Category Archives: Music

ALLRED & BRODERICK :: THE WAYS

“In a world full of noise and the anxieties of every day life, Find The Ways brings us together and reminds us to appreciate and confront the simple and fundamental facts of life, and that we as individuals will eventually find our way.” -ERASEDTAPES.COM

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WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS :: A MAN WITHIN, directed by Yony Leyser, documentary, 85min.

This particular video of the film is intact, minus the end credits.  Please see credits below.

Directed by Yony Leyser
Produced by Carmine Cervi
Scott Crary
Ilko Davidov
Yony Leyser
Written by Yony Leyser
Starring Laurie Anderson
Jello Biafra
David Cronenberg
John Giorno
Thurston Moore
Genesis P-Orridge
Iggy Pop
Patti Smith
Gus Van Sant
John Waters
Distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories

Notes about the film, from PBS’s Independent Lens:

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within investigates the life of the legendary beat author and American icon. Born the heir of the Burroughs’ adding machine estate, he struggled throughout his life with addiction, control systems, and self. He was forced to deal with the tragedy of killing his wife and the repercussions of neglecting his son. His novel, Naked Lunch, was one of the last books to be banned by the U.S. government. Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer testified on behalf of the book. The courts eventually overturned the 1966 decision, ruling that the book had important social value. It remains one of the most recognized literary works of the 20th century.

The film features never before seen footage of William S. Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with his closest friends and colleagues including John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, Laurie Anderson, Peter Weller, David Cronenberg, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Sonic Youth, Anne Waldman, George Condo, Hal Willner, James Grauerholz, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, V. Vale, David Ohle, Wayne Propst, Diane DiPrima, Dean Ripa (the world’s largest poisonous snake collector), and many others, with narration by actor Peter Weller, and soundtrack by Sonic Youth.

William Burroughs was one of the first to cross the dangerous boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950s, and write about his experiences. Eventually he was hailed the godfather of the beat generation and influenced artists for generations to come. But his friends were left wondering if he had ever found contentment or happiness. This extremely personal documentary pierces the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time.

ALVIN LUCIER :: MUSIC ON A LONG THIN WIRE, 1980

In Alvin Lucier’s own words (1992): “Music on a Long Thin Wire is constructed as follows: the wire is extended across a large room, clamped to tables at both ends. The ends of the wire are connected to the loudspeaker terminals of a power amplifier placed under one of the tables. A sine wave oscillator is connected to the amplifier. A magnet straddles the wire at one end. Wooden bridges are inserted under the wire at both ends to which contact microphones are imbedded, routed to a stereo sound system. The microphones pick up the vibrations that the wire imparts to the bridges and are sent through the playback system. By varying the frequency and loudness of the oscillator, a rich variety of slides, frequency shifts, audible beats and other sonic phenomena may be produced.” Continue reading ALVIN LUCIER :: MUSIC ON A LONG THIN WIRE, 1980

GIACINTO SCELSI :: ANAHIT, for violin & 18 instruments

Scelsi subtitled this splendid work “Lyrical Poem on the Name of Venus,” “Anahit” being the ancient Egyptian name for the goddess Venus. The piece is a major work of Scelsi’s and among the most important works of the 1960s. It is basically a chamber-sized violin concerto, although the relationship of the soloist to the ensemble is anything but the one expected in a concerto. Instead of a dialogue between orchestra and soloist, every instrument is washed into an ever-shifting, incandescent color field. Each instrumental part is extremely difficult, the violin part is only more so because it plays through more of the 13-minute duration of the piece than the rest. Making the soloist’s life still more difficult, the instrument is re-tuned to G-G-B-D to give it a more intense and ethereally plaintive sound. Scelsi also notated the violin part in a special tablature, string by string, treating each string as a separate sound-making entity. Conversely, the entire ensemble is treated like a single instrument that Scelsi plays upon like some heavenly synthesizer. Throughout the piece, he has the violin tensely slide about in microtones, moving along a gradually ascending path, and nothing more. This severe restriction of material means that tremendous concentration is required of he soloist and the terrific tension involved in just holding on to the part comes through in performance. Around this core of diamond-thread, Scelsi pours the tremendous oceanic noise of the rest of the ensemble. The “solo” violin is quite often submerged in the sound, disappearing with the rest of the instrumental voices into the slow, wide-angle shriek of changing sound. Frequent cadential effects, usually underlined with orchestrational changes like an outburst of brass or shrill statements from the flutes, provide a sense of ebb and flow and a tasteful degree of formal definition. At around the eight-minute mark, there is a cadenza for violin solo that slyly creeps in while the supporting instruments gradually evaporate, a process that is repeated less fully in the very last passage. Anahit develops itself with an ascetic’s patience and doesn’t ever arrive at any kind of explosive climax. Instead, it hovers on the tentative edge of crisis, like a photograph of something hateful endlessly developing, out of which no clear image ever emerges. The pseudoscientific word “liminal” comes to mind: of or relating to a sensory threshold, barely perceptible, on the cusp of response. The beautiful tension of Anahit is partly the tension of a half-formed premonition and similar to the tension of having a lost word “on the tip of the tongue,” that slightly panicked mental grasping for something sensed and present, but unreachable. Unlike almost all of Scelsi’s music, some of which was not performed publicly until 30 years after its creation, Anahit was performed with Devy Erlih on violin a year after it was composed.  -DONATO MANCINI

 

COOLIES :: PULL THE TRIGGER

Coolies:: Pull The Trigger, from the album, Master.  released Oct 9, 2011.

Not to be confused with the early ’80s punk band The Coolies from Atlanta, Coolies hail from South Auckland, New Zealand.
The Coolies first got together in high school with a common love for the likes of Patti Smith, Bikini Kill and X-Ray Spex before moving to Auckland and establishing themselves with prominent support slots with the Beastie Boys, Cat Power and Rancid. The band then broke up, before reforming in 2002 to once again start playing shows with the likes of The Mint Chicks, as well as recording their debut self-titled album.
Continue reading COOLIES :: PULL THE TRIGGER

KENNY WHEELER ENSEMBLE :: CONSOLATION, feat. Norma Winstone, 9:17

Consolation is the 5th part of canadian jazz trumpeter/composer Kenny Wheeler’s piece, The Sweet Time Suite.  The piece premiered as Disc 1 of Wheeler’s 1990 album, Music For Large & Small Ensembles, released by ECM records.

  • Kenny Wheeler – Trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Norma Winstone – vocals
  • Evan Parker – Soprano & Tenor saxophone
  • Ray Warleigh – Alto saxophone
  • Stan Sulzmann – Tenor saxophone, Flute
  • Duncan Lamont – Tenor saxophone
  • Julian Arguelles – Baritone saxophone
  • Derek Watkins – Trumpet
  • Alan Downey – Trumpet
  • Ian Hamer – Trumpet
  • Dave Horler – Trombone
  • Chris Pyne – Trombone
  • Paul Rutherford – Trombone
  • Hugh Fraser – Trombone
  • John Taylor – Piano
  • John Abercrombie – Guitar
  • Dave Holland – Bass
  • Peter Erskine – drums
  • Barbara Wojirsch – Cover Art
  • Jan Erik Kongshaug – Engineer

LEONARD BERNSTEIN: THE UNANSWERED QUESTION, Harvard Lecture Series, 1973, excerpt from Lecture #1 , 5min.

The Unanswered Question is the title of a lecture series given by Leonard Bernstein in the fall of 1973. This series of six lectures was a component of Bernstein’s duties as the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry for the 1972-73 academic year at Harvard University, and is therefore often referred to as the Norton Lectures. The lectures were both recorded on video and printed as a book, titled The Unanswered Question: Six Talks at Harvard.

During his year as visiting professor at Harvard University, Leonard Bernstein had various duties, such as being in residence and advising students, but historically the most significant of these was to deliver a series of lectures. This series comprised six lectures on music, which cumulatively took the title of a work by Charles Ives, The Unanswered Question. Bernstein drew analogies to other disciplines, such as poetry, aesthetics, and especially linguistics, hoping to make these lectures accessible to an audience with limited or no musical experience, while maintaining an intelligent level of discourse.

WOODY HARRIS :: I GREET THE CROW IN THE PINK THUNDERBIRD, 1976

A wonderful fingertyle guitar piece by Woody Harris. From his album “American Guitar Solos”, Arhoolie Records, 1976. There isn’t much information about Woody Harris out there, but he was a classical guitarist who released at least three solo albums and one collaboration album with Mike Bloomfield in the 70s.