Thursday, February 14, 2008

How I learned about Experimental Music and Sound Art


Actually I haven't really learned about experimental music and sound art yet. I almost don't know what it is at all. I've been to 3 lectures so far, and I've read stuff in books with forewords by Brian Eno. Yes. I like reading the books because every now and then they describe a particularly awesome piece, like George Brecht's Candle Piece for Radios, where the time it takes for birthday cake candles to burn out decides the duration of it.

I still don't know the actual difference between sound art and experimental music, but I'm guessing it's a contextual thing. Like with art. I know about art. I get art. Or at least I'd like to think I do, yet when it comes to sound art and experimental music I tend to discard a lot of it as annoying. Crazy, right? I figured that obviously I feel this way because I know too little about it, so I'm basically just getting enough information to have an educated opinion about this type of music, and hopefully appreciate it in a new way. See, when I think art sucks, I know why that is. But with this stuff I can't tell, because I can't read it. We'll see what happens. Plus learning more about the crazy Futurists and their noise-machines, and collecting memorable John Cage-quotes is pretty fun. The people in my class are really interesting too. There are many sound-guys who start arguing about analogue vs. digital sound every chance they get. There are two guys who both wear their dirty hair in buns on top of their heads (I bet they'll become friends!), a physics professor who makes the music professor nervous with all his knowledge, the girl my x-boyfriend fell in love with after we broke up (she's cool). And of course, my favorite, the 19-year old guy who sleeps through every class. But last time he was extra-awesome because all of a sudden, he woke up, and declared that "whatever, John Cage was just trying to be special".

Brian Eno- By this River


See what I did here? First I casually mentioned Brian Eno, and here I go posting a great song by him. I think it worked out really well. This is my favorite Brian Eno song. About 2 years ago I listened to this album non stop everyday for 2 weeks while I carefully drew a very naturalistic paper bag. Every little crease had to be perfect. Art is wonderful.

Woody Leafer- There are Drums in My Typewriter

Woody Leafer was some sort of beatnik-humorist, and a good friend of the sound artist Henry Jacobs. I don't know much more about him, but I like how wacky he sounds.

Chet Baker- Look for the Silver Lining


Everything about Chet is great. He has a great voice. He always sounds really bored.

Porter Wagoner- The Rubber Room

I actually have nothing to say about this one. Except, it's fantastic. You have probably all heard it before, but it caught me by surprise. "I'm screaming pretty words, trying to make them rhyme. I'm in the rubber room".

Yes. That will be it for now then.

3 Comments:

Blogger Hannah said...

Yeah, most sound art always struck me as being amazing to listen to once, while ruminating on the context and the method and the thought it must have taken to come up with something so weird... but after the first time, if it's aurally just noise, that's all it it... just noise.

February 18, 2008 9:14 PM  
Blogger Laz said...

You're right.You definitely listen to it differently the first time, when all the weird info about it is presented to you. I really love listening to it in class, but I'm never going to be able to pull off listening to sound art casually. For breakfast. Here's a cool piece to watch though:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=832ApdjhMcs

Man, I wish I knew how to make that into a link here. Yeah, I have no idea.

February 19, 2008 11:12 AM  
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