This Week's
Top Picks

You in Reverse
Built to Spill
Warner Bros - Wea

Cannibal Sea
The Essex Green

The Minus 5 (The Gun Album)
The Minus 5
Yep Roc Records

In Colour
The Concretes

Latest Posts

FRIDAY!YADIRF!FRIDAY! Bjork The Walkmen The Gla...
What if you want to be both huge and tiny? Profou...
The great Irish novelist John McGahern has died...
FRIDAY! Postal Service Yo La Tengo Sigur Ros (fr...
Whatcha Gonna Do? I've always had reading slumps ...
FRIDAY! I'm ambivalent about Devotchka. Sometimes...
FRIDAY! The Essex Green Nicholai Dunger Neko Ca...
3/14: Just wanted to show the cover of the new S...
More Music I Need to Know More About
Ali Farka Toure His obituary on ...
Back to Sequenza21
Friday, February 03, 2006
Twee vs Fey vs Wee (A Couple of Things)

About a month ago I wrote about the distinction between twee and fey, or the lack of distinction. (And if you do link back, do listen, if you haven't yet, to the Laura Veirs' cuts). I expressed a preference for twee vs fey, citing Mazzy Star, a band I like, as twee, and Belle and Sebastian, a band I don't, as fey.

Today's NYT has a long review of the new Belle and Sebastion album in which the reviewer, Kelefa Sanneh (who I find smart, most times, including here), referring to Belle and Sebastion as a "quiet, wee band." The review, which includes a lot of background history of the band, is written by a fan, is written as much about Belle and Sebastion's fans as much as it is about Belle and Sebastian, which in part may explain why Belle and Sebastion is such a black licorice band for me. I've never gotten it, and friends of mine who are fans consider my not getting it an existential mark against me.

But "wee?" Can one of the biggest indie bands be "wee?"

: Salon declares Belle and Sebastian fey.

MONDAY UPDATE: Pitchfork declares Belle and Sebastian wry.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Washington Post says fey.

And this morning, on NPR's Morning Edition, an interesting audio article on the internet and music business. CD Baby, something new to me, that provides indie record makers with an outlet other than big box stores to market their music, has formed an alliance with Best Buy, one of the monster big boxes. Here's CD Baby's classical page: has anyone used this service, either to buy or sell?

Roberto Sierra?

Roberto Sierra, a new name to me, debuts a new choral work Thursday night in DC.

I'm curious about Sierra, and I'm going to make an effort to go to the Kennedy Center Thursday, but I'm more curious about this article in the Post about Sierra, especially these quotes:
Every composer must confront musical modernism at some point in his or her career. The Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra, whose new choral work, "Missa Latina," will receive its world premiere Thursday at the Kennedy Center, moved past that forbidding style after some encouragement from the most unlikely of people.

Gyorgi Ligeti, Sierra's composition teacher in Hamburg in the early 1980s and one of the enfants terribles of the avant-garde, gently pushed the young composer away from his own style of atmospheric, tuneless music. "Having little Ligetis was not his thing," Sierra says in a phone interview from his home near Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., where he heads the composition department.


Sierra recalls earlier Latin American composers such as Heitor Villa-Lobos and Alberto Ginastera, who featured sounds from their respective Brazilian and Argentine homes. Osvaldo Golijov of Argentina is perhaps the only other composer today who possesses the same command of the Latin world's unique idiom.


Sierra is unapologetic about his use of popular and folk music, saying that Beethoven and Bach, among many other composers, similarly merged popular and classical styles. Sierra sees the approach as a much-needed break from abstract modernism and a source of energy for classical music over time. "Composers of my generation needed to move away from that narrow path," the composer says. "I want structure, but I want people to be moved at a basic level."
"Much needed break from abstract modernism?" "Composers of my generation needed to move away from that narrow path? "Atmospheric, tuneless music?" Ligeti is an "enfant terribles of the avant garde?" "Must confront musical modernism at some point in his career?"

What the?