Favorite Street – Jon Raskin
BOOKSThe Dying Grass
William T. Vollman
This is volume 5 of Vollman’s “Seven Dream” cycle that looks at the European invasion of North America, starting with “The Ice Shirt” about the Norse colony in Newfoundland. It describes the Nez Perce relocation from their previous reservation to a new home 1/10 the size because gold was discovered on the land. It is told in the narrative of the individual participants from all sides: settlers, soldiers, various tribes in region. It also reaches back into General Howard’s life and his role in the Civil War as the commissioner of the Freedman’s Bureau to help freed slaves start a life in the south. I learned that Howard University was named after General Howard. The book touches on race, manifest destiny and religion from all the different narratives which portray the story, and it can be challenge to understand the overall motion of the story. But, it gets at much that is still in play in American life.
In 2017 Rova will collaborate with the site-specific Bay Area theatre company We Players, and movement-performance ensemble inkBoat using the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf as source material. In the reading group we formed this fall, Grendel was recommended: a retelling of the story from the monsters point of view. The monster, Grendel, is modeled after Jean-Paul Sartre, and much of what Grendel says is drawn directly from Sartre. Grendel lives in a much longer time frame than humans who fascinate and appall him. Gardner’s book looks at loneliness, myth, despair and narrative.
MUSIC VIDEOBLOOD MOON ORCHESTRA AND THE VA'V
PC has joined with virtuoso Van-Anh Vanessa Vo (dan tranh & dan bau), South Bay rapper DEM ONE and filmmaker Christopher PaperSon Woon for "Moving Train", a song and music video featuring fresh sounds and harsh truths. Local musicians doing good work.
Session I Improvisation of Genius of Jazz
CHARLIE PARKER alto sax and COLEMAN HAWKINS tenor sax (date 1950) with: Hank Jones - Piano, Ray Brown - Double bass, Buddy Rich - Drums.
This is a wonderful track, with live footage of some of the jazz greats playing in a relaxed setting.
The Bean and Bird, 1950
A beautiful bhajan performed in Brahmnaad Raag Hansadhwani in Art of Living Satsang by 1094 sitar players ranging from 7 to 70, and full section of tabla players with some good solos by guest artists on violin, bansouri and vocals.
FILMS (Theatre and DVD)Ex Machina (2015) Alex Garland
A great version of the relationship of humans to machines and questions what is human and artificial intelligence. Lots of interesting power dynamics between the Boss/Inventor, Lottery Winner/Everyman and the robot.
(New World Records)
Composer, Julius Eastman
My friend, writer Carla Harryman, recommend this recording recently, and it’s been in rotation ever since. It is a 3-disc set of Julius Eastman’s (1940-1990) signature works: Stay On It; If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich; Prelude to The Holy Presence of Joan d'Arc; The Holy Presence of Joan d'Arc; Gay Guerrilla; Evil Nigger; Crazy Nigger; and Spoken Introduction to Northwestern University Concert)
It contains vocal, piano and various ensemble pieces—works very different from each other. As the titles indicate, Eastman had a point of view he was committed to. His scores are interesting to see.
Clarke Robinson is an electronic musician and improviser living in the San Francisco Bay Area. A longtime fan of punk rock, avant-garde jazz, and coffee; he now also enjoys synthesizers, electroacoustic improvisation, and tea. We share an interest in the Chimera Synthesizers and this work is a BC16 and were improvised and recorded in a parking garage with battery powered equipment.
Tales of Captain Black
James Blood Ulmer
Tales of Captain Black, an album by American guitarist James Blood Ulmer, features Ornette Coleman, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, and Denardo Coleman, and was recorded in 1978. It was originally available on the Artist House label. This is a great recording of Ornette’s ideas. If you don’t know this, check it out and if you haven’t listened to it in a long time, get reacquainted with some great music.
Cecil Taylor Segments II (Orchestra of Two Continents)
Winged Serpent (Sliding Quadrants)
Black Saint CD
This recording has been in rotation lately and the playing, composing, recording quality is exceptional. It was recorded in Milan at Studio 7 in October of 1984. The clarity in even the most complex moments is a joy. Taylor's playing is especially engaging, and there are a few passages that take my breath away.
Alto Saxophone, Voice – Jimmy Lyons (2)
Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Voice – Gunter Hampel
Bass, Voice – William Parker
Bassoon, Voice – Karen Borca
Drums, Percussion, Voice – Andre Martinez
Drums, Voice – Rashied Bakr
Piano, Voice – Cecil Taylor
Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Voice – John Tchicai
Tenor Saxophone, Voice – Frank Wright
Trumpet, Voice – Enrico Rava, Tomasz Stańko
Music for Reeds and Electronics
This was a great project, and I’m especially happy with it because I got to do some electronics as well as play some great music for saxophone, and with a stellar ensemble.
Jorrit Dijkstra – alto saxophone, lyricon, analog electronics
Phillip Greenlief – alto and tenor saxophones, clarinet
Kyle Bruckmann – oboe, english horn, analog electronics
Frank Gratkowski – clarinet, alto saxophone
Jon Raskin – sopranino, alto and baritone saxophones, analog electronics
All compositions by Jorrit Dijkstra
Listen on Bandcamp
The Hear and Now
In 2004 Other Minds commissioned me to write a composition for an amazing group of musicians. The performance of The Hear and Now was recently released on OM Music and I couldn’t be more pleased that this is available.
The Hear and Now is composed for improvisers and draws heavily on a form of structured improvisation developed by Rova which we have termed Radar. What really differentiates the Radar series from most structured improvisation is that its rules and operations are defined but the performers create the structures and sequence of events; the flow of sonic materials is decided in real time.
Gino Robair, conductor; Min Xiao-Fen, pipa; Kyaw Kyaw Naing, pat waing; Jiebing Chen, erhu; Shoko Hikage, koto; Sang Won Park, kayagum; Jim Santi Owen, tabla tarang
Rova Saxophone Quartet: Bruce Ackley, soprano and tenor saxophones, clarinet; Steve Adams, alto and soprano saxophones, flute; Larry Ochs, tenor and soprano saxophones; Jon Raskin, alto and baritone saxophones.
The score is also available
Alan Lomax goes online
Folklorist Alan Lomax spent his career documenting folk music traditions from around the world. Now thousands of the songs and interviews he recorded are available for free online, many for the first time. It's part of what Lomax envisioned for the collection — long before the age of the Internet.
The Collected Recordings of Luigi Russolo’s (1885-1947)
Intonarumori Noise Machines
Luigi Russolo (30 April 1883 – 4 February 1947) was an Italian Futurist painter and composer, and the author of the manifesto The Art of Noises (1913). He is often regarded as one of the first noise music experimental composers with his performances of noise music concerts in 1913–14 and then again after World War I, notably in Paris in 1921.
Manifesto and Recordings
The Media Burn
Ant Farm, 1975
San Francisco had never experienced a Fourth of July quite like it did in 1975, when a custom Cadillac drove through a pyramid of 45 flaming televisions at the Cow Palace. The Media Burn was a carefully engineered publicity stunt, but it also represents a high point of a Bay Area artistic movement that was fueled by the social and cultural revolutions of the times and ignited by a new technology – the first portable video cameras.
Ali Akbar Khan Lessons
I’ve been working on putting music to poetry, and the two books I’m currently engaged in with this are The Book of a Thousand Eyes by Lyn Hejinian and The Gardener of Stars by Carla Harryman. Carla and I started working on this project as a performance piece for 2 readers and electronics for the @Now2015 conference at California Institute for the Arts in late March. The performance worked so well that we’ll continue the project with additional sections.
I started working on The Book of a Thousand Eyes as a solo piece for electronics and assorted other instruments. It was quite a challenge as a performance and the next reiteration of the work will be with Tania Chen on piano, electronics and voice.
Written over the course of two decades, The Book of a Thousand Eyes was begun as an homage to Scheherazade, the heroine of The Arabian Nights who, through her nightly tale-telling, saved her culture and her own life by teaching a powerful and murderous ruler to abandon cruelty in favor of wisdom and benevolence. Hejinian’s book is a compendium of “night works”—lullabies, bedtime stories, insomniac lyrics, nonsensical mumblings, fairy tales, attempts to understand at day’s end some of the day’s events, dream narratives, erotic or occasionally bawdy ditties, etc. Though they may not be redemptive in effect, the diverse works that comprise The Book of a Thousand Eyes argue for the possibilities of a merry, pained, celebratory, mournful, stubborn commitment to life.
Carla Harryman describes Gardener of Stars as "an experimental novel that explores the paradise and wastelands of utopian desire." The book offers a mythic history of a post-historical city situated in a garden landscape whose inhabitants are engaged in perpetual tending, limitless generation. Their generatings and tendings take place in speculation and dream, practical and impractical invention, desire and copious sex—all facets of a politicized eros and an erotic politics.”
Favorite Street: Jon Raskin
This is a list of movies, books and recordings that really grabbed me last year. They are not necessarily new works or releases but things that really gave me food for thought, kept in rotation for long periods, or provided a needed distraction.
Bird Sounds (How and Why Birds Sing, Call Chatter
and Screech) Barry Kent MacKay
Blindness Jose Saramango
Collapse Jared Diamond
Europe Central William T. Vollmann
Late Victorian Holocausts (El Niño
Famine and the Making of the Third World) Mike Davis
Sicilian Uncles Leonardo Sciascia
The Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, the Confusion,
The System of the World) Neal Stephenson
The Long Tail Chris Anderson
The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force us
to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? David Brin
Playtime Jacques Tati
Mondo Vino Jonathan Nossiter
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul Rainer Fassbinder
Saraband Ingmar Bergman
Nobody Knows Hirkazu Koreeda
Grizzly Man Werner Herzog
Downfall Oliver Hirschbiegel
Amestoy Trio le fil
Brian Eno & David Byrne My Life in the Bush of
Gangbe Brass Band Togbe or Whendo
John ColtraneThe Complete 1961 Vanguard Recordings
Louis Armstrong The Hot Fives and Hot Sevens
Melingo Santa Milonga
Nathan & Zydeco Cha Chas Hang it High, Hang it
Oberosterrich-Salzburg: Volkmusic Rare Shellacks
1910-1949 on Trikont
Aaron Novik Kipple: Flases of Irrational Happiness
Pietra Montecorvino Napoli Mediterranera
Otomo Yoshihide Otomo Yoshide’s New Jazz Quintet
Live in Lisbon (featuring Mats Gustafsson)
Will Holshouser Trio Singing to a Bee
Favorite Street - Jon Raskin
Noisy People by Tim Perkis
NOISY PEOPLE is a feature length video documentary (available on DVD) that opens a window into a tightly-knit group of unusual sound artists and musicians from the San Francisco Bay Area improvisational music community.
Filmmaker Tim Perkis, a well-respected player in the local experimental music scene, followed his subjects for a year, filming them in their homes and studios, rehearsals and performances. What emerges is a set of funny and lively portraits of some very creative and quirky people—and a portrait of a way of life outside the commercial musical mainstream of America.
They're not making a living at it, but these artists have pursued their work passionately and in the process have created a world-wide following and a supportive community at home. These are people, who, as composer John Shiurba put it, "aren't going somewhere, but who ARE somewhere."
FEATURING: George Cremaschi, Tom Djll, Greg Goodman, Phillip Greenlief, Cheryl Leonard, Dan Plonsey, Gino Robair, Damon Smith. Also appearing are dozens of other creative musicians, including Anthony Braxton, Fred Frith and Jack Wright.
BONUS MATERIAL on the DVD includes two short films about electronic sound artists K. Atchley and Laetitia Sonami, and the original theatrical and internet trailer.
Leroy Jenkins and the 20th Century
Music scholar, composer and performer George Lewis marks the recent passing of his
long time friend and associate, Leroy Jenkins, with reflections on late 20 th century
innovations in music. Jenkins, along with Lewis and the entire AACM mounted an artistic
revolution beginning in the 1960s, which still has resonnance in contemporary music.
Snow – by Orhan Pamuk
Favorite Street - Jon Raskin
Rova is performing with Liz Allbee, Mary Clare Brzytwa, Aurora Josephson, LaDonna
Smith and Karen Stackpole this month, so I asked them to contribute some of their
favorites and things that have had impact.
Rebecca Pawel's detective series set in Spain: Death of a Nationalist, Law of Return and Watcher in the Pine.
Favorite Street: Jon Raskin’s PicksJon offers 3 things which have been "really inspiring":
#1: The work of Chris Ware
From Chris Ware:
#2: Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence,
Freedom and Urgent Means
This is an abridgement of a seven volume work which attempts to map out a moral calculus for violence and to examine it from the personal through to the civic arena, and draws from the past and the present. He mingles a broad range of his experiences, including: fears for a woman friend; discussions with the chief medical examiner in SF; reporting from war torn Sarajevo; and research he conducted about Thailand's brothels. The work is particularly relevant considering the high level of violence in American life, and US moves to corporatize its unending ‘war on terror’.
#3: Decoding Ferran Adria
Favorite Street: Jon Raskin
The Believer Magazine
This great collection of long essays, book reviews, columns and doodles from McSweeney’s Press usually has a theme per issue. I look forward to each one. I especially loved Nov/Dec 2008 where Lynda Barry is interviewed by Hillary Chute and where Chris Cobb writes about his experiences working on Sol Lewitt’s last major installation.
Spectacle with Elvis Costello
About his new TV Show on the Sundance Channel, Elvis says, "I'm not interested in extracting some dark secret. I'd rather hear about a bright secret, a deep love or a curiosity that might be otherwise obscured by fame. This is a wonderful opportunity to talk in complete thoughts about music, movies, art or even vaudeville, [and] then frame it with unique and illustrative performances." He hosts insightful interviews with a wide range of musicians and is really prepared and knowledgeable about their careers and music. There are first rate backup musicians that change from show to show. For video clips of the show: [watch the clips]
Shock Doctrine, the Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi
Klein begins by describing the work of Ewen Cameron and his use of electro-shock
therapy to remake the human mind on patients that weren’t informed of the
negative effects of the therapy. It was covered up and than deployed as a method
of torture by the CIA. It is short step to Milton Friedman’s theories and
a method to view the last 40 years of US economic strategies. Naomi Klein’s
insightful analysis plays out every day in the machinations of the current fiscal
I’ve been working with visual scores for several years and recently discovered
the graphic scores of Roman Haubenstock-Ramati. I was aware of his music but recently
have been researching his work much more thoroughly.
The Block Museum: Pictures of Music
In keeping with my interest in visual musical scores, this site exhibits the scores, provides sound examples, and includes interviews. The site was pretty buggy at first but they seemed to have worked out most of the kinks. Make sure you get to the animated explanation of Cornielius Cardew’s Treatise. You can enlarge and navigate the scores using a box that at the bottom of the screen.
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