Electric Jazz Thoughts

Simon Reynolds (yay) vs Stanley Crouch (boo) on 1970s fusion or "electric jazz" (a better term). (Not a forum, just the former writer discussing the latter on his blog.)

Reynolds on Crouch:

...it's bracing to read someone pungently and often waspishly espouse a completely opposite ideology of jazz to the one I'd adhere to (both out of taste and out of instinct), i.e. this neo-conservative vision Crouch has controversially pushed in tandem with his ally Wynton Marsalis via the Lincoln Center and that Ken Burns Jazz series (which I never watched). Basically their stance (crudely summarized) is that the essence of jazz is "swing" and blues feeling; it must be played on acoustic (and non-effected) instruments in real time; for this reason, the fusion era was an "aesthetic death valley."

Crouch on Miles Davis' In a Silent Way:

Davis's sound was mostly lost among electronic instruments, inside a long, maudlin piece of droning wallpaper music.

Reynolds responds:

The swipe at "electronic instruments"--he's talking about the shimmering electric pianos of Zawinul and Corea and Hancock--one of the all-time great sounds in music!--plus McLaughlin's fantastic guitar. "Wallpaper": he's slurring as "décor" what is really the album's great innovation, its environmental, immersive quality, the way a mood is stretched out to become an ocean of sound (and Macero's later production of Miles on specifically "He Loved Him Madly" I think it was, got cited by Eno as a major influence on him coming up with ambient). As for "maudlin"!!! - I cannot figure that one out at all.

beam weapon idiot (or conservative plant)

WeAreChange.org, one of the 9-11 truth organizations, was handing out flyers at the World Trade Center PATH (subway) entrance today. Standing near them but clearly by herself was a young woman holding a crudely hand lettered sign that said "Beam Weapons Destroyed the WTC." I noticed tourists taking her photo. I walked over to her and said "OK, I'm curious. What's your story? Are you with this other group?" She said "No, I'm not, I'm just here by myself." As she was talking, she was slowly backing away from me but keeping her sign very steady. I said, "Why are moving so far away? Don't you want to talk to people about your message?" She said, "I want people to see my sign. Can't I talk to you from here?" (Ten feet away.) "You can hear me, can't you?" I said, "You lost me as a potential convert, sorry."
As I was walking to the subway entrance some WeAreChange.org guys said to me, "Ahh, don't talk to her," waving dismissively in her direction.

latest vvork narration on twitter

copied and pasted:

photograph of exploding floral still life
instructions for the design-challenged to make flower vases out of discarded plastic bottles
photoshopped plant and flower arrangement appear to have natural bilateral symmetry (shadows fall to right on both sides)
photo of man with stack of "welcome home" flower garlands covering his shoulders and most of his face
participatory living sculpture where people stand facing corner for "12 to 20" hours--anyone can join in
jenny holzer-like LED text crawl of words entered into Lycos search engine (supposedly)
ordinary shipping palette made of polished mahogany (supposedly)
standby lights on video cameras, other gear photographed in dark rooms
stills from a single film scene montaged into stretched or panoramic spaces compositing all views of the space around the characters
group show installation shot with orrery sculpture of moons of Neptune made with tables and found sports equipment
installation shot of exhibit of artworks re-using existing material for "dissolution, stuttering and the space that opens up when... "
selections from exhibit of artworks by artists that use cultural products in an "art of postproduction"
installation shot of exhibit of artworks that use private information as raw material and subject matter
excerpt of interview with Serpentine Gallery co-director re: online exhibitions
link to interview with assistant curator, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
website continuously arranges list of world capitals according to their current air temperature (supposedly)
bodybuilders arranged by skin color pose in front of gradient with reverse values
tableau vivant of rescue from burning building where rescuer tires of holding victim in "fireman's carry" (Quicktime)
working modified digital clock where every digit has been rotated by 180 degrees
staged-looking photos document people in art galleries emphasizing the eccentricities of the scene
severely compressed image of woman in dress made into 8 Bit style animated GIF
hooded prisoner and child backlit (neon?) contour drawing on wall
terrorist in ski mask neon lamp wall sculpture
"light pen" style neon sculpture namechecking Bruce Nauman
angular cubist/futurist style sculptures made of bent neon, Plexiglas
eerie TV kids show footage made eerier with abstract patterns, timestretched music, bilateral symmetry
laser hits rotating Plexiglas discs and casts spectral and non-spectral light on wall
photo of shaft of light hitting prism and splitting into spectral sub-shafts
flavinesque installations with beams of focused light
photo of full length mirror custom-built to the artist’s width and height (supposedly)
collection of online images where mirror shows no reflection
trick mirrors as art (5): automated "narcissus pool" ripples when viewer nears
trick mirrors as art (4): "observer can see reflection of surroundings and yet he is never able to see himself"
trick mirrors as art (3): viewer sees clear reflections of others but his or her own image diffused
photo of mirror that makes people invisible but not surrounding objects
SIEMENS in mirror-surfaced block capital letters on wall
oil paintings of zoo animal habitats sans animals (walrus)
fluorescent lights behind spy mirror wax and wane
little dutch girl links to vibrating ascii site
194 cm long terracotta piggy bank
ceramic orca boxing glove piggy bank
collages of videogame imagery and background textures
oil paintings depict violence inflicted by Chinese government on its own citizens painted by professional Chinese craftsman via the internet
cruel scene from popular movie about dubbing dubbed by artist (YouTube)
3-D trompe-l'œil paintings of cabinets with tape or stickers on them
masklike photomorph of face increasing skin surface
c-print of shroud of turin-like face on charred fragment of something
abstract "topographical" light show on wall and floor linked somehow to data on website somewhere (YouTube)
smashed umbrellas in frames hanging on wall
installation with video of artist confined to car by therapist
artist "refreshes" self with court-ordered name change to same name
edible perennials, trees, goats in compact food forest garden type system (theme park-like installation with wooden fuller domes)
snare drum where each day at 11:40 p.m. a motorized drumstick strikes the head once (supposedly)
flash pong game that is impossible to lose (or enjoy)
online book with GIFs of elderly woman; shaky two-frame animations make her movements appear spastic
each word in (ungrammatical) sentence is the brand name of the product displayed under it

(Twitter is a new-ish social networking web utility where people post short text messages in reverse chronological blog format. Vvork is a blog that endlessly catalogs mostly conceptual artworks from all over the world using photos and bare bones text, without taking any stance on the work at all.)

Rhizome.org* on Twitter Vvork narration: "There's a larger resonance to the fact that so many of this constant flow of artworks can be conveyed in just a few words...re-vvorking parodies both the technological and artistic moment for a shared investment in instantly readable messages."

*Update: Rhizome link changed to http://rhizome.org/editorial/2008/may/16/tweaking-tweets/.

Found Quote Re: Steve McQueen (the Artist)

"Two days after his film's premiere, McQueen met a group of reporters at a rooftop apartment while his sales executives worked the phones, fielding distribution deals from all over the world."

Andrew O'Hehir in Salon, writing about McQueen's film Hunger. You gotta love the breathless hype and deep, abiding worship of capitalism in that sentence. (We're talking about a film that interprets the 1981 IRA hunger strike as a "semi-experimental sight-and-sound sculpture.")