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Live footage of Terry Riley and La Monte Young in the 70s
05.18.2011
11:32 pm
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It must be Terry Riley week. How else to explain the sudden emergence of this pristine footage, which I’m sure some smarty-pants will shortly point out to me is actually from some DVD or such, this week along with revelations about the fine composer’s questionable eating habits. Terry Riley’s all night organ and tape loops concerts are the stuff of legend and it’s pretty marvelous to finally have a bit of filmed evidence to gawk at.
 

 
Even more interesting is this sadly brief little clip of the quartet of Riley, La Monte Young, Pandit Pran Nath and Marian Zazeela playing live in Rome. Riley doing a respectable job on the tablas:

 
And just for good measure and because it sounds great to me at the moment, here is a portion of La Monte Young’s The Second Dream of the HighTension Line Stepdown Transformer for your listening pleasure:

 
With thanks to Lance Grabmiller

Posted by Brad Laner
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05.18.2011
11:32 pm
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Terry Riley and Big Boi spotted eating together at Burger King
05.16.2011
04:53 pm
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I’d truly like to hear a collaboration by these two. Why not ?
 
Previously on DM : Metzger on Terry Riley
 
Thanks Ned Raggett via Brassica

 

Posted by Brad Laner
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05.16.2011
04:53 pm
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William S. Burroughs and Scientology
05.12.2011
05:06 pm
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When I was sixteen, in 1982, I ran away from home and made my way from West Virginia to Boston. There, I soon found myself quite lost. Spying an extremely attractive young woman who was carrying a clipboard and accosting people in a friendly way, I decided to ask her for directions with the most innocuous chat-up line I’ve ever used: “Can you tell me how to get to Newbury Street, please?”

She told me how to get there and we continued chatting. I thought I was really doing great with her, but it soon turned out she was a Scientologist, attempting to recruit random passersby to take the “personality test” like you always see people doing on Hollywood Blvd. She asked me if I’d heard of Scientology and I told her the only thing I knew about it was what I’d read about it in the writing of William S. Burroughs.

That went right over her head, but undaunted, she asked me if I’d be interested in taking a “personality test” and truth be told, I was interested in just about anything this chick had to offer me. So we walked to the huge, embassy-like Church of Scientology building a few blocks away, and she deposited me with staff members there before disappearing back to her clipboard and her post down the street.

I ended up spending a week sleeping there in exchange for doing janitorial work and re-binding a small library of dusty old books that were in bad repair. It was either there or the riverbank (I was also hoping I’d see the Sea Org hottie again, but that never happened).

It was an awfully strange experience going from a small town in the hills of West Virginia to bunking with a cult of headfuckers in “the big city” in less than 48 hours, but one that I will write about here another time.

My point of offering this, um, partial anecdote is to say that if it was not for the fact that I was an avid teenage reader of William Burroughs, I doubt I’d have gotten myself into that zany, madcap situation. Then again, maybe my brief brush with L.Ron Hubbard and crew could be more honestly attributed to me being a teenage guy who was thinking with his dick. That’s probably that’s just as valid of an excuse…

So that’s my introduction to William S. Burroughs’ Wild Ride with Scientology an interesting short essay Lee Konstantinou wrote about Burroughs’ decade-long flirtation with Scientology that appeared on io9 yesterday. Here’s an excerpt:

Scientology appears again disguised as the “Logos” group in Burroughs’s 1962 novel The Ticket That Exploded. As described in the book, Logos has “a system of therapy they call ‘clearing’. You ‘run’ traumatic material which they call ‘engrams’ until it loses emotional connotation through repetitions and is then refilled as neutral memory’ When all the ‘engrams’ have been run and deactivated the subject becomes a ‘clear.’” In the 1964 novel Nova Express, Scientology is for the first time openly described in Burroughs’s fiction. During an interrogation scene in the book, an unnamed character declares “The Scientologists believe sir that words recorded during a period of unconsciousness… store pain and that this pain store can be lugged in with key words represented as an alternate mathematical formulae indicating umber of exposures to the key words and reaction index… they call these words recorded during unconsciousness engrams sir… The pain that overwhelms that person is basic basic sir and when basic basic is wiped off the tape… then that person becomes what they call clear sir.”

At the start of 1968, Burroughs deepened his relationship to the Church. He took an intense two-month Scientology Clearing Course at the world headquarters of Scientology in Saint Hill Manor in the UK and Burroughs was declared a “Clear,” though he later claimed that he had to work hard to suppress or rationalize his persistently negative feelings toward L. Ron Hubbard during auditing sessions. The Berg has almost a dozen files filled with Burroughs’s pamphlets from Saint Hill as well as his almost unreadable hand-written notes on Scientology courses and questions he prepared for auditing sessions he himself conducted. These files include, as I’ve mentioned, an attempt to create a cut-up from auditing questions; from the start, Scientology was very much connected to the cut-up technique and Burroughs’s theory that language constituted a kind of virus that had infested the human host. At Saint Hill, Burroughs entered an intense and obsessive period of auditing sessions with an E-Meter, including a process of exploring past lives, though he slowly began to grow alienated from the Church and what he considered its Orwellian security protocols. Burroughs’s antipathy for Scientological “Sec Checks” are apparent in his strange and violent story, “Ali’s Smile,” which was published in the collection Ali’s Smile/Naked Scientology.

Burroughs eventually rejected Scientology—because of what he called “the fascist policies of Hubbard and his organization”—but cautiously endorsed some of its “discoveries.” His break with the Church developed over course of the late sixties in the pages of the London-based magazine, Mayfair, where Burroughs wrote a series of increasingly hostile “bulletins” about his adventures with the organization. These bulletins culminated in Burroughs’s amusingly titled Mayfair article, “I, William Burroughs, Challenge You, L. Ron Hubbard.” This piece was republished in the Los Angeles Free Press. In his challenge to L. Ron, Burroughs wrote:

Some of the techniques [of Scientology] are highly valuable and warrant further study and experimentation. The E Meter is a useful device… (many variations of this instrument are possible). On the other hand I am in flat disagreement with the organizational policy. No body of knowledge needs an organizational policy. Organizational policy can only impede the advancement of knowledge. There is a basic incompatibility between any organization and freedom of thought.

For his inquiries, Burroughs reports, he was expelled from the organization and in 1968 was put into what Scientologists call a condition of “Treason”; though the exact circumstances surrounding this incident remain unclear. Burroughs’s public battle against the Church continued in a 1972 issue of Rolling Stone, where he expressed his support for Robert Kaufmann’s exposé, Inside Scientology, published by Olympia Press. Here Burroughs uses his harshest language yet: “Scientology is a model control system, a state in fact with its own courts, police, rewards and penalties.” Strangely enough, despite his break with the group, Scientology reappeared in the 1972 film Bill and Tony, which Burroughs made with Antony Balch (the masturbating guy in Towers Open Fire). In Bill and Tony, an image of Burroughs’s disembodied floating head recites instructions for how to operate an auditing session.

 

 
Thank you Steven Otero!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.12.2011
05:06 pm
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Fred and Patti Smith perform ‘My Generation’, 1978
05.11.2011
04:52 pm
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The other Smiths.

The family that plays together stays together. Patti and future husband Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith perform My Generation at the Second Chance Club in Ann Arbor, 1978.

Despite the rough quality of the video, this rocks!
 

 
Same time and place, Patti does Rock and Roll Nigger.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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05.11.2011
04:52 pm
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Bob Marley died 30 years ago today
05.11.2011
03:38 pm
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Here’s a nice tribute to Bob Marley by Safari Sound. I admit they’re the obvious Marley tracks, but I’ll be damned if I could find a rare tracks mix. Still any Bob is better than no Bob, right? 

Tracklist:

01- Natural Mystic
02- Exodus
03- Zion Train
04- Satisfy My Soul
05- Lively Up Yourself
06- Jammin
07- Buffalo Soldier
08- Crazy Baldheads
09- Sun Is Shinning
10- Forever Loving Jah
11- Rebel Music
12- Rat Race
13- War
14- Johnny Was A Good Man
15- Concrete Jungle
16- I Shot The Sheriff
17- Bad Card
18- Redemption Song
19- Could You Be Loved
20- Coming In From The Cold
21- Stir It Up
22- Three Little Birds
23- One Love
24- So Much Trouble In The World
25- Get Up Stand Up
26- Soul Rebel
27- Chant Down Babylon
28- Survival
29- The Heathen
30- Slave Driver
31- Who The Cap Fit
32- Belly Full
33- Burning And Looting
34- Top Ranking
35- Kinky Reggae
36- Roots Rock Reggae
37- Pimpers Paradise
38- Is This Love
39- No Woman No Cry
40- Waiting In Vain

  
 

Posted by Tara McGinley
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05.11.2011
03:38 pm
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Ennio Morricone’s noise ensemble: Gruppo di Improvvisazione di Nuova Consonanza
05.11.2011
11:17 am
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This is a guest post by writer and musician Dave Madden. Take it, Dave:

What lingers in the closets of the Brass Ring of recent film composers? James Horner scored Robert Conrad’s kinda-crappy cult classic The Lady in Red. James Newton Howard did session work for Ringo and arranged songs for Olivia Newton-John.  And then you have Ennio Morricone whose wardrobe contains enough oddity to match the awards on his mantle.

During the mid ‘60s, while Morricone was securing his role as the Spaghetti Western king via Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy, he became a member of Gruppo di Improvvisazione di Nuova Consonanza, a revolving collective of musicians dedicated to “anti-musical systems and noise techniques” (note: he was part of the band even throughout his days with Dario Argento and his first academy award nomination for the 1979 Days of Heaven). 

GDIDNC loosely labeled their technique “Instant Composition”, as everything went direct to tape, not staff paper. They merged a collage of the previous 50 years – Webern-like serialistic pointillism, free jazz, spectralism, Musique concrète – with extra-musical philosophies and disciplines; not to be confused with aleatoricism, they crafted their works not by emptying their preconceptions to get to zero, but incorporating myriad ideas and exercises to guide themselves to zero. While that reads as par for the course for improvising musicians today, there are a few things that separate them from your average non-musician – and placed the crew in the flagship ranks of AMM and Musica Elettronica Viva, and turned them into idols for a young John Zorn (he wrote the liner notes to their 2006 box set, Azioni) . 

First, each of the tenuous group was a fantastic musician, respected sound artist and/or scientist: a friend and collaborator of Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luigi Nono (who, together, established the Experimental Studio of the Polish Radio in Warsaw), Gruppo founder and pianist Franco Evangelisti was involved with the Studio of Experimental Electroacoustics of UNESCO, focusing on the biophysics of brain impulses as sonic vibrations; Mario Bertoncini (percussion, piano) made his living as a music educator and, for decades, a concert pianist; Roland Kayn’s (Hammond organ, vibraphone, marimba) “monumental graphic scores” for orchestra were performed by Pierre Boulez, though he later devoted his life to “Cybernetic Music”, a sonic renewing process that became the focus of his ten-hour long Scanning. And so on with all eighteen-and-counting purported contributors.

More importantly, as former Down Beat editor Art Lange points out, they were all known for their compositional savvy:

The key words here, however, are “composers” and “organized.” Evangelisti insisted on a performing ensemble that consisted solely of composers in part because of the inherent (even if intuitive) sense of formal logic they would bring to the performance, but also to avoid any taint of instrumental virtuosity for its own sake.

Lastly, when they performed, the disparate personalities combined into a single, flailing behemoth that did not understand the concept of “lull” or “wandering” as it pursued its artistic objective. 

Observe part of “Strings Quartet”:

 
Wait for the percussive bombast near 7:20

 
Morricone after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Brad Laner
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05.11.2011
11:17 am
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Playwright and gay political activist Doric Wilson dead at the age of 72
05.09.2011
06:43 pm
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“If you look at Doric Wilson’s work of the last fifty years, you will see that he knows more words than most people and knows how to use them, but there’s one word that he’s never heard, and this is “compromise.” Doric has always told it as it is. He has never believed in playing it safe and the word “sugar-coating” is not in his vocabulary either. His theater is tough, funny and right on target. No pussyfooting for Doric: he doesn’t write gay theater; he writes queer theater.’
- Edward Albee

Playwright, director, producer, critic and gay political activist, Doric Wilson, died over the weekend of undisclosed causes, at the age of 72.

Playbill said of Wilson:

Mr. Wilson was one of the first resident playwrights at the legendary Caffe Cino in Greenwich Village, where many fledgling Off-Off-Broadway playwrights cut their teeth. His comedy And He Made A Her opened there in 1961. Only two years in New York, and not wanting people to think the work was his first produced play, he attended performances in three-piece suits with a trench coat tossed over his shoulders. “I also drank brandy and soda,” he recalled.

The success of that play and the three that followed, including Pretty People, Babel Babel Little Tower and Now She Dances!— which dealt head on with the trail of Oscar Wilde—helped establish Joe Cino’s hole-in-the-wall cafe as an offbeat theatre mecca. Later in the 1960s, Mr. Wilson was one of the first playwrights invited to join the Barr/Wilder/Albee Playwright’s Unit and, with fellow Cino alum Lanford Wilson, Circle Repertory Theatre. His other plays included In Absence, Turnabout, The West Street Gang, A Perfect Relationship and Forever After.

Doric Wilson was present on June 28, 1969, when riots broke out at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. The rebellion of the bar’s gay denizens against harassing police is generally recognized as having signaled the beginning of the gay rights movement. Mr. Wilson had already been an active participant in the anti-war and civil rights fights of the 1960s. Following the riot, he became active in Gay Activist Alliance and, as a “star” bartender, helped open post-Stonewall gay bars like The Spike, TY’s and Brothers & Sisters Cabaret.

In 1974, Doric Wilson, along with Billy Blackwell, Peter del Valle and John McSpadden, formed TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence), the first professional theatre company to deal openly and honestly with the gay experience. “I was involved with Circle Rep at the time,” he later recalled, “when it suddenly occurred to me that I could use the Cino experience to combine my talents with my politics. I could focus my life and abilities to promote a theatre dedicated ‘to an honest and open exploration of the GLBT life experience and cultural sensibility.’”

The company produced new plays and revivals by Noel Coward, Joe Orton, Terrence McNally and Lanford Wilson. In June 2001 Wilson and directors Mark Finley and Barry Childs resurrected the company as TOSOS II. “Wilson has devoted his life to the once-radical notion that gay lives deserved true representation,” observed playwright Craig Lucas.

In 2004 Doric Wilson was honored to be one of the Grand Marshals of the 35th Anniversary Pride Day Parade in New York City. He is featured in the documentary film “Stonewall Uprising” (2010).

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Charles Ludlam and the Ridiculous Theatrical Company
 

 
Via Joe. My. God.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.09.2011
06:43 pm
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Harry Partch at Mills College (1952)
05.09.2011
01:09 pm
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A wonderful discovery from the archives of Mills College For Women, long a hotbed of revolutionary musical experimentation. This early 50’s newsreel of Harry Partch conducting the students on his battery of self-invented and built instruments (Partch famously described himself as a composer seduced into carpentry) is entirely too brief. Fortunately, due to the Youtubes, there’s been an explosion of materials on the great man for one and all to discover. I include as a bonus but a few of the lesser viewed examples of his greatness and encourage explorers to seek out recordings of Partch’s utterly unique music.
 

 
Harry Partch Music Studio a short film by Madeline Tourtelot circa late 50’s. (in two parts)

 
Much more after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Brad Laner
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05.09.2011
01:09 pm
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A mini-doc about the Minimoog
05.06.2011
01:04 pm
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Here’s a cute lil’ doc about the origins and early use of the wondrous Minimoog from the company that brought it into existence. It’s so very easy to take for granted today but this was the very first synth to have a built-in keyboard. I was fascinated to learn that its signature tone, the thing that allows it to cut through any musical setting it’s used in was an unintended excess of overdrive. Credit Moog for realizing what a brilliant mistake they had made and not changing it.
 

 
Bonus: Two of my favorite funky Minimoog workouts, firstly it’s The Harlem Buck Dance Strut from Les McCann’s 1973 LP Layers:

 

And here’s crooner Marvin Gaye bringing you some Minimoog (or is that an Arp Odyssey ?) magic on After The Dance (instrumental) from his brilliant and under rated 1976 LP I Want You:

Posted by Brad Laner
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05.06.2011
01:04 pm
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Happy Birthday Karl Marx!
05.05.2011
05:29 pm
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Karl Marx, the 19th century social philosopher and historian who is regarded as one of the most influential intellectual figures in human history—Marx was voted the “thinker of the millennium” by people from around the world in a 1999 BBC poll—was born on this day in 1818.

Below, Marx for Beginners (look for a cameo from R. Crumb’s “Mr. Natural”):
 

 
Monty Python’s classic “Communist Quiz” sketch from Live from the Hollywood Bowl featuring Marx, Lenin, Che, and Mao.
 

 
Image by Savanna Snow

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.05.2011
05:29 pm
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