Thursday, March 10, 2022


From a FaceBook discussion:

As arguably the oldest book in the world, I don't think it cares much what we think, nor should it. If we assume that every sentence of a miraculously preserved record sent through eons of time and space to be immediately edifying in the way that motivational/inspirational quotes are, I think we are expecting the wrong things and missing out on the amazing things. Genesis, and the OT in general, if they have an overall theme, seem to be about how the chosen people, and, ultimately the Messiah (God), have a very checkered genealogy. We are all both divine and dirty. I mean, we're made out of dust and spirit.

Monday, February 7, 2022

George Crumb

 Trigger warnings: Crumb critique mixed in with admiration; use of an anachronistic word that is not recommended for current use, but that is felt to be essential to the understanding of historical states of mind:

I’ll confess that as a student I kind of detested Crumb's music as sissy, precious, and corny.  I loved rhythm and his music seemed to be all fermatas.  I felt like notation was a sort of necessary evil and should be as efficient as possible, his scores were self-indulgent and drew attention away from the music’s deficiencies.  (I had other issues I won’t go into.)  Of course, my attitude softened (as I did) with time and I began to admire many things about him and his music.  I particularly came to admire the fact that he did all of his highly original work while working as a music professor (at first, I  believe, in group piano classes).  But I also came to enjoy the way he played with the concepts of movements of various lengths (including very short) within a larger composition, something I did a lot of, possibly influenced by him.  I also came to admire his exquisite sense of tonal envelope, of decay, especially regarding the piano.  I think there were three post Debussy 20th century classical composers who seemed to understand the piano, and he was one of them.  Principally, he understood and utilized the incredible phenomena of extended decay and sympathetic resonance that make the piano a miraculous invention.  I have since come to enjoy the humor and audacity in his titles, narratives, literary/etc. references.  And, in the era of computer notation, his scores are, of course, works of art in themselves.  I sat directly behind him at an 8 hour Crumb marathon at Symphony Space in ’89 or ’90.  I wasn’t totally over my issues with his music, but the Space was a block from my apartment and it was, like, $7 or something.  The music got a little samey, and the corniness a little more evident after a few hours, but I watched Crumb the whole time and was touched by his humility, graciousness, etc.  Just a very nice, modest, thoughtful person who was really enjoying the music and the people, complimenting the performers, talking with and taking interest in whoever approached him.  Onward and upward, GC!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Time to Repent

 It has to be said.  I'm sick and tired of living with the crazy.

If you are anti-vax, in addition to being a complete idiot, you are accessory to murder.

If you are republican, you are a traitor and hate democracy.

If you are libertarian, you are a racist.

If you are a Christian Conservative, you are an apostate, a heretic, and hate Jesus and love Satan.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Notation--Is It The Devil's Work?

Shared by Doug Theriault:

A quote from an old interview by Victor Shonfield in 1972 with virtuoso musician and composer David Tudor:

“There is a paragraph in Busoni which speaks of notation as an evil separating musicians from music, and I feel everyone should know that this is true.  I had been completely indoctrinated with the idea of faithfulness to notation in the early days and if you think of notation as being complete and you see what Busoni meant it can’t possibly be complete. Notation is an invention of the devil and when I became free of it to pieces like John Cages Fontana mix and music walk and later bussoti’s piano piece for David Tudor number 3., it really did it a lot for me.” 

My response:

I love notation. I learned to read notes before I learned to read letters. It's a native language so the question is completely moot to me. But as with any other technology, it can be used for good or evil. The locus of people thinking notation = music is pretty limited, or maybe non-existent, i.e. a straw man. My whole work as an artist is in the liminal spaces between composition/improvisation and notation/aural transmission. I don't like locating the efficacy of notation in terms of class/race, despite its origins. It never works out well. Saying any kind of literacy or technology doesn't "suit" any group of people is satanic.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Mockingbird Court Scene

 An exchange between musicologist, Michael Lee and myself today (2/14/21).  Forgive my prose which is a bit rambling (and maybe not grammatical?):

ML: I heard someone talking on the television this morning. He claimed that watching 43 Republican jurors/senators vote to acquit Trump was like the black folks in "To Kill a Mockingbird" watching powerlessly from the gallery as the all-white jury did the inevitable and convicted Tom Robinson no matter how big a wipe out the actual trial was. I get tearful every time the black minister awakens Scout: "Stand up Miss Jean Louise. Your daddy's passing." While this wasn't entirely a story about race, it was entirely a story about race. Trump's supporters were overwhelmingly white supremacists, neo-nazis, and crackers. They are the Ewells of the story, white trash to a one. But they don't win. The Ewells got shamed in public, just as the rioters are in jail or heading there. But the well-off racist jury wins in both the story and life. Shameful times in America never come or go, they just hang on and on.

CA: I don't know if there is net gain from this episode, but if there is some redemption of value, it might be the clarifying of what racism is, means, does etc.  I didn't grow up here so I my American history education was scant.  But it seems to me that racism is not organic, but is a strategy (conscious or systemic, maybe both) of the ruling (mostly white male) class to keep their minority rule status.  Every ruling class has to come up with some kind of mythology to keep themselves there.  The pigs have to come up with some way to get the dogs to do their bidding.  Racism has been a very easy and obvious mythology to accomplish this.  Particularly since the civil war, non-rich whites have to be prevented from finding common cause with blacks.  Thus, racism, the Klan etc.  Keep 'em busy hating other working people that look different from them and they won't notice you robbing them blind.  I'm not sure to what extent this is common knowledge among smart white people? but they sometimes don't act like it.  The demonizing of "Trump's base" as the principal cause of all of our ills (and they are, to be sure, a really unsavory, hard to love bunch) and the adherence to salvation (justification and sanctification) for smart (and mostly well off) white people from their race and class privilege through a linguistic and performative orthodoxy that they uniquely have access to, makes one wonder.  It starts to look like the intellectual class (unwittingly or not?) provides a sideshow to draw attention from the baleful and unnecessary curtailments of the first right mentioned in the Declaration among the non-rich.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Dangerous Anti-Vax BS

This is from a FB comment I made recently:

We're in the middle of one of the worst pandemics humanity has ever experienced. Vaccination and other kinds of innoculations have prevented millions of deaths. Americans sometimes have a difficult time understanding the very concept of public health, which is that we share most resources, especially air, water, the food supply etc. Americans are somewhat steeped in individualism, fundamentalist concepts of individual liberty which are dumb and bad. Vaccinations aren't just or even principally for the individual. They're meant to stop the spread of communicable diseases which, in human history have ravaged and even wiped out entire communities. People on the right keep on talking about herd immunity. This is exactly what vaccines are for. They create herd immunity without sacrificing literally millions of lives. 90% of the the native american population was wiped out by smallpox because there was no immunity in the population. The virus had already gone through Europe several times, so the European survivors were mostly immune. Had there been a smallpox vaccine then, millions of lives could have been saved and "herd immunity" would have resulted. Side effects are a part of everything anybody does in life to improve or accomplish anything, including, like, driving, having children, getting any medical intervention, eating food, etc. Side effects of vaccines have to be weighed against efficacy for the whole community always. We're not talking about dissent here. We're talking about very bad quacks causing some very bad things. There have always been quacks and conspiracy theories floating around, but they've never had this much sway, nor done this much damage. I beg you not to promote anything that prevents people from receiving vaccinations that will save thousands or even millions of lives. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

No Within No

 talk talk talk talk walk walk walk walden denayoh san thrift bedevilment sanded throughout the lefted leprachaun sous-vide syropy slurp sluffle salty bramble fealty flop

faraigment flat fancy flop
and when the drop comes top
we weather the flop flough
bitter beasts
feasting on festering fallow fortune
receive direct proportion
following frightful bilious blanchment
entrancement through leveraged advancement
with every step forward we advance a pattern backward
with every session backward we pattern a paper scamward
with every with any with always standard
reaction attrition
segment artifice will always requite the labeled
the chelsea hotel
a faster typist
never known nor grown
within the context
of font arrest whistle
plastic cog rename
the relatable character within the context of pretext
pretext of context
precon texttext
brief lex ris rye
wry wrestable rin-sed rascal
which far exceeded the rightful
risible ryance
seeble seeking trite troffure beal believe
feloitable brisome bob reliant gracious
or a portion of a phone
a determinist defuncter
demonizing the past participle
prerequisite to the disciple’s staple

we watch
we wither
we wait
for fate
to dither through
fast function

I went to Paris to discover cultural artifacts.  More like artificts buried deep in the collective subconcious.  Has anyone dug deep enough to really reflect some soluble salient salivary substance to bring licht to liebe

Lying becomes the norm
in ten minutes reading became obsolescent

is there a fact that has not become transcendent
is there fat factual fatality
ordering freak fight
believe bite
a blight upon all society reduced to anxiety through dire satiety
order over olpoon oonson
feast yer eyes me maties
we’re skating on a merry freighter
feeling bound for perdition not attrition
no suspicion of blindsiding wide abiding
brink of bifurcation
no relation
his song screeched
Scranton, Trenton

is there a lasting lead we can lay our fears on
is there a fasting feed we can rate our tears from
doylies left
orange crates bound for distant lands bereft
of cargo made only available for fractured furniture
luggage baggage rites of passage
savage garbage sealing tonnage

a lump of fowl fenestra
block the cough
lock the fondness off of
soul-destroying lopped leverage
drop de-frilting fryling
dealing lup-king jing thing sing
hating all the wrapped up rollers
seal the morels
roll the foilers, fuller croilers
soothe employers, flingers, parlors
of a type to re-lipe nine five three
suffer through long levered Howard respirators
sand remind deliver crying quiver
sealing sliver, dealing thither
this contempt event
spent salivating, waiting for a rent red dress
spent trusses, under busses
rule the flattened fleeting tumble

I tear the testimony
lop the law
quake the ark
bruise the serpent
fake the vestment
bake the manna
eat the altar

sweet ceremony
sealed eternally for awhile
reveal mystery
allowance for allegiance to seminal
science explained
not entertained
relatable talia
colored by its relatability in the context of processed, preached privation
it went
it were
weren’t you there
I thought I saw you
I say, you are far
you far-flung fantastical fop
fanatical fable
i’m able to table this label
if you’re stable I’ll attach this latch throughout sentient steely sarcophagi
got you there
I swear you were ‘ware of my subtle brutal deception
‘pon reflection, I feel defection is an option
the fiction that frequents this frond of insurrection
reminds the kinds of depletion are simulation
and realization breeds simplification
dimplement facilitators
not debilitators
fine find raspor
lined crimed sasparillo
an euphemism for factor raptor
a seulement real font
funder of disaster-blaster
flask of foreign matter
for that master
enrailment, details sent into the stratosphere
near heaven
believe I can achieve a modicum of method
I’ve been on record as a recluse
I’ve built recently from refuse
a shelter for suffus-ed colors
dipped in transcendent brother others
smothered pleasant odors folders
fragrant filters
flowers udders

another butter to discover
another southern sweet-laced cover
leather binder
sealed reminder
crafted from remaindered finder

fluff matters
fluff delivers
fluff gave us fuller litters
still deliver waiters, waters
all that watches sitters, squatters
file away the frantic fodder
squeal a saving prophetic letter
arbor, otter
singing harbor
totter, tailer
twiller, trawler

I watch, release
the sealing grease
the singing phrase
released to cease

a surfeit of relaying laies
sung santorially, phrased
to craze and amaze
sing us now a skillful phrase
that all might space and waste our days
in short order we’ll be older
live in order, not a hoarder
sketch a border to deliver

Dispect file forect
dissect file forget
forgissimo diss’em or
faractissimore store floor
out the door
toward normal normative
store gore war

wouldn’t wanton grapes berate
reptilissimo fictissimo dictus
fictus licked loose
sluice sauce fentile the boss
direct hot hoss phantom
bite think light ledger
the height of pleasure censure
the rent retirement syllabent
retrieved some filter feel relief

sprientific: remember: roz’ rebels
they were trebles
they sang with admirable syllables
thankful that vibratory feldspar
abundant though they are
provided ample evidence of divine
providence, profitable for semblance
dissemble factual evidence
forever striving simi-biddance
souris, sourable
sur le table
mistaken frightened flake tendentious
tedium a need which feels fine

Cavaliers comprenez ou gendarmes
je annoncait.
Fabriques attelages non dut peu
car echangent etendards jugements.
Je indus voyez
de fumee cette.
Son est rang sur veut avis.

so quitting, never exiting
is a strategy, not a prodigy
a faculty, not a faulty property
a tendency, not a filigree
labels not fables
erasable linen, not a far-cry from building
substantive fragility, forgotten
in the midst of similitudes
fragile, frequent industry
vicissitudes, vaunted for their symbol sentence
code of reliance
rule of remembrance
fool of forgotten forgiveness
enter ritual remembrance
instead of single fantibulance

I was sent spent rods of rejection and retention
it was within five fathoms of
fictitious schoolmart
viral vobjects
unifarcity, larceny
lobistry, lantern lacking
solemn silosophy bardgosophy
hologram, hard loss, if he
feels faithful lake, like life
hike the heft
left luncher
sift smile dice cruncher
torrendous sieve site-dumper
compure, lissure, fissure fixture
simpering silo trool the fooble
fleet flight-lance phantom

organized by size
stoop waffling
fill-coughing, flocked, flocking
an order of magnitude notregognized
revising, yanny laurel
panning for sorrel
silt and floral fashion
flashing deploral, storeable norse-while
boasting breedless sky-rile

The key-concept is
a number filed in forgotten
retention mavens
store this frequent stave-favors

All things are distilled for
Razor-sharp entities
Distributed and disturbed
by the requisite reality of
Wrong-headed rifle-reason

Reflect if you will the
plight of the benighted
greeting the conscious
sentient interpretation of
cat on sail on fail on
flee on be on three on
three five seven to one four eight

greatness met with
barriers behind the
wheel of weather-limbed
life-lob lungberry

throughout reference remembrance
to outside lawn-logged reference
to regulance to regulation
station pluration
tool of the traditional mediated
state of past trait to whit
without reason or rationalization
this nation, frozen as it was
was new to the notion of treason
a season of salvation, relation to
never coming back to the coiled
swift front-mob through fight
and flight-sound, light loud
loopy lesson, is never round
or found to be impounded

soon the oxygenated six strong
weather-beating, through three
things seen eating this season of seating
leave it to reason
sanitation leaves lava-bound
luncheon to munch on multiple
noodle-bound relation, belation
suspension, direction, repression
election sustain a wide-grain
disapproval through thousand thin
think-weight, believe-rate
sustain late

green file is on trial
don’t place trust in confabulated fealty
the real thing is three thin fibers
aligned on laproscpic
lointain, dans l’espace
et dans le futur

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