Mind the Gap: September 2010 Archives
In this fictional high school as in life, it appears that the newspaper is dead and the real dish in served online. To open the new season, we get the summer vacation report, TMZ style.
I know the whole indie-alt-classical vibe makes perfect sense to some people and makes other people's gag reflex kick in. Regardless of your artistic opinion on the intersection of Xenakis with fauxhawks and fixies, however, wasn't it a pretty easy scene merge? What if one of the new music super groups reached for a style that was a little further afield from what was already in the closet, something a bit more...goth rock perhaps?
I was thinking about this and the future of the performing arts in America while watching the interpretive dance portion of the video below. If these are not the most intense, eyeliner wearing, hair swirling cellists you have ever seen, well, then you probably move in more theatrical circles than I do.
Okay, okay, I'm not seriously suggesting concert music imitate the stylistic choices made above by Apocalyptica. I don't think it, or any music really, benefits from that much licking. But what about the art of personal style and what it communicates about a performer? I feel like we're not paying enough attention after so much practicing (coordinating shades of button down dress shirts doesn't count!). Costuming is a powerful tool that it seems a shame to waste. I mean, for better and worse you probably know what The Pretty Reckless is all about before anyone makes a move. And even when you don't know exactly what a dress says, it says something.
One of the more memorable new music shows I saw last year looked like it was outfitted by a team of Project Runway hopefuls. This was performance with visible cues that more concerts might benefit from. No need to steal a style, mind you, but don't be afraid to invent your own. This is art, people. It's supposed to be attractive.
If you are a new music fan in the market for a new digital SLR camera with video capability, secure your wallet and be careful watching this video! Composer/NMBx pal Dan Visconti scored this beautiful demo flick which highlights what this new-to-market bit of technology has to offer. They could not have produced a piece of marketing better suited to the Mind the Gap demographic, I suspect, so I pass it along here:
I get quite a few press releases about very interesting new music events every day, but a concert series in a coat closet? This feels like a first. Chris Kallmyer has organized "four resident ensembles, 96 composers, 350+ new works, and over 400 concerts inside a coatroom, under the stairs in the lobby of the Hammer Museum" in Los Angeles. The performances take two minutes a piece and are performed for the gathered Saturday afternoon audience members two at a time. Also, it is free. For once, I really wish I lived in L.A.
The multi-week festival is in process and running strong through November, but living as I do in a far away zip code (not to mention my claustrophobia), I've been exploring things online. There's plenty of interesting music/performances to check out:
but I have to say that Adam Overton's unique contribution gets major props from me. I've had a thing for spoken wordplay like this--I don't know why--ever since Daniel tried to teach me the basics of the fugue.
A few weeks ago, a composer I was in correspondence with mentioned that it had been a while since he'd last cruised through Baltimore, but that he suspected Charm City's new music scene was in need of some fresh energy to get things revitalized. With more than a little bit of hometown cheerleader excitement, I shot back: Something like this, perhaps?
Admittedly, the fact that the curator of the Contemporary Museum's Mobtown Modern music series, Brian Sacawa, is my husband means that I can in no way be counted as a credible source of unbiased opinion in this matter. Still, the lineup of repertoire and performers, the debut this season of a serious collaboration with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the supportive audience and media environment, and, um, the fact that Sacawa lets me toss in (a.k.a. shout from my office) my 2 cents re: programming ideas from time to time? I'd say that's a situation--a pretty sweet one, as far as homes for new music go.
Mobtown Modern's 2010-11 season kicks off next Tuesday night with an all-Ligeti showcase. If you're in the area (or even if you're not--the shows are walking distance from the train station, and I've been on late night subway rides that took longer to get me from Queens to Brooklyn than from NYC to Baltimore, I swear) we hope you'll stop by! Powerhouse pianist Jenny Lin, BSO violist Karin Brown, a sax quartet, a 16-voice choir, and 100 metronomes will be in the house for what seems set to be a killer opening night.
Sharpen your pencils, music makers: Composing original jingles is back!
"Years ago it was selling out -- now we call it selling in," Mr. [Mike] Boris said.
Er, wait a sec, a big part of this is not actually composing jingles in the traditional sense. This Advertising Age report reads like the trend falls more along the lines of people writing pop songs that can be licensed cheaper and with less cultural baggage than a U2 tune to sell a product, and just maybe the artist can ride that freight train to popularity at the same time. It's...a strategy.
In fact, music was the only production category that saw an increase in budget last year, according to a 2010 study from the 4A's; the Association of Music Producers (AMP) reported 78% of its members' income came from original music vs. 22% from licensed music and arrangements in a spring 2010 survey.
"It seems like the cycle is ebbing slightly, and it may be less popular to align yourself with a major superstar," said Elizabeth Myers, president of AMP and co-founder of Trivers Myers Music. She suggests it could be a reflection of the economic mood -- original music feels more simple and real. And, she said, "in America, the clients like to own that identity that comes with original music."
Just don't tell Neil...
I'm not usually a sentimentalist, but after slogging through recent weeks of news rich with intolerance and violence (I'll spare you the litany of links), this vet's story of music and humanity sneaked into my Google reader thanks to a friend and provided a glimmer of, well, hope in the midst of what all too often feels like an endlessly horrific news cycle.
Towards the end of the clip, he states his name as Jack LeRoy Tueller, and a little searching turns up this CNN news item which offers a more detailed account of Jack's narrative than the video provides. A newspaper account seems to indicate that the clip is part of a larger "Utah World War II Stories" series filmed by local PBS affiliate KUED. Search results also turn up a 33-page interview conducted by KUED, if you really find yourself engaged by Jack and his stories. My own Papa having passed on, I admit I'm working my way through the transcript.
Thanks for sharing, Col. Jack.