Friday, September 23, 2005

These are "found" transmissions from the Stockhausen--Mississippi Blues Continuum Galactic Transmitter: (Email exchange between the Errorist and Sarcasmus)(K-man world traveller--any additional thoughts? How does Stevie Wonder fit in?)

No shit, Anthony is Toni's dad?


I want to hear the father/daughter album!!

The alan licht album's good, huh? I listened to it before burning, because it'd
been a couple
years, and i assumed i would've outgrown it or something. that it'd sound
late-90s dated. but it
actually sounds better now. the swells and fades are natural and powerful and
the energy is not
forced. i like the trumpet playing and the way the electronics and guitars are

i'm a big loren mazzacane connors fan, he's a white art dude (painter by first
choice apparently,
the guitar is a hobby) who plays 'blues'; ...

---------extended digression alert!

...i'm a mega blues fan, and your thoughts about that make me want to make you a
super blues mix
cd immediately. you saw ghost world right? it's all summed up in that... early
blues, and late
blues too (though in very very different ways, approximately the difference
between elvis and
public enemy) did things that no other music has ever done. spiritual ghost
music, earthy fucking
music, often unified into one. types of beauty available nowhere else.

but white boys play with cheap distortion pedals in bands called things like
Blues Hammer, and
think it's the same thing.


digression-within-digression: yesterday i passed a half-empty bar that was
blasting "When the
Levee Breaks". Bummer. It may be one of Zep's high (or low) points, but it's
surely one of the
worst parodies of the blues ever.

the song they rave about in Ghost World, skip james' "devil got my woman" really
is as good as
they say. There is nothing else like that song anywhere. and there's many other
songs like that
(in a nothing else like that kind of way) - robert johnson is just one of many
who will chill the
spine until it's frozen. the whole universe of music is in the blues, one way or
another. i could
listen to nothing else but 'blues' my whole life and never get bored.

---------end digression!

anyway, loren m.c. somehow avoids the white blues curse, by making something
OTHER entirely, using
some blues tropes and tossing out all the 'authenticity' traps. long floating
bent notes in
ambient soundspaces. lots of missed notes and string noise. sort of a noise
approach to blues,
without any pretentious 'fusion' bullshit, it's just a thing among other things.
it's good. his
wife also is a great singer, in an over-the-top sobby kind of way, and when she
sings a song with
him occasionally, it's totally transcendent. remind me to make a copy.

hm, this was gonna be a short reply, but as usual it got out of control;
more later.

--- wrote:

> what is fado?
> The OMH box set is pretty great. It takes a long time to realize how
> great. But I love electronics. You know.
> The ambient jazz is the alan licht thing you burnt me. Very sweet. I'll
> have to burn you some Roscoe Miller. And the Dave Holland quartet. With
> Sam Rivers and Anthony Braxton. (Toni Braxton's dad, maybe you knew
> that.)
> That whole thing about all music sounding the same...yeah. Some of it
> ACTUALLY does sound the same. But usually it sounds the same because it
> is a genre or style that you are unaccustomed to. You haven't learned
> the rules of it. I have a pet theory that the things that you find
> annoying and repetitive in music you don't like or unaccustomed to are
> EXACTLY the things that you come to love in it if you open yourself to
> it. I don't know if that would work with Clint Black. I mean, I HATED
> Salt N Peppa when I was a kid. But know I LOVE them. I think they're
> great. Yeah, but Techno is hopeless in America. For years it was
> laughed at. Then it became popular, but all the popular stuff is
> absolute total shite. Irony being that Techno was invented in America
> by wacky black dudes in Detroit. And house by weirdos in Chicago. And
> all that shit is the absolute best techno ever made. The early rave
> culture stuff in London was good. Though, that produced so much shit
> that it probably will not be appreciated, probably ever. Chemical
> Brothers took what was uninteresting about it and sold it as the new
> rock. I love Drum N Bass, but in the same way that I love the Mexican
> Pizza at the Chinese Mexican place. It is not good for me at all, but I
> can't get enough of it. DrumNBass is sort of the electronic equivalent
> of Metallica; except that it doesn't take much talent to put together a
> decent beat. It takes skill and work though--like pacing a horror flick
> effectively. Not everyone can do it. And you have to have a lot of
> angst to get into it, I think.
> Blues is a hard one for me. I don't really get much into it. I like
> Robert Johnson. Especially if I'm feeling sick and insomniacal. I know
> this because leslie had his collected recordings and I got to know it
> lonely nights in Burgos. I realized how much shit (see Rolling Stones
> et al.) was stolen from him. Also I've heard some Muddy Waters and I
> think he's a genius. Hell, he invented hard rock. But people like Eric
> Clapton and anything of that blues that has a chorus pedal is total
> total shite. It's kill me now music. Yuppie's with nothing to live for
> music. The worst. So I know there's good blues.
> I always wanted to write about Satie. He died totally poor, in a
> cellar, or something. In Squalor. Just like Vincent Price's dad, the
> inventor of Baking Soda. I can't remember. His music is beautiful. Not
> Vincent Price. Satie. I need to hear more of it. He kind of presaged
> ambient. Or maybe I read that in the David Toop Oceans of Sound. I
> can't remember. He presaged post minimalism(!)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ero
> To:
> Sent: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 12:33:12 -0700 (PDT)
> Subject: Re: hymnen part 2
> i think thursday is good. this thursday. next thurs, not so good, for
> obvious
> reasons. i did a
> quick test the other day at home, and it seems like it'll work. i need
> to buy
> some long speaker
> cord. and su's laptop power cord cuts out spontaneously at times, so
> there's
> some potential
> battery life issues. (might should borrow jake's, except then we'd be
> out of
> winampland. know
> anyone with a good pc laptop?)
> i know nothing about modern composition. except that i've listened to a
> fair
> amount of it here &
> there. but usually, knowing nothing of the theoretical underpinning,
> i'm left to
> whether it sounds
> good or not. and the results are usually mixed. consequently, i know i
> like the
> minimalists, and i
> have some serial composer i randomly copied from a library cd, who i
> like
> listening to, because
> the sound of the random piano notes is soothing in a windchime-like
> way.
> otherwise i am innocent
> as a babe.
> i like satie, but that's not fair. and i don't claim to understand what
> he did
> either, it just
> works as music for airports.
> it's like pornography/art. i know it when i see it.
> which, come to think of it, is about how i respond to 'classical' music
> also.
> mozart usually
> irritates because the intervals seem trite (to me, he's the eric
> clapton of
> classical, undoubtedly
> brilliant but overly integrated through no fault of his own into what
> now sounds
> like blandness);
> mahler and shostakovich usually seem overbearingly bombastic.
> otherwise, i don't
> know my head from
> my ass.
> i'm listening to the rough guide to fado now, it's reassuringly
> familiar and
> unfamiliar at the
> same time.
> such a wierd process, learning the language of music as you listen. a
> friend of
> ours once
> complained about all techno sounding the same. i explained to her that
> all blues
> sounds the same
> to a lot of people.
> of course, a lot of techno DOES all sound the same.
> of course, so does a lot of blues.
> in both cases, only the shitty stuff.
> for what it's worth, EVERYONE sends personal email at work. (at least i
> hope
> so!) the trick is to
> look like you're working hard, when people are stressed, and then you
> build up
> slack credit...
> fuck bad conversation. but sometimes it happens.
> sometimes even good conversation seems bad though. dunno. i can barely
> finish a
> coherent sentence
> these days.
> --- wrote:
> > I haven't heard that. I have heard comparatively little Stockhausen.
> > Whenever I hear him, though, it blows me away. I have one CD,
> Kontakt,
> > I think it is called. It is percussion plus electronics. And it is
> > amazing. I just don't know how the hell he did it using the
> technology
> > that he had. Of all the avant garde guys who are pre/anti-minimalist,
> > he's the one who seems to make the most human music. It's not
> everyday
> > listening. I'll make a copy of Kontakt if yr interested. I have made
> > you and Su a huge pile of CDs. Considering that I have recieved over
> > the time I've known you accumulatively a huge stack of cds from you,
> it
> > was the least I could do.
> > Back in music school I heard some orchestral stuff he did. His
> invented
> > a system of orchestration called Klangerfarbenmelodie. I don't
> remember
> > exactly what that means, but it is basically a kaleidoscope of
> timbres.
> > I don't know how much you know about serial music--and how much you
> > need to know. But the basic idea was to decenter our sense of pitch,
> > timbre and rhythm. Weber is the God of the serialists. Schoenberg
> being
> > merely a Wagnerite, despite the fact that he invented serialism. Or
> > dodecaphonics.
> > I don't know what my job is anymore. So I posted on the blog, and
> > responding to you. Guess I'll see how long I get away with this
> before
> > I get fired.
> >
> > Did we want to do a sound test/check thing on Thursday? I was
> thinking
> > of getting a drink with one of my new Brooklyn friends then, anyways.
> > And on Friday everyone is going to the Beergarden. I went to the beer
> > garden three days in a row last week. That was fun. The one night
> > Patrick was there, great conversation. The other nights the
> > conversation was some of the worst I've ever been in. I feel guilty
> > because my coworker Nelly is busy with work. But I don't know what
> the
> > fuck I'm supposed to be doing. But back to the conversation. You know
> > how you listen to other people and you wonder why the fuck they are
> > wasting their times saying such stupid things? Well I was involved in
> > some of those conversations. It's not like they're bad people, or
> even
> > stupid. It's just the conversations were BAD. So cheers. Or in the
> > words of Stockhausen blllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep p p
> p
> > p mugggaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazoooomomomooo
> >
> errrrroooooooopstupidamericansdieintheirstupidlookingbuildingsisbeautiful
> > --letthemfallontheirownimperialistphallussword

Part II (by The Errorist)

well, supposedly it starts over a century ago with black fife-and-drum bands.
and of course work
songs, and spirituals. the blues heyday lasted from the 20s to the 60s, a 40
year span after which it mostly became kind of a parody of itself (just like rock- only lasted from the 40s to the 80s). what we know of it is totally wrapped up in the changes in recording technology. the earliest stuff is an oral history form almost, in which everyone shared lyrics and wrapped their styles and topics around regional variations of a sort of universal currency of music. as records started arriving, people started imitating stars and originating schools of music, also changing their sounds and song structures to record better- playing hot 2 minute songs instead of strong 4 hour songs, if you follow me. and by the time jimi hendrix came along, 'the blues' was already in sci-fi land and had crossbred so many times that only white folks talked about 'the blues' anymore. sort of like going to a hip hop club and asking the dj for some al green. The whole notion of blues is retroactively imposed, like taking all of black pop from the last couple decades and calling it 'urban'; which will probably happen, actually. but there's disco, and funk, and sixties soul, and the philly sound, and prince, and old-school hip hop, and gangsta, and new jack swing, and... 'the blues' contains at least as much differentiation. so the blues really does contain multitudes. though usually when people talk
about it, regrettably, they start with eric clapton and get as far as bb king and muddy
waters. they think
it all goes,
and has someone named "Blind HotDog Freddy" singing about how he was maimed by a

But that's a pretty small part of it.and in that time it encompassed a ton of sophistication and also raw scrapy madness. sometimes at the same time. muddy waters was a great figure, but his rival howlin' wolf was more popular in their chicago heyday. a 6'5" 300-lb dude who howled and growled and climbed the curtains during shows. and the quote about his voice, appropriately, from sam phillips, the sun records guy: "here was where the soul of man never dies".. beefheart and then tom waits owe much of their vocal schtick to him, but it wasn't far from his speaking voice. crazy. his bands rock
harder than just about anything before or since.

i also love his predecessor, charlie patton, the first big mississippi blues
star, (and sort of a demented musical father figure to robert johnson), a half-cherokee one-quarter black one-quarter white guy who looks vaguely foppish & menacing in the only photo, but whose voice, like the wolf's, sounds like a steamroller. totally amazing. and the one-chord drones on guitar are full of polyrhythms, accent stutters, strange moments where his voice and guitar trade parts. but in his own way he was playing pop songs, and had the first hit records. like a lot of these guys he had a long career and was semi-nomadic, and everywhere he played, people imitated him.
but he was most successful because he had records, which startled the hell out of all the
musicians around him.

there's also the 'female' blues (bessie smith, ma rainey, et al), which came out
of vaudeville, sold way more records than the boys, predates most of them, and often sounds
totally different-more roots-of-jazz, with hot clarinet wanking and dense hard piano. some of that
stuff is amazing.

or piano-based blues sort of has its own world, with the boogiewoogie and
barrelhouse heavies.

and whole galaxies of ragtime and roots gospel and other styles that have folded
into blues in retrospect; jug bands prospered in memphis, and some of that is great fun funky music, sort of like the hidden grandfather of the meters.

anyway, i'll stop. i can talk for hours about this shit.

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