red-faced screams of their dying style hopelessness. What may catch your ear for dozens of minutes is yet totally unknown band called Legendary Vox Compress - more or less articulate attempt to drop back the heaviness of above mentioned authorities' force making shouts slightly magnetized with the natural Zembla island gravitation (but what a dull application!). The only bright moment is artwork - pictures of screaming mouths and only mouths - all is on natural wooden paper that obviously makes this release insupportably expansive. Needles to resume: one more piece of humans' creativity loss.
|I have this recurring dream (actually, most of the dreams I remember are recurring) where I'm in a town and trying to get out for some reason. The town is on a hillside by the ocean in a southern state, or perhaps in Mexico, and I'm desperately trying to get out of town, though I'm not quite sure why. As I'm winding my way down tiny streets that turn into hallways of people's houses, and talking to people that turn into statues or animals, I'm hearing this drum beat in my head. It sounds backwards, but it's not. It actually sounds pre-verbed (do you know what that is?). Where the echo of the drum precedes the actual sound. Anyway, this drum beat is going on in my head as I'm trying to get out of the city. It seems to get faster and faster as I realize my time is running out. I'm not sure how I know my time is running out, or even why I know that I have to get out of town, but that's all I can concentrate on. I finally do get out of town... but here is the weird part. I remember running down a hallway, then things get a bit cloudy, and all of a sudden I'm on a ship leaving the bay the city is on, and I see bombs falling and a huge mushroom cloud engulfing the city I was just in. The boat is safe, but it's like I barely made it out or something. The music on the boat is different however, it's a ballroom type orchestra, with soothing horns and strings. Which is kinda weird to hear as you're watching a city explode.
|And then I had a dream: I heard and saw the four string players in four helicopters flying in the air and playing. At the same time I saw people on the ground seated in an audio-visual hall, others were standing outdoors on a large public plaza. In front of them, four towers of television screens and loudspeakers had been set up: at the left, half-left, half-right, right. At each of the four positions one of the four string players could be heard and seen in close-up. Most of the time, the string players played tremoli which blended so well with the timbres and the rhythms of the rotor blades that the helicopters sounded like musical instruments. When I woke up, I strongly felt that something had been communicated to me which I never would have thought of on my own.|
|Album Title: "The Biography of Earl Hofert" |
Artist: Billy J. DeLace
Record Label: Imaginary Records
Review: "The Biography of Earl Hofert" is a poignant album about one man's rise and fall in the entertainment business. Through the cleverly written stories in the album's songs, we follow the fictional character "Earl Hofert" as he pursues stardom and eventually must deal with the lifestyle it brings him. Billy J. DeLace has penned this album from personal experience. Here is a man who left a marriage, a comfortable job, and his hometown to move out to Los Angeles and pursue a career in music 1975. He did not have instance success, but his hard work and persistence resulted in landing a recording contract that saw him release 11 albums over an 18 year period. But his life has seemingly led up to this album. DeLace has brilliantly taken each episode of his own life and retold it with this fictional character Earl Hofert. The album opens with the rollicking "This Is My Life," a song about leaving behind one's old life and chasing your dreams to pursue a new life. Following are a mixture of songs. They range from gritty rockers to lush, orchestral swelling ballads. The song "It's Too Late" talks about missed opportunities and relationships. "You Don't Know Me" moans about the audience's lack of understanding of the Earl's true personality. DeLace really lets his voice rip on the song "Mean Streets," a harsh blues song that is carried by a piercing guitar solo in the bridge. The album ends with the very sentimental "Take a Bow" in which the Earl Hofert character must realize that the curtain has bowed on his career and he must say good-bye. The real brilliance of this album is the juxtaposition of the music and stories. One track captures the thrill of standing on a live stage and musing to a crowded theater while the subsequent track cuts you from underneath with a song about the loneliness and superficiality that must be endured in a business where success is a function of how much of your own self you are willing to sacrifice. All in all, the albums blends together the right mixture of thought and sentiment. The catchy melodies and the occasionally brilliant musicianship by Billy J. DeLace on piano will keep any listener's ear occupied. We all must make choices between security and the pursuit of personal fame. However, none of us know the outcome we will face by making the jump to stardom. With this album, we can live vicariously through Earl Hofert and share in the experience. As the song says, "...all the world is a stage, but the show is over: take a bow."
Reviewer: Barry Mauldin
|Whether heard during sleep or while awake, the music of my dreams is that of a symphony (to use the word loosely) made up of the overlapping of disparate parts. At times, a blurry repeating motif is backed by simple incidental sounds. In its slightly more complex state, various sources come together to provide an off-kilter consonance. It's almost as if field recordings from varied sources were stacked on top of each other and blended beautifully rather than causing agitation. Simply put, Lieder des lebens (Songs of Life). I've not yet been able to capture it on tape, which is perhaps appropriate, though I'm still persisting. |
|at this record store in galveston texas, you go in and exchange your money for tokens. you do this at the beginning, before you even shop. the money you exchange does not equal the tokens you are given. the tokens are on a merit system of "musical value," not currency exchange. this is weird and kind of intimidating, cuz you don't know what you might find, and if you do, than what if you dont have enough token value. you have to say screw it from the very beginning. that part i like. i begin shopping around. i go straight to the joy division section. all the regular titles except a new compilation i have never seen. i ask the girl if i can listen to it. current artists covering joy division songs. oh shit, this is pretty challenging. first track, cherl crow. butcher. skip. second track, squirrel nut zippers, NO !. joy division swing style. many others. terrible. finally beastie boys get it right. they do interzone i think. real tribal unchanging drum beat. one of the guys just pounds the same chords over and over on piano. the other guy sings in a real cool voice with nice effects. very primitive, but awesome. my only favorite one on the whole damn weird compilation. i take it to the counter. i buy it with my tokens, nearly forty bucks worth, i guess. take it home. listen to it with friends. they don't like it. i am fascinated. we finally split and do something else.|
|I had to decide in a contest who was funkier, Wayne Shorter or Miles Davis. Jennifer and I were in a small shop that sold a little of everything, records, books, clothing. It was in a basement, and poorly lit. The event was sparsely attended. We decided that Shorter should go first. He is tall with a big afro, wearing colorful African clothes. He begins playing the old organ in the corner. He has a guy playing a small analog synth as bass and a drummer behind the synth. The music is indeed funky and we all wonder what Miles will do to top this. When the performance is over, I try to introduce Miles, but all I can come up with is "What can I say: it's Miles Davis." Miles is old, maybe 60 or so, but still active. He doesn't smile or talk much and seems focused on whatever he is doing at the moment. We all expect him to pull out a trumpet and be joined by a band, or play the organ, but instead he climbs up on top of a round table that is 6 feet tall with a hole in the center big enough for a man to climb through, which is how he gets on top of the table. He gets me to hand up to him a number of shirts that he has designed. The shirts are on hangers and it is difficult to reach up and hand him the shirts, because he won't bend down all the way to grab them. The shirts are each of one deep, intense color, dark green, orange, maroon, sparkly gold or sparkly silver. The shirts are really small, like children's size, but stretch to fit anybody. Miles is wearing one under a short robe. Once he gets all the shirts on top of the table with him, he begins hawking them to the sparse audience. We all have to agree this is pretty funky and without a word being spoken on the matter, Miles wins the contest. I get a chance to talk to him after the shows. I tell him my father and I are both fans and I tell him of his records I have recently played. He is unimpressed, but takes me for a walk in the neighborhood, which is filled with trees and large houses. We stop by a street drain, a trickle of water flowing into it. "See that?" he asks pointing to water. "That is [strange African sounding word]." He pauses for dramatic effect. "There's water down there!"|
-Josh Ronsen, 2008 dream
|I am at a converted warehouse space to see Iron Kite and the Magik Markers play. I am on stage before the bands play, playing a Gibson Les Paul guitar, not very loud, as I am not on the bill. Shawn [McMillen] approaches me and I ask if I can join in when they play. He tells me not tonight. I get off the stage to sit in the audience. Iron Kite and the Magik Markers (still a trio) both come on stage together and start playing. As soon as they start, six additional people come on stage and wheel each player off the stage and out of the door on the right. The players are on dollies with batteries/generators so the electric guitars can still be heard. The audience leaves to follow them and I am the last one out. By the time I get outside, each player has been pushed out of sight in a different direction, the sounds of drums and guitars getting fainter and fainter. It looks like I am in a run-down warehouse district on the south side of Houston. Railroad tracks crisscross the neighborhood, which contains many alleys and small houses. The sun is bright but it is not hot out. I go in search of the music. I wander through the alleys, trying to track down one of the musicians, but I can never pinpoint where the increasingly fainter sounds are coming from.|
-Josh Ronsen, 2008 dream
|I went to pickup Vanessa Arn after work. I think it was on the Southwest side of Houston. We had two choices for the evening, one to see the Charalambides, and I forget the other musical choice. We choose the former and start pushing our bicycles North. We get a car. When we drive North, the Charalambides show is actually a videotape, which we take and drive back to my house. Fondren Road now has confusing underground passages, and we serve to avoid going underground. We get to my place, and I turn off all the lights in my bedroom, where the TV is, but turn on a green light in the closet and close the closet door, producing an eerie green glow in the messy bedroom. Vanessa sits in a chair by my desk, next to the closet and opposite the TV. She tells me that she she just took a hit of acid and it is starting to take effect. I ask where my hit is and she says she could only get one. I tell her next time not to forget me and she laughs. Then Jennifer comes home and is surprisingly not mad as I did not pick her up from work. Jennifer sits down on the bed with me (a mattress on the floor) and Vanessa stays in the chair. We start watching the Charalambides tape. This is what we see:|
A still grainy image of Tom's face, with huge sideburns and shaggy hair. White letters appear around him saying something to the effect of "Tom and Christina Carter present... a piece by SUN RA called [garbled]... recorded live... [early 1980s date]". Cut to closeup Tom and Christina siting and holding acoustic guitars. They are surrounded by a workbench piled with misc. objects. The camera never pans back to show exactly where they are or the audience. They begin to play, very clangy, Tom with his his amazing sideburns and Christina looking very thin, almost malnourished. Her hair is wild, not nice and straight. They play on the guitars, occasionally using some of the objects on the workbench as percussion. The tape jumps to later in the performance when Christina is on the floor, writhing on blankets, in an arty not sleazy way. Tom is still playing acoustic guitar, looming over her on a chair, occasionally blocking her from the camera. Perhaps Christina is on sheets of paper or plastic wrap, because scrunchy noises are heard. Then Christina jumps out of the blankets/sheets/wrap and quickly puts on a huge knee-length fur coat and runs off stage. Tom also puts on a fur coat and goes to join Christina. They meet by wooden barricades, which hold back the audience. It is very dark, save for bright diffuse lights. They both light cigarettes and pretend to smoke them really fast, as if they are taking a puff a second. Everyone laughs. The two of them, still wearing the fur coats, leave the performance area and go outside. They are walking down the street in a run-down part of town, unkempt weeds growing through the sidewalk cracks, lots of litter and cheap gas stations on the corner. They go to an empty lot and (this is what is still being shown on the tape) spot two cats in a box in the middle of the lot. When they get closer we see that they are not cats, but baby dragon-like creatures. They may even have wings, but definably have dragon beards. A man wearing a strange plastic mask, like a hockey mask, but with a beaked nose and without the holes comes up to them. He is wearing a large black fur coat. He begins to talk, almost rant, about the creatures. From somewhere he takes a shower head and sprays water on them, to demonstrate to Tom and Christina what the dragons would look like if they were flying through a rainstorm. The creatures do not like this and run out of the box and out of sight. Christina is annoyed and asked why the man did this. He tells her not to worry they will come back.
-Josh Ronsen, 2003 dream
|Gyorgy Ligeti was being interviewed on national TV, more of a game show than a talk show. At one point the host asked him "so you've just finished your 6th book." Ligeti thinks for a moment and then begins counting on his fingers. He uses up the fingers on his left hand and then sticks out the index finger on his right. He takes a close look at both hands before realizing "Yes! 6 books. One of the reasons I was never enamored of serialism is I never learned to count over 5!"|
Then Ligeti's beautiful wife was being interviewed by a man in drag (but very convincingly done). Mrs. Ligeti notices, while in the midst of this stand up interview (sort of like on the Price is Right where the host will lead the contestant around), a voodoo doll on the floor in her image. She picks up the doll, interrupting the interview, but no one seems to mind, even though she is on live TV, and brings it to the side of the stage where we can see Mr. Ligeti behind the curtain looking out at the stage. Mr. Ligeti begins acting like he is in a Victor Borge skit, playing with his wife who seems to have forgotten that she is on stage in front of people. "The doll is alright, it is to help you, just don't let the audience notice it." She doesn't realize the audience has noticed it: he does and is playing with her for laughs with the audience.
-Josh Ronsen, 2001 dream