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04/23/2004: "cerebrum vs. cerebellum."

The performance I went to last night reminded me why I've been finding it far more interesting (and intellectually rewarding) to get my head around dance music than experimental-music-with-a-capital-E these days. The idea of last night was this: you tuned into the improvised performances happening around you with the provided headsets. So it was silent; everyone skulked around wearing headphones connected to tiny portable radios to listen to the performances, with barely anyone talking or interacting with each other, or with the performers, really, except occasionally in hushed tones. On four different FM bands were different performers--Thurston Moore, Scanner, Zeena Parkins, Ikue Mori. . . I'm getting tired just thinking about it. Each FM band had a silly name-- "New Electronics" was one, "Avant-Rock", etc.

Condemning improv for not being dance music is like yelling at an apple for not being an orange for sure, but I don't think it'd hurt for such 'sound experiments' to be more body-conscious, more willing to embrace the tactile along with the ethereal. I also didn't understand why the different FM bands at the performance were split up the way they were. I think it's much more interesting to have disparate performers work together rather than in their own little ideological clumps. Everything felt curiously static because the concept behind it was so static. It's funny that so much of this type of music explores and exploits sonic phenomena at the margins, things that wriggle, endlessly kinetic, moving in space and time--distortion! feedback! radio transmissions!--and flash-freezes it into something so totally immobile. Wouldn't hurt to engage that motor cortex once in a while.


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