The Other Side of Nostalgia Bent
Leather Band: Joanne Cannon and Stuart Favilla
Music category: experimental electronic
free music; live studio recording; improvisation; lightharp and
serpentine bassoon MIDI instruments; live audio processing with
MaxMSP; plus one solo bassoon composition "Truffles and Foie
Gras"; plus one interactive bassoon work "candlelit".
Audio CD US$19.00 inc Worldwide Postage
the other side of nostalgia [18:38]
gaslight serenade [7:53]
truffles & foie gras [9:48]
free lunch [13:53]
total time [70:27]
Side of Nostalgia
The music on this disc pays homage
to some of our favorite musicians from the past. In reaction I
guess, to the installation and new media trend in computer music,
our music remains somewhat unfashionable. For instance; we deal
with a live music paradigm, secondly we create our own musical
language, thirdly we have constructed specialised instruments
and lastly we aspire to virtuosity not accessibility.
The works of the following artists
have helped us to create our music: Bruno Bartolozzi [New Sounds
for Woddwind], Milton Babbitt [RCA Synth], Derek Bailey [MIA],
Anthony Braxton [selected works], Cornelius Cardew [Scratch Music],
John Coltrane [late free playing], Percy Grainger [Free Music],
Daniel Kinetzy [Computer Sax], Hugh LeCaine [Sackbut], Max Mathews
[Score following for Radio Drum], Harry Partch [tuning systems
and folk music], Sergio Penazzi [bassoon techniques], Oska Sala
[Mixtur Trautonium], L.Subramanium [Gamaka and Raga], Karlheinz
Stockhausen [Cosmic Music and game pieces], Xiannis Xenakis [UPIC].
This list is by no means exhaustive but may reveal a sense of
the "pioneer" in our music.
In fact it is almost impossible today
to describe anything as either new or significant in music. The
spirit of "pioneering" was part of a cold war world.
Now the artistic shoreline is engulfed by an ocean of capitalism,
cronies and a the spirit of free [not fair] trade. The advertising
mantra of sex, status and luxury destinations underpins today's
successful art. Craft for the computer musician, has become the
ability to constantly update to the common market denominator.
Musicians have become producers; their identities increasingly
shaped by the technologies voice and no their own spirited hacking.
Art is becoming prefab, music is becoming decor, craft is disappearing-redundant.
In this context we describe our music
as "nostalgic". However unlike other nostalgic music
styles, our music is not concerned with historical re-enactment,
cool haircuts, lo-fi, minimalism, ambience, retro fashion or sampled
loops from the past. It is concerned with the other side of nostalgia;
the spirit of the "pioneer"; hacking synthesizers and
audio plugins; building instruments; pushing technique to the
limit; creating playing and believing in challenging music while
forgetting about what success means today.
Bent Leather Band [Jon Rose]
One of the worst indications of a
culture in decline is shown in the way in which the new orthodoxy
passes through the media unquestioned. With to the practice of
music, I have come across a number of articles in such magazines
as The Wire or, more locally, Real Time which have obviously been
written by people who have never spent any 'Real length of time'
anywhere near the process of creating live music...well certainly
not for a living anyway. Out of a list of dumb art statements
on contemporary music, probably the most reductive is the idea
that a lap top IS a musical instrument. This is not the space
or even the space bar to go into the problem in detail but to
say it clearly, even a simple musical instrument must have some
sort of direct physiological feedback, otherwise by definition,
it cannot be a musical instrument. I'm sorry but hitting the return
button to spew out endlessly repeatable digitised of someone'
else's musical experience (usually) does not get within a monkey's
fart of being a musician working with a musical instrument. If
we are going to replace all that scraping, plucking, hitting and
blowing that's been going on over the last 100,000 years, it's
gonna have to be a darn sight more hands on than is presently
possible with a lap top (which doesn't care if you are doing your
e-mail, twiddling your mouse in a graphics programme, or pumping
out compressed bass drum beats in 4/4).
Well the good news is that there are
a few people around the globe that have been dealing with this
problem. It is very early days and there hasn't been much development
as yet but there has been some limited success with real world
to midi sensors, trying to bring some physicality to the inert
plastic. It's quite crude stuff but the work goes on in a few
funded institutions and more importantly among the mavericks of
contemporary music, yes in Australia too.
Recently I had the good fortune to
come across the work of Stuart Favilla and Joanne Cannon. With
their kids falling about over the leads at odd moments and a very
'back yards of Melbourne' approach to improvisation, these two
launched themselves into half a dozen demo-come-concerts which
were wonderfully fresh and without pretension. The music stopped
and started, fumed and erupted, turned off at obscure angles like
a reconstituted 1960's Holden fitted with two steering wheels
in the hands of a couple of jackaroos. The music never reached
the end, they just stopped somehow suddenly, like good music so
often does. They resisted the temptation, of a number of couples
playing improvisation, of hamming it up in a domestic argument
or worse, going all new age, warm and fuzzy. I enjoyed their unfashionable
use of dynamics... [Jon Rose]