dear david goldberg: response

[apologies for typos below] – hey, in keeping with a journal of reflections… :

On Aug 20, 2018, at 10:23 PM, mark wrote:

d,

in the very early stages, couple of days so far, at thinking about this. no doubt you’ll have much to contribute!

and hey, i have to admit, being such a long term hostage to academia, this is truly a first! i mean, posting a somewhat personal communication in public… i’m sure i’ll suffer great trepidation for days to come… but here goes nonetheless: [what follows is an edit of a personal email exchange been goldberg and myself]

‘genre’ is such as devestating category, obviously, but has there been a term to designate the opposite? i mean, across wide spans of mucics and sound traditions? that focuses specifically on the wide panoply of intersectional musics/sounds?

David Goldberg: My first thought was of Graham Harman’s concept of “black noise” which is the sum total of peripheral “emissions” of objects that aren’t directly perceived – where perception is a general interaction between any number of objects. Since he defines objects as inexhaustible (what the tree is to you or me can never be exhausted or limited by what it is to the fungus or the sun) it immediately slays the concept of “genre.” “genre” would be an object, of course, but a dethroned one.

Mark Bartlett: that we are all aware of, but hasn’t been properly researched or given it’s due beyond subcategories within a broader context. it seems to me quite surprising how broad and inclusive they gave actually, historically, been. what i want to suggest goes beyond the various accepted categories of fusion or world, etc. both of those are important but subcategories of what i’m trying to articulate. i’m trying to articulate something that crosses wide swathes of what dick higgens in 1966 first articulated as ‘intermedia’.

DG: just DL’d his statement and graphic..

MB: but both of those are only subsets of what i’m trying to get at.

DG: wow! the 60s were so damned fertile. I was trying to explain this to my son (15) the other day… in the context of what made the 1970s special, being in the wake of the 60s.

MB: so, i’m roughing out the term, –hinge, to attempt to at least give a name to such. the problem, again obviously, is that SO music actually fits that category, how does one refine it in a useful/compelling way?

DG: “–hinge.” I like that. might be too literal for smaller minds… there is, of course, “entanglement” to borrow a non-locality concept from quantum physics.

MB: so… –entanglement? your call. i’m thinking only that something like –hinge, might resonate, as musical pop category, with something like, ‘grunge’…. or skat, or… some other single syllabic term… 🙂 + the meaning of the term with a graphic element –hinge. not sure a multi-syllabic term would have the same pop resonance… philosophically, entanglement is no doubt the better term. so again, you’re call.

MB: to do that would obviously, once again, require several volumes, each with multiple subsections. nonetheless, i think this is a worthy endeavor, but the q is: how to pitch it polemically to public that can only think in terms of commercial categories?

DG: my personal journey through what you are pointing out here is based on seeing how two folks like Lee Perry and Pierre Schaeffer were working with tapes and loops and ended up in such divergent but nevertheless connected spaces… For me it’s the application of electronic technology to sound-making that most clearly *illustrates* (but not necessarily metaphorizes or analogizes) what you are pointing at. and then i think about how pandora’s “music genome project” *technically* can address what you’re talking about at the level of signal and temporal analysis, but they opted for genres to make $ instead.

MB: so, let’s take the influence of varese on cage, boulez, stockhousen, la monte young, john cale, terry riley, velvet undregrond, nico, zappa; and takehisa kosugi, john paul jones [of zed leppelin], sonic youth, radiohead and sigur ros…

DG: sounds genealogical here… is *that* what you want? people would easily read this as a matter of lineage and not transmuted materials, or multiple people tapping into the same field of attractors and loops–partially influenced by each other, but also influenced by the sonic matter itself: e.g. REVERB.

MB: there is a verifiable line of intersectional connectivity between all the above. this is just the lineage i’m focused on at the moment since i’m writing about merce cunningham. but i’ve been tracing other similar lineages between a wide number of musicians at https://pearodox.blog/, but without calling it –hinge. i have been referring to it in several posts as ‘musical consciousness beyond borders’.

DG: again, i can resonate with you here because when I taught film classes at University of Hawaii i argued to my students that there is really only one film with specialized organs… later i learned that this was kind of an extension of “apparatus theory” but I don’t think that’s really what i’m pointing at. at this juncture i’d put money on there being non-western models for thinking about music creation that have already worked this out a few centuries ago… there’s such a rich global history of “music for…” and “music to…” that differs from the bulk of the Western tradition.

MB: my very rough and no doubt inadequate definition of –hinge is: any music that qualifies as hinge, must in some way, ’significantly put into association’, and therefore hinge, at least two quite different musical ‘networks’.

DG: I like that definition!

MB: and now that i’ve written this to you, i’d add: delineate a musical discourse formation, in the foucauldina sense.

DG: yeah!

_________
d,
many thanks for your response, for which i’m very grateful for your illuminations, as always.
so, are we going with a new music category called –hinge?
if so, should we start a new blog or equivalent about –hinge?
assuming you agree, i think this category might add something to P&P [Power and Poetics]
m
dear david goldberg: response

dear david goldberg

i’m in the very early stages, couple of days so far, at thinking about this. no doubt you’ll have much to contribute!

‘genre’ is such as devastating category, obviously, but has there been a term to designate the opposite? i mean, across wide spans of musics and sound traditions? that focuses specifically on the wide panoply of intersectional musics/sounds? that we are all aware of, but hasn’t been properly researched or given it’s due beyond subcategories within a broader context? it seems to me quite surprising how broad and inclusive they gave actually, historically, been. what i want to suggest goes beyond the various accepted categories of fusion or world, etc. both of those are important but subcategories of what i’m trying to articulate. i’m trying to articulate something that crosses wide swathes of what dick higgens in 1966 first articulated as ‘intermedia’. and maciunas diagrammed in his expanded arts graphic, also 1966. but both of those are only subsets of what i’m trying to get at. there are subsets as much as Woodstock was for R&R.

so, i’m roughing out the term, –hinge, to attempt to at least give a name to such. the problem, again obviously, is that SO much music actually fits that category, how does one refine it in a useful/compelling way?

to do that would obviously, once again, require several volumes, each with multiple subsections. nonetheless, i think this is a worthy endeavor, but the q is: how to pitch it polemically to a public that can only think in terms of commercial categories? is it possible to direct them to the deep roots and routes of the music they love?

but more than that, how to make an attempt to actually trace, historically, the surprising interconnectedness of ‘genres’ that at first listening, seem miles apart? but aren’t, and never were? to the extent that ‘rock&roll’ would be seen to be as something that never actually existed. nor did ‘jazz’, by the same logic. [and yeah, things get really dicey here…] so the historical moments when musics form seeming very different genres interconnected for the first time? and then, and this is important to me at least, then set off a wave of similar experiments.

so, let’s take, for one minor example, the influence of varese on cage, boulez, stockhousen, la monte young, john cale, terry riley, velvet underground, nico, zappa; and takehisa kosugi, john paul jones [of zed leppelin], sonic youth, radiohead and sigur ros…

that ‘discourse formation’ is still unacknowledged and remarkable.

there is a verifiable line of intersectional connectivity between all the above. this is just the lineage i’m focused on at the moment since i’m writing about merce cunningham. but i’ve been tracing other similar lineages between a wide number of musicians at https://pearodox.blog/, but without calling it –hinge. i have been referring to it in several posts as ‘musical consciousness beyond borders’.  but i think –hinge is a much more immediate and less abstruse term.

so what i’m suggesting is delineating musical discourse formations, in the foucauldina sense… but not in anyway beholdened to him. just as a lift-off concept as a point of departure for making a polemic/provocative argument against commercial genre boundaries.

so see my blog for very, very rough attempts to sort this out. i’m thinking of it as the latest version of power and poetics via sound. though in my posts, i try to cite live performances as much as recorded albums. so the AV aspect of P&P is alive and well. and damn youtube is so damn limited.

more radically, what i’m proposing with –hinge, is that there are no individual bands or even albums. just as there have never simply been ‘subjects’ of any kind. just as that no ‘director’ of any kind of production, film or otherwise, should be able to take full credit for anything; there are only collective performances that require for their production, a wide array of producers…

and there is a paradigm for this perspective that had a literally 50 year run in the 20th century: and many will think i’m absurd to claim this: but… the greatest marxist artists in the US, when viewed through their labor practices, and not only through through their inadequately understood ‘aesthetic’ practices, were john cage and merce cunningham, along with their 50 years of collaborators. what one hears, and sees, in both their performances, is ‘free labour’, in an achieved, collective, artistic utopia.

my very rough and no doubt inadequate definition of –hinge is: any music that qualifies as hinge, must in some way, ’significantly put into association’, and therefore hinge, at least two quite different musical ‘networks’.

and now that i’ve written this to you, i’d add: delineate a musical discourse formation, in the foucauldina sense, as aspires at least, to radical political labor in and as, art.

m

 

dear david goldberg

sound –hinge

sound –hinge: any music that qualifies as hinge, must in some way, ’significantly put into association’, and therefore hinge, at least two quite different musical ‘networks’. –hinge must delineate a musical discourse formation, in the foucaudian sense. such as that, that is verifiable in the following:

the influence of varese on cage, boulez, stockhousen, la monte young, john cale, terry riley, velvet undregrond, nico, zappa; and takehisa kosugi, john paul jones [of zed leppelin], sonic youth, radiohead and sigur ros…

not sure that is a an adequate definition, but it’s a start.

note: a great deal of the sound posted below in this notebook of reflections qualifies, but wasn’t then designated as –hinge.

The avant-garde sound introduced in the album— Marble Index —a stark contrast with her folk pop debut, Chelsea Girl—was the result of the combination of Nico’s droning harmonium and somber vocals, and producer John Cale’s musical arrangements, which were inspired by modern European classical music.

  1. “The Seth Man” (December 2001). “Nico – The Marble Index”. The Book of Seth. Unsung. Head Heritage Ltd. Retrieved August 8, 2015.

2. Dalton, David; Fields, Danny (June 24, 2002). “The Marble Index”. Gadfly Online. Retrieved August 11, 2015.

3. “The Marble Index”. AcclaimedMusic.net. Retrieved 13 May 2016.

Nibelungen: (in Germanic legend) any of a race of dwarfs who possess a treasure that confers unlimited power on its owner.

Sigur Rós is an Icelandic avant-rock band from Reykjavík, who have been active since 1994. Known for their ethereal sound, frontman Jónsi’s falsetto vocals, and the use of bowed guitar, the band’s music incorporates classical and minimal aesthetic elements. Featured below though, is the bands collaboration with Icelandic fisherman, poet, singer,  Steindór Andersen.

4. SBrown, Helen (28 June 2008). “The Gods play games with Sigur Rós”. The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2012-11-03.

5. “sigur rós – discography » steindór andersen / rímur ep”. sigur-ros.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-01-06.

6. “sigur rós – discography » heima”. sigur-ros.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-12-01.

7. Magazine, Daniel Durchholz Special to Go!. “Experimentation is still paying off for Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Ros”. stltoday.com. Retrieved 2017-06-20.[8][9]

 

In 2001, Sigur Rós christened their newly completed studio by recording an EP called Rímur with an Icelandic fisherman named Steindór Andersen. The EP contains six songs, all of which feature Steindór Andersen reciting traditional Icelandic rímur poetry.

bad graphics? added by person who upload this? unknown. but it does feature the voice of Steindor Andersen, solo.

 

sound –hinge

against interpretation via genres: hinge–[music]: a proposal for a new category of music

(there is no listening to the most brilliant music of the 20th and possibly, of the 21st, without listening to its influences, which have very deep, experimental roots outside of the commercial category of the intellectually offensive categories of rock&roll, R&B, even ‘jazz’. not to mention, ‘classical’. etc. )

in fact, there are no ‘pure’ categories. all the musicians most of us love, blend all the known categories, so, isn’t incumbent upon us to listen to their influences and deep roots?

my position is that we must. otherwise, we sell short our beloved musicians.

so i propose a new category of music called: hinge.

musics that draw in influences that that ‘genres’ can’t possibly describe. that draw on seemingly unrelated musical territories. like that of john cale and terry riley. and there are so many more of this type of musical ‘fusions’ across widely separated musical domains, that in fact, better represent how music actually is composed and gets played.

‘rock & roll’, in fact, doesn’t exist as people like griel marcus think. so marcus and company make us unable to really listen to the complexity of the music we love. and that dishonors the intelligence of musicians, and, the listener, simultaneously.

john cale and terry riley

cale went on to join the velvet underground, and riley, onto his own variety of ‘minimalist’ inspired music that isn’t really, ‘minimalist’.

against interpretation via genres: hinge–[music]: a proposal for a new category of music

la monte young: hinge

la monte young, a composer/artist/poet groundbreaker across media and genres… was a student of schoenberg and stockhausen, as well of cage.. is considered the inventor of the genre of minimalism. terry riley was his student. some consider him the most influential musician/artist of the second half of the 20th century because he inspired so many different artistic fields that took hold in his wake.

be that as it may, here’s the first ever work of minimalism. young was into drone from an early age based in part on the sound of electrical transformers he heard as child in Idaho.

beginning in 1960, he befriended George Maciunas and became a central member of Fluxus. young edited the influential An Anthology of Chance Operations, designed by maciunas. yoko ono hosted a number of his performances in her studio. young was the inventor of ‘event compositions’ that would then influence ono’s series, grapefruit, and the entire field of performance art. young composed the score for cunninghams dance, winterbranch, “2 sounds” performed by young and terry riley, which is now considered one of cunningham’s masterpieces, and raised havoc through europe and the world, in part because of his composition.

Young’s, Compositions 1960, are a set of pieces written in 1960 . These pieces are unique in the sense that he heavily emphasizes performance art, through extra-musical actions.

#2 (“Build a fire”)

Instructions:

Build a fire in front of the audience. Preferably, use wood although other combustibles may be used as necessary for starting the fire or controlling the kind of smoke. The fire may be of any size, but it should not be the kind which is associated with another object, such as a candle or a cigarette lighter. The lights may be turned out.

After the fire is burning, the builder(s) may sit by and watch it for the duration of the composition; however, he (they) should not sit between the fire and the audience in order that its members will be able to see and enjoy the fire.

The performance may be of any duration.

In the event that the performance is broadcast, the microphone may be brought up close to the fire.

#10 (to Bob Morris)

Instructions:
Draw a straight line and follow it.

#15 (to Richard Huelsenbeck)

Instructions:

This piece is little whirlpools out in the middle of the ocean.

with his wife, Marian Zazeela, he founded the Theatre of Eternal Music collective that included a number of people, including john cale and terry riley . they would hold 6 hour and longer performances…

and therefore to terry riley via young/zazeela and pandit pran nath. the following is some rare, documentary footage of young, zazela, riley and nath getting ready to perform:

note in riley’s avowed comments below, his origin in the jazz of chet baker and continuing through pandit pran nath, though he should also have acknowledge young and zazeela who brought him to nath.

it’s cut off in the youtube image below, but below the subtitle, ‘the tamburas of pandit pran nath’, the album states: ‘an homage’.

la monte young: hinge