earcon Sampler: Tom Moody Edit (new Bandcamp release)

This release appears on St Celfer and Tom Moody, a collaborative project page for St Celfer (stcelfer.bandcamp.com) and yrs truly.
Liner notes for the release:

earcon was an earlier alias of St Celfer (aka John Parker). For this sampler I chose tracks from earcon's catalog and edited them into the above mix. The songs are discrete, not faded together, offering what I hope is a cohesive "take" on earcon's music.

The earcon project is discussed a bit in our interview at www.tommoody.us/archives/2020/12/04/on-breaking-the-square-a-conversation-between-john-parker-and-tom-moody/.
Parker made the songs over a several year period with the Elektron Monomachine instrument, then saved the individual "stubs" (tracks within the song) as .wav files and further edited them in a home computer.

For this selection I've narrowed the range of the work to short-ish songs with straightforward beats and melodies to try to give the flavor of what can be done with a sophisticated beatbox.
At the same time this is very much a collaborative project, where I have imposed my taste and preferences on John''s music, shortening and occasionally layering tracks, DJ-remix-style.

The releases I culled for this mix (over 50 songs in all) came from four earcon CDs: Party Lion, Funkiller, Funkiller 2, and Funkiller 3-4.
One additional track came from this earcon EP on Bandcamp:
stcelfer.bandcamp.com/album/earcon-with-tom-moody-vs-st-celfer. John's own compilation of earcon material can be found at stcelfer.bandcamp.com/album/best-blips-the-funkiller-years
Only three songs overlap in our two retrospectives!

st celfer on zoom

St Celfer (aka John Parker) discusses his recent art and music via Zoom:

stcelferscreenshot1

Methods of Negotiation - Closing Reception - St Celfer from Art Music Lit Space on Vimeo.

Art Music Lit Space is a post-post-internet virtual community seeking to "probe the chasm together so suddenly imposed by social distancing measures" by providing a "locus for artists, curators, writers, lookers, listeners, feelers and thinkers to show, share, and connect despite the nearly global closure of physical exhibition spaces such as studios, galleries, basements, museums, schools, art fairs, fields, etc."

The performance of St Celfer's musical piece "March of the Covids" (featured on our recent collaboration and on St Celfer's Bandcamp page) was realized (or rather, virtualized) by Art Music Lit Space as an embedded sound clip on a blog page; the Vimeo above is more in the nature of post-show documentation.

When the music was performed last week in Austin (described in an earlier post) it was displayed as a YouTube video with an abstract video component (and encoded bonus content for YouTube users), on multiple large screen monitors with speakers behind each screen.

"Post-post-internet" is a joke, of course. "Post-internet" was a brief, curator-driven quasi-movement that dealt with art-with-internet-content being shown in galleries. It was a bizarre name because of course the internet never ended and in fact most gallery activity didn't exist in people's consciousnesses until it appeared there. Covid simply takes the gallery out of the loop. Yet, as we saw in Austin, some physical spaces still exist (and in Austin they had about twenty mask-wearing visitors). Once I have documentation of people walking around the room while the video plays, I'll post it, and that will be the so-called post-internet manifestation. [Update: Some documentation of the event is here.]

St Celfer and Tom Moody, "eleven tracks" (collaborative LP) released on Bandcamp

In connection with our interview posted earlier this week, and our video/performance in Austin yesterday, St Celfer (aka John Parker) and I are pleased to announce the release of our new LP, "eleven tracks":

eleven tracks by St Celfer and Tom Moody

[Note: embedded players -- which I basically hate -- are replaced with links when they move off the blog front page]

The release is available for purchase as a CD, or as a download. Liner notes:

St Celfer and Tom Moody have been collaborating off and on since 2004. In this release "eleven tracks," each artist chooses several recent songs by the other and discusses them.

[You can] click or tap the individual songs to read commentary about them.

"On Breaking the Square," a 10-page dialogue between the two musicians about their work, philosophies, and "how they got where they got" in the past 16 years accompanies the digital version of this release as a bonus item (PDF).

Cover: Tom Moody, made with "Epson Print CD" and incorporating a detail from a video realization of his track "Melding Principle (Three Nebulaes)," employing John Romero's encoding/decoding program Pitahaya. See http://www.tommoody.us/archives/2020/11/18/melding-principle-three-nebulaes-bonus-pitahaya-release/

the necessity of a musical score

Michael Schell discusses a duo performance of Cecil Taylor and Pauline Oliveros and questions why Oliveros is classified as a classical composer and Taylor is not, when they are working in the same conceptual tradition:

"At the same time, though, this coupling highlights a prejudice that continues to haunt conventional narratives of Western art music. Of these two musicians -- both of similar age and similar stature among musicians, and both clearly capable of articulating a shared musical language in a public space -- only Oliveros is consistently mentioned in textbooks and retrospectives on contemporary classical music (see, for example, the otherwise admirable surveys by Paul Griffiths, Jennie Gottschalk, and Tim Rutherford-Johnson). The omission reflects the idea that art music requires a score, that it must be 'fixed in some sort of notation for a performer or creator to interpret or execute' (Rutherford-Johnson) to be authentic. This was a legitimate premise prior to the 20th century, but it has become obsolete in the age of audio recording, radio, and digital media. Nowadays the record, not the score, is the real 'text,' and the persistent conception of classical music as an exclusively literate tradition has pushed the music of Taylor, and his fellow improvising avant-gardists (many of whose backgrounds were impediments to the academy), to the margins of the canon.

"Ironically, Oliveros also emphasized improvisation in her work, and almost all of her published scores use verbal instructions rather than musical notation. But she was still invariably described as a 'composer,' and was able to achieve success in the milieu of universities, concert venues and foundations, whereas Taylor was always a 'jazz musician' who mainly performed at night clubs and festivals. And so his eminence languishes in the domain of jazz history, jazz radio, and jazz CD bins. Despite today’s well-publicized efforts to improve diversity in musical opportunity and programming, it seems that the segregation borne of professional biases can be just as intractable as the cruder chauvinism of social bigotry. Taylor’s music, so powerful and innovative, deserves recognition that transcends these boundaries."

Jerry Hunt update

jerry hunt performance

Added to other sites (blogroll): a page dedicated to the late Texas-based composer Jerry Hunt.
The page has been mentioned here a couple of times but it seems to have expanded over the years with more content, including some amazing interviews and a full, up to date discography/videography.
Bandcamp has an audio excerpt from a Hunt performance available for seven bucks, which includes a nice PDF brochure with photos (such as the above) and explanations.
I think about Hunt frequently, after having seen him perform three times in the early '90s. The Hunt website gives some helpful background on his methods, which I was far from understanding at the time, and am still not completely clear about, if anyone is. His stage persona sticks in the mind: an unlikely, conservatively-but-carelessly-dressed quasi-shaman moving erratically about the stage, picking up an array of strange sculptural objects, shaking them, or pointing them meaningfully at the audience. Yet his real interest was in a flow of unpredictable musical events, with the physical gestures (and the objects in his hands) acting as focal points, or as he put it, seeds for audience attention. As for the unpredictability of his gestures, he says:

Every piece I've ever done has involved what I regard as a rational translation of something that's happening in the space (picked up through sensors) into a consistent rational schedule of changes. I don't do direct translation, which I think is vulgar after three minutes. It's fascinating to watch somebody go like this (wave arm) and hear a sound connected with it for a minute or two, but then it becomes compositionally appalling after a while. It's like watching etch-a-sketch, you know, it's wonderful for a few minutes and then it limits itself. It becomes so self limiting that no matter what you do in way of effects, it just gets increasingly self-defining until it just keeps getting tighter and tighter and after 30 minutes you're almost ready to scream, because you say, I got the idea. Oh hey, he did a new sound. I got the idea. Oh hey, he did a new sound. I got the idea ... (etc.) That's all you can think of at a certain point. So, I wanted to stay away from that.

As an antidote to this, Hunt developed systems, originally for tape cassettes and later digitally, for how certain sounds could be triggered at certain times (or not triggered -- accidents were built into the process) as he moved around the stage. In the interviews he goes into detail about how he used time codes on the tapes, and external randomization sources such as alchemical texts, to achieve this. In his formal writing about the pieces he relied on scientific-sounding jargon to mystify the proceedings, but in the interviews he is much clearer, and very entertaining with his Texan gift for gab.

some editing after publication