Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring is here again. With it we get longer days, of course, plus, in New York at least, another exciting annual development: news of the latest Creative Time commission. The next commission is typically grandiose and ambitious: a 25-year-long project involving French conceptual artist Sophie Calle, to be staged at Brooklyn’s historic Green-Wood Cemetery. The enticing title of the piece will be “Here Lie The Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery.” Sophie Calle.COURTESY GALERIE PERROTIN/PHOTO BY ELSA NOBLET Sophie Calle. COURTESY GALERIE PERROTIN/PHOTO BY ELSA NOBLET It begins with a two-day inaugural event at the cemetery April 29 and 30. That weekend—and for the next two decades—visitors to the Sunset Park cemetery will have the opportunity to write down their most intimate confessions on slips of paper and then send them into the earth. Details are scant, but the process involves dropping the notes into a slot in a semi-permanently installed marble obelisk designed by Calle. There will also be free guided walking tours of the cemetery during the opening weekend. Calle, who is known for narrative-rich performances that often lean heavily on the element of chance, will be on hand at the inauguration to transcribe some secrets. And then, every few years for a quarter-century, she will return to her big marble mailbox to exhume the pile of secrets that have accrued, cremating them in a ceremonial bonfire. The first of these ceremonies will take place when the grave is full. Green-Wood is perhaps the best-known and grandest of burial places in New York City. Among those at rest within its gates include politician Boss Tweed, Cooper Union founder Peter Cooper, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. In a statement, Creative Time director Nato Thompson described the project as a “space for intimate reflection.” “In a time of such social upheaval, delicate gestures like this gain urgency,” he added. Copied from: http://www.artnews.com/2017/03/21/creative-time-will-stage-25-year-sophie-calle-project-at-the-green-wood-cemetery-in-brooklyn/ Copyright 2017, Art Media ARTNEWS, llc. 110 Greene Street, 2nd Fl., New York, N.Y. 10012. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 17, 2017

"Penguin Cafe Orchestra" - Penguin Cafe Orchestra [Full Album & Review]

Review by Ted Mills, Josh Couturier (JaeOhEsH)
Source: http://www.allmusic.com/album/penguin-cafe-orchestra-mw0000191379
Release Date: 1981
Duration: 48:25
Genre: New Age, Jazz
Styles: Neo-Classical, Avant-Pop
Recording Date: 1977-1980
Recommended by: Nate Aldrich

JaeOhEsH- I can see this classified as avant-pop, in the sense of its rhythmic randomness, and multiple organizations of familiar and unfamiliar orchestra components. No dedicated structure or choice of instrumentation really paves the way for this ambient, chamber jazz album to ring through the speakers!

Mills- The sophomore album from Simon Jeffes’ homegrown band took over three years to record, but the signs are here that it was a labor of love. While drawing compositional and textural inspiration from both English folk and chamber music, it manages to sound like neither and a wondrous hybrid of both. "Walk Don't Run," a cover of the Ventures’ classic, turns from a surf tune into a merry jig of sorts, with the violins and cellos playing the melody backed by drums, bongos, and shakers. "Telephone and Rubber Band" turns a busy signal into something full of beauty and joy. Unfailingly romantic, sunny music and an album that set the tone of all further PCO releases.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

"We're Only In It For The Money" - Frank Zappa [Full Album & Review]

Review by Steve Huey, and JaeOhEsH
Source: http://www.allmusic.com/album/were-only-in-it-for-the-money-mw0000628302
Release Date: September, 1968
Duration: 39:11
Genre: Experimental Pop/Rock
Styles: Experimental Pop/Rock
Recording Date: March 14, 1976 - August 9, 1967
Recommendation by: Nate Aldrich

 JaeOhEsH- This is the best social critique piece I’ve ever heard. Its hilarious and is Avant-Pop at its best. its filled with comedy, super confrontational and provocative language and production!

 Huey- From the beginning, Frank Zappa cultivated a role as voice of the freaks -- imaginative outsiders who didn't fit comfortably into any group. “We’re Only in It for the Money “is the ultimate expression of that sensibility, a satirical masterpiece that simultaneously skewered the hippies and the straights as prisoners of the same narrow-minded, superficial phoniness. Zappa’s barbs were vicious and perceptive, and not just humorously so: his seemingly paranoid vision of authoritarian violence against the counterculture was borne out two years later by the Kent State killings. Like “Freak Out” and “We’re Only in It for the Money” essentially devotes its first half to satire, and its second half to presenting alternatives. Despite some specific references, the first-half suite is still wickedly funny, since its targets remain immediately recognizable. The second half shows where his sympathies lie, with character sketches of Zappa’s real-life freak acquaintances, a carefree utopia in "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance," and the strident, un-ironic protest "Mother People." Regardless of how dark the subject matter, there's a pervasively surreal, whimsical flavor to the music, sort of like Sgt. Pepper as a creepy nightmare. Some of the instruments and most of the vocals have been manipulated to produce odd textures and cartoonish voices; most songs are abbreviated, segue into others through edited snippets of music and dialogue, or are broken into fragments by more snippets, consistently interrupting the album's continuity. Compositionally, though, the music reveals itself as exceptionally strong, and Zappa’s politics and satirical instinct have rarely been so focused and relevant, making “We’re Only in It for the Money”quite probably his greatest achievement.   

"Torture Garden" - Naked City (1990) [Full Album & Review]

Review by Bradley Torreano, Josh Couturier (JaeOhEsH)
Source: http://www.allmusic.com/album/torture-garden-mw0000317512
Release Date: 1990
Duration: 22:27
Genre: Avant-Garde, Jazz, Pop/Rock
Styles: Experimental Rock, Speed/Thrash Metal Recording
Date: 1989-1990
Recommended Listen by: Nate Aldrich

 JaeOhEsH- This work is very rebellious to contemporary structures of “music”. The work sounds volatile and fills the room with rowdy raucousness. Extremely interesting juxtapositions of sound and duration, make this an auditory adventure into a realm that should be experienced!

Torreano- From the violent cover art to the Japanese text inside the album, at first glance one might mistake Torture Garden for a fetishist soundtrack. But jazz madman John Zorn and Boredoms frontman Yamatsuka Eye assembled another group of open-minded musicians to carry on their vision of grindcore and jazz uniting. Distinguished musicians Wayne Horovitz and Bill Frisell help Zorn and Eye take this from a curious side project to a fantastic metal band. Songs blur together but never get boring, no lyrics are actually sung, and few songs last longer than a minute. It also never takes itself seriously, a nice relief from Zorn’s heavy-handed ambient collaborations. This would make a great introduction to the noise/jazz efforts that this group of musicians pioneered in the early '90s


The First Surrealist Film The Seashell and the Clergyman, Brought to You By Germaine Dulac & Antonin Artaud (1928) by Colin Marshall When the subject of early surrealist film arises, most of us think of Salvador Dalí and Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou, and not without good cause: even 86 years after its release, its nightmare images of piano-dragging and eyeball-slicing still lurk in our collective cinematic consciousness. But we can’t call it the very first surrealist film since, 87 years ago, French critic and filmmaker Germaine Dulac, in collaboration with no less an avant-garde luminary than Antonin Artaud, put out La Coquille et le clergyman, better known internationally as The Seashell and the Clergyman, which you can watch free above. Un Chien Andalou met with a pleased reception, to Buñuel’s delight and Dalí’s disappointment. Dulac and Artaud’s project provoked a different reaction. “Advertised as ‘a dream on the screen,'” writes Senses of Cinema’s Maryann de Julio, “The Seashell and Clergyman’s premiere at the Studio des Ursulines on February 9, 1928 incited a small riot, and critical response to the film has ranged from the misinformed – some American prints spliced the reels in the wrong order – to the rapturous – acclaimed as the first example of a Surrealist film.” The film takes place in the consciousness of the titular clergyman, a lusty priest who thinks all manner of impure thoughts about a general’s wife. In another Senses of Cinema article on Artaud’s film theory, Lee Jamieson writes that, in putting this troubled consciousness on film, it “penetrates the skin of material reality and plunges the viewer into an unstable landscape where the image cannot be trusted,” resulting in “a complex, multi-layered film, so semiotically unstable that images dissolve into one another both visually and ‘semantically,’ truly investing in film’s ability to act upon the subconscious.” It capitalizes, in other words, upon the now well-known principle that what is seen cannot be unseen. But it also pushed cinema ahead in a way that Buñuel and Dali could run with the following year. De Julio’s article quotes Artaud’s own description of the challenge he saw the form as facing, and the one which The Seashell and the Clergyman attempts, in its way, to address: it could either become “pure or absolute cinema” or “this sort of hybrid visual art that persists in translating into images, more or less apt, psychological situations that would be perfectly at home on stage or in the pages of a book, but not on the screen.” He saw neither of these as “likely the true one,” and many filmmakers even today (David Lynch stands as a guiding light among those now living) continue the search for how best to tell stories on film in a manner suited to the advantages of film. Even overshadowed by Un Chien Andalou, The Seashell and the Clergyman remains a popular silent film to re-score today, and you can watch the movie with a few different soundtracks online: from dark ambient artist Roto Visage, from musique concrète composer Delia Derbyshire, from large-scale experimental band Sons of Noel and Adrian, and many more besides. Copied from http://www.openculture.com/2015/11/witness-the-first-surrealist-film-the-seashell-and-the-clergyman.html

"Music of Changes" - John Cage

Date: Composed in 1951. Premiered in New York, January 1, 1952.
Ensemble Type: Solo
Work Length: 43 minutes
Instrumentation: For solo piano.
Dedicatee: David Tudor
Publication: Peters Edition EP 6256, EP 6257, EP 6258, EP 6259 (4 volumes)
Source: http://johncage.org/pp/John-Cage-Work-Detail.cfm?work_ID=134

"Complete in 4 volumes. The title Music of Changes is variously meaningful, the first, of course, being reference to the Chinese oracle book the I Ching, or Book of Changes, of which Cage made extensive use in composing the piece. Another, more personal, reference is perhaps seen in the changes taking place in Cage's overall compositional language at the time. For this work, Cage employed I Ching-derived chance operations to create charts for the various parameters, i.e. tempi, dynamics, sounds and silences, durations, and superimpositions. With these charts, he was able to create a composition with a very conventional manner of notation, with staves and bars, where everything is notated in full detail. The piano is played not only by using the keys, but also by plucking the strings with fingernails, slamming the keyboard lid, playing cymbal beaters on the strings, striking the keyboard lid, etc. Use of the pedals is also notated in full detail. The notation is proportional, where 1 inch equals a quarter note. The rhythmic structure is 3, 5, 6 3/4, 6 3/4, 5, 3 1/8, and is expressed in changing tempi, including the use of accelerandi and ritards. This work may be seen as the first step of Cage's voyage into the world of chance composition. For Cage, this was a necessary first step in the giving up of individual taste and memory, as well as other previously meaningful traditions in the making of art. This development, in part, came as a result of his encounter and informal studies with Gita Sarabhai (Indian philosophy) and attendance at the lectures of Daisetz T. Suzuki (Zen Buddhism) in the late 1940s and into early 1950s. However, chance here only applies to the process of composition. The actual result, or composition, that derived by these means, along with the performance, are fixed and determined, things which Cage would also later abandon in subsequent compositions."



I Ching (Yi Jing) The Ancient Divination

~John Cage references the I Ching for a method of divination in his art.

 The I Ching - “Archaeological evidence shows that Zhou dynasty divination was grounded in cleromancy, the production of seemingly random numbers to determine divine intent. The Zhou yi provided a guide to cleromancy that used the stalks of the yarrow plant, but it is not known how the yarrow stalks became numbers, or how specific lines were chosen from the line readings. In the hexagrams, broken lines were used as shorthand for the numbers 6 (六) and 8 (八), and solid lines were shorthand for values of 7 (七) and 9 (九). The Great Commentary contains a late classic description of a process where various numerological operations are performed on a bundle of 50 stalks, leaving remainders of 6 to 9. Like the Zhou yi itself, yarrow stalk divination dates to the Western Zhou period, although its modern form is a reconstruction. The ancient narratives Zuo zhuan and Guoyu contain the oldest descriptions of divination using the Zhou yi. The two histories describe more than twenty successful divinations conducted by professional soothsayers for royal families between 671 BC and 487 BC. The method of divination is not explained, and none of the stories employ predetermined commentaries, patterns, or interpretations. Only the hexagrams and line statements are used. By the 4th century BC, the authority of the Zhou yi was also cited for rhetorical purposes, without relation to any stated divination. The Zuo zhuan does not contain records of private individuals, but Qin dynasty records found at Shuihudi show that the hexagrams were privately consulted to answer questions such as business, health, children, and determining lucky days. The most common form of divination with the I Ching in use today is a reconstruction of the method described in these histories, in the 300 BC Great Commentary, and later in the Huainanzi and the Lunheng. From the Great Commentary's description, the Neo-Confucian Zhu Xi reconstructed a method of yarrow stalk divination that is still used throughout the Far East. In the modern period, Gao Heng attempted his own reconstruction, which varies from Zhu Xi in places. Another divination method employing coins, became widely used in the Tang dynasty and is still used today. In the modern period, alternative methods such as specialized dice and cartomancy have also appeared.

 Sources:
 • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Ching
 • Smith, Richard J. (2008). Fathoming the Cosmos and Ordering the World: the Yijing (I Ching, or Classic of Changes) and its Evolution in China. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. ISBN 0-8139-2705-6.
 • Raphals, Lisa (2013). Divination and Prediction in Early China and Ancient Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN 1-107-01075-6.
 • Rutt, Richard (1996). The Book of Changes (Zhouyi): A Bronze Age Document. Richmond: Curzon. ISBN 0-7007-0467-1.
 • Redmond, Geoffrey; Hon, Tze-Ki (2014). Teaching the I Ching. Oxford University Press.ISBN 0-19-976681-9.