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View Poll Results: Rate!
Excellent 1 25.00%
Very Good 3 75.00%
Solid 0 0%
Average 0 0%
Poor 0 0%
Crap 0 0%
Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-01-2011, 07:54 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Well, this is a tough one. Didn't really have as much time as I wanted to thoroughly dive into it, and that's necessary for this kind of challenging music. I've heard it three of four times and it's a very difficult listening. I've heard it on speakers and then on headphones and it's equally challenging either way. Clutnuckle said: "When you don't pay too much attention to it, it operates almost like a drone record". Hmmm...I didn't find this to be the case for me. When I don't pay a close attention, it becomes irritating, creating a discomfort, or simply inviting me to pay attention. It is intrusive, which drone isn't. I can loose myself in drone, drift away, but with this I am invited to make a considerable effort in connecting between 'random' sounds, to co-create basically. Otherwise it will not make much sense musically.

Perhaps 'inviting' isn't the right word, this music is 'demanding' and that's especially evident through the headphones. Every sound is banging you on the head and fighting for your attention. We can't pay attention to everything at once, it is in our nature to make selections and since the artists didn't do that (at least it doesn't seem like it after a couple of listens), that job is on you. The result is a mind-numbing and exhausting. Come on Ammmusic, give me some hints, meet me half way. But, that's the thing with pure free improvisation, the listener is just a coincidence, hell everything here is a coincidence, without beginning and the end, eternal or more likely non-existent.

I shouldn't even be listening to it recorded, because that's interference with the basic concept of free improvisation, that it should be temporal and based on chance. This music existed only as unprepared sessions at some point in time, in 1966, and it's gone now. The fact that we're able to hear it recorded as many times as we want and to actually learn how to listen to it is cheating. Because that's when we are trying to make a sense out of these sounds, to connect them, to compose. Isn't this completely the opposite of what the musicians are doing? They wanted to create something ephemeral, visceral, that comes from chaotic subconsciousness, outside of reason, absurd and completely coincidental. The presence of a listener is welcomed, but not necessary. But here's a paradox, these sounds are not music until listener connects them, 'cause the musicians didn't connect them, at least not intentionally.

Actually the best parts of this album are when the musicians are connected with each other unintentionally: the long middle parts of 'Later During A Flaming Riviera Sunset' and 'After Rapidly Circling The Plaza', two longest tracks. Maybe the extended duration gives them a chance to completely dive and loose themselves as individuals, thus connecting with each other and making the most sense, at the same time reaching to the listener. Isn't this also a paradox? That total immersion in subconscience actually sounds like composing the most, undermining free improvisation. It is after all our nature to make connections and relations between things, and that drive comes from the inside. That's why I always felt that it takes a lot of mental effort to make a total chance music, because it has to skip our inner drive for connecting, so therefore it is more based on reason, a cold experiment. When Ammmusic breaks into this territory it is at its most unappealing.

So to get back to the start, like I said, I've heard this four times. I'm not really sure if another four times will change anything. This kind of music should be listened only once and live, if one really wants to totally experience the concept, because I suspect that a lot of unexpected and most important things happen between audience and musicians adding to the unpredictable nature of this experiment. I also realized that I have more enjoyment in thinking about the concept of total free improvisation and its possibilities than actually listening to it (thus this long post). For me, this album is impossible to rate. I understand its historical importance and influence, but going by the music alone (that shouldn't even be listened like this) there is a dilemma: Is it a representation of chaos or is it the chaos?
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:14 AM   #12 (permalink)
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That's probably one of the best write-ups this record has ever received.
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:39 AM   #13 (permalink)
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^Oh well I doubt it, but I'm glad you appreciate it. Thank you
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:56 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dankrsta View Post
^Oh well I doubt it, but I'm glad you appreciate it. Thank you
It's very thoughtful and I think the musicians would have a strong tendency to see it from a similar perspective. I think overall I hold it in higher regard than you do but we both agree it's difficult music. It's like wading through Finnegan's Wake. There's a lot of depth there and a lot to be discovered but it takes a lot of time. I think with a lot of 20th C classical stuff, even that which is considerably easier to swallow than this, like say Berio's Sequenza or Elliott Carter's String Quartets the tipping point to 'understanding' this music is getting to where you know what phrases and sections are coming up. I think the same level of depth is probably here, I claim it is although I have to admit these are rough waters to navigate, but instead of 4 or 8 listens, deep appreciation probably doesn't really start to surface until 40 to 80 listens. Of course, I don't know how much time I've invested in Elliott Carter's chamber music but I can tell you it's a lot and it has paid big dividends because I love it so much now.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:30 AM   #15 (permalink)
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It's very thoughtful and I think the musicians would have a strong tendency to see it from a similar perspective. I think overall I hold it in higher regard than you do but we both agree it's difficult music. It's like wading through Finnegan's Wake. There's a lot of depth there and a lot to be discovered but it takes a lot of time. I think with a lot of 20th C classical stuff, even that which is considerably easier to swallow than this, like say Berio's Sequenza or Elliott Carter's String Quartets the tipping point to 'understanding' this music is getting to where you know what phrases and sections are coming up. I think the same level of depth is probably here, I claim it is although I have to admit these are rough waters to navigate, but instead of 4 or 8 listens, deep appreciation probably doesn't really start to surface until 40 to 80 listens. Of course, I don't know how much time I've invested in Elliott Carter's chamber music but I can tell you it's a lot and it has paid big dividends because I love it so much now.
Yeah I know that after many, many listens I can train myself to anticipate phrases and sections, like you said. That's why I said the listener is co-creator and composer of this kind of music. But a lot of modern music is actually composed to seem like it's random, to create a feeling of absurdity. But there is a difference between spontaneous composing and free improvisation in its purest form. Since it's based on coincidence the musicians themselves don't know what's around the corner and where their playing will take them. It is a pure performance intended to be heard live with all its unpredictability and surprise factor, to exist only in time, as opposed to be written and recorded. Who knows how many performances have not been recorded that managed to catch some essence, to create something special, genius maybe. And who knows how many were crap. That's why I feel recording free improvisation is interfering and undermining its concept. But, I'm glad this was recorded, because it provides a constant inspiration and influence on other musicians who use it and apply it in many different ways. And without it being recorded we wouldn't be able to hear it 40 times in order to create our own inner compositions.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:27 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Might as well say this... this album opened my eyes to free improvisational music.
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Old 04-10-2011, 02:18 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Might as well say this... this album opened my eyes to free improvisational music.

Then you should have voted 'excellent' brother.
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Old 04-10-2011, 04:14 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Then you should have voted 'excellent' brother.
I voted "very good" at the very beginning. This was before their music really sank in.
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