28 November 2015

Free talks by Pauline Oliveros, Morton Subotnick and others (LCMF 2015)

This year at the London Contemporary Music Festival there will be a few free talks on 12th and 13th December with, among other speakers, Pauline Oliveros and Morton Subotnick. (!!!) It's happening alongside the 'West Coast Night' which will feature compositions from the San Francisco Tape Music Centre. Pretty cool. (more info here)

However, a tiny note of caution is due about these kinds of events: they can be either completely mind-blowing or completely anticlimactic. The last time I went to an evening dedicated to mostly minimalist music, held at Café OTO earlier this year, it was definitely the latter experience. The highlight of the night was supposed to be a performance of Terry Riley's 'In C'. A massive orchestra assembled, a Moog Voyager was placed proudly in the center -- it certainly looked like it would be exciting.

As it happened my idea of what was to follow was very vague, and little did I expect that my main thought for the whole pain-staking 45 minutes (and 57 seconds) would be "this is time I will never get back". Those were actually the very first words my sister said me to me when we were out of earshot of my friend, who was really enthusiastic about the whole thing, and who had taken us to Café OTO in the first place. Incidentally the Moog was used about once every 10 minutes solely to play a drone note; one could ask, very rightly, how it is possible to use such an innovative instrument so unninovatively. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion but, more importantly, everyone is entitled to their informed opinion. So my personal informed opinion is that sometimes experimental music can feel a little too understated when played live. Though perhaps everything changes when the composer plays his/her own pieces themself, which wasn't the case at Café OTO.

At any rate, the LCMF talks are bound to be interesting. And they're free!

17 November 2015

.... Featuring a kaleidoscope that my mum gave me on my tenth birthday and music by the inimitable Alexey Rybnikov. This particular excerpt is from an old animation of Comet in Moominland, based on a book by Tove Jansson.

Update: have only just realised how atrocious the video quality is... My advice - don't try full screen.