Saturday, October 20, 2007

That mini-dust up at Bags following my review of the Propagations disc (Potlatch) is still simmering. I seem to rub Damon the wrong way, what with the "agenda" I'm pushing. I think at least some of his antagonism stems from my disinterest in what I've heard out of the Bay Area scene, actually for quite some time. Of course, I've only heard a smattering of releases over the years, but nothing's really grabbed me.

I was thinking how far back this extends and it's been some time. I was pretty much into Henry Kaiser in the mid-80s for several years; I still enjoy his cover band, actually, as well as a few projects like the duos with Frith, the Wireforks disc with Bailey (opinions seem wildly divided on that one), a couple of others. Never really cared for his pure improv, but I'd lost interest generally by the mid 90s. When I saw him at Roulette some time ago, didn't care for his work at all (though I thought Greg Goodman was fine).

I remember being excited about Peter Apfelbaum's initial large band disc; bad anticipation, there.

Every so often, I'd come across something else from that scene, things involving ROVA (some of whose albums I'd liked), Gino Robair, Vinny Golia or others and nothing ever really clicked. I think I reviewed a disc of Damon's for Bags a few years back and was middling. Gino has sent me a few items over the last couple of years and again, I couldn't hear much. While it's impossible, of course, to generalize based on a small sampling, with limited time and resources, one necessarily chooses where to invest one's attention. Unfair? Could be, but what are you going to do? Hell, there aren't many NYC based musicians I'd go out of my way to hear (Sean Meehan, maybe one or two others); it's not like the scene is incredibly vital around here either.

So Damon has at me every so often, which is fine. Then Walt chimes in, dragging in all manner of nonsense from left field, as has all too often been the case recently, getting snide and personal. I'm still trying to figure out who the Euro-nihilist with the accent I'm apparently trying to impress is. Alex? He's an American, fer krissake.

These reactions are just strange to me, so much not my way of coming at things. If I read a review of something I care about with which I disagree, I'd comment accordingly, stating my areas of disagreement and that's about it. By the same token, I have a tough time taking seriously people who get personal, so it pretty much slides off my back. (Aside from posting about it here, of course).

I did get a chuckle out of Damon going on about my "important writing". Yikes. I hope it's informative and gives potential listeners something to grasp onto but please....


Japanese Death Poems (thanks for the pointer, Jesse!)
Mark Rothko - Writings on Art

About to Watch:

The Battle of Algiers


Jon Abbey said...

glad I've bowed out of the Bags silliness, just so much wasted energy required to defend yourself in those pointless back and forths. you can't win and it goes on endlessly. good luck! :)

Captain Hate said...

Tanager said it best: If you're not pissing anybody off, then you're not being sufficiently critical.

Anonymous said...

but the relentless pursuit of the 'new' for its own sake is like so many glossy pages to the well-worn yellowed tomes of those after something deeper

vive la difference, though

nice to see the discussion, rather than bland niceness

Jon Abbey said...

"but the relentless pursuit of the 'new' for its own sake"

of course, this isn't what the bulk of EAI is doing, pseudonym boy.

Anonymous said...

but some is,

which is the point

(night jon-boy?)

Anonymous said...

but please do enlighten me as to what it is doing...

Brian Olewnick said...

To his credit, Walt deleted his last post.

Richard Pinnell said...

Evilt twin said: "but the relentless pursuit of the 'new' for its own sake is like so many glossy pages to the well-worn yellowed tomes of those after something deeper"

As far as I know none of the musicians mentioned in any of the correlating threads to this one make music for that reason, and none of the people commenting on it listen to music for that reason.

"new for its own sake" would be stupid. "new" because it is an interesting and refreshing angle on something is not stupid.

As for "Something deeper" don't be so patronising, particularly when hiding behind a pseudonym.
We are all looking for "something deeper", but some of us, on some occasions look for it in different ways.


I didn't read Walto's post as I've not been home for a day or so, but its nice to see the way he retracted it, the kind of egoless humility so often missing from the 'net.

Brian Olewnick said...

It's an ancient argument (I'm sure Jon will remember the wars on the old zorn-list), but for myself, it's not the "pursuit" of the new, more the by-product of creative thought tending, in fact, to be new. At least in Western culture (to its detriment?).

The alternative involves a drifting toward craftsmanship which is admirable in its own right but, being presented with the same well-turned phrase time after time, one might appreciate the craft involved while also becoming a bit bored at hearing the same underlying message.

Of course, ET may posit that the message is by no means the same, that s/he hears something entirely different. All well and good, we hear different things, no problem.

Anonymous said...

New for its own sake is one of the sillier notions floating about, for sure, but no sillier than not-new for its own sake, which is at least as common. If the one exists, surely the other does. How could it not?

I listen to what I like to hear. Who doesn't? However we describe it in words and whatever we listen to, the main reason would be that we like to listen to it.

New, old, or middle-aged, why listen to something you don't like? Why care if someone else does? Or doesn't?

Alastair said...

The Battle of Algiers is a fantastic film. Are you (about to be) watching it for the first time?

Brian Olewnick said...

Alastair, yeah it was my first viewing of it and yes, it was great. On a purely technical level, it's fascinating. I assume they interwove documentary footage with acted scenes; if not, those are some of the most amazing crowd/riot scenes I've ever encountered. Usually a telltale sign of mediocre film making when scenes like that just don't ring true.

Of course, beyond that and more importantly was the story pretty much from the point of view of the Algerians (even with the quasi-sympathetic French colonel). Impressively non-condescending but also non-mythologizing.

Anonymous said...

"The alternative involves a drifting toward craftsmanship"

I'm not sure that's the only alternative,

you can make music without thoughts about its 'newness' that does not focus on its intrinsic musical qualities as music ('craftsmanship') but other things instead - could be politics, social significance, or even [dare I say it] something beyond that.

but the discussion has turned to the battle of algiers, so I'll bow out

thanks for the discussion

Brian Olewnick said...

ET, you're certainly correct, it doesn't have to veer toward craft but in my experience, that's the tendency. It could always do an AMM to PLM conversion but I don't think any of us want to see that again.....

Anonymous said...

Damn, Bri, I'm sad that you're not trying to impress my expatriate Euro-nihilist self! :-(

Now I have to cut off your "chon-son!"

Anonymous said...

I am -probably to nobody's surprise here- completely on Damon's side.

1. Olewnick's importance cn not be underestimated.

2. The article starts with a reference to the history-laddenness of the sax 4tet and concludes with it. This metamusical
gobbledy gook may not sound offensive to members of the eai community but it sure does so for fans of many other musics.

3. Breathy sounds is the first thing you get our of a horn when you first pick it up. Everything else comes later.

Anonymous said...

vinny golia lives and works in los angeles.

Anonymous said...

Olewnick, you've always been trouble and now that pigeon has come home to roost. What more can I add to that but coooo... cooo...

Anonymous said...

Brian -- Today Just Outside, tomorrow the world!