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jacksonmoore on 06/23/2016 at 09:45PM

Semaphores

“No—let us cross the river and rest in the shade of those trees.”

It was there that we acquired the toughness that has been with us all the days of our life, and that has allowed some of us to remain so lightheartedly at war with the whole world. And for myself in particular, I suspect that the circumstances of that time were the apprenticeship that enabled me to make my way so instinctively through the subsequent chain of events, which included so much violence and so many breaks, where so many people were mistreated — passing through all those years as if with a knife in my hand.

Perhaps we might not have been quite so ruthless if we had found an established project that seemed to merit our support. But there was no such project. The cause we supported we had to instigate ourselves. There was no authority that we could recognize.

For someone who thinks and acts like this, it is pointless to listen a moment too long to those who would find a consolation, or even something worth tolerating, in our current predicament; nor to those who stray from the path they seemed intent to follow; sometimes not even to those who simply don’t catch on quickly. Other people, years later, have begun advocating revolution in everyday life with timid voices or prostituted pens — from a distance and with the calm assurance of astronomical observation. But someone who has actually taken part in an endeavor of this kind, and who has escaped the dazzling catastrophes that accompany it or follow in its wake, is not in such an easy position. The heats and chills of such a time never leave you. You have to discover how to live the days ahead in a manner worthy of such a fine beginning. You want to prolong that first experience of illegality.

This is how, little by little, a new era of conflagrations was set ablaze, of which none of us alive at this moment will see the end. Obedience is dead. It is marvelous that disturbances originating in such a meager and transient setting have ended up shaking the world order (such acts would of course never perturb a harmonious society that had mastered its own forces; but it has become clear that our society was quite the opposite).

As for myself, I have never regretted anything I have done; and being as I am, I must confess that I remain completely incapable of imagining how I could have done anything differently.

Guy Debord - In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni

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jacksonmoore on 03/14/2015 at 05:16AM

A Musical Language

Moss is a musical pidgin language.  Pidgin languages are contact languages - rudimentary languages that are cobbled together whenever two populations that don't share a language meet for the first time.  They are extremely simple.  They are practical to learn.  So they're a little different from natural languages - you can't really make a language, but if you have no choice, you can make a pidgin.  Moss has 120 words, each of which is a basic 2-to-4 note melodic shape.


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jacksonmoore on 06/17/2014 at 09:42AM

New Curator: New Languages

New Languages started out as an annual jazz festival in 2005.  At the time there were no George Wein style jazz festivals dedicated to the generation of jazz musicians who had come of age in the wake of neoclassicism.  We created one as a way of asking, basically, "what's next?" — how is our generation living up to the legacy of an art form characterized by an unbroken string of discoveries and innovations?  As our peers began to enjoy some critical recognition and similar festivals began to proliferate, we began to interrogate our own role as producers and curators in responding to the questions opened up by a century of creative improvisation.

The jazz solo revealed something new: the sound of the person: subjectivity in musical form.  New Languages takes these musical subjects out for a walk, so to speak.  Until now, they have been confined to a very narrow commercial sandbox: 45-60 minute stage performances and 45-60 minute records.  We explore new time frames, conventions, and sites in which the potential of improvised music to mirror the wonders and vicissitudes of real life might evolve.

In 2012 we put on Music Factory, a continuous 83-hour improvisation, at Eyebeam Art+Technology Center in New York.  This simple alteration of the time-scale of performance had profound effects on our experience as improvisers as well as the musical result.  Anyone who has tried a free improvisation with friends knows that the end is usually unexpected but immediately obvious.  It isn't planned, yet it seems inescapable.  During Music Factory we learned that this moment is really just the end of the beginning — the first of many such events that form the historical anatomy of a performance.

In the past year we've started two new initiatives.  Remote Hearing is a series of improvisations that dispense with the need for geographic proximity, or any sort of telecommunications in its absence.  The performers record themselves from wherever they happen to be at an agreed upon moment in time, and only hear one another after the fact, when the recordings are synchronized and superimposed.  The result is something like a satellite photograph — it captures the composite activity of a group of people around the world at a given point in time, even if they aren't aware of one another's movements.  The palpable and utterly satisfying sense of interaction on these recordings raises serious questions about the efficacy of a 'good ear' and its inevitable side effects, anticipation and reaction.

Later this year we'll be launching a new series, Holidays from the Future, which plays with the shape and relationship of the stage and the audience.  We'll be redrawing the border between the two and inviting anyone to cross it at any time, depending on whether they want to communicate in music, or listen, drink, and talk.  In addition to featured improvisers, each show will include installations (booths, projections, sonic fountains), interventions (surprise gambits and secret conspiracies), and invitations (early bird workshops and bulletins for structured participation) devised by guest artists.

It has become clear that in the design of new environments for creative musicians, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit.

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