The music scene I'm most often                        Oct 17, 1999
  involved with has no adequate name.                   January 2000
                                                        May     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
                                                    Beth Custer
But it has no name of it's own.                     Positive Knowledge
                                                    Moe Staiano
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
                                                    Carla Kilhstedht
  Improvised/Creative/New Music?                    Walter Kitundu

improvised music                                       To name only
creative music                                         a few...
new music
experimental music
art music

What's wrong with these names?

many problems:
    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?

Logical problems:


  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
                                            this terminology.
  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
             about "post-new"
                                      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 ba-newmus@eartha.mills.edu 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.
          A little
          too cute?

                  Consider the possibility of
                  inventing a new prefix or suffix.
                  music geeks love to play with         blank-core
                  made-up recombinant genres.           something-metal
            So maybe
            "imp-" is                                     (Myself, I'm still
            better than                                   waiting for
            "Imp".                                        industrial-folk to
                                                          catch on).

                 Not just "free-jazz".
                 Post Cage music.           HONEST_JOHN


                 Combining influences
                 from all musics...

                           (into one
                            plastic wad?)

   "Unpredictable Music"                                   (Mar  7, 2001)

   "Transbay"                                              (Jul  4, 2004)

                 A play off of
                 the current
                                         By itself, it has
                                         clarity problems.
                 Sounds a bit like a     The Bay Area has
                 bus-line, but           many musics.
                 there's precedent
                 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-'?
   Downtown West
                                                Transgenic Music
   Off-off-downtown                                                    (5/1/05)
                                                    TransImp   (simp?)
     (Way-off?)                                     TransNew

  The Beanbenders Scene ?
Other people's tries:
                                                            (That's actually
"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
                                                music"?  "More
                                                non-idiomatic than
     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...
             "electronica" or
             "hip-hop" or "punk".


A recent idea from
Tim Perkis and Dan Plonsey:

   "Nameless Music"


                                     I think "Transbay Music"
                                     is the clear winner.