Thursday, November 3, 2011

Defining experimental music in 1991

What's the matter with today's experimental music? Organised sound too rarely heard by Leigh Landy (1991), reviewed in NMA #10, has a discussion on definitions of experimental music and avant garde. Most of the text is on Google Books.

Landy advocates primarily a definition where innovation is the main characteristic of the music, above (but not necessarily excluding) all other factors. He also says 'innovation' needs to be distinguished from 'renewal'.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fast Forward cassette fanzine

Fast Forward: A Pre-Internet Story - article in Mess & Noise, that amongst other things discusses the early Aust/Melbourne punk and post-punk scenes, and the cultural role of cassettes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ubu Web Electronic Music Resources

"This new section of Ubuweb is devoted to technical resources concerning the practice of electronic and experimental sound. This is a place for information about actual methods and techniques, with little writing on aesthetics alone. It takes the form of technical/historical articles, interviews, books, small-press magazines and patents. Regrettably, most previous treatments of electronic music have tended to shy away from the details of the medium itself. In hopes of rendering the subject palatable they have removed much of its flavor, for it is precisely within the box, teeming with currents, where the true beauty resides - the other side of the panel. This first installment offers nearly 300 items, arranged according to the scheme above. There is still much work to do.

"We've taken the filing cabinet as our model, rather than the museum, and our focus is on historical and rare material rather than recent developments. We've chosen to exclude contemporary work here not because it is less relevant, but because it already takes care of itself. Indeed, we hope to nourish living work with this collection, and we're open to suggestions about what would make such an archive useful. This initial installment will be augmented by further submissions and research, which we hereby solicit. Ideally, we'll make determination for inclusion by methods other than "like and dislike". We're looking for the gems of your research, the side-roads, the technical explanations that led to moments of clarity. We're trying to get the hoarders of inspiring miscellany to share the best of their libraries - personally "important" things photocopied to save them from disappearance."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko But Don't Get Stockhausen

Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko But Don't Get Stockhausen (Zero Books)
David Stubbs

Modern art is a mass phenomenon. Conceptual artists like Damien Hirst enjoy celebrity status. Works by 20th century abstract artists like Mark Rothko are selling for record breaking sums, while the millions commanded by works by Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon make headline news.

However, while the general public has no trouble embracing avant garde and experimental art, there is, by contrast, mass resistance to avant garde and experimental music, although both were born at the same time under similar circumstances - and despite the fact that from Schoenberg and Kandinsky onwards, musicians and artists have made repeated efforts to establish a "synaesthesia" between their two media.

This book examines the parallel histories of modern art and modern music and examines why one is embraced and understood and the other ignored, derided or regarded with bewilderment, as noisy, random nonsense perpetrated by, and listened to by the inexplicably crazed. It draws on interviews and often highly amusing anecdotal evidence in order to find answers to the question: Why do people get Rothko and not Stockhausen?