The Home Team Weighs In

It seems that when I wrote, "I realize that people don't like the differences between Uptown and Downtown music pointed out," I was partly mistaken. It's true that some non-Downtowners were put off by the perceived negativity of my post "Downtown Music and Its Misrepresentations." But here are the responses from Downtown composers: BRAVO. "Downtown Music and its Misrepresentations" is one of the finest and most relevant things I've ever read. Thank you for writing and posting it. Brilliant! What would we do without you, Kyle? Don't stop. Your … [Read more...]

A Tune a Day

I've always liked the idea that new music is whatever was composed today, while everything before that is history. John Maxwell Hobbs gives us a chance to try it out. At his Cinema Volta web site he's making a new ambient piece every day for a year, and posting them as he goes. I first knew Hobbs as an administrator at the Kitchen. After he left that job, I learned he was a composer, for he made a delightful web site that offered a do-it-yourself ambient music kit - you put in your instrument preferences, and the internet would play the music, … [Read more...]

Downtown Music and its Misrepresentations

After every article I write about the Uptown/Downtown issue, I receive at least one e-mail telling me my views on the subject are bullshit. All of these messages have one thing in common: the writer knows the music of John Zorn and the Bang on a Can festival. This acquaintance, in his estimation, clearly outweighs my 28 years of involvement with the Downtown scene and makes the writer an authority on Downtown music. This is like reading the speeches of Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman and then announcing, "Now I'm an expert on Leftist … [Read more...]

Music that Aspires to the Condition of Baseball

Having grown up where football was the local religion, I am an inveterate sports-hater. But John Luther Adams' response to my "Kittens on the Basketball Court" post may open up, for others, a whole new discussion of sports/music affinities: Your latest post on Postclassic explains why I've never liked basketball. I'm glad you didn't pick baseball. It's much more like the music I love: slow, boring, and beautiful in its details. … [Read more...]

Kittens on the Basketball Court

I realize that people don''t like the differences between Uptown and Downtown music pointed out, that it's a continuous faux pas that I've been committing for 25 years. People react as though I keep awkwardly referring to differences between whites and blacks, or rich and poor, that are impolite to bring up. Yet the differences are not racial ones, but matters of personal temperament and especially training and tradition, and thus relevant to education. And if, in one's life as a writer, one is disallowed to comment on phenomena that forcibly … [Read more...]