Where's the beat did Alejandro & Aeron and more


Subject: Where's the beat did Alejandro & Aeron and more
From: Eliot Handelman (eliot@generation.net)
Date: Fri Jul 15 2005 - 01:24:32 EDT


Jim Bailey's Electric storm playlists are inspiring me to try to
contribute a little to the discussion that
good music always deserves

Among the stuff I looked at was Alejandro & Aeron's "Porto," which I
thought was real
beat -- sort of soundscape pieces, but more -- not auditory portraits
but something more like the revealing of
of spontaneous art that arises when a portugese barber creates the
typical haircut with two continually clacking scissors and
some sort of music in the background, or where oak barrels, constructed
using the ancient and now forgotten method, are
repaired iu mysterious ways that wind up sounding like a Normandeau
composition. It's something like a
social art practice, infused with interestingly idiosyncratic atmosphere
that's quite unlike the sentimentality about the
importance of hearing that to me mars a lot of soundscape. I thought
they were great, and the program
descriptions were vry funny and sometimes uselessly tedious with
unnecessary details. A second CD involving people
singing songs about what they love (eg, "my computer") I'd like to hear
again.

I've been going through pieces by Todd Levin, whose music often sounds
like the backing
tracks of a Gloria Gaynor 1970s disco hit. "Blur" is a great piece
though -- more techno than disco,
with a slow repetitive start that suddenly flowers into explosive
dissonating but still melodic power. I am not compelled
by operations like "bringing back a demarcative motiive in order to
trigger the end of the piece."

I've been listening a bit to Milton Babbitt pieces which, despite or
because of the cheap tinny sounds
used, get me going in a sort of freakish way -- the music sounds mad
but alive. It was especially interesting
to compare a new electroacoustic work by Dan Asia with an old Milton
piece, proving that the old Milton
style, with its special kind of sounds and singing, can be said to be
suffused with spiritual meaning when
rediscovered by people who never listened to Milton, but who have
spiritual purposes.

A short piano piece by Sofia Eckhardt-Grammate I found rhythmically
compelling and I think
I'll go through a bit more of her music.

I personally like music that gets me the most cutting edge sense, of
total situation in the present, addressing
actuality of the living world and the A&A stuff did push that button,
though I'm constantly wishing
for conceptually deeper music and music that more vigourously engages
our new computer environment in
a transformative way, as opposed to being a tool that makes it easier to
be a schlocky composer of crap that no one
is going to listen to.

Also, I've been playing Barry Truax's new opera "powers of two," which
sounds great, though I as
yet feel reserved about the nature of its operaticity. This perspective
may change as I hear more.

This passes over many things without exclusionary intent.

I was going to ruminate over the problem "is music art?" via some
comments someone wrote on some blog
and an article in the NTY on auditory hallucinations, but I misplaced
the first page of the blog.

I was going to talk about some comments Clement Greenberg made about
Monet and translate those
to the electronic problem but I forgot. Maybe it wasn't clear enough to
me.

Next wednesday Paul Dolden (cough cough) is supposed to reappear as my
guest.

And as usual I always need new music. I was going to play student works
off the Columbia University
computer music site but didn't. Please join for more studio messiness
-- sometimes chaos -- wednesdays
at 9 AM -- 11:30 AM at CKUT 90.3 FM, www.ckut.ca, alternating every 2
weeks with Kathy Kennedy.

-- eliot
 



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