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

Hi Miko!

In a message dated 1/2/02 10:45:27 PM, biffoz@pacbell.net writes:

>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 
>crew with Jeff Kaiser, and his many friends such as Steuart Liebig and 
>Cline ... While I dearly love many from each faction, it's sometimes hard
>to know where I fit into it all as well...

I'm a bit confused too. Jeff and I both sort of began our current musical 
trajectories together in Southern California...ah...er... mumble mumble 
umpity years ago. In fact, via a mutual friend of ours he sort of 
me and pushed me out into the spotlight (actually repeatedly, 'til I 
comfortable doing it myself). I owe so much to Jeff and consider him a 
life-time friend. But I really don't totally fit into his/their program 
either. I'm 
not a trained musician with multiple advanced degrees like he is. I have 
particular agenda, no artistic philosophy for what I do. Nothing is 
well thought out at all. What I play, how I play and how I think about 
what I 
really comes from a very, very naive (not to say primitive) place. I 
myself out of my depth in such company. My only option is to resolutely be 
"me" musically/artistically and to try not to talk about it too much if I 
I AM relatively well educated, but my family background is very blue 
very decidedly anti-intellectual. Maybe this is the source if my own 
conflict and confusion to some degree.

>It seems that rhythm (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
>and it's seeming narrow constraints. The rock vernacular has been quoted 
>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 
>sounding territory without creating a serious vernacular faux-paux; when 
>what-was-extreme becomes commonplace, upping-the-ante seems to be

Well, it's a funny thing. You find allies in the oddest places. The tracks 
my CD 
that actually have any sort of rhythmic "groove" were not intended for 
The CD was recorded during two 4-hour recording sessions on two 
days. I sort of get the "jitters" in a recording situation (more so than 
And the 'pieces" in question were meant to be warm-up exercises in order 
the fingers working and have a little musical "fun" in the process ... to 
loosen up
in other words (and to exorcise any rock guitar cliche's from the system 
while I 
was at it). Well, these things got recorded anyway. And Jeff, who is one 
folks who seems to conspicuously avoid rhythm and melody at almost all 
is the one who insisted on including them on the CD. Go figure. It goes to 
that you just never know. 

>Am I just hanging with the wrong crowd? Or am I REALLY old-school? 
>There's a
>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.)

Well, I began my own musical life as sort of an eccentric, electric Leo 
wannabe if you can believe it. That's still the sort of thing I play 
wife and kids at home (the technical fallout of which is that I still play 
metal fingerpicks and bizarre tunings -- even when I'm being Mr. Avant 
Noismaker). I love all sorts of music and listen to a wide variety of 
But I don't (or can't) play a good deal of what I like. I have a special, 
fondness for old Herb Alpert and the TJB tunes. I can play spazzed-out 
of a couple of their hits. But, you won't catch me playing them around the
pfMentum gang (to be sure) -- or much of anybody else for that matter. 
about offending EVERYBODY? Indeed! That would just about do it.

>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.

Well, a lot of us mistakenly go into Art school thinking we are going to 
how to do what we already know and love in a better and better way. What
Arts education is actually all about involves the same end but they 
acomplish it by forcing us out of our comfort zones and into new and 
territories, new ways of seeing, hearing, thinking, being. Whether this 
up molding everything you do forever after in their image -- or merely 
shading and adding depth to it is our choice.

>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 
>with our peers. How to reinvent without discarding has become the real 
>of the biscuit. Oh yeah... looping (remember that?) within this framework
>has it's own myriad of pitfalls!

That's okay. It's great to read what find out what folks are thinking and 
with on a deeper level than "Hey I've got (or wanna get) this or that piece
of hardware/software. Can it do what I want it to do?" These questions ARE
important. But there are whole lotta other things that make us who we are
as musicians, loopers and human beings. And, you notice that I mostly wrote
about myself to. A friend of mine (it might have even been Jeff Kaiser) 
told me that all Art is nothing more than children calling to one another 
a mud puddle and saying, "Hey everybody! Look at the mud pie I made!"

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

Thanks! Do you have a mud pie... er...CD (or other music posted or 
available out there in cyberspace)? I'd be interested in hearing it. I'm 
surprised that comparatively little music itself gets exchanged or shared
within the community of the LD list members (as far as I ever hear about it
anyway) other than the LD CDs and the odd self-promotional message of
confirmed egoists like myself. 


Ted Killian