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RE: (TV) Re: Zappa, WSB and Lou Reed (was: Foxhole)

"Dever, Paul (ELS)" <P.Dever@elsevier.com> wrote:
> Oblique notations that probably 
> ignore your argument, but I can't 
> resist.

Thanks, much appreciated, and they do raise interesting points.
(I'm afraid what follows wonders a bit OT, so other people on the
list may not be interested.)

> > -----Original Message-----
> >
> > A lot of composers have re-using thematic material in 
> > different works, but after a point this becomes 
> > self-plagiarism, doesn't it?   
> Or, to paraphrase from 'Songs for Drella', maybe 
> "it's only work".
> It's definitely some kind of research . . . how 
> many haystacks/cathedrals did Monet paint before 
> he had the thirty he kept? Same question applies 
> to Warhol, but in a context where repetition becomes 
> explicitly integral to meaning, rather than 
> remaining implicit . . .

Visual arts are (or can be) more representational than music.
So of course the same subjects turn up over and over again:
how many Madonna's hang in the Louvre?

It would only be repetition of you somehow mechanically
reproduced the image, as Pop Art did, such as Andy Warhol's
soup cans and brillo boxes.

> Thank god for the electronic reproduction and the way it 
> suits collage, eh?  Taken together, collage and montage 
> are the single most important artistic techniques/conceits 

> of the modern age. (Hyperbole, perhaps, but I'll hang with it). 

Or "be hanged"?  ;-)

Isn't collage/montage really a _different_ art form than composition,
like photography is from painting?

Analogy: it might be fair to say that photography is "the single most 
important" technique in visual arts in the 20th Century (perhaps in
part because it is new).  However, there will always be great painting 
and great painters.  I suspect that the very best of these works
will always be more highly valued than the very best photographs
(certainly true today, by a large margin).

After all, who wouldn't trade their signed Ansel Adams print for an original 
painting by Vermeer or Leonardo?  Or the best sonic "montage" you can 
imagine for one of Mozart's or Stravinski's symphonies?

It's very popular and egalitarian to say that all arts are equal, but
this simply isn't true.  Some provide much greater range for creative,
human input.  As a technique, cutting and splicing is simply a crude and 
granular way of handling of materials.  This doesn't mean that good work
can't be done that way, but it does set limits on what can be accomplished
in a given space.

I have to believe that a major reasons for today's popularity of the 
montage technique in both music and the visual arts is that it doesn't 
require a lot of skill or talent to begin to perform. The mechanics are
quite simple.  The same cannot be said of counterpoint composition or of
figure drawing, where a beginner's work _really_ looks like a beginner's 

Sure, I agree that the montage technique is hard to master.  But anybody 
that can turn a dial can punch in a dub.  

Montage also tends to be a comment upon some other work (a "meta-" text
if you must), which is very modernist and 20th Century but not ultimately 
very interesting.  We are in the 21st Century now!

> I'd say Cage's academic reception kicked in so late
> that he'd already turned to rot. Still and all, mycology
> suited him well. 

Hehehehe!  Yup, he's a mushroom.  

My favorite Cage composition is "Four and One Half Minutes of Silence."  
My only complaints are that it is too short, and that all his works
don't sound like it.

Funny story:  my house mate, who was a music grad student and very 
anxious hob-nob with the famous and well-connected, got a call from
Cage one day.  I happened to answer the phone.  Cage didn't identify 
himself, but I instantly recognized that lisping, conceited voice.  
Holding the phone out a foot or two, I shouted in my best imitation 
of Archie Bunker, "Hey Dan, there's some weirdo on the phone for you!"

> What's WSB good at?  Well, dub (aka cut-ups, aka collage) 
> reverberates throught the universe and brings what isn't yet 
> out into the light.  That's why President Lee Scratch 
> Abraham Perry gets to knock the devil out of the sky. 
> He's the one who can slay the IMF. He'll deprogram your 
> bank cards and your credit cards, and you won't like that! 

Next thing you'll be telling me its connected with Chaos Magic.

> > Of course, once somebody becomes a big enough celebrity
> I'd bet that for all the celebrity the work of Eno/WSB/Cage 
> has garnered, all three would (have) die(d) experimenting 
> in obscurity, if that'd been their fate.  That is, celebrity 
> was coincidental, notthe driving force. Burroughs was doing 
> his routines for 20-30 years before he got noticed, and it was 
> 20-30 years after that before anyone did a double-take. 

When Modernism labored in obscurity, people like this served
a useful purpose.  Now that it's become a 90-year-old orthodoxy,
with High Modernist and Brutalist buildings dominating our cities,
every novel written in stream-of-consciousness, and every composer
trying to sound like Terry Riley, these folks are the high priests
of orthodoxy.

> > Take Lou Reed,  for example.  
> Well, ok, Lou's a different case . . . 

How so?  He seems like the biggest scene-ster, hob-nobber and 
name dropper around.

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