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Anti-music
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AWM



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2005 5:37 pm    Post subject: Anti-music Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

What do poeple here think about making sound with instruments that is on the very edge of not being music, or done with the intention of not being music? I am stimulated to ask because of the performance i went to last night.

the concert was the Dead C. They are internationally well known for their sonic experimentalism, so i had some (but very little) idea of what to expect. I had been to experimental performances before but this gig was different. When i arrived i paid the entry fee to a person who (turned out to be part of the band) asked me "have you come to hear some music?" This question seemed to be odd, so i just murmured something and went on in. On entering the performance space i was confronted with a loud feedback noise, a stage with a audio tape running round mic stands amps, tape machines, a drumkit, guitars and other insrtuments. While the tape loop was playing somebody asked a band member "when will the band play?" this was answered with "the band it playing". The tape loop continued for a few minutes, then 3 people came to the stage and began playing the various objects on the stage.

The performance was different in that the performers were not really playing together. They would often just leave the stage for a while, use cell phones, smoke, repeatedly drop or kick guitars and generally just do their own thing. The sound was largely feedback, and often formed noisy drones. When the drummer played it kind of turned the sound into almost rock music. They were intentionally not performing under the normal rules of performance. It was very punk in attitude, in that there was really no care for what they were doing, they just kind of did it and made noise. there was no cathartic experience, no great coming together and communication with the audience.

Its not that this was a bad thing its just that it was different. This was arty but somehow not pretentious. You could not judge it by usual terms of good and bad, you actually cant judge it at all. I don't know whether this imunity from judgement is a good thing or not.

So, what does everyone here think about the concept and performance of Anti-music?

Last edited by AWM on Sun Sep 25, 2005 6:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2005 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Just some thoughts, I'm not sure what music is, but I'll use the word anyway.

Music has some tradition in exploring it's boundaries, I think fluxus now, or Cage. For me my noodles are an experimiment on the boundary of music, they happen to have no user interaction either (click my name for some or here for live).

There is a distinction between live and having user interaction. I guess.

And art should make one think, I think ?-)

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also .. could someone please turn down the thermostat a bit.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Personally I think performances like the one mentioned are great and I like attending stuff like that every now and then. Not only does the performance itself give you a nice feeling of being forced to realy listen because you don't know what to expect or what to listen for; I alos found it changes how I preceive more conventional music. When you only listen to, say, modern electronic dance music it's easy to forget that a 4/4 beat is a choice, as is a lead/bass/rithem/(strings) instrumentation.
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RFBB



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'ev attended shows like this as well. To my surprise they are quite popular (especially in the Rhode Island area). They usually have a young fan base, males mostly between the ages of 18-27. To me, a lot of it is done out of the sake of performance and little time (if any) spent rehearsing. But whatever makes you happy right? I get it, totally. It's a means to a release, a conditioning if you will. I can enjoy this Noise/Dark Ambient/Murdercoreshitstuff for about 10 minutes. It usually peeks in 5 minutes and doesn't really evolve from there. That would be my harshest concern/opinion.
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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I would interpret this as surrealism in music. Perhaps also absurd humor. As such I 'get it' too. I'd like to attend such a show if I ever got the chance - it may well be more exiting than a lot of other non-Anti-music, at least once in a while...

Was Anti-music the bands of term for it?

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ian-s



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Did the band wear pirate costumes?

edit: sorry, thats Ant music, showing my age again.

There does seem to be a bit of a fashion for this type of performance. I don't think its new or even very interesting but, it can still be well done and enjoyable.
The show I saw in Auckland was very loud, more like an experiment in pain thresholds.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

RFBB; you have a point, several in fac,t but I think you are being to negative here. You could just as easily say that clasical music is predominantly for males between 35 and 55 that are doing well economically; sure, it's somewhat true but it hardly says anything about the music.

I find I can take noise about as long as I can take pop, fugas or flamengo; a few minutes for bad stuff and with the good stuff I'll be regretting it will ever stop.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

g2ian wrote:

There does seem to be a bit of a fashion for this type of performance. I don't think its new or even very interesting but, it can still be well done and enjoyable.


I don't think anybody in his right mind would claim this was new but I also think that putting loud questionmarks next to convention is higly beneficial.

4/4, equal-tempered tuning and so on are all options, not given facts. I like to be reminded of this. I immensly enjoyed the few nights I got to see performances that ranged from noise to pop; it places your choices and in fact all choices in a perspective.

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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

g2ian wrote:
Did the band wear pirate costumes?

edit: sorry, thats Ant music, showing my age again.


Ah... I thought you were implying that they might be FSMists Very Happy

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Dovdimus Prime



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 1:10 am    Post subject: Re: Anti-music Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

AWM wrote:
So, what does everyone here think about the concept and performance of Anti-music?


Personally, if I had attended this performance I would have felt it was a scam. I wouldn't have resented it, my attitude would have been 'fair play to you lads'. But I have no time for all this lazy 'but is it art'? type shit.

Jan - I've been to your site before and listened to some recordings of your noodles. Have you ever thought of just leaving your synthesiser on all the time and having a permanent 'noodlecast' on the internet? So I could just switch on my computer at home and tune in to a noodle at any time?

That would be a service to humanity!! Very Happy

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Mohoyoho



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Richmond, Virginia area has a very active noise band community as well as the Charlotte, NC area.

I can listen to a noise artist(s) for a while, and then I get bored. But then again, perhaps I haven't heard a good one. Sometimes I'll hear small passages that are inspiring.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Noise music can be musical. This kind of thing is not intended to be musical.

I attended a John Cage concert at Mills College in Oakland one time. It must have been 1971. The concert was to start at 8 PM. We were sitting in the concert hall and there were no performers, not announcements, no nothing, just the sound of people moving furniture in the hall next to the concert hall. People started leaving after about 1/2 hour. Most were pretty disgusted that Cage never showed up. The audience had a lot of members of the general public, not just music students. I myself hung out for about one hour talking to friends.

The next day we found out that it was John Cage and Gordon Mumma moving the furniture.

In the intervening years, I've attended some similar events. Personally, I don't care for this stuff. I can appreciate challenging conventions and pushing people beyond their confort zonea, but I much prefer to hear musicians who are expressing themselves and trying to reach their audience.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:05 am    Post subject: Re: Anti-music Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Dovdimus Prime wrote:

Jan - I've been to your site before and listened to some recordings of your noodles. Have you ever thought of just leaving your synthesiser on all the time and having a permanent 'noodlecast' on the internet? So I could just switch on my computer at home and tune in to a noodle at any time?

That would be a service to humanity!! :D


Yes it would (thanks :-) ... and in fact it is online occasionally as "Noodle Radio". There are some issues though which make me keep the URL secret a bit - you could have picked it up though as occasionaly I hide it in some of my postings here, or there, rather.

Ok the issues :

I do have ADSL however the line can only support a few listeners. like 2 @ 192 kHz and 5 @ 24 kHz.

The other thing is is that the software runs on my laptop, which is not always hooked to that specific ADSL line, as today for instance I needed the thing at work as an extra debugging aid.

Sometimes I want to make new noodles (or listen to other's !), which might not be that interesting to broadcast :-)

Yet another consideration is that I'd like the Noodle Radio to support uploads of noodles, or maybe that should be on a separate system, I'm not sure yet.

I'm pretty busy doing non-music related projects currently, so I don't have much progress on solving the issues.

Ok, this is a bit off topic here, not completely probably (as the noodles are sort of a boundary thing to me), but I hope to post more about this later, or sooner hopefully.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I am deeply involved as both a musician and a listener with the "noise/experimental" music scene, and have to say that the performance by the Dead C which you are describing sounds pretty lame to me. I find it insulting that lazy John Cage ripoffs detract from all the brilliant innovative sound experimentation, often being distributed in cassette editions of 100 or less, happening in the US today. The problem is finding the gems among the piles of feces this whole scene is currently outputting in spades. It is an unfortunate legacy of Cage (who was brilliant in his day... which has long passed) and "Industrial music" (same deal as Cage) that innovative but "difficult" music must coexist with this juvenile "couldn't care less" Whitehouse-ripoff attitude. This is exactly what was mentioned earlier pervading the whole Virginia/R.I. scene, largely talentless Wolf Eyes and Hair Police imitators (who are perfectly nice guys btw, fun to dance to). I find it just so TIRED. What you said hit the nail on the head: their sets are only interesting for the first five minutes and they last twenty (or forty if your really unlucky). If they can get past the initial "wall" and go somewhere interesting you might have something, but most are just filling air with empty aggression and distorted oscillator tones.
There are a handful of really good noise artists on the west coast, all of whom would get way more press if they were willing to lower themselves to such softmoric performance art tactics. I view these people as continuing the work of Stockhausen, Pierre Henri, Desmond Lesie, and other musique concrete artists. Just attended a great festival in Seattle with a very good "signal to noise" ratio as far as the artists in attendance were concerned. Saw a lot of innovative music performed and walked out of a few embarrassing cacophonies but that's just par for the course with this stuff I suppose.
Serious Offenders I have had to sit through the sets of to see something good in the last two years: Magik Markers, Black Dice, innumerable acts at the No Fun Fest, Pedestrian Deposit and anyone else with more than 10 stompbox effects units chained together in feedback loops on a table with an indierock haircut, also numerous bands/individuals in Portland I won't mention in case this ever gets back to me.

"Noise is the new Grunge".

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

greaseenvelope wrote:
Just attended a great festival in Seattle with a very good "signal to noise" ratio as far as the artists in attendance were concerned. Saw a lot of innovative music performed and walked out of a few embarrassing cacophonies but that's just par for the course with this stuff I suppose.


Was this the Decibel Festival? http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-7330.html

I would really have liked to attend this one.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

No, but that looks interesting. It was called the Wooden Octopus Skull Pfest. Here's a URL: http://www.electricheavyland.com/woodenoctopusskull.html

Caroliner is totally off the hook, and all the musical sideprojects of it's members (Loachfillet, Tarantism, Rubber-o-Cement, Spider Compass Good Crime Band and Hans Grusel's Krankenkabinet) were all highlights in innovative electronics use and surrealist theater (and sound/look totally different from each other). Another shining star was Fe-mail (Have any of you Dutch/Northern European guys heard them? They are fom Norway and also in a group called "Spunk"), who I saw play the next night to a different audience a totally different and equally amazing show.
Also Smegma, Metalux (<=!!!), Sixes, Anti-Ear, Noggin, Aaron Dilloway (who played with Smegma during their set), and John Wiese all played excellent sets. Saw a lot of great homemade synths and bent electronics. Steve Stapleton (Nurse with Wound) is a funny guy to hang out with also.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

greaseenvelope wrote:
Another shining star was Fe-mail (Have any of you Dutch/Northern European guys heard them? They are fom Norway and also in a group called "Spunk"), who I saw play the next night to a different audience a totally different and equally amazing show.

Yes, I saw them performing in Avanto festival here in Helsinki a couple of years ago. I'm not a big fan of noise and back then even less, so I can't say anything much about it. They used a tuba and a theremin along with some synths and effects. It was interesting for a while, but I couldn't really get into it. I wonder what would happen now, if I saw them performing, as I think I've grown more... hmm... tolerant of noise.

Russell Haswell also performed during the same evening. His set was 45 minutes of static noise accompanied with smoke and a strobe light pointed straight at the audience. An attack on ears, eyes and lungs at the same time. The few people who didn't leave, sat on the chairs forced to look down on their feet and have their ears covered. Of course I can't say I liked it, but I'm glad I experienced it.

Then there was a Pan Sonic gig, but that's a whole different issue. That was about music, not performance.
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AWM



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

(I Just re-read my initial post and corrected some typos)

Dr Justice, i'm not sure if the band actually called it anti-music. i know that Bruce Russell (one of the Dead C) has written essays on experiment/noise, and i think he has referred to it as anti-music (don't quote me on that though). There was a certain kind of absurdist humor to the performance.

Gain, the pain thresh hold idea is kind of appropriate. there was a certain feeling that they were trying to push or agitate the audience, without really caring for the audience.

There are instances of good noise music that can be very envoking. For instance a while ago i saw a performance by Tetuzi Akiyama, Oren Ambarchi, Alan Licth and Bruce Russell that was experimental improv and something just worked between the musicians, it was exellent and very expressive and engaging, yet still very noisy. After witnessing that my eyes were opened to the importance of experimentation (and i found listening to 'formulaic' rock to be unbearable for a couple of months afterwoods)

Past the initial wall of noise The dead c performance did have some small passages that were inspiring, and interesting. But these passages seemed more like accidents. the same results would probably occur if the performers were in separate rooms unable to hear each other.

greaseenvelope, you have a point about having to sift through the crap in experimental music, the thing is from what i have read the dead c are considered one of the gems. however this may be influenced by the fact that to the rest of the world there is a kind of exotic novelty about a band all the way in new zealand making this sound, and to the few new zealanders that have herd of the dead C it is encouraging to find that new zealand experimental music is appreciated. so their musical importance is increased by nonmusical factors. It is possible that i just witnessed a bad performance.

i don't know if you could call what the Dead C do 'juvenile', they have been doing their thing since 1986. i know little about Whitehouse, but the dead C may be one of their contemperaries. Although Dead C did release an album in 1995 called 'White House', they may be more influenced by whitehouse rather than directly ripping them off. but i may be wrong due to my lack of knowledge about Whitehouse.

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greaseenvelope



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I doubt they intend to sound like Whitehouse. The Dead C got a bad rap in my post as my comments were really intended elsewhere. The bottom line is that anything that gets people to listen to something besides the corporate "music" that gets shoved down our throats our whole lives (if we live near western media output) is pretty much ok by me. But when you get your head underground as it were and start to hear all the obscure people making brilliant stuff no one ever hears about and pretty derivative stuff becomes famous.. well.. I get testy. The fact is after hearing so many experimental musical performances, I have become a big snob about what is or is not an "innovative" sound, particularly if it's loud. I have happily given Merzbow, the Acid Mothers Temple, and numerous other worthwhile bands a certain percentage of my "hearing loss allowance" as a musician, and if your going to tax that allowance you had better be damn good or turn that feedback right off, you know what i'm saying? I feel the same way about overwhelming bass drums in techno/trance music. Loudness or messiness as a means to an end holds little appeal for me.
Another thing that you have to keep in mind about improvised music is that people have their off and on nights/moments. Sometimes it's worth it to sit through a clumsy 20 minutes to hear the brilliant 5 minutes coda, but not usually when it's earsplittingly loud, IMHO. Sometimes the whole set is brilliant and on fire and sometimes nothing happens but noodling, all from the same group.
Speaking of New Zealand, your countrymen are famous in the experimental scene for producing a great number of unique lathe cut vinyl series on which some of the most obscure Japanese, American, and otherwise experimental-psychedelic music got distributed worldwide. One of my bands may be releasing a limited lathe cut on a NZ label soon actually. Too bad you seem to think the performance scene isn't up to par with your weirdo record distributers. I love to hear more about it.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ponk wrote:
[

Yes, I saw them performing in Avanto festival here in Helsinki a couple of years ago. I'm not a big fan of noise and back then even less, so I can't say anything much about it. They used a tuba and a theremin along with some synths and effects. It was interesting for a while, but I couldn't really get into it. I wonder what would happen now, if I saw them performing, as I think I've grown more... hmm... tolerant of noise. "

And I imagine they have grown a lot tighter in those years as well. She uses a French horn now btw. The two sets I sa were totally different, the first for the noise crowd, half of which I could give or take, the next night it was very deeply musical.

"Then there was a Pan Sonic gig, but that's a whole different issue. That was about music, not performance.[/quote]

Lucky!! I always wished I could have seen them.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

greaseenvelope wrote:
Loudness or messiness as a means to an end holds little appeal for me.


Have you herd of the Meeting at Off Site?
They are a series of performances at the Gallery Off Site in Yoyogi, Tokyo. Because of the conditions at the venue, music cannot be very loud. This restriction means that the musicians have to make experimental music without the hearing tax, and thus resulting in a innovative idea, making noise quietly

greaseenvelope wrote:
Speaking of New Zealand, your countrymen are famous in the experimental scene for producing a great number of unique lathe cut vinyl series on which some of the most obscure Japanese, American, and otherwise experimental-psychedelic music got distributed worldwide. One of my bands may be releasing a limited lathe cut on a NZ label soon actually.


Which label are you referring to? Corpus Hermeticum, Flying Nun, krkrkrk recordings. what is your band called?

greaseenvelope wrote:
Too bad you seem to think the performance scene isn't up to par with your weirdo record distributers.


New Zealand has a history of cultural cringe about its own creative output. however, in the last few years New Zealand music has been promoted a lot and now New Zealanders are starting to appreciate their own music. Because the NZ music scene is so small and in any scene the cream is in a sea of crap, the actual number of decent bands is very small and people just see the crap. however we do have some very exellnt acts that are more than up to world class recogition, such as Fat Freddys Drop (a mix of dub and soul, even if you don't like dub if you ever get a chance to see these guys YOU HAVE TOO SEE THEM!), The Mint Chicks (gang of four-esque punk), Greg Malcolm (experimental droney folk) and Birchville Cat Motel just to name a few. There is some interesting stuff about new zealand experimental music at http://www.audiofoundation.org.nz/.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for the info. The vinyl lather I was refering to I believe is named Peter King, and the label that's thinking of releasing a lathe of my band Spacehawk is "Shrine Explosion". We'll see about that though.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Edited
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My problem with all this stuff is that it is so damn easy to do.

Hence I don't see what is worthwile in attending such a performance.
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