“A comprehensive overview of the complexity and breadth of the many early 20th-century Russian avantgarde movements, followed by detailed notes and contexts for the individual recordings – including summary biographies of the main actors; additional work notes about the process of the extraordinary Baku reconstruction; a bibliography, rare photographs, web research links, artwork, facsimiles of contemporary documents, a comparative timeline of European and Russian Avantgardes and the first English translation of an article by Avraamov about the symphony. This is a definitive library collection, some seven years in the making and possibly our most important release of recent years.”
I decided to try a little experiment. As many already know, Supercollider is a very powerful audio language. I am not a programmer so I tend to seek out ready to run software as opposed to downloading the builds and making it custom to my needs. I found this great little, ready to run, Supercollider application called Laconicism. I ran the audio output from Laconicism through a Vox Satchurator distortion pedal and a Digitech TimeBender Delay. I recorded the distorted and delayed output into Live, made a MP3 and posted it here. It’s really a little long but shows what can be done with only two guitar effects boxes.
“MetaMix is a cross between a musical composition, a digital audio player, an interactive experience, a software tool, and a work of conceptual art. Feed MetaMix your favorite audio track and listen as familiar music is transformed into a new listening experience. MetaMix superimposes new musical structures onto existing music by turning special mathematical integer sequences into new musical forms. These musical forms are used to “remix” the audio track you choose.”
“Edgard Victor Achille Charles Varèse, whose name was also spelled Edgar Varèse (December 22, 1883 – November 6, 1965), was an innovative French-born composer who spent the greater part of his career in the United States.
Varèse’s music features an emphasis on timbre and rhythm. He was the inventor of the term “organized sound”, a phrase meaning that certain timbres and rhythms can be grouped together, sublimating into a whole new definition of music. Although his complete surviving works only last about three hours, he has been recognised as an influence by several major composers of the late 20th century. His use of new instruments and electronic resources led to his being known as the “Father of Electronic Music” while Henry Miller described him as “The stratospheric Colossus of Sound”.
“Today’s post is something I stumbled upon in the dark and dusty corners of the Internet, a tape recording of composer Edgar Varèse conducting a workshop of Jazz musicians in the year 1957. Here is the original announcement of the MP3 release of these tapes.
Edgard Varèse conducts a workshop with jazzmen Art Farmer (trumpet), Hal McKusik (clarinet, alto sax), Teo Macero (tenor sax), Eddie Bert (trombone), Frank Rehak (trombone), Don Butterfield (tuba), Hall Overton (piano), Charlie Mingus (bass), Ed Shaughnessy (drums), probably John La Porta (alto sax)… We don’t know who is on vibes…
It might be the first free jazz recording (totally unissued) of History of Music. Varèse might have influenced jazzmen or was he only aware of what was happening on the jazz scene? No matter of the answer, it’s a bomb, as this music is 3 years earlier than Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman! We also know Charlie Parker wanted to study with Varèse in autumn 1954 but the composer flew to Europe to conduct Déserts. When he came back to New York in May 1955, Parker had already died. We also know that Varèse used to listen to John Coltrane at the Village.
Between March and August 1957, these Sunday jam-sessions were followed by arranger George Handy, journalist Robert Reisner, composers James Tenney, Earle Brown and John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham. The organizers were Earle Brown and Teo Macero who will become Miles Davis‘ producer among others. Varèse used certain extracts of the workshop for his Poème électronique.
The original of this tape is at Fondation Paul Sacher.
“Please excuse the crappy audio quality, it is the best we have.”
Jack Kerouac (pronounced /ˈkɛruːæk, ˈkɛrəwæk/; March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American author, poet and painter. Alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, he is considered a pioneer of the Beat Generation.
Kerouac’s work is very popular, but received little critical acclaim during his lifetime. Today, he is considered an important and influential writer who inspired others, including Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Robbins, Lester Bangs, Will Clarke, Richard Brautigan, Ken Kesey, Haruki Murakami, Tom Waits and writers of the New Journalism.
Kerouac’s best-known books are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, The Subterraneans, Desolation Angels, and Visions of Cody.
“Beginning of the original typed roll where Kerouac wrote On the Road. The first sentence is: “I first met met Neal not long after my father died…” Later it would be replaced by the definitive one: “I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up.”
The following summary is adapted from Ann Charters’ “Editor’s Introduction” to the section of The Portable Jack Kerouac, opening the section Charters titles “The Modern Spontaneous Method.” [One] of Kerouac’s writing experiments continued for years, a project begun in 1952 that he considered his private dream-record, what the publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti called “the poetic raw material of the Kerouac saga, the substrata of his novels and a commentary upon them.”
[You will be reading two pieces of dream-writing] from Book of Dreams, published by City Lights in 1961. Kerouac kept several sheets of paper and a pencil attached to a clipboard on a string tied to the headboard of his bed, so he could write down his dreams immediately after awakening. He typed up the selections for Ferlinghetti, and his friend Philip Whalen put them in order for publication….
[The third piece here is] from Old Angel Midnight, in which Kerouac, influenced by James Joyce’s experiments in Finnegan’s Wake (1939), pushed spontaneous prose to its ultimate expression. Kerouac told John Clellon Holmes that his work in progress was “an endless automatic writing piece which raves on and on with no direction and no story.” He experimented with free association in this poem, attempting to write down “the sounds of the entire world … now swimming thru the window.” The San Francisco poet Michael McClure recognized that in Old Angel Midnight, Kerouac had achieved one of his most remarkable works:
Never [wrote McClure] before has inconsequentiality been raised to such a peak that it becomes a breakthrough…. Inconsequentiality becomes a skewing of the established values of the senses and imagination into strange and yet familiar, but elusive, tantalizing and remarkable, constructs of image and sound…. The politics of Old Angel Midnight is that it is a reply by Jack to heavily armored, socially approved literature, as it was then taught and admired in colleges…. Old Angel Midnight is contemporary with exploratory jazz and with the painting which sought to make spiritual autobiography utilizing the gestures of the artist and his materials…. Old Angel Midnight is struggling to be occupied by consciousness and nothingness, and not by social commands.
section from Old Angel Midnight
Boy, says Old Angel, this amazing nonsensical rave of yours wherein I spose you’d think you’d in some lighter time find hand be-almin ya for the likes of what ya devote yaself to, pah — bum with a tail only means one thing, — They know that in sauerkraut bars, god the chew chew & wall lips-And not only that but all them in describable paradises aye — ah — Angel m boy-Jack, the born with a tail bit is a deal that you never dream’d to redeem — verify — try to see as straight-you wont believe even in God but the devil worries you-you & Mrs Tourian — great gaz-zuz & I’d as lief be scoured with a leaf rust as hear this poetizin horseshit everywhere I want to hear the sounds thru the window you promised me when the Midnight bell on 7th St did toll bing bong & Burroughs and Ginsberg were asleep & you lay on the couch in that timeless moment in the little red bulblight bus & saw drapes of eternity parting for your hand to begin & so’s you could affect-and eeffect — the total turningabout & deep revival of world robeflowing literature till it shd be something a man’d put his eyes on & continually read for the sake of reading & for the sake of the Tongue & not just these insipid stories writ in insipid aridities & paranoias bloomin & why yet the image-let’s hear the Sound of the Universe, son, & no more part twaddle-And dont expect nothing from me, my middle name is Opprobrium, Old Angel Midnight Opprobrium, boy, O.A.M.O. —
Pirilee pirilee, tzwe tzwi tzwa, — tack tick-birds & firewood. The dream is already ended and we’re already awake in the golden eternity.”
Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4′33″, the three movements of which are performed without a single note being played. The content of the composition is meant to be perceived as the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed, rather than merely as four minutes and thirty three seconds of silence, and the piece became one of the most controversial compositions of the twentieth century. Another famous creation of Cage’s is the prepared piano (a piano with its sound altered by placing various objects in the strings), for which he wrote numerous dance-related works and a few concert pieces, the best known of which is Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48).
His teachers included Henry Cowell (1933) and Arnold Schoenberg (1933–35), both known for their radical innovations in music and coincidentally their shared love of mushrooms, but Cage’s major influences lay in various Eastern cultures. Through his studies of Indian philosophy and Zen Buddhism in the late 1940s, Cage came to the idea of chance-controlled music, which he started composing in 1951. The I Ching, an ancient Chinese classic text on changing events, became Cage’s standard composition tool for the rest of his life. In a 1957 lecture, Experimental Music, he described music as “a purposeless play” which is “an affirmation of life – not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living”.
Fontana Mix was composed in 1958 at the Studio do Fonologia in Milan where John Cage was working on a piece for four tape recorders. The composition is unusually notated – the score consists of sheets and transparencies with printed points, squares, curves and lines that are to be freely overlayed upon one another. The constellations that result from this chance procedure are applied to musical parameters to create a possible realization of the piece.
This isn’t an ‘opus’ in the classical sense, rather it is a ‘construction kit’ for non-intentional production of music, which allows the creation of different pieces: along with Fontana Mix for tape, John Cage composed Aria for mezzo soprano (1958), Water Walk (1959), Theater Piece for 1-8 performers (1960), and Cornelius Cardew used it for the realization of his Solo for Guitar.
In Fontana Mix Cage developed his concept of indeterminacy that he continued to use in countless variations throughout his life. As a composer, he separated himself from his work, so that the work’s existence was not dependent on subjective compositional decisions, but rather on the objective instance – chance. The aim of this non-intentionality is the freeing of sounds, to let them exist on their own, instead of being used to express emotion or meaning. Associated with this is the rejection of any expression.
Cage did not intend that the application of chance was a license for free choice. As an artist concerned with ‘structural thinking’, Cage invented ingenious composition systems in which precisely defined sound material was organized ‘non-intentionally’ based on his systems of rules. For Fontana Mix and Variations he developed a graphic chance generator, afterwards he used the Chinese oracle book I-Ging, and from the 1980’s on, he used a computer program developed by Andrew Culver. It’s no wonder that Cage integrated the computer into his production process. It freed him from the time consuming and tedious labour of communicating chance values but still lead to the wished-for result: sounds, free of intentional arrangement.