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The music scene I'm most often Oct 17, 1999
involved with has no adequate name. January 2000
It is the descendant of Oct 14, 2002
Free Jazz and Modern ACTIVE_NAMING Jul 4, 2004
Classical, the heir to
traditions that include
both Sun Ra and John Cage.
It's best known practitioner is
probably John Zorn of the
"New York Downtown Scene"...
The Bay Area version has a lot in Gino Robair
common with the Downtown players, Dan Plonsey
it also has some unique character Miya Masaoka
of it's own. Tom Nunn
But it has no name of it's own. Positive Knowledge
And the real scene isn't so Fred Frith
tightly geographically Pauline Oliveros
confined... there's no name for Matt Ingalls
this global music either. Philip Gelb
Improvised/Creative/New Music? Walter Kitundu
improvised music To name only
creative music a few...
What's wrong with these names?
aesthetic The "aesthetic"
problems have All of these names
overlap with have completely
practical problems failed to capture Compared to, say,
("marketing"). the attention of "techno", "punk",
the public. or "hip-hop", no
one has heard of
You want to talk marketing,
how are you going to sell
something without a brand?
Improv? But a lot of folks break
out the sheet music on Improvisation is an important
occasion, and "improv" is element, but some people on
a term also used by the scene are more interested
theater people. in composition. They don't
seem out of place on the
scene, but feel left out by
New? It's not the *only* new
music around, and maybe
not even the newest
(e.g. consider jungle Derek Bailey, Tim Perkis and Eugene
and so on). Chadbourne have all done "jungle" by
now, but we can still distinguish
Temporal references in between "new music" and "jungle":
names always cause "new music" claims the right to
problems (you'll know incorporate elements from all
you're in trouble when others.
people start talking
Bad enough was Sam Prestiani's
term: "The New Thing Part II"
(an article in the old SF Weekly.)
(Not to mention
Creative? Everyone likes to think
that they're creative... Terms like "avant garde"
this is a little like have similar problems
calling your side "the e.g. you get to the point
good guys". where you have an
The "moral "avant garde tradition".
Does Beck do creative majority"
music? DJ Spooky? problem.
The fact that there's a
chain called "The Good
Guys" is a case in point.
"... one thing im starting to realise is the term 'new
music' sucks - not only for the obvious reasons, but
because it doesnt work for finding our kind of music
on internet search engines - but what are the
Matt J. Ingalls, Mar 16, 2000,
on the firstname.lastname@example.org list
So, if someone appointed me name czar,
I would immediately issue two edicts:
o No names with temporal references (like "new").
o No empty positives (like "creative", "good", etc.)
And I hereby issue a request for names that are
distinctive, sale-able, and hopefully descriptive.
I haven't yet come up with a good one myself.
My best tries at coming
up with a new name for Most of these sound like
new music have not be better band names than
successes: genre names.
"Zounds" At least it
has a Z in it... ZORN_ADVANTAGE
The short form.
Consider the possibility of
inventing a new prefix or suffix.
music geeks love to play with blank-core
made-up recombinant genres. something-metal
"imp-" is (Myself, I'm still
better than waiting for
"Imp". industrial-folk to
Not just "free-jazz".
Post Cage music. HONEST_JOHN
from all musics...
"Unpredictable Music" (Mar 7, 2001)
"Transbay" (Jul 4, 2004)
A play off of
By itself, it has
Sounds a bit like a The Bay Area has
bus-line, but many musics.
for using geography
to dodge defining
the essence, Geographic references have
e.g. "the New York their own problems though.
Downtown Scene". Am I supposed to lose interest
in a band if they move to
It's the trouble
with the "Downtown"
handle, the reason
we can't just use it.
Maybe the prefix 'trans-'?
The Beanbenders Scene ?
Other people's tries:
"non-idiomatic" not too bad...)
Is it really a music without
idioms, or music in a new
(newer?) idiom (or set of And once the new idioms seem
idioms?) whose nature isn't old, what are you going to
yet entirely clear. call the new thing if the old
thing is "non-idiomatic"?
It also has a grossly
academic sound to it. "Really and truly
Majorly unsexy. non-idiomatic
Maybe I should add a last time music"?
third edict: no
negatives. You need
to say what it is,
not what it ain't. Though, it may be possible to hide
that you're doing this with the use
of the magically ambiguous word
"free", as in the case of "free jazz"
"unpopular"; "unpop" (courtesy of Pamela Z)
Not bad as a joke.
But it's got bad Many of my ideas were
problems: bounced on the same
Ah, one last rule:
No more adjectives!
You can't just tack
on more adjectives:
Or: no more *additional*
More adjectives isn't adjectives. If you could
going to get you replace that chain with
something that will one single adjective
take off like you'd be okay...
"hip-hop" or "punk".
A recent idea from
Tim Perkis and Dan Plonsey:
I think "Transbay Music"
is the clear winner.
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