Archive for the “Online” Category

open space

Some years back I stumbled across The Open Space website, a creation of Perspectives of New Music stalwart Benjamin Boretz. PoNM was one of those forbidding obstacles every composition student of the 60s, 70s and 80s had to traverse and come to terms with; a journal more like a fair-sized paperback book, seemingly filled with discussions of Babbitt, Boulez, Webern, Carter, terrifyingly dense theories of pitch-class, set theory & etc. — many of us felt like we budding composers were suddenly expected to be quantum physicists rather than simply artists… Yet tucked into many issues might also be some nugget from the likes of Roger Reynolds or J.K. Randall, that read more like pure poetry; conceptual play that seemed light-years removed from the normal run of PoNM article.

Being up there on the masthead most of the journal’s life, Boretz’s name seemed to put him firmly in the “uptown theory” group. But what our young eyes couldn’t see for the forest was that his influence was one of the main reasons those other, more intuitive and free-form articles were studded amongst the hard theory. Boretz the artist has always nurtured a deep interest in a more purely “humanistic” brand of musical thinking and creation, which only became more pronounced as the years have passed.

As a more personal outlet for these interests Boretz, along with fellow composers J.K Randall and Elaine Barkin, in 1999 began The Open Space. Not only to get their own works to a wider audience, but to offer a diverse group of contributors a place and publication to run parallel or even counter to the standard PoNM fare. A glance through the contents of current and back issues of The Open Space Magazine will show a nicely bewildering variety of both contributors and subjects.

While The Open Space has had a web presence for ten years, it’s really been an afterthought to the physical magazine, CDs & etc.  But that’s changing starting now: composer Dean Rosenthal is taking over the helm of  the semi-languishing The Open Space Webmagazine, a fully online and independent branch of the larger Open Space. In Dean’s own words, the webmagazine will be “devoted to interaction and community that extends the breadth and reach of our print journal. The web magazine is a forum for actualizing content like interactive web art, experimental video, articles including audio, video, or other supplements, and related endeavors to encourage a multivalent culture that is possible only beyond print.”

The call for submissions is out; to learn more you only need to e-mail Dean ( with your idea or to receive more information.

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While online culture increasingly favors a posture of transparent, even mundane personhood, Igor Ballereau and Jody Pou buck this trend with the enigmatic netlabel SHSK’H.

The name, the presentation, and the music all project a common esthetic: hushed, cryptic, reverential and sensual.  This singularity of vision makes the experience compelling.  Both the performances and recording quality are awesomely good.

There are currently three releases, presenting works by Ballereau, Kenneth Kirschner, Aaron Siegel, Giuliano D’Angiolini, and Etsuko Chida performing traditional Japanese koto kumiuta.  Recordings of Webern by Jody Pou and Emily Manzo are planned for this summer, and something for Garth Knox will go up this winter.

The recordings are made available free under a Creative Commons license, but donations are invited.

I’m inspired by both the music and the model; SHSK’H makes a persuasive case for the website as performance space.

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Being an all-volunteer gig, Sequenza 21 has always relied on a cast of characters — almost all musicians themselves — that lend a hand as they can, but often end up caught in a whirl of other demands. And because based in NYC, there are times when it gets just a little too easy to report on all the events happening around the city, and get a little sidetracked about keeping tabs on so many wonderful musicians and concerts elsewhere in this country and beyond. So every once in a while the call goes out to some of the many good aquaintances we’ve made, asking if this or that person might like to have a go at sharing what’s up in their neck of the metaphorical woods, both geographically and stylistically. I’d like to take a second to introduce, and thank, some of the new contributors that you’ll spot around here in the coming weeks:

Hanging down here with me in Houston, TX, Elliot Cole.

Harrying the hoipoloi from Birmingham, England, Ed Lawes.

Hustling through the heaving masses of San Francisco and the Bay Area, Polly Moller.

And holding the fort in Kansas City, MO, Scott Unrein.

(And though he’s been around a few weeks already I’d be remiss to not give a quick shout to James Holt.)

They’ll be joining all our established crew you’ve grown accustomed to reading. These are just the first wave of new voices, as part of our constant effort keep you up to speed on living, breathing new music and musicians, no matter what & where. On with the party!

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To paraphrase a comment I spotted once on Myspace, “We would have got you a card or something but we spent all of our money on booze, speed, and hookers”…  So let’s just do with this shout-out to NewMusicBox, the American Music Center, the whole unsung crew and of course the one-and-only Frank J. Oteri, for seeing this most vital and consistently important modern classical site through its first decade.

Before appearing May 1st, 1999 there had never, ever been such a resource for living composers, performers and their music-hungry audience. Ten years on, there’s still no equal. It’s our island and oasis; though we might visit a host of other wonderful and worthwhile sites, we must visit NewMusicBox. Perfectly perfect? No. Plenty important? Yes!  Here’s to the next ten, Frank.

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Apropos this Wednesday’s Michael Gordon Trance performance mentioned just a few posts previously:  Besides the pre-concert talk and videotaping, we’ve got a bit more fun for you all…

Along with the good folk at Bang On A Can and Cantaloupe Records, Michael Gordon himself had the idea of offering the tracks to Cantaloupe’s Trance CD, performed by Icebreaker, as free downloads for you all. The only catch: Each of the seven tracks are hosted at a different blog, and it’s up to you to follow the clues to find all seven.

Besides the music itself, there’s a further reward for the quick: the first three people to correctly identify all seven blogs in an e-mail to will receive a free pair of tickets to the April 22nd concert at Le Poisson Rouge!

We get to lead off the hunt with the simplest clue of all: a link directly to the first track. And to get to the next blog & track you only have to decipher this:

The most famous bridge in New York City carries the name of this borough, where a person who avoids eating any animal product like the plague blogs about all events musical, metal, comedy — or whatever’s happened to grace the fair city this or that week.

Those wishing to experience the full sonic glory of the physical Trance CD can purchase it here. Good luck!

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A couple quick bits passed along by S21 compadres:

Ed Lawes wants to remind every classical afficionado to take a gander at the Gramophone’s online archive. Literally every issue of the magazine is there, from 1923 (!) until today. If that doesn’t count as a fabulous resource, I don’t know what does.

And our favorite crusty uncle, Seth Gordon, has word on a new-music Oscar tie-in that you may not be aware of: Yeah, yeah, we all know that the best score is headed to one of the semi-usual suspects: Alexandre Desplat, James Newton Howard, Danny Elfman, A.R. Rahman, Thomas Newman…  But the producer of Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World is none other than one of the deans of modern experimental guitar, Henry Kaiser. Poke around his site and you’ll see that Henry has had a life that could qualify for an Oscar on its own. Here’s hoping…

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Just imagine the impression you will leave with your guests, as you drop sparkling bon mots on combinatoriality, pitch accumulators, harmelodics, and gradual phase shifting!… If they haven’t fled for the door yet…

I’m really just reminding you that the American Music Center, as part of its absolutely wonderful and essential web-service Counterstream Radio, has the first four podcasts in their “Crash Course” series available. Each gives you a quick, expert-led introduction to some facet of American contemporary music: Matthew Guerrieri on American serialism, Kyle Gann on minimalism, Tom Lopez on acousmatic music, and Lara Pellegrinelli on post-jazz jazz. If you’ve ever had a twinge of curiousity about any of these but just never knew where to start, what better way than to let one of these pros start you down the path?    (photo: Charlie White, “Cocktail Party”)

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Other MindsLazy, hazy summer days… Not much really happening, unless you hoof it to some festival or other… Or, for the price of simply wearing out your finger clicking, you could spend the better part of the next couple weeks feasting on the treasure trove that is the Other Minds website.

Founded in 1993 by Jim Newman and Charles Amirkhanian, the Other Minds Festival has become a San Francisco Bay-area institution, supporting the exposure for and exchange between a vast array of new-music and musicians important these last twenty-plus years, on or off the beaten path. The festival doesn’t simply rely on the concert-hall, but spreads to initmate, open places where the audience and artists can truly feel free to interact. 

More significant for us, early on Other Minds realized the value of the web for not just presenting but also archiving and sharing the music and ideas that flowed from the festival. They began to offer snippets, then entire concerts, from all of the festivals; added special articles and tributes to important musicians; and now even sell their own CDs, videos and books. I should also mention sometime-S21-visitor Richard Friedman’s related “Music from Other Minds” bay-area radio program, which also streams each broadcast and is linked at the OM site. There’s lots of news on their homepage, too, making well worth becoming one of your regular bookmarks.

It’s futile for me to even attempt to list all of the wonderful musicians documented at the site; so just go, see, hear, listen and learn. What else were you doing with your summer anyway? Maybe it’ll even get you thinking about how you can make it to next year’s festival…

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A little while back on S21, I mentioned the good news that the indomitable / indubitable / inscrutable / incontinent Kalvos & Damian were bringing back an online-only version of their (ASCAP Deems Taylor) award-winning broadcasts. Though the name has changed from New Music Bazaar  to In The House, The show retains all of its trademark off-the-wall storytelling, banter, and enthusiasm for sharing the music and thought of all kind of interesting NON-POP musicians at work today. Our duo may be out in the wilds of rural Vermont, but there isn’t anything backwoods about their awareness of the new-music scene. Each show is provided in both a high- and low-bandwidth version, so there’s just no excuse to not be listening, hear?

[Note: Happy as I am about this return, I’d be remiss not to also acknowledge the New Music Bazaar’s different yet fine replacement, Noizepunk and Das Krooner. Since 2005 Gene Pritsker and Charles Coleman have been running their own mostly-monthly show, with lots of the same type of K&D-worthy guests. All of their shows are archived for listening at the K&D site right along with the New Music Bazzar’s vast archive.]

Art JarvinenThough Kalvos (Dennis Bathory-Kitsz) and Damian (David Gunn) last appeared in 2005, they more or less pick up just where they left off, with an fun interview of the muy importante left-coaster Art Jarvinen. Art has been a big factor in helping shape what’s come out of CalArts (and Cal, period) lately, and Art’s own music and interview heard in this show perfectly show off much of what California/West-Coast/Southwest music has been concerned with these last 30+ years (hint: it ain’t set-theory or the New Complexity… oh, they probably know it, but “thanks, no thanks”; life’s just too short and sweet…).

Shame on you if you’ve never bookmarked the K&D site; but all is forgiven if you do it now, and be sure to check back regularly for all the fun to come. …Oh, and send ’em a check every so often too, OK? Pure love and enthusiasm can’t pay those production costs and server bills, and Paypal couldn’t be simpler to use. They’re doing this for you, so do a little back.

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Tim RisherTim Risher is a composer that I bumped into a long time ago on this here web thingy. His illustrious career has taken him from making new music in Florida, to a long stint producing radio in Germany, to currently doing — well, something or other — in deepest, darkest Durham, North Carolina.

One of Tim’s latest personal ventures involves the wildly-popular virtual world of Second Life. There, people seem to carry on just like they do out here in the real world, except they get to make it — and even themselves — into anything they can dream up. Like the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, which gave a “virtual” concert in there just last autumn. 

What Tim has dreamed up in his own little patch of turf within Second Life, is a place called HD Artists (for you folks who already wander this alternate world, here’s a link directly to his place). I’ll let Tim himself explain:

HD Artists is a virtual New Music center in Second Life. The center has only just opened, but we plan on having:

A wall of CD players letting you hear music samples of different composers along with a link to their website.

Links to various publishers of new music.

Soon we hope to present live performances at our building as well, this will take a while to suss out, though.

Going to places in Second Life is a lot like walking around in a 3D blog, or better, a 3D fashion magazine. And visiting concerts there are just like, well, a 19th-century fashion magazine salon. But the concerts are quite enjoyable, it is really like listening to a real-life concert (which, in fact, that’s what it is), but with all the trappings of Second Life.

If you’re interested in learning more about HD Artists or would like a link there, feel free to contact me.

Tim asked me if I’d like to have my own music up in the place (even though I don’t hang in that particular world just yet), and I said sure, why not? If you’re ready to go virtual, send Tim an email at Maybe we’ll all get two free virtual tickets to the inaugural concert…

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