Artist Profile

La Monte Young on His Immeasurable Influence

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From Vulture:

La Monte Young has a different relationship to time from the rest of us. His music goes on for a long time — that’s objectively true, and it feels even longer if, like many people, you find it boring. He’s credited as the vastly influential father of minimalism because when he was 22, in 1958, he wrote the first piece that held notes for a long period, suspended in air to allow examination and contemplation. His best-known work, The Well-Tuned Piano, is a solo performance that has grown in length from three and a half hours to five to, last time he played it, nearly six and a half. (It would have been longer, but he rushed a few parts.) When he was young, Young shocked Karlheinz Stockhausen by strolling in two hours late for the intimidating composer’s morning composition class in Darmstadt, Germany. For some time, Young lived on a weekly cycle of five 33.6-hour days. Lately, he stays awake for 24 hours, and then rests for 24.

Susan Alcorn Profile and Interview

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English: Susan Alcorn

From Baltimore City Paper:

san Alcorn can die now. Not that she wants to, of course. But the Baltimore-based pedal steel guitarist and improviser’s new album, “Soledad,” fulfills an ambition she’s carried around since 1987, when she first heard the late Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla play his tempestuous tango compositions in concert. Alcorn says the sinuous beauty and weltering passions of his music connected with her “in a way for which I’m not sure I have words.”

Sound American Issue 12 is Out

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Topics from Nate Wooley‘s Sound American publication:

Cornelius Cardew: The Briefest Biography
Treatise-An Animated Analysis
John Tilbury on Treatise Part One
Eddie Prévost on Treatise and AMM
Anthony Coleman and Survivors Breakfast Explore Treatise
Pedro Costa and Clean Feed Records

Steve Coleman Profiled

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Steve Coleman in Paris, July 2004

PopMatters has a long piece on MacArthur fellow Steve Coleman.

The band — boasting a three horn front line, guitar, electric bass, drums, and percussion — casually gathered and began spinning out a set of music that was genuinely mesmerizing. It wasn’t just “interesting” but compelling and organic, original and somehow inevitable.

Evan Parker Profiled

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Evan Parker, saxophonist, picture taken in Jaz...

Herald Scotland profiled Evan Parker in anticipation of his Glasgow Jazz Festival performance.

A lynchpin of European free jazz and improvisation, Bristol-born Parker played on such landmark recordings as the Spontaneous Music Ensemble’s Karyobin and Peter Brotzmann‘s Machine Gun, two 1968 albums which represent extreme ends of the genre: fluttering insect music and full-bore rammy. In addition to his collaborations with numerous figures in the worlds of jazz and improv, Parker has worked with cult pop artists such as Robert Wyatt, Scott Walker, David Sylvian and Spiritualized. He has also explored electronic music through his Electro-Acoustic Ensemble and collaborations with drum ‘n’ bass duo Spring Heel Jack.

Taylor Ho Bynum on Ornette Coleman

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From The New Yorker, Taylor Ho Bynum puts Coleman in perspective.

Ornette Coleman posited that the infinite improvisational possibilities of a melody could thrive outside of a predetermined structure, that musical ideas could flow and expand in the moment as naturally as breath or speech or thought. A simple idea that shook the world of twentieth-century music—a revolutionary idea that sounded like a folk song, lilting with the loving congeniality of a parent singing to a child.

Jason Eckardt Profiled

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From Burning Ambulance:

The music of Jason Eckardt (b. 1971) posits complexity and technical difficulty as core expressive and artistic values. That is, Eckardt’s music is (in part) a celebration of the physical and psychological acts of performance at levels that stretch the abilities of performers to execute the score and for audiences to follow them on the musical journey.

This perceptual difficulty is central as well—you are not expected to hear everything that is going on in one of Eckardt’s compositions, certainly not on first listening. Rather, it seems to me, that what we, the audience, are expected to hear, what we need to hear, is the emotional/expressive content of the musical gestures as they pass by. These gestures add up to a musical-expressive experience, whether we are able to “understand” them on a detailed level or not.