Re: Re : (junk yard dog in) hidden place

Subject: Re: Re : (junk yard dog in) hidden place
From: Michael Gogins (
Date: Wed Sep 14 2005 - 12:14:16 EDT

I, as a composer, am independent, not an academic. I make a good living as programmer in financial software -- but I learned to program by learning to do computer music, music came first.

I've been able to get pieces heard and articles published etc. despite not being an academic, but I think it would have been better to get a Ph.D. and go for being a professor.

There is pressure to conform and distrust of or indifference to originality all over the place, and there really is academic politics, but I know a lot of computer music academics and I think they have a better deal.

If I were single (which I am not) and willing to work part-time (willing to, but not practical), and I only cared about making music and not about teaching or publishing, then I would live somewhere cheap, not be an academic, and make a lot of music. But it's hard to stay in touch and stay motivated without a community. Communities are both supportive and stifling. Being in a great city would help, being near one but not in one might be even better.

Bottom line: if you're a natural teacher, become an academic and just keep pushing to be original. If you hate teaching or can live on the cheap, just try to make composing into a full-time job.

Regards, and luck,

-----Original Message-----
From: bill thompson <>
Sent: Sep 14, 2005 7:46 AM
Subject: Re: Re : (junk yard dog in) hidden place

hi luis,

i'm sorry if i came off indignant...well, now that i'm
off my soap box, in many ways i agree about the lack
of innovation in most music that considers itself
'new' or 'experimental', particularly electronic/ea.

it's not just in academic ea concerts either. the
last few so called cutting edge festivals (kill your
timid notion, subcurrent, etc) featuring artists that
aren't academically oriented but don't fit into
mainstream pop, (they might be more of a new punk-like
category but doing experimental, mostly electronic
music, non-beat etc)...well, i was mostly disappointed
as well. most of the musicians didn't seem aware of
what it was they were trying to do...often i got the
feeling that they didn't know what the goal was, so
how was i supposed to? (there were exceptions though,
such as amm, tony conrad, wolf eyes, and La Cellule
d'Intervention Metamkine, all excellent)...

so, not much of a crap filter in that world either.
but i wonder if there are other factors in the ea
world though that hinder innovation? i'm speaking
naively here, as someone who's only now peeking in
from the outside as it were, but it seems that there
is a certain 'standard' that is expected to be upheld,
certain musical laws (or principals) to be followed,
and a status quo to be met. but i've noticed that
often even when these are all observed that the pieces
sometimes 'fail' or come off limp and
unsatisfying...sometimes (it seems to me) as a result
of trying to satisfy these (unspoken?) expectations,
almost as though the pieces were curbed or restrained
from going somewhere really incredible...

i'm curious what would occur if someone were to 'come
out swinging' and do something that really challenged
ea conventions, typical music principals, and current
'standards', not a 'new guy' but someone already
established within the ea would that
work be received? sense is that ea composers are
expected to be innovative, but only so much, within
boundaries, and only so fast...(i'm sure this is a
very narrow view-i'm probably more then half-wrong
here ;))

it does worry me as someone considering a career in
academia though, if pressures due to being a lecturer,
presenting work as a result of 'research', and meeting
unspoken expectations to not challenge convention 'too
much' will negatively impact what i have worked so
hard for, my (fledgling) voice.

on the other hand, outside of academia, i often get
the feeling that there is a rebellion against
perceived 'standards/conventions/principals' but
instead of re-investigating those ideas personally, a
blind rebellion occurs and 'out goes the baby with the
bath water' and you're left with 'freefolk'. (yes, i
said it, i realllllly don't like it :))

so who knows. myself, i enjoy artists in and out of
academia who seem to be creating music that has some
integrity to them as an individual artist, and isn't
towing the line for any 'tradition' overtly (although
i recognize we all work within the context of some
tradition)...that's my bias and i'm very much
attracted to 'freshness' even to a fault.

and quickly, i do enjoy experimental inst'l work (both
by composers and free improv instrumentalists) too..i
don't really listen to non-experimental instrumental
music unless it's one of the 'old guys' (webern on
back)...i like the spectralists too and some of the
noisier romanians (dumitrescu/avram), but also the
free-improv guys like john butcher, greg kelly, peter
brotzman etc, as well as some new artists based in
london, rhodri davies and mark wastell...also the old
greats, scelsi, xenakis, scavarda, lacheman, nono,
etc...i don't think they've been matched yet.


ps...not sure what to say about your theory of the
cost acting as a filter...i'm sure there's some truth
to it, but wouldn't the increase in availability of
equipment/shows and thus activity in the ea world
produce more quality as well as crap?


"The more you think about things the weirder they seem." -Calvin

Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005

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