State of Improvisation 2010

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hatta
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State of Improvisation 2010

Post by hatta »

Let me start off by saying that I pretty much think that ihatemusic is irrelevant in 2010, with the most vital voices having drifted away, or operating at a minimal level. This is pretty much why I rarely post here (in contrast to the reasons recently given in this thread). I say this not so much as to make it the topic of conversation here, but as a challenge for this discussion to go beyond the superficially of music enthusiasm. Because in part I think there is increasingly less to say about contemporary improvisation as there isn't much of interest going on. I barely find myself able to raise interest in new releases from the usual suspect and when I do am almost always disappointed. Many of the releases given thumbs up by those whose opinions I respect just seem like more of the same - little risk, little innovation; in short predictable. And I'd argue that good improvisation, in whatever subset you focus on, is always unpredictable in one way or another. Motubachii has been I think the only notable improv record I've heard from this year. At the same time there has been an increased interest in composed music, especially composed music that I think captures aspects of the last decade of interesting improvisation. Though frankly there isn't really much excitement there but some exploration of ideas that I think may lead somewhere.

So the question is for the members of this forum is where do you think improvisation is today? What if anything is pushing the envelop, taking the risks, capturing interest. Is there anything genuinely exciting going on? And can you say how, or why -- I'm certainly not interested in lists of albums, that is not the state of anything.
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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by Dohol »

Because in part I think there is increasingly less to say about contemporary improvisation as there isn't much of interest going on
To the contrary, I think there's so much of interest going on that it's hard to
keep track of it all...( although a fair amount of it isn't to my taste )


I would agree there's a bit of a tired patch going on right now, but I think that's got more to do with the state of the world than the state of the music..
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hatta
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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by hatta »

Such as? I mean not a list of things you think are interesting, I mean more of an overview of these things. As an example of what I mean, I fairly recently sent this reply to an individual who asked me if I thought that recent increased awareness of drone impacted EAI. My last graph of my reply to him could be thought of as I what I think the state of EAI in 2010 is:
If one speaks though of the very present, that is 2010, I tend to think that EAI as a genre is pretty much done. I mean there are people still making it, but its like people who are playing bebop - it's bebop but it doesn't have the energy or vitality and excitement it did in its innovative years. Most of the movers and shakers in the genre have more or less either drifted into post-EAI genres, some of which are maybe more droney (ala Ambarchi) but I'd say the majority are exploring the other components that the genre has utilized (field recordings, pop forms, modern composition, post-experimental composition techniques, noise, musique concrete and the like). The rest more or less have become parodies of themselves, rehashing old ideas or trading on historical notions (in a sort of Wynton Marsalis kind of way). So basically I'd say that any sort of increased awareness of drone (and noise for that matter) has not really impacted EAI, as it moved away from it early on (and it actually had a certain amount of stigma attached to it) and has now fragmented into other forms or irrelevancy.
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Stephen
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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by Stephen »

That last paragraph seems a pretty fair assessment, except that all of the tendencies that you list as 'post-eai' have been kicking for several decades. They also all tend more towards composition (in its many forms), which is hardly surprising seeing as this 'scene' is built upon (as you imply) lists of records, rather than of live gigs.

I've never had a vested interest in what you call eai or in improvisation, and personally I feel there are plenty of exciting things going on currently in music to keep me in fairly constant anticipation, even just the records with mr Pisaro's name to them this year looks like being an impressive collection of forward looking music.

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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by hatta »

I don't really intend to moderate this thread, so this will be about it from me.
Stephen wrote:That last paragraph seems a pretty fair assessment, except that all of the tendencies that you list as 'post-eai' have been kicking for several decades.
Yes this is true, but you misunderstand what I'm saying here. "EAI" is a weighted average of a bunch of "tendencies ", if you push one of the components you are using too far it it tends to become that. So all of what makes up "eai" has been as you say "kicking for several decades". What I mean by post-eai is that it is a different set of weighted averages, that uses those elements listed (among many more of course) to create something that can be seen as in the lineage but not quite what has been codified as eai.
Stephen wrote:They also all tend more towards composition (in its many forms), which is hardly surprising seeing as this 'scene' is built upon (as you imply) lists of records, rather than of live gigs.
This is an interesting point and pretty much what I found most interesting about those two essays linked in the Onkyo thread. I've always held a torch for seeing this music live and have constantly tried to press people to talk about shows more as I feel that it is this aspect that is really vital. I think that (here especially) its been too recording focused, which is perhaps understandable, but I think that along with the recordings descriptions of what the scene is like goes a long way (though obviously being there is the ideal, but impossible in a global music for most of us).

Stephen wrote:I've never had a vested interest in what you call eai or in improvisation, and personally I feel there are plenty of exciting things going on currently in music to keep me in fairly constant anticipation, even just the records with mr Pisaro's name to them this year looks like being an impressive collection of forward looking music.
Again, what are the things that are generating this excitement. Is it just Pisaro's music? I personally love quite a bit of his music (which I also think is better live, fwiw) but I dunno, excitement seems a bit strong to me....
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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by jon abbey »

I'm not sure I should get into this too much (not that it ever stops me), but I'll agree it's been a sad year for recorded improvisation thus far (although the Foster/Parks double CD deserves major props).
Stephen wrote: this 'scene' is built upon (as you imply) lists of records, rather than of live gigs.
not sure I agree about this, the ErstQuake and AMPLIFY fests all have spurred tons of discussion and have had plenty of impact amongst both musicians and fans. of course, records are more lasting and universal than concerts, which not everyone can attend.
even just the records with mr Pisaro's name to them this year looks like being an impressive collection of forward looking music.
I certainly agree with this, and he has plenty more in the works, but I agree with Robert that it's slim pickings after that (and of course Michael's work isn't improvised.)

anyway, it's a complex topic. I definitely think there's still room for improvised music releases to be cutting-edge, but there's probably a lot less room than there was seven or eight years ago.

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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by schiksalgemeinschaft »

the reasons major contributors have drifted away from IHM seem to me to have less to do with the state of music than with the atmosphere of the board itself. arguing about what should go where, what threads have been derailed by off-topic comments, what is below the line, etc., and an "academic" thought-police-vibe (to which, ironically, some of the major contributors of days gone by contributed a lot), etc, etc, drive people into the solipsisme of blogs and lurking.

that said, I'm listening more and more to black metal again, yes. besides some Ersts (esp. motubatchii) and some Pisaros, it all more or less sounds the same indeed. some good records for sure (the recent batch on Another Timbre, e.g.), but nothing new. But then again, I remember some people dismissing the notion of originality as crucial, so I guess we're back to square one.

Should we really have a discussion about what exactly is "post-eai"? Christ. Maybe everybody in here is simply getting too old...

Anyhow, let's get the fires going.

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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by billygomberg »

so, say this has been a dull year for recordings. I've still found plenty to listen to in "this genre" (EAI or whatever is clever), and truly enjoy - as Jon mentioned, Parks/Foster, the SOFA label has really kept me listening, Motubachii has me in the consensus as well (to name a handful of example off the top of my head). I've missed a LOT of concerts b/c of work, but I've caught some great stuff anyway. I love music

yeah, things are spreading out and reforming. materials, techniques and interests change, it's ok. I like to see what happens next, and I think a lot of the "leading minds" out there are interested in this change as well. I think folks like Jon are interested in curating it. If this means "more composition" (or "more Pisaro"), hey great. there are some beautiful recordings being made.

I'm not so interesting boo-hoo'ing the state of things, as I am interested in seeing where change is occuring, and how this is manifesting across performances and recordings. I think this in particular is where Motubachii is so perplexing - the evidence of change.

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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by simon reynell »

Interesting questions well worth considering, though I’m not going to say much either.

Shik wrote: I remember some people dismissing the notion of originality as crucial.

Cutting edge originality is certainly exciting, and brings with it a buzz of energy, but there’s plenty of music I love that isn’t / wasn’t ever particularly cutting edge, from Byrd or Bach to John Russell or Michael Pisaro. Yes, Pisaro. It’s bizarre that he’s being quoted as cutting edge or a new direction for 2010. His music has certainly developed in recent years, but in an evolutionary way. Though many people here only discovered him in the past 18 months, the revolutionary changes in his music happened some 15 years ago (‘Mind is Moving’ dates from 1996) and I don’t think any of the pieces released on CD this year were actually composed in 2010. I love a lot of his music, but if it’s originality you’re after, then imo Antoine Beuger and Manfred Werder are more radical / original figures (though I generally don’t like their music as much). Pisaro is arguably consolidating breakthroughs that they and other early Wandelweisers made in the early 90’s.

As to improv, the past 8 years or so have also been more about consolidation than revolution, but again imo there’s no harm in that. There’ve been similar periods before, and there will doubtless be again. And when the pace of change quickens once more – as I’m sure it will one day - it will probably come in areas that we aren’t focusing on. And some people here won’t like the new things that emerge. They’ll be championed by a younger generation with slightly different sensibilities who will be frustrated by what they see as the antiquated tastes and orthodoxies of IHM.

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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by faster »

People who seek novelty will inevitably eventually succumb to ennui.
You, of all people, should understand

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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by billygomberg »

faster wrote:People who seek novelty will inevitably eventually succumb to ennui.
fucking quotable, that.

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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by Dohol »

billygomberg wrote:
faster wrote:People who seek novelty will inevitably eventually succumb to ennui.
fucking quotable, that.

I'm gonna get that tattooed somewhere..
“In a kind of middle-aged crisis, it dawned upon me that there was a possibility that music might not even be an art form.”

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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by jon abbey »

simon reynell wrote: Yes, Pisaro. It’s bizarre that he’s being quoted as cutting edge or a new direction for 2010. His music has certainly developed in recent years, but in an evolutionary way. Though many people here only discovered him in the past 18 months, the revolutionary changes in his music happened some 15 years ago (‘Mind is Moving’ dates from 1996) and I don’t think any of the pieces released on CD this year were actually composed in 2010. I love a lot of his music, but if it’s originality you’re after, then imo Antoine Beuger and Manfred Werder are more radical / original figures (though I generally don’t like their music as much). Pisaro is arguably consolidating breakthroughs that they and other early Wandelweisers made in the early 90’s.
this is another discussion, and I think it links to the different perspectives on length that you and I have. I'm far from as much of a Pisaro expert as some others (far from tops in my own house), but to me the leap from Mind is Moving I to his more recent longer works (or even the shorter, gemlike 'July Mountain') is quantum, like that of early Feldman to late. you've (Simon) stated the opposite preference here, which is maybe why you don't get the hubbub. I would agree that both Beuger and Werder are generally more extreme than Pisaro, but to me I guess the equivalent is along the lines of Sugimoto to Rowe.

as for the dates, you're certainly right that his most recent work hasn't made it out on disc, but that doesn't mean people haven't heard any of it. Michael has played concerts all over the place in the last few years (Robert was specifically referring to a recent Seattle one he saw above), often with premiere material. my favorite of any of his pieces that I've heard thus far is the one he did at Experimental Intermedia last December ('asleep, street, pipes, tones'), which Brian O wrote up here.

http://olewnick.blogspot.com/2009/12/be ... isaro.html

anyway, hopefully Gravity Wave will help to cut down on the time between composition and recording release, that's the idea.

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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by billygomberg »

Dohol wrote:
billygomberg wrote:
faster wrote:People who seek novelty will inevitably eventually succumb to ennui.
fucking quotable, that.

I'm gonna get that tattooed somewhere..
tramp stamp it

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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by Jesse »

simon reynell wrote:
And some people here won’t like the new things that emerge. They’ll be championed by a younger generation with slightly different sensibilities who will be frustrated by what they see as the antiquated tastes and orthodoxies of IHM.
Joe had the bon mot, but Simon's summary here is as pith- the entire history of the avant-garde is intrinsically parasitical. it's only a matter of time.
With respect to Robert [which I have, I'm a Spiral Staircase reader], I'm not going to risk arguing tastes. Too much history here. Robert doesn't hear much to his liking in improv, particularly viz-a-viz mind-stopping innovation, no problem. I don't expect much of that in any creative area, in any given decade, so my expectations are not thwarted. I am free to deeply enjoy [or simply respect] a great deal of what's being released, and remain open to, and happily surprised, by true innovations. The regard for Pisaro is clear, though I wonder how much of that from many improv fans here is fueled by a paucity of equal time and attention given to other composers.
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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by faster »

Jesse wrote:Spiral Staircase reader
Not reading carefully enough ;)
You, of all people, should understand

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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by Jesse »

Cage.

:D
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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by Dan Warburton »

hatta wrote:Let me start off by saying that I pretty much think that ihatemusic is irrelevant in 2010
Great start to what ought to be the most interesting thread here for a while, I have to say.
hatta wrote:with the most vital voices having drifted away, or operating at a minimal level.
Yes, I'm sorry the likes of Richard Pinnell, Cor Fuhler and Julien Skrobek don't post here anymore (much) - though I know RP still lurks - I regret that arguments weren't allowed to run their vituperative course without moderation. (But don't let's open this can o' worms again, yawn). And what became of Ruairi (Fearandpanic)?
hatta wrote:in part I think there is increasingly less to say about contemporary improvisation as there isn't much of interest going on. I barely find myself able to raise interest in new releases from the usual suspect and when I do am almost always disappointed. Many of the releases given thumbs up by those whose opinions I respect just seem like more of the same - little risk, little innovation; in short predictable.
I'm sad to say I agree with this almost entirely. The "scene" such as it is has certainly settled down (stagnated, if you prefer) into "some kind of orthodoxy." Not that I have any problems with the idea of settling down, consolidation - the "make it new" has never interested me as much as "make it good", as I wrote elsewhere, but even so I seem to find very little that moves me any more. But that's maybe just me - in any case this year there doesn't seem to be much going on anywhere, not just in improv. When mags like the Wire start enthusing about appalling early 80s trash like Marquis de Sade, you're know you're in trouble. Can't understand the fuss being made about all this dumb synth noodling (Oneohtrix, Emeralds..), Noise seems to interest me less and less (though I was never really a huge fan to start with), the New Weird folk twiddles seem to have run their course, and all this "hypnagogic" shit bores me to death. Have spent most of this week listening to old postpunk stuff from the early 80s, and still amazed how fresh and creative that period was. Check out The Box, The Cravats, (early) Associates, the Inca Babies.. anyway, back to improv.
hatta wrote:the question is for the members of this forum is where do you think improvisation is today? What if anything is pushing the envelop, taking the risks, capturing interest. Is there anything genuinely exciting going on? And can you say how, or why -- I'm certainly not interested in lists of albums, that is not the state of anything.
Conceptually, I think the Mattin / Blairon / Saladin crew are exploring interesting areas, but the ideas rarely translate into things I actually enjoy listening to. And the things I have liked recently - particularly any of the recent Rhodri Davies outings (it's been a great year for Rhodri releases, I think) - aren't really pushing the envelope. Like you (I think, Robert), I enjoy a bit of danger in this kind of music, so I've enjoyed the Battus / Sehnaoui Potlatch release much more than, say, the Hayward / Fabbriciani on Another Timbre, very fine though that is.
But, partly in response to my own musings over in the Intransitive magazine
http://www.intransitiverecordings.com/r ... ean-part-3 , I think I'm going to stop trying to see a Big Picture which, as Seth Nehil posts in the comments below the piece, might not even be there in the first place. Even so, trying to choose my album of the year (a dull chore but obligatory for Wire scribblers) is going to be very, very difficult this year.
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Miguel Prado
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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by Miguel Prado »

Hi to all,
I agree with many things that were discussed here, but also i think that it´s a few people that is doing something new in the ways of improv (Taku Unami, Takahiro Kawauchi, Marc Baraon, Loic Blairon, people from Seoul) and maybe (except motubachii) hasn't translated so well to disc yet.
the duo Taku Unami/Takahiro Kawaguchi it´s forcomming in erstwhile, and they seems to intended to seek new experiences through live shows and performance.

Also i see that some people including previous and adding Mattin, the incursion into the world of improv from the philosopher Ray Brassier (recorded in the text and disk Idioms & Idiots), mysef and many more, are trying to get a way to put improvisation as a form of generate more theory than noise, these means a lot of attemps, in different fields, and maybe more conected with performance, try to put the ideas on a text, or do live shows, is an embryonic time, i find it very interesting, and the people form arika (unninstall, KYTN) i think that they is given sapce for these kind of experiments. Also there isn´t any documments on record of this.

Also It´s clear that a lot of people, now have more interest in compostion.

For me now, are a handful of people that are taking risks in this kind of music, maybe some things are chaging and the people need more time to try things before to put in a record.

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Re: State of Improvisation 2010

Post by Stephen »

hatta wrote: Again, what are the things that are generating this excitement.
To take just one example I was fairly excited by the Michael Moser Resonant Cuts release. To me its conflation of Lucier-y process composition with improvised playing is in a lot of ways more (to me) interesting than the latest stunning duo of practised players. There is something about people playing within a framework set by an unflinching patch which has no way of responding that says so much more about life today than any conversational, laminal or gestural interchange between players [and I'm afraid I am probably bringing fine art language to bear on my understanding of the work]. I know that in some ways this is a piece which nods heavily to the past, and the music on the discs is probably not 'innovative' (yawn), but that isn't what my ears/brain value.

Acts Have Consequences is great too, it floors me regularly, but the only new thing I hear there is Kevin's plucking - which again seems an example of someone digging around in past modes/forms in search of a way of moving forward.

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