Re: [rumori] radio boy liner notes

From: Jon Leidecker (
Date: Mon Jan 14 2002 - 00:28:54 PST

hey sir (oh god, everyone else groans, not another 3 page email)

>It took about
>100 years to flesh out the final fringe remains of "original" sounds
>possible in ALL music before I had the nerve to say every truly new form
>worth doing has been done and that is now an "old" and (experimentally
>speaking only) an actually worn out idea about how to make more music.

Criminy, I'm simply not with you on your fundamental point of departure.
The last ten years has seen folk music's discovery of digital sound
synthesis and an incredible explosion of non-acoustic sounds that have by
definition _never been heard before_. I suppose you could argue that these
'new sounds' are simply refined variations of the electronic tape
techniques pioneered 50 years ago, but I'd think you were wrong; the last
ten years has seen a pronounced rise in music that exists solely to explore
previously unsynthesized sounds that themselves largely determine the form
of the music. Maryanne Amacher's local 3am concerts this past summer left
everyone present audibly murmuring 'I've never heard anything like this in
my life, what the fuck is this SOUND?'

To me, this music _sounds_ fundamentally different. Maybe this is a simple
subjective response, my hypernaive natal outlook, after all I'm only in my
early thirties. But you can't say we're all wrong, when this music is
being executed and perceived by us young-people as an exploration of new
sounds in and of itself.

>(And that Otani show was nothing "new," I first saw
>performances indistinguishable in form to that in the mid 60s, just the
>sonic content was different.)

Otomo Yoshihide, you mean. Otani's the guy we played with on OTE. So by
'form' you mean the structure of the music through time or something? But
you admit the sounds were different. 'new' even? I thought there were
some bizarrely new textures and sounds in that I.S.O. show. But sure, the
form was classic 60's free jazz, granted, that's what Otomo grew up on.

You seem to be making some kind of blanket statement, lumping in 'new sound
sources' with 'form' simultaneously: so you're saying that not only have
all 'sounds' been discovered by now, but so have all varieties of 'musical
form' to structure them with? Well, (to repeat) I think new sources are
still being developed. I also think 'form' is changing more gradually than
we can safely determine at this vantage point. More and more people are
involving themselves with the experience of music; to a degree we're
seeing this in home remixes of commercial music, but it's not strictly
about sampling, it's also about hardware and software synths and tools on
every desktop, online collaborations, and music playback options (mp3
players and beyond). These aren't merely social factors, I believe these
things will gradually evolve musical form, in ways we can't quite even
relate to yet. In any case, I disagree that mere 'content' is the only
aspect of music that composers have left to manipulate, that's totally

>I don't think the sound of sample work is worn out to the same degree that
>"original" music's sound is yet

I think the 'sound' of 'found sound' has reached a saturation point.
Mentioning this e-thread to my friend Drew, he recalled the 'bootleg
records' that have taken London by storm this year that splice disparate
but intact pop songs atop each other (like Whitney Houston's "Dance With
Somebody" with Kraftwerk's "Numbers") -- these 'illegal' white labels now
have their own NME top 10 chart. Nothing's less shocking! ECC's 'Whipped
Cream Mixes' used to confuse people simply because it existed, it didn't
occur to people that such music could happen, now it just sounds like one
of them 'bootleg records' (no offense, Mark -- the exact opposite, you saw
it coming). People are growing familiar with sampling not as a
revolutionary practice, but rather as another expression of
hyper-consumerism, mere nostalgic repetition. Put Oswald's 'O Hell' or
John Cage's 'Variations IV' on in a bar, and instead of freaking people
out, they'll just think it's the new DJ Spooky record. Put Maryanne
Amacher's record of 'original music' on in the same bar, and watch people's
preconceptions about music shatter as they run for cover. claiming that
'sample based music' is less worn out than any "original" music is PUSHING

>(that's a finite range of possibilities in music
>and it includes annoying noise, but even with that it had ALL been done by

Is that the year you stopped going out to shows or something? I wouldn't
know, I was zero years old.

Look, I'm hearing your central points about folk music, reiteration, making
the paradigm shift to seeing creative endeavors less as a matter of lone
individual pioneers and more as a gradually evolving series of
contributions (though granted some individuals contribute more than others,
and I've got my own personal musical heroes). Right now we're in trouble
with the cult of the lone creator who 'owns' his intellectual property,
where admiring the individual who 'created' the music often seems more the
point than the communal act of everyone enjoying the music. If that's the
basic idea you're promoting, that's great. But you're being too hardline;
if for no other reason than the fact that each generation experiences it's
advances in music as 'new'. Whenever you start hearing yourself say that
the kids are simply objectively wrong, a warning bell should go off.

>I'm just a folk critic now, rarely surprised by anyone's idea of "new," now
>living way out in the country with a limited exposure to new artists and
>their confounding attempts to make new music. I'm gonna just review my own
>work in my old age, try to decide if it should even be called that, and
>hope I can get garbage pickup out here...

Now you're just being funny again. Insane.


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