Music of the Excluded Middle

I was highly gratified by what Nicholas Thompson, the subway-station musician and Washington Times editor, had to say (linked here on Arts Journal) about the failures of the recording industry. In particular, what he said that was relevant to the new music I follow was this: The music industry tends to divide both bands and audiences into broad, set formats: alt-music, hip-hop, and modern country. There is an obvious reality to these categories, but in truth, they exist largely for the benefit of record companies, which can then narrow and … [Read more...]

New and Improved

I was slow to start blogging this week. For one thing, I had to finish up a lengthy "hyperhistory" on music and politics for New Music Box, which will debut Nov. 1, so watch for it. More pertinently at the moment, I also moved my web site to a larger virtual space, from to Those of you who've checked know you've always been able to find me at; there was an automatic redirect to my free space at Earthlink. But that space wasn't large enough to store MP3s, and I've now opened a new web … [Read more...]

Information, Please

Speaking, as I was in the Erling Wold entry, of trying to get information about new music in the '70s, I remember once I was confused about something that composer Henri Pousseur had written in an article in Die Reihe, the then-awe-inspiring journal of the Darmstadt crowd. My friends and I, feeling entitled to some clarification, stayed up half the night trying to find a long-distance operator in Liege who spoke English, trying to get Mr. Pousseur's home number from information. Today, we'd be able to go to and send him an … [Read more...]

Speak of the Devil

Lately I'm fawning over the internet to an extent that worries me. Yesterday I was talking to Matt Wellins (Mr. New Music at Bard), and, ransacking my brain for references he might not already know, I suddenly asked him if he was familiar with the music of San Francisco composer Erling Wold. The name rang a bell, and I mentioned that I hadn't heard any new music from Wold in years, and wondered what he was up to. No sooner did the thought occur to me, of course, than I whirled around to the computer, pulled up Google, and there I was at … [Read more...]

More CDR Advice

On the issue of burning playable CDRs, some words to the wise from our wise readers: William Mericle advises burning CDRs with an Emagic Waveburner, a dedicated mastering software package, and claims that the resulting cds are more reliably played than when burned on I-tunes. Michael Robinson, an extremely prolific Los Angeles composer with massive experience in CDR burning, highly recommends Mitsui Gold inkjet printable CDRs (not Mitsui silver!, he adds) as being the best in terms of sound quality, compatibility, and longevity. He also … [Read more...]

Long-Sought Treasures Found at Ubuweb

Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) has long been one of my favorite artists. His cartoonish figures, often etched in thick paint and as if drawn by a child, with a child's exaggeration of identifying anatomical features, have an archetypal immediacy, yet also betray sophistication in their uniform covering of the entire canvas. (Yikes! Now I see why art critics write the way they do.) As examples of two of his characteristic styles, for those who may be unfamiliar with him, I link you to Bustle 1 from the Cleveland Museum, and Gare Montparnesse Portes … [Read more...]