Saturday, July 25, 2015

broken families

“Did you know how loud you were?”
“Oh. Yes.”
“I thought you did.”

[Read the rest…]

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

currency of the arts

Is ‘exposure’ (the official currency of the arts) inherently inflationary?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

cosmic boredom

The most boring man in the world plays the most boring music in the world on the most boring instrument. He does this, why, he does not know, but he does this for that is what he does.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

empty but stage

Four score and seven minutes after the soundcheck, as the technicians made final checks, and as the ensemble found their places on stage, in an event that would still be speculated upon for decades to come (freak hyper-energetic neutrinos? spontaneous human combustion? an act of god?), the musicians were lost leaving no trace but an afterimage in the retinae of the audiences’ eyes.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

when composers refuse to die young: or how to avoid making aging a liablity amongst the artistically inclined

More comedy from the arts sector (or is that the creative industries (I forget which)):

I’d heard that the Young Composers’ Collective (founded 2003) had changed their name to the Irish Composers' Collective (allegedly) because its members, who grew not-young, did not want to relinquish the organization. It turns out, however, there’s a little tradition of doing this: the Association of Young Irish Composers (founded 1972) dropped the ‘Young’ and became the AIC some ten years later.

Anyone tempted to do a Bourdieuian analysis of this phenomenon?

update 11-08-14:

I came across a piece from March 2004 re the Young Composers’ Collective. Full of moments of irony given the evolution of the AIC:

“I contacted a number of people to pitch the idea of starting a new organisation for young Irish composers…. Most of them agreed that more needed to be done for young composers in Ireland. I also contacted former members of the Association of Young Irish Composers which ceased activity in the 1970s. They all spoke positively of this organisation and lamented its demise….
“There is currently no support network for young Irish composers. The Association of Irish Composers (AIC) describes itself as Ireland’s representative body for composers…. It does little for young composers.”

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Jazz Police

“Spain’s Civil Guard (a.k.a. the Jazz Police) say Banksy’s real name is Lee Ritenour, a 62-year old male born in Los Angeles, California. AAJ has confirmed this information with Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen of GRP, along with Captain Fingers, a shady entity that acts as a cover for the so-called ‘octave jazz guitarist.’” [Read the rest…]

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kind of Weird

Before people get too worked up over this, they need to realize that our album is a copy, not a clone—an object designed to reaffirm what people already love about ‘Kind of Blue’ and to highlight what we could and couldn’t pull off…. That’s where the art is—getting people to think about the original by listening harder to the differences. [more…]
Been following the MOPDTK/Blue threads here and there on fb with some interest. Some random questions:
  1. When does musical criticism cross into personal attacks? Is the personal and the musical ever separable, in particular, in the context of improvisative practices?
  2. At what point does musical proficiency sanction an entry into the hallowed domain of reinvention? (or is that question just wrong? what is at stake?)
  3. If the piece is a conceptual prank (of sorts), then is not the kerfuffle a demonstration of its success?
  4. If the piece is a conceptual prank, who or what was the target?
  5. When are we comfortable discussing the intersections of class, economics (and race) and music? (and if we can’t do this in the context of a kind of appropriation, when can we do it?)
I’ll admit straight off the bat that I’ve never been particularly drawn to MOPDTK’s work (no fault of theirs, just never got around to it), but this did at least get me to listen. fwiw, some thoughts (my ¢2):
  1. There’s a self-consistent argument from those critical of this project that goes like this: by all means do your own music—be creative!—but if you were to copy an existing work, your chops should be up to the task. I’m not 100% convinced by this argument, though it’s hard not to agree that there are people with more aptitude for meticulous recreations. I think notions of ‘authenticity’ and ‘respect’ (to/for yourself, the tradition, cultural ancestors, etc.) play in both pro/con arguments, but that are largely left unexamined.
  2. Given the continuing struggle with notions of history, continuity and tradition that is so much a part of this music’s DNA, it occurs to me that it would be naïve of anyone to think that the album would not generate, at the very least, heated discussions.
  3. It seems to me that that the target could not have realistically been the Lincoln Center neoclassicists and their audience since, given the nature of the band and the label, this piece of cultural noise would just not be audible there. So, it seems to be reasonable that the target of the prank was those of us already on the left-field (those of us already defending or critiquing this work), but that raises a whole bunch of additional questions about purpose, and questions about how to assess the success of the prank.
Final thought: I find it near impossible to hear Kind of Blue with something other than naïve teenage ears (which is how I first encountered that record). So I feel unqualified to do a critical, microscopic assessment of MOPDTK’s work-as-copy. From hearing a short excerpt from MOPDTK’s album, however, all I can add was that I was surprised how well Jon Irabagon could reembody Adderley, and fascinated how Peter Evans apparently could not mimic Davis to the same degree.

Friday, September 12, 2014

all that music journalism isn’t all that great

Music journalism is lazy.
Music journalism is vacuous.
Music journalism is soft headed.

Music journalism is dead, lost its way, and is no longer culturally or politically relevant. It has, to use present-day management parlance, no impact. Contemporary music journalists are shabby echos of their profession in times past; whose idea of research is YouTube; whose ‘intellectual engagement’ is based entirely on Wikipedia and some half-forgotten undergraduate reader; and who don’t even think to check out music outside their own little hipster enclave.
I would write more, but there’s only so much necrophilia I’d like to touch.

btw, if you need something else to read, try this brilliant and funny parody piece.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Eine kleine Nekromusik

When the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us, as the final ragtag few that is what is left of humanity gather to hear the last musician on the planet at the last piano with the last copy of Mozart’s piano sonatas, we will wait for the text to speak to us. As the undead hammer down the doors, the futility (always already) of fidelity to a long lost (fictional) past will become crushingly obvious.

Friday, December 28, 2012

unmasking tig

Although the most recent post is dated October 2012, improvising guitar hasn’t been active in any meaningful sense since January 2008. I started this blog in order to explore ideas of improvisation and technique, and as an outlet to vent issues emerging from my teaching [more…]. It was primarily for the latter reason that I adopted a pseudonym—the improvising guitarist, or tig. This was all in the relatively early days of weblogs, and, subsequently having written here and there under my non-pseudonymous name, I now feel more confident about expressing issues online without getting myself (or anyone else) into trouble.

As I said, I am “tempted to ‘come out of the closet’ on this blog,” so…

I still blog occasionally on (relatively) specialist matters, but, if you’re looking for my “unplanned collection of thoughts about the technical, social, pedagogical and practical dimensions of loosely idiomatic, sometime experimental, mostly open, always traditional improvisation”, your best bet, currently, is at a certain micro bogging platform.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Hope I can (again) make your acquaintance.

Brooklyn, December 2012

P.S. a shout out to Kris Tiner, afaik, the only person who guessed the identity of tig.