fjb, local currency: solo 1992-1998 (fayettenam)

the human hearts, civics (tight ship)

the human hearts on myspace

nothing painted blue, taste the flavor (shrimper)

info on older band and solo work; I have no idea who compiled the scarily complete discographies

free music, discography, etc. here

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the kind of sentence

I thought they'd quit writing in the '80s:

"Shaw’s acute insight into the nature of language is especially surprising because he could not have read Derrida’s critique of logocentrism.” -- Jean Reynolds, Pygmalion’s Wordplay: The Postmodern Shaw; University of Florida Press, 1999


Statcounter stopped responding to me a while back, so I have no idea if anyone's looking at this but: upcoming "dates" of one sort or another at left. Esp. looking forward to hearing Cathy Park Hong; Dance Dance Revolution, which I'm 2/3 through, is a helluva performance.


Sorry I never said more about the b-musicals: Harburg/Gorney's "Dusty Shoes," a "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"-sequel from Moonlight and Pretzels (1933, Karl Freund), ruled, as did Marge Champion's solo turn to Johnny Mercer/Johnny Green's "Derry Down Dilly" (I may not have that title exactly right) in Everything I Have is Yours (1952, Robert Z. Leonard). The Ann Miller vehicle Priorities On Parade (1942, Albert S. Rogell) included some nice Styne/Loesser obscurities and too much jingoism to let you forget for long what Ann Miller vehicles were for; and Slightly French (1949, Douglas Sirk) wasn't so much a musical as a romantic comedy w/ lush visuals, natch, and a couple of diegetic numbers for Dorothy Lamour, Arlen/Koehler's "Let's Fall in Love" among them. The week of break, in which I saw all these, plus a fine Kenward Elmslie reading ("What's happened to the poem as poem, Sneaky Pete?"), plus Braxton, plus the ICP with George Lewis, who slayed, was not a bad week -- though it's sad that the last event was part of Tonic's final week of operation.


And hey, entire state of New York -- it's called Spring, and it normally starts in March or April. Just think about it.



I think I'm only going to post about those B-musicals if something just demands to be registered; so far, all four I've seen have been diverting but not-earthshaking, and summarizing them is feeling like a chore. The best by some distance was the Paramount oddity Sweater Girl (1942, William Clements, which combines a college-show setting, early Jule Style/Frank Loesser numbers, and some murder-mystery elements that are oddly "heavy," given the tone of the whole. In particular, the hit of the movie, "I Don't Want to Walk Without You [Baby]," is introduced as having just been written by Johnny Johnston. When he broadcasts the song over some sort of intra-campus carrier station, we see and hear a full chorus, and then cut to the rest of the cast at a break in their rehearsal, who listen as he's strangled to death on the other end at about bar 15. Early Capitol signee Johnston, by the way, was a genuinely talented singer (he had one of the biggest hit versions of "Laura") and capable guitarist who was briefly married to MGM soprano Katherine Grayson. Otherwise, pleasant work by Eddie Bracken and the now-obscure June Preisser, a sort of proto-Debbie Reynolds who also happened to be an adept contortionist.


Curious Mountain Goat sighting: Peter Hughes interviewed by "personal productivity" dude Merlin Mann. Loving the bit where he contrasts the sense of "mission" experienced on tour with his day-to-day life. I'm with ya, Pete.


What I've been trying to tell you, via a Seed piece quoted on (and linked from) Language Log:

"In a recent study, Deena Skolnick, a graduate student at Yale, asked her subjects to judge different explanations of a psychological phenomenon. Some of these explanations were crafted to be awful. And people were good at noticing that they were awful—unless Skolnick inserted a few sentences of neuroscience. These were entirely irrelevant, basically stating that the phenomenon occurred in a certain part of the brain. But they did the trick: For both the novices and the experts (cognitive neuroscientists in the Yale psychology department), the presence of a bit of apparently-hard science turned bad explanations into satisfactory ones."


"One of the major functions of the avant-garde is to contribute to the imaginative erotic life of teenagers."

-- Mark Grief, in P.S. 1 Symposium: A Practical Avant-Garde, (n+1, 2006) [Buyer beware: your just read the most striking line in the whole transcribed discussion.]

"[T]o the huge number of uncultivated people who have been brought up in tasteless homes by commonplace or disagreeable parents [...] literature, painting, sculpture, music, and affectionate personal relations come as modes of sex if they come at all. The word passion means nothing else to them."

-- George Bernard Shaw, Afterword to Pygmalion, 1916


rejecting the terms

Since "killing" and "owning" are both activities that I engage in with trepidation, while still doing both constantly, if passively, I suppose I should feel no better or worse about playing other people's songs than any other instances of these acts, since I "must" do one or the other. Still, it's funny to learn that these are my only options, since I had for some time thought that playing music created by someone other than myself might be one of the relative few activities left to me that was not best described in terms of either the destruction or taking of property. My bad.

But then again, how about the possibility that distinct interpretations of the same material may relate to that material in different ways that do not vitiate or one-up one another, and that it isn't "one-two-three-four, I declare thumb war" against the "major"/"original" artist. How about "sharing"? (Or is that something one does only with the work of the "minor"? Or is it that if one does that, one doesn't win?) How about reimagining criticism in such a way that it could accomodate (encourage?) the notion of relations between any entities (even abstracta, which don't even have to eat) that are not relations of competition and domination? I know, not likely; call it an unreality check.


It's very tempting to say something like, "speaking of non-hierarchical relations, I just came back from seeing Anthony Braxton at Iridium, for the first time in 13 years of listening," but after all, he is the leader, and more than nominally so. I should probably read up on his whole Ghost Trance Music thing before posting stupid impressionist descriptions, but I get the basic idea that he has a series of compositions that consist of unison (rhythmically at least) heads that sort of expand and contract in terms of note-values, from which players eventually start splitting off; then that material may get continued by one subset of the group while another interrupts ("interpenetrates is probably closer") with another relatively composed-sounding "head," which may be fairly different in tempo and texture. And so on. Beyond instrumentation and technique, what makes this music "jazz" is that it's still, at some level, written in large part to let the players' play, by giving them something of interest (not, here, a harmonic structure) as "support" (the way an art critic would use that word).

Not that this, anymore, might mean "duo" or "trio" as well as "solo" space (though the uninterrupted set did include a drum solo 4/5 of the way in, like 82% of live hard bop records). Braxton, though clearly choosing most of the directions taken, and playing 5 or 6 different reeds wonderfully, doesn't go out of his way to feature himself; I gather that cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum has become a key sideman, almost a second leader, since the last time I made more than a cursory dip into Braxtonia. He (Bynum) is a monster, and despite the above note, I'm hardly not going to pretend that hotshot jazz soloing is not a practice in which a good deal of competition and domination resides. There were also some passages where the only musicians playing were 2 or 3 of his current Wesleyan students, including an intriguing guitarist named Mary Halverson, who helped me understand what might have led Braxton to take up with Wolf Eyes for at least long enough to record something (that I still haven't heard).


Totally unrelated: why have I been seeing "different to" instead of "different from" more and more often, especially in theoryish material? Is this a translation thing? What's the home language? Is some fine difference in connotation marked by the change in prepositions? (I find this immediately suspect, as the semantic contribution of prepositions to larger syntactic units is wildly unpredictable; it recently occurred to me that "argue with" and "argue against are nearly synonymous.) Is this the coming "always already" for the late '00s? (And anyway, what most everyone writing in English means by "always already" is no more and no less than what analytic philosophers mean by "necessarily" -- "essentially" having falling out of favor everywhere.)