Re: SAN Diffusion 08 article

Subject: Re: SAN Diffusion 08 article
From: Ned Bouhalassa (
Date: Wed Nov 17 1999 - 13:35:03 EST

Peter Conegliano wrote:

> Personally I do not like 'serious' pieces with a constant rhythm,
> because they are too easy to write.Over a constant beat, or rhythm
> track, you can put virtually anything, and give the piece an instant
> unity, but also an instant tediousness - just as you can superimpose
> virtually any melody and words, over a basic 12 bar blues structure.

Just as with the right plug-in (GRM Tools, etc), you can give any sound
an 'experimental' edge. It doesn't mean that anyone is going to find it
interesting. Just because a piece has 'unity', that doesn't mean that it
has direction, that it will move anyone. Constant rhythm doesn't mean
that the timbre has to remain the same. Many of the more interesting
techno artists add subtle changes in timbre and dynamic to their
so-called repetitive rhythm tracks. What about Lucier's, I am sitting in
a room? To the un-trained ear, Steve Reich's 70's ensemble pieces are
always the same.

> If you are dancing or marching, you want a constant unchanging rhythm.
> If you are listening 'seriously' you do not.

I would suggest that _you_ do not. I for one, have no problem listening
'seriously' to constant unchanging rhythm, as long as something else is
going on, on another layer and/or in another space. I would suspect that
this is an acquired taste.

> My very first electro acoustic piece the 'Hannele Overture' in
> 1975(which can be heard currently on
> used pop music. But it
> was not other people's pop music, sampled and cut up from the outside
> world. It was my own songs, written and performed by myself, but
> deconstructed, cut up in short sections, and mixed and panned with
> each other, and concrete sounds like water etc.

So much of music is 'other people's music', or at least has bits of
others. It's so hard to trace the roots of a given style. I know I'm
constantly influenced by all the music I have and am listening to. I
don't know how it's possible not to be influenced and, lo an behold, to
'borrow' from the outside world. Sampling is not new to composition,
it's just done with electronic tools now.

> ... it could be argued, that despite all the incredible technical
> innovations in the last 3 decades, there still have not been any
> electro acoustic musics composed, which can for ground-breaking
> artistry or originality, match 'Gesang der Junglinge' or 'Kontakte'.
> All too much is 'more of the same', probably within the narrow
> parameters criticised by Adkins. But I do not think low art can really
> come to the rescue. What is needed are more 'originals' like
> Stockhausen!

Hmmm. Let's not forget that Stockhausen and others of his generation
were the first ones using the new technology. Ground-breaking is easier
when you're the first one to use new tools. I would also add that it
helps when you have almost limitless resources. Or at least when you
have two or more technicians ready to execute your commands. Not to say
that Stockhausen is not an extraordinary composer, but then again, if
there were more like him, he wouldn't be so original. There are some
other great ea composers though, just listen to Schaeffer, Herny,
Lucier, Parmegiani, Bayle, Ferrari, Dhomont, Smalley, Calon, Gobeil.

> Because, you just cannot endlessly go through a piece, with endless
> new material spliced apparently randomly together.

Sounds like fun!

> I myself, do not understand, nor want to collaborate with, techno
> dance music . But if composers do - that's fine! As long as the end
> result doesn't sound THE SAME AS commercial techno dance music!

What do you mean by commercial? Do you mean music that is produced only
to sell cds (in techno, like in other marginal music, that doesn't
work). Most commercially successful techno, like commercially successful
experimental music (!!!) is usually pretty interesting and not
paint-by-numbers (see Aphex Twin, Photek, Chemical Bros, Amon Tobin,


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