Postclassic Radio Debuts Today

The first chapter in my new-music education came from WRR-FM radio in Dallas. A guy named Steven Achternacht used to play some pretty wild stuff there in the ‘60s, and I would run home from school and record on cassettes anything by a composer I hadn’t heard of – and in that way had a fateful encounter with, among others, a piece called In C by an unknown named Terry Riley, that blew my mind and slowly but surely readjusted my course in life. I was the kind of guy who called in to all of WRR’s radio quizzes, and sometimes wasn’t eligible to win the day’s prize because I had won only last week.

From that time on I yearned to become a classical radio DJ. Of course, had I succeeded, I’d be really depressed now, given the squelched and diminishing state of classical radio. Also, I’m not nearly as polished a speaker as I am a writer – I stumble over my words, stop to edit myself, spend half a minute thinking how to say something. And I had a strong Texas accent, still slightly noticeable, which is hardly the image classical stations want to project. I would never have made it on radio, and fate wisely directed me into the print world.

BUT – I’ve just realized my dream in another way. Postclassic Radio debuts today, at Live Besides talking, the other half of the DJ job is programming, and on my own radio station I can put together a dream program, and I have, or at least the beginning of one. I decided that my opening playlist would consist entirely of pieces that haven’t been commercially recorded, except for a few that were only on vinyl and never made it to CD, plus a couple of things that are due to come out soon – because the purpose here is not to sell CDs, but to convince you that there’s a universe of great music out there that you’ve never heard. (Actually, I remembered afterward that John McGuire’s A Capella has indeed already been released on the Sargasso label, but it’s a great piece, and I’m not taking it down just on principle.) Here is the initial line-up, five and a half hours worth:

John McGuire: A Cappella (Sargasso)

Beth Anderson: Net Work

Eve Beglarian: Machaut a Gogo

Renske Vrolijk: Voice Over

Julius Eastman: Evil Nigger (I wonder if this great piece has been heard publicly in the last 20 years)

John Oswald: 7th (Plunderphonics)

Belinda Reynolds: Sara’s Grace

Giancarlo Cardini: Lento trascolorare dal verde al rosso in un tralco di foglie autunnali (Edipan)

Mikel Rouse: “Where Are Those Girls” from Music for Minorities (Exist Music)

Renske Vrolijk: Spinning Wheels

Elizabeth Brown: Lost Waltz (Orpheus Chamber Orchestra)

Kyle Gann: Unquiet Night (brand new work for Disklavier, concert premiere in New York next Oct. 17)

Eve Beglarian: The Bus Driver Didn’t Change His Mind

Paul Epstein: Interleavings

Dan Becker: Fade

Belinda Reynolds: Cover

Mayumi Tsuda: Knishtet (this one is really weird, in a crazy scale based on the 13th harmonic, so brace yourself)

Corey Dargel: Antidepressants

Renske Vrolijk: Boiler Plate

John Oswald: Pretender (Plunderphonics)

Eve Beglarian: The Continuous Life

M.C. Maguire: Got that Crazy Latin/Metal Feelin’ (Haro St.) (absolutely obnoxious, but pretty brilliant)

Kyle Gann: Bud Ran Back Out

Renske Vrolijk: Blink Blink

Dennis Bathory-Kitsz: Mantra Canon

Mikel Rouse: “Those Days Long Gone” from Music for Minorities (Exit Music)

Terry Riley: Happy Ending (Warner Brothers, long out-of-print vinyl)

Erin Watson: Inhale

Dan Becker: S.T.I.C.

Andrew Schulze: Dreams and Lullabies (Spiked Punch)

Several of these composers are in their 20s or 30s, and if you’ve already heard more than ten percent of this music, stop following me around or I’ll have you arrested. All of the composers so far are still alive (as far as I know) except for poor Julius Eastman, who died in mysterious circumstances at age 49. Finally, instead of just telling you about postminimal and totalist music, I can play them for you so you can hear for yourself. And by the way, Live 365 has contracts with ASCAP and BMI, and does pay royalties to the musicians. I’ve only filled a third of my megabyte space so far, so I’ll be adding tracks and making substitutions every few days. I’ll keep a list of current and past selections on my web page. Enjoy!