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Re: A negative review for 2002 >> Biting the biscuit...

Ted begs the question...

> So, here are two reviews -- one more or less negative and one more or 
positive --and neither one of these guys really seems to understand what
he's listening too -- or at least neither one really seems to understand
what caused the music to be made in the first place (me). Did I make a
mistake in being rather stingy on the liner notes? Should I have said more?
Not that it really matters -- the CD is still something I'm pretty proud 
I continue to be astonished that it has gotten any attention at all.

> Given the recent thread concerning the idea that we might (or might not)
take some time to explain ourselves and our techniques and/or concepts to 
audience before a performance how does one go about handling liner notes?
The press kit that went out with my CD had more info about the label
pfMENTUM than about me. Was that a mistake? It's not the reviewer's fault
that I'm a somewhat unknown entity. But I'm also neither a wannabe bedroom
shredmeister nor an academically trained composer / musical philosopher.
Both are way off from my point of view... and pretty substantially to boot.
Is this sort of thing unavoidable?

> Anywho, thanks for your time.
> Ted Killian

Hi Ted...

I've lately become confused (mostly) by the lumping together of odd
coalitions and factions around the bay area (and California). We've got the
BA-NEWMUSE list members comprised of many Mills faculty and students, as
well as a variety of real-time free-improv types. We've got the pfMENTUM
crew with Jeff Kaiser, and his many friends such as Steuart Liebig and Nels
Cline... While I dearly love many from each faction, it's sometimes hard to
know where I fit into it all as well...

It seems that rythym (groove-like) and melody (stated in anything other 
either a radical-outburst-noiseattack) seems to imply old-school-wankerism
in the player who commits these greivous errors. Dan Plonsey over on the
BA-Newmuse list recently posted similar thoughts on complete free-improv 
it's seeming narrow constraints. The rock vernacular has been quoted to
death everywhere... selling hamburgers; in kid's movies and video games...
it's a tough game trying to use good old electric guitar in it's more
familiar sounding territory without creating a serious vernacular 
when what-was-extreme becomes commonplace, upping-the-ante seems to be

Am I just hanging with the wrong crowd? Or am I REALLY old-school? There's 
part of me that actually likes to play R and B, Gospel, Blues, Jazz, Rock,
Punk, Folk, ambient-looped-Fripp-influenced drones... But I can nearly
guarantee you that if you liberally quote from any of these genres, you're
out to lunch at any of the regular new-unusual-experimental series which 
probably closer to where we belong than any rock club, rave or jazz gig. 
feel really terrible if the music I REALLY like to play managed to offend
EVERYONE?! (This might be a great achievement, but nonetheless... a hard 
to live with.)

If I decided to apply to Mills, UCSD, Cal Arts, CCAC, CNMAT or Stanford
myself, would I magically discontinue quoting these genres and become
something new-fangled? I believe I'd still want to find some juice in that
old bottle, and continue referencing... (probably at further expense to my
credibility). I'm bothered by the impression that I've got to discard my
roots to become accepted in those circles. Am I misunderstanding something
here? I'm sure there are those who might comment on whether I really have
anything to say musically and that may certainly be a valid, if not much
appreciated viewpoint.

This probably seems less about you Ted, than it is about me... but I think
we're in similar territory and wondering how to land on both feet, and hang
with our peers. How to reinvent without discarding has become the real crux
of the biscuit. Oh yeah... looping (remember that?) within this framework
has it's own myriad of pitfalls!

Hey! And I also wanted to compliment you on your recent release somwhere in
all of this...

I'm off to walk the dog...

Best to all in 2002!
-Miko Biffle