Showing posts tagged music

In today’s strained environment for arts support, the funding wonderland of Norway can incite jealousy. Yes, Norway is an oil-rich country; it also allots a respectable percentage of its oil wealth to pioneering art, making it a model for exactly what well-spent money for the arts can engender.

Especially in jazz. Public support has helped the country’s improvised-music scene expand from a handful of artists in the late ’60s to a thriving network of recording, performing and educational opportunities today. It’s not perfect, of course; I’ll address some chinks in Norway’s funding armor. But the country’s improvised music flourishes largely on public support.

Michelle Mercer via How Norway Funds A Thriving Jazz Scene  (via nprmusic)

I’ve never understood why jazz and classical music are consider fine art, ripe for public funding, while more contemporary expressions are generally not. I’ve thought of this as an American phenomenon in the past, but it isn’t.

Now that shows I recall seeing in the early 1990’s (that video was just a part of the performance, fyi) are being blandly and drudgingly imitated by some of today’s video artists, I wonder if this is simply a result of limited thinking. Unfamiliarity with a genre, especially a rapidly-changing one, leads critics and art communities to dismiss creative and exciting work until it can be categorized and anointed as officially “art.”

[I should add that I would frankly greatly prefer to hear Norwegian jazz than the thriving Norwegian black metal. While the immaturity of most black metal disqualify it from having an “art” label, its relentless literalism and pedantry could potentially overcome that. Perhaps, as a positive outcome, an embrace from the art world could cause its murderous nationalists to flee the popular music and culture scene.]

Still, it is interesting to see an imported genre of American music evolve as official “art” in another country. I can’t help but wonder how or whether the embrace of official art culture can lead, there as here in the US, to innovation instead of embalming.

Good report this morning on npr on a key song of my youth.
nprmusic:


The through-line that makes “Sign o’ the Times” an American Dream anthem for the Hip-Hop Nation is its honest glance at the nation’s ills. Like Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” of the Vietnam era, Prince’s “Sign o’ the Times” examines a litany of problems then plaguing the country. “In France, a skinny man died of a big disease with a little name,” Prince sings, mentioning AIDS — relatively new in the world at the time — in the very first line. “By chance his girlfriend came across a needle and soon she did the same,” he continues, with a heroin allusion. The first verse ends with references to crack, machine guns and Chicago’s Gangster Disciples gang.

—Miles Marshall Lewis, via My American Dream Sounds Like Prince

Good report this morning on npr on a key song of my youth.

nprmusic:

The through-line that makes “Sign o’ the Times” an American Dream anthem for the Hip-Hop Nation is its honest glance at the nation’s ills. Like Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” of the Vietnam era, Prince’s “Sign o’ the Times” examines a litany of problems then plaguing the country. “In France, a skinny man died of a big disease with a little name,” Prince sings, mentioning AIDS — relatively new in the world at the time — in the very first line. “By chance his girlfriend came across a needle and soon she did the same,” he continues, with a heroin allusion. The first verse ends with references to crack, machine guns and Chicago’s Gangster Disciples gang.

—Miles Marshall Lewis, via My American Dream Sounds Like Prince

The Replacements, Here Comes A Regular
Tom Waits, Union Square
M Ward, Stars of Leo
Dead Confederate, The Rat
Bright Eyes, Shell Games
Radiohead, Faust Arp
Blitzen Trappen, Furr
Beth Orton, Ted’s Waltz
The Postal Service, District Sleeps Alone Tonight
Head Like A Kite, No Ordinary Caveman
Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard, Breathe Our Iodine
Maximum Balloon, Absence of Light feat. Tunde Adepimpe
Radiohead, 15 Step
Heavy Trash, Bedevilment
Modest Mouse, Little Motel
Iron and Wine, Homeward, These Shoes
Midnight Masses, Walk On Water
Eels, Fresh Blood
The Frames, The Dancer
Portastatic, I wanna know girls

The Replacements, Here Comes A Regular

Tom Waits, Union Square

M Ward, Stars of Leo

Dead Confederate, The Rat

Bright Eyes, Shell Games

Radiohead, Faust Arp

Blitzen Trappen, Furr

Beth Orton, Ted’s Waltz

The Postal Service, District Sleeps Alone Tonight

Head Like A Kite, No Ordinary Caveman

Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard, Breathe Our Iodine

Maximum Balloon, Absence of Light feat. Tunde Adepimpe

Radiohead, 15 Step

Heavy Trash, Bedevilment

Modest Mouse, Little Motel

Iron and Wine, Homeward, These Shoes

Midnight Masses, Walk On Water

Eels, Fresh Blood

The Frames, The Dancer

Portastatic, I wanna know girls

Gravitate To Me

The The, “Gravitate To Me” - 1989

"You will come to me, to lay by my side

To stroke my head, to cuddle my flesh,

And to quell the torrents, in my subterranean depths”

This came up on the iPod this week, and it’s held up surprisingly well over the past twenty-two (!) years. The horns juxtaposed with the bass do date it a bit, but Johnny Marr’s harmonica and jangling guitar keep it from sounding too much like 1990.

I bought this cd when still choosing between tape, disc or vinyl. Wow it’s old.

Sixteen Years

The Jazz Butcher, “Sixteen Years”

Privatised hospitals 
Privatised water 
Privatised electric 
Privatised gas 
Privatised buses 
Privatised railways 
Privatised garbage 
Privatised jails

I hate you…