natewooley on 09/19/2012 at 10:00AM
Music is a social sport, right? The perfect and classical example of the ego being subsumed in some mystical force of nature to be tapped into, waded in, or some other such water metaphor. The most maniacally individual artists have been known to come together in, depending on how you choose to view it, large multiple pseudo-marriages or micro artistic city-states. The assumption is that all this is only made possible through the socially binding properties of making music.
Is this the only model, though? Is it conceivable that the members of Steely Dan are willing to put up with Donald Fagen because they believein the demi-god of rhythm and pitch? It's most likely that the ubiquitous string section behind Kanye West for every appearance on televisiondidn't show up to play octave whole notes to invoke Kokopelli. These two examples point to a model that is slightly more 'pragmatic'.
Artistic model and economic model may find a middle path, however. As utopian as it sounds in this day and age of "occupy" everything, it may be more possible than ever to create a musical family that is as involved with getting each other's work out to a mass public in interesting and effective ways, as it is in making intensely personal and groundbreaking musical documents.
A good example of this model in action is Shinkoyo Collective, a group of Oberlin Conservatory grads that have, at one time or another, been involved in booking tours, operating venues, and putting out the records of its members, to the mutual benefit of all the groups involved.
Now spread all over the US, the members of Shinkoyo are maintaining a very high level of output as a truly egalitarian collective, something not to be scoffed at. Members include electro-acoustic-radical composers like Mario Diaz de Leon and Doron Sadja, as well as beautifully weird pop groups like Skeletons.
In the fall issue of Sound American, I sat down with three of the New York members of Shinkoyo (Diaz de Leon, Sadja, and Skeletons front manMatt Mehlan) and talked about how the collective started, how it has changed, and how it has maintained its energy as the members dispersed physically and artistically.
natewooley on 06/21/2012 at 02:30PM
I went to Oakland in January of 2012 to interview the two remaining primary members of the League of Automatic Music Composers, John Bischoff and Tim Perkis. I was mostly familiar with their solo work before starting my job at DRAM. Tim is one of the greatest improvising electronicist in the US, working with John Butcher, Gino Robair, ROVA, and others. Bischoff creates beautifully constructed, almost sculptural works of electronic sound. Although I had spent time with recordings of both of them, it did nothing to prepare me for the late 1970s work they had embarked on with Jim Horton and the LAMC.
The League was one of those rare instances where a group of people came together with no initial goal of production. They didn't initially form to make recordings or tour. They simply wanted to see what they could do with a couple of early Kim1 computers and a mess of wires. Three guys seeing what would happen if you did the "wrong" thing, as Perkis put it in our interview.
This is the kind of group that has always inspired me. I could be overly romantic and call it a bunch of guys in search of the truth, but that wouldn't even be it. This is a group of people that weren't out for the truth, nor were they initially out to change music. All they wanted was to see what happened if you plugged this thing into that thing.
This may be hyperbole, but it's the "let's see what happens" attitude of these kinds of groups that DOES change the world. That's totally exciting and something that I constantly hope is still deeply ingrained in the American psyche: the ability to give up the non-essential desires of producing anything but maintaining a profound desire to experiment. It's what gets us somewhere as a culture and it's vitally important.
That is what the second issue of our quarterly journal Sound American is about, groups of people coming together to see what happens if they do things "wrong", be it the technological experimentation of the LAMC, the brutal honesty of the BSC and its desire to find a large group improvisational language, or the ability of Shinkoyo Collective to shift and change their business model during a time of great turbulence in the art world.
Sound American is proud to accentuate the work of these kinds of collectives, not only because they are interesting and inspiring as social collectives, but because their fucking music sounds GREAT! If it was simply a group of people getting together to posit ideas on how they could approach extending the limits of what they do, or putting their ideas into a half-assed practice than it would be a pointless exercise. With all three collectives, however, they have not only found different ways to communicate and operate efficiently as a group, but they've been artistically very successful, and that deserves praise and attention.
Please visit our new quarterly website....www.soundamerican.org for interviews with members of Shinkoyo, a podcast of the interview with Tim Perkis and John Bischoff mentioned above, and excerpts of the great new publication BSC: Manual, as well as streaming "mixtapes" of the music of each group and the opportunity to donate money and get an individual subscription to DRAM (which now comes with some great gifts!)
Also, in that spirit of networking, follow us on twitter @SoundAmerican and like our facebook page
It may not change the world, but it's a start.
natewooley on 02/07/2012 at 02:30PM
One hell of a sexy title, am I right?
Well, the fact of the matter is this: I have a lot of good news and not a lot of tippity tappity in my fingers to waste on pleasantries, so let's get down to the proverbial metal fasteners. DRAM has been one busy mug over the last year and, as these things sometimes happen, everything we've been working on has come to fruition at one time.
First of all, DRAM is very pleased to announce that you can FINALLY get an individual subscription to the database. After years of only being available to universities and public libraries, we've finally figured out a way to allow the average joe or josie get their hands on 3, 6, or 12 months of unlimited streaming music by composers like Robert Ashley, Morton Feldman, Michael Pisaro, and James Tenney (and many more on our over 3,000 recordings and counting).
How? Well, right, that's a good question. And, it leads me to the next portion of our good news. DRAM has started a brand new website and quarterly online journal called Sound American. On this site, we will be featuring streaming audio interviews and archival material available only in DRAM (and in some cases specifically made only for Sound American) as well as essays and visual art. All of this is geared toward being a more relaxed, casual companion piece to all of the research new music engines out there.
Sound American is a place to gain context on new and experimental music and to discover that new and experimental does not in any way equal difficult and inscrutable. Upcoming topics will include the new additions to Ben Hall's amazing collection of Southern Gospel 45s, interviews with electronic music and computer networking pioneers John Bischoff and Tim Perkis of the League of Automatic Music Composers, as well as a discussion between Nate Wooley and electro-acoustic composer Chris Brown. Later in the year, we'll be doing a feature on John Cage in conjunction with the massive Bowerbird Cage festival in Philadelphia.
For the time being, Sound American is celebrating the inclusion of the first wave of recordings from Phill Niblock's Experimental Intermedia Archive. The first 31 pieces are up now in DRAM and feature live performances by and interviews with such artists as Eliane Radigue, George Lewis, Alvin Curran, Pauline Oliveros, Lois V. Vierk, Carl Stone, and many more....including multi-instrumentalist Ned Rothenberg, whose program we feature for download here at FMA.
So, three pieces of good news, three times to beat our breasts with pride. It's a rare occurence and we are excited to share it with you. Please stop by Sound American, linger, enjoy, maybe make a tax-free donation to DRAM and get the fantastic premium in return of 3, 6, or 12 months of access to the site. Drop Nate a line and tell him he done good.....he's so fragile.
natewooley on 12/01/2011 at 12:21PM
If you've lived in New York for any amount of time, and especially if you've spent time on the NYU campus, you know this pitch. Most likely you've fallen for it once...exactly once. The question is followed by a cheap CD-R being shoved into your hand and basically a shake down for a "donation" to help someone's hip hop career. Okay, fine, you do what you have to do. I write a million emails to try and book gigs, so it's probably not that different. The reason you only have this happen to you once, though, is that (if your CD-R was anything like mine) the music was HORRIBLE. I listened, it's true, and was treated to limp beats, bad rapping about questionable subject matter, and a generally gross apathy. So, lesson learned. The next time I was asked the question, I stopped, looked the guy in the eye, gave him a buck and said "no, I don't like music", put my headphones back on and went on my way, adding a new plateau to my general level of self-hatred.
It's always bad to start your writing with the digression, but there it is. I'll get to the point later and you'll see how it ties in. I imagine you'll be quite impressed with my narrative arc once you see it.
When I started writing posts for DRAM/New World here at FMA we had just put out Music for Merce (1952-2009), which I still think is one of the best box sets of the past five years, featuring little heard music from David Tudor, David Behrman, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, and more. Also, my head was still ringing with the sounds of Alvin Curran's Solo Music (The 1970s), which had just come out a couple of months earlier. If this sounds like a shameless plug, it is, but not yet. Wait for it.
It was a little early to ask for permission to make tracks from either of these records available, but the idea hit me that it would be interesting to combine a post featuring some of these recordings with some new music by a composer I think truly deserves wider recognition, John King. John's music is featured on Music for Merce, and I've been a fan of his since starting to work with him 5 years ago in TILT brass. There had to be a way to do a whole post of his music and somehow remind folks of how good these records are...a little karmic internet "do you like music" combined with a healthy consumerism.
Well this week I got my chance. We found out at the office that both Music for Merce and the Alvin Curran recordings made The Wire's 2011 Top 50. This is the sort of thing I should highlight, of course. These are two great recordings and it's nice to get a little bit of justification from a publication like the Wire. It allows me to shamelessly plug not only the people I work for (which is actually nice when you like the people you work for and believe in what they do), but also to try and convince people to buy two recordings that would be on my top 10 year end list as well. Professionally gratifying, personally gratifying...surely I can't live much longer at this level of life satisfaction.
Back to John King, now that my hucksterism has found vent. John was one of the first people I wrote after starting these blog entries, and he returned my mail almost immediately and with a great deal of enthusiasm. This is a personality trait that I equate almost exclusively with John, this specific kind of enthusiasm, not put on and not naive either, something rare in the music business, and non-existent in New York. You get the feeling that John truly loves music and is (as he should be) proud of the fact. I'll bet he stops and gets a CD-R every time.
John sent three tracks, all unreleased, all different, all personal and beyond description here. I have always thought it a cop-out, but in this instance the adage "letting the music speak for itself" is apt, and so I will. I need to say, however, that my experience with John's music has always been a mix of seriousness and true joy; his writing is a perfect combination between rigorous composition and a palpable feeling of improvisation (improvisation, not as a concept or an articulation of material, but as a practice free from philosophy or mysticism). The three tracks here are testament to that as I think you will experience here. I hope they provide the impetus to discover more of his work (on the mighty Tzadik label).
Consider it an attempt to fix my karma for years of denying my love of music.....
natewooley on 10/05/2011 at 11:15AM
There are a couple of lucky accidents in my life that put me on the path I'm on now. That's the way life goes, right? You bounce like a pinball around adolescence and if you're lucky you have an older girlfriend at some point that plays Meredith Monk and Bill Dixon records before you go to bed, thus cementing a positive connotation with all things avant-garde. It would have been just as easy to latch on to the Yellowjackets or some non-descript R&B trinklings in a similar fashion and you are off on another road. No value judgments about other paths, mind you, but I'm very happy that my shiny round youth happened to hit the paddles it did.
One of those lucky thwackings was my dad buying a bass saxophone and wanting to get a listen to what the damned thing was supposed to sound like. That brought Anthony Braxton into our house and into my life. The record was Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams Duets 1976. My dad was fascinated for about a week by the cuts with the contrabass saxophone, then this record somehow disappeared below the typical sea of Paul Desmond and Stan Kenton (standard listening at the time for the jazz minded West Coaster). For my part, the version of Maple Leaf Rag that was the rest of my family's favorite cut never really did it for me. It seemed like kitsch, like something that Peanuts Hucko would do to clear the palate in the middle of the Lawrence Welk show. I was twelve. I needed something harder. After the obligatory week of no play in the house, I "appropriated" Duets 1976 and began to listen to 36-MK74-128 and Miss Ann so much that I think this may have been the first record I actually wore out. The funny thing was that the more time I spent with these two pieces, and Nickie and the graphic titles (which I can't reproduce here), the more I "got" the reasoning behind Braxton's inclusion of Maple Leaf Rag, and that became probably the most valuable lesson I learned from Mr. Braxton, when couched in broad terms.
The thing I learned was how important it was to follow your interests, to set up your own rules and follow them until they were no longer valid to you. Not to hide the fact that you love John Philip Sousa and Paul Desmond and Scott Joplin or, in my case The Band or Lawrence Welk or Harry Nilsson. There was a generation of musicians growing up at that time that were, like me, basing their aesthetics on Down Beat. This led to a very narrow view of not only what "jazz" was, but what "music" is. It's so much easier to have someone lay out a history and an aesthetic for you, especially when you're just starting to learn. But, all of a sudden I was presented with a giant middle finger, a big "I don't give a fuck" in the form of this gentle looking man in a cardigan sweater and glasses that blew all of the articles and record review sound bites about "so and so being the next what's his name" out of the water. For a Scandinavian son of two school teachers in a small town in Oregon that was bigger than G.G. Allin setting your school on fire. That was the first and last moment that I felt I had been granted permission to make music however I wanted to. I say that it was the first and the last because it was so staggering to me that I have never felt I needed permission from that point on to be myself. This is the power of finding Anthony Braxton at the right time in your life.
I've been lucky enough to work with Mr. Braxton for about 6 or 7 years now, and although usually I've found that meeting your hero is a bittersweet experience, my time in Braxton's world has always been positive, instructive, and has done nothing but reaffirm my love of art that follows its true interests and its own rules. One of the things I hear him tell the people in his groups is that "if you stick with me, sir, you will make a million dollars". This is sometimes told in the negative, in that you will LOSE a million dollars. It's a joke, of course. A lot of musicians, especially those on the fringe, joke like this, but with a guy like Braxton, there is something important in the flippancy with which he tells it. You COULD make a million dollars. You could make it doing any number of things, even related to music, but if you don't put it back into something you believe in, something that is yourself, your own strange amalgam of interests and aesthetics, then it's worthless.
So, this is just an introduction. It's timely, of course, because Anthony is presenting new and old music at a festival at the brand new Roulette space starting on Wednesday October 5th and finishing Saturday October 8th with a reading from the newest opera in his Trillium series. DRAM is proud to present the Tricentric Foundation Archive as a part of its holdings featuring the releases from the mighty back catalog of Braxton House and New Braxton House. For those not able to access DRAM, you can also become a subscriber to and member of the Tricentric Foundation, where you can get downloads of these records as well as bootleg (yes, bootleg!) material and monthly downloads of recent works!
natewooley on 08/19/2011 at 04:39PM
We're in a golden age of listening right now. Of course, the dissemination of new music has been greatly broadened due to the ubiquity of the internet and things like Sound Cloud and Band Camp. That's one level of the new model of making music, and it has it's beauty. For some reason, whenever I run across a sound cloud track of weird prog rock from Italy or yet another dub remix of the Imperial March from Star Wars, I wonder if this is what someone like Cornelius Cardew or Hans Werner Henze (during his "music for the people" phase) had in mind when trying to connect with the masses through new music. Something tells me that it isn't, but that they would appreciate it on a certain level anyway.
The next level is the proliferation of apartment sized record labels. This is a commitment. This is about serious people being serious about serious music. It doesn't matter if it's grime or dubstep or lower case or ultra-minimalism. These are the believers, the proselytizers and the people that we need to bake cookies for and buy a beer the next time we see them at the local bar. They are sleeping on boxes of CDs and LPs. They are desperately trying to get someone else's music noticed by the press and the listening public because they believe in it and think you should too. If there is anything that even begins to make up for the amount of my time the internet has wasted, the fact that it is easier for these people to exist has more than made up for it.
But, this post is about the OGs...the original proselytizers and educators, some who have stuck in there for years, bringing those that find their way to them a little joy and something new to think about...these are labels like Pogus, Mode, XI, Lovely Music, CRI, New World, Aum Fidelity, Tzadik, Intransitive, Broken Research, and the list goes on and on. Some have sadly fallen to the dust, but others are going strong. All of them existed before owning a label was easy and cool.
The Open Space is one such label. Run alongside a publishing concern of the same name, Open Space has consistently had the good faith, courage, and audacity to produce music 99.9% of even the experimental labels active even now would most likely deem "marginal". Note that "marginal" does not mean "unimportant". When I began at DRAM, this label was a complete mystery to me. The covers were very plain: white background, black lettering with the names of the composers and compositions on the cover. I was attracted to them in the same way I was originally attracted to the simplicity of old Jandek LP covers. I started diving in and listening to the pieces. I didn't like them all. That's easy to admit for any label. However, there was an excitement of knowing you were going to get something new and fresh, something to think about and argue with your friends over in our cubicles. That excites me. That's what music should do, right? Well, the Open Space is doing it.
I was lucky enough to speak with Benjamin Boretz, who runs the label and whose music is featured prominently (as is J.K. Randall among others). He was able to give me a very succinct philosophical synopsis of the way the Open Space works, and I think it makes more sense to leave you with that and a very generous playlist of some of my favorite pieces from the label, then to add any more of my memory and coloring to the proceeding. I will say this though;
Open Space and labels like it....new and old....deserve your respect and attention. They have a lot to offer. I know FMA is the digital choir loft that I'm preaching too, but even us heavily enlightened types can forget to say thank you to the people that fill our ears with wonder sometimes.
OPEN SPACE Publications, and THE OPEN SPACE Magazine, are output from a community for people who need to explore or expand the limits of their expressive worlds, to extend or dissolve the boundaries among their expressive-language practices, to experiment with the forms or subjects of thinking or making or performing in the context of creative phenomena.
We want to create a hospitable space for texts which, in one way or another, might feel somewhat marginal — or too 'under construction' — for other, kindred publications.
The people who populate our contributing/editing/reading/listening community are composers (in whatever medium), performers, historians, ethnologists, theorists, critics, philosophers, scholars and seekers of any kind who feel drawn to participate with us in scouting expressive frontiers. We hope you'll want to join this exchange.
natewooley on 06/29/2011 at 12:15PM
Regeneration Through the Simple Act of Paying Attention: Matthew Welch on Morton Feldman and FREE TRIAL of DRAM!
I was sick this weekend. That kind of sick where you actually feel like a new man when it is done. The kind of sick where you spend the last day making deals with yourself about how you'll do things different when this is all over. That kind of sick.
One of the realizations I had was that it was time to stop taking in brand new material...mentally...musically...and put energy into drilling deeper into works that had proven their worth to me over a long period of time. As Aldous Huxley said in one of his essays on aesthetics...the work of art that makes you continuously return to find a new point of entry is a great piece of art. Please forgive my paraphrase. Basically, I have a need to find an artistic regeneration through the simple act of just paying better attention, being more rigorous about the information I already have, and in general allowing myself to probe deeper into the music I already know.
Just in case you think this is a personal tirade, I can assure you this has everything to do with DRAM, FMA, and the music that I've attached for download here, Dante Boon's spectacular reading of the first movement of Morton Feldman's Last Pieces (Edition Wandelweiser).
I've been asked by a number of FMA readers about individual subscriptions to DRAM, and the response has been strong enough that we've been able to make DRAM free on a trial basis for those interested in checking out the site. Just by a stroke of luck, this trial period happened to coincide with Bowerbird's American Sublime Festival on Morton Feldman, and wanting to find a way to support the work that Dustin Hurt and Bowerbird were doing in bringing some of the great interpreters of Feldman's work to Philadelphia, we partnered with his organization to give away free trial subscriptions to those people visiting the American Sublime site.
Also, in the spirit of the festival, composer Matthew Welch wrote a series of short articles on Feldman's music: a playlist of good entry points to Feldman's music from the DRAM archive (which has one of the most extensive collections of Feldman's recorded output) as well as a two part paper on the composer's late period works (Triadic Memories and Patterns in a Chromatic Field) and an analysis of the movement of "Last Pieces" featured in this post.
Welch's insights sum up this idea of digging deeper into a subject you love...paying attention....paying deeper attention...and finding some new lights in which to see a subject. Any fan of Morton Feldman's music knows about the composer's connection to the Abstract Expressionist painters in New York, or his fascination with middle Eastern rugs near the end of his life, but Welch takes apart the nuts and bolts of this "intuitive" composer and shows the elegance of the "machine" portion of the "ghost in the machine". His papers talk about tendencies of semi-tone voice leading, registral displacement, oblique motion, and asymmetry brought about by Feldman's specific use of notational methods.
Now is the time for us all to dig a little deeper into this great composer's work. There is so much more there than an iconoclast with thick glasses writing his scores on the wall. To learn more about Feldman, you can read Welch's posts or download pdf versions of Welch's paper (with musical examples) here, and to get FREE TRIAL ACCESS TO DRAM!, go to American Sublime here
Once at the site, scroll to the bottom where you will find the DRAM logo. If you click on that logo, a new page will open which will tell you how to gain free access to DRAM on a trial basis. THIS TRIAL WILL END ON JULY 5TH, SO ACT NOW!!!!
natewooley on 06/19/2011 at 01:51PM
The Halcyon Days of Being Poor: How Lack of Money led me to the music of Lee Hyla and the flute playing of Claire Chase
When I first moved to New York in 2001, I was bussing tables for a living and absolutely on the edge of not making it financially. The main obstacle produced by my poverty at the time was not a product of the mundane (i.e. food, rent, transportation), but the, for all intents and purposes, two year hiatus of buying records. Anyone that is a record collector or hardcore music fan knows where I'm coming from.
Because necessity is the mother of invention, or in my case desperation the great aunt of getting my butt on a train, I became a fixture at the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library. I was overwhelmed, initially, by their recording collection, so being the pragmatist that I am, not to mention slightly obsessive, I started at the upper left of their holdings, checking out 5 cds at a time, and worked my way through until I hit the letter "I".
What does this have to do with anything, let alone DRAM or New World Records, the people who, ostensibly, let me present music for download on FMA? It's a tenuous connection, but one I'm going to run with anyway, as the ends will justify the means.
The last recording I really dug into from my time with the NYPL was New World Records recording of Lee Hyla's "We Speak Etruscan", performed by Tim Berne on baritone saxophone and Tim Smith on bass clarinet. I listened to this recording over and over, even making a trip back up to Lincoln Center from Jersey City to renew the disc and listen some more. I loved "Pre-Pulse Suspended" and the great Aleck Karis playing Hyla's Piano Concerto, but the piece that resonated the most with me was the title piece. There was something very specific about the aesthetic knife edge that Hyla inhabited between jazz and contemporary composed music that has been stuck in my mind ever since. Needless to say, when I joined the rank and file here at DRAM/New World, this was the first cd I pulled off of the shelves to revisit.
A dear friend and collaborator of mine, Josh Sinton told me a year ago that he was working on the bari sax part of We Speak Etruscan. This is not unusual for Josh, he pushes himself. It's one of my favorite things about him. I was not expecting him, however, to tell me that he would be performing the piece on the Darmstadt month at Issue Project Room. When I found out that the performance would be shared by one of my favorite flutists of a generation, Claire Chase, (whose work I also discovered in my obsessive visits to the stacks at Lincoln Center) would feature compositions by Darmstadt and IPR's own Zach Layton, and the words "virtuoso whistler" were set in print in relation to the event, I had a moment of artistic righteous indignation.
I MUST LET THE WORLD KNOW!
IT IS MY MORAL IMPERATIVE!
WHAT GOOD IS SITTING IN FRONT OF A COMPUTER ALL DAY EVERY DAY IF YOU CAN'T ENFORCE YOUR OPINIONS ON THE PUBLIC!
And, so here we are. Me, feeling a certain satisfaction at being able to tell you what I think is right and good in the world of music. You, being the lucky recipient of two great tracks of contemporary woodwind playing.
This post features the original Lee Hyla recording from the New World Records Release of the same name, and I was also lucky enough to get a recording from Claire of her performing Marcelo Toledo's "Aliento/arrguas", which will also be featured.
Issue Project Room is located at 232 3rd Street in Brooklyn. Claire Chase/Rebekah Heller plus We Speak Etruscan will be featured on Wednesday, June 22nd at 8 pm. Get your tickets here, and while you're at it, why not check out the remainder of the Darmstadt Institute's month at IPR or make a donation to either organization. Consider it your summer time good deed.
natewooley on 06/08/2011 at 09:00AM
Last week this blog was dedicated to New World Records curatorial turn at John Zorn's Manhattan club, The Stone. In it, I, as so many people in music are apt to do these days, bemoaned the loss of the representation of music in physical formats (CD/LP/Cassette even) and posited that a way to flip the script is to spend special face time with some of your favorite artists. A good opportunity for such canoodling would be WEEK TWO of New World Records at the Stone!
Below is the schedule for WEEK TWO, and again I've featured 5 tracks from the New World catalog that focus on some of the artists from this week:
Wednesday June 8
8 pm Barbara Benary
10 pm Joe Kubera performs the piano music of Michael Byron
Thursday June 9
8 pm Margaret Lancaster
10 pm Andrew Byrne
Friday June 10
8 pm TBA
Saturday June 11
8 pm Earl Howard
10 pm Anthony Davis
Sunday June 12
8 pm Mary Jane Leach
10 pm Beth Anderson
Tuesday June 13
8 pm Andy Laster's Yiash
10 pm Denman Maroney
Wednesday June 14
8 pm John Zorn
10 pm Tim Berne
The Stone is located at the corner of 2nd street and Avenue C in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. All the proceeds at the door go to the performers, so come out and support some live music!
natewooley on 06/01/2011 at 05:00PM
The historical arc of music-making and how that music is digested is entering a dangerous part of its curve right now. The advent of the saleable recording made the musical "superstar" a viable media personality. Now, with digital media, streaming, downloads, and the prevalence of the home studio, the model of how qualitative decisions are made is threatened. After all, we're in an age where a 13 year old can make a bad piece of music on a korg keyboard, post it on the internet, and be on a multi-national tour within 6 months.
So, if the possibility of the physical product and a rigorous curatorial process that goes into the qualitative decisions surrounding its release are in apparent danger (something that, to me, is one of the most frightening by-products of the information age), what does the serious music fan do? Where do they go to find music on the level that they have become accustomed to? What happens when the 12 year old fans of the 13 year old superstar grow older and are able (hopefully) to see through the smoke and mirrors? How can they find true satisfaction in a world increasingly headed toward an open system?
In the off chance (heaven forbid) that the recording industry collapses in on itself, leaving us only what ITunes and YouTube or American Idol tells us is high art, we can still connect with an actual acoustic sound in an actual acoustic made by human beings just for us. We can take Jacques Attali's historiography back a notch or two and give music its power back by seeing the musicians we love on recordings do their thing live.
That's the idea behind the 2 week curation by New World Records' Paul Tai at John Zorn's club, The Stone, in June. Dig into the catalog, talk to the artists you love the best, and ask them to bring their most recent projects to one central location to celebrate the power of live music. And , maybe even sell one or two of those fantastically visceral physical products!
Featured in this blog are five tracks from five of the 10 composer/performers that will be featured in just the first week of this two week festival in celebration of over 30 years of New World Records!
Here's the schedule for WEEK ONE!
Wednesday, June 1
8 pm Eve Beglarian
10 pm Nick Didkovsky
Thursday June 2
8 pm Tony Malaby
10 pm Geoffrey Burleson (performing Persichetti, White, Sahl, and Zappa)
Friday June 3
8 pm Anthony Coleman
10 pm Marty Ehrlich's Rites Quartet
Saturday June 4
8 pm Larry Polansky (with Christian Wolff and Robert Black)
10 pm Christian Wolff (with Larry Polansky and Robert Black)
Sunday June 5
8 pm ZWERM electric guitar quartet plays Larry Polansky's "The World's Longest Melody"
10 pm Jason Kao Hwang with Ayman Fanous
Tuesday June 7
8 pm Doug Perkins
10 pm Guillermo Gregorio
The Stone is located at the corner of 2nd street and Avenue C in Manhattan. All proceeds go directly to the artists, and so you will truly be supporting live music!
Stay tuned for 5 more tracks featuring artists from WEEK TWO!